witness statement

name: Nicholas McGill
section: Employment - CEA
for: The Defence
experience: Crew member at Marble Arch McDonald's store; October 1986 - March 1987


The witness gives a detailed inside view of working conditions and practices at the Marble Arch branch of McDonald's, outling discrepencies in pay, working conditions, staff facilities, hours worked, the adequacy of the store in terms of food provision aswell as the approach of the management to sales and maximising profits.


Not available for this witness.

Full cv:
(not available for this witness)

full statement:


The majority of the employees worked well over the 39 hours per week specified in the Handbook. The limit was a joke. Most people did not object to working over 39 hours because they needed the money. A few people at the store even did 24 hour shifts.

I remember in particular one occasion when I was sitting in the crew room during my break with several other employees. A Manager burst through the door, pointed successively at several employees and said "You, you, you and you ,,,,, out". It happened to a friend of mine. I can only conclude that it enabled McDonalds to save on seconds worth of pay, and presumably across the world this represents quite a saving. All employees were made to clock on and off each time they took a break. I was amazed by the fact that if an employee clocked-out for a break and forgot to clock back on again, his or her wages were actually docked. This was meant to be a deterrent.

I myself once came very close to fainting, although I am not a person given to fainting and I had never felt like that before. It was entirely due to the fact that I was not allowed to drink. Drink breaks were generally cancelled or not allowed when the store was busy; for example, if a person wanted to go at 1 o'clock and there was no backing, there was no way he would be allowed to leave even for two minutes. As an example of how the extremely tight attention to all expenses manifested itself, I used to work in the backroom, unloading the juggernauts which delivered various foods on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Two juggernauts appeared on each delivery, one containing frozen goods, the other one containing unfrozen.

Certain people developed skin rashes from using cleaning liquids and regular requests were made to Management for gloves, but they were always declined. People who had developed such skin conditions worked on the preparation of food, which I understood to be illegal and certainly most unhealthy.

supplementary statement:

24 hour shifts (19)

One Person I can remember working 24 hours shifts was Joe. I can't remember his second name. I can't remember any dates.

More than 39 hours in a week (20)

More than half the full time staff worked for more than 39 hours. This was quite regularly although I don't have any dates or names of anybody who did so. I can't remember these details.

I rarely did overtime. The reason I know that other people did it was because it was common knowledge and that they had told me.

More than 5 hours without a break (29)

I don't have any names or dates but this happened nearly every day of the week, I remember on one occasion I nearly passed out because I wasn't getting a break during a ve ry long period.

Pressure to follow prescribed steps (36)

I was trained to follow prescribed steps. Someone called Susan trained me. I don't know her second name.

There were tests for people every so often for them to earn their stars. This would occur with a manager standing or sitting behind the person and watching. There was a test every month.

The managers that did this were Steve Quinn, Mark (I don't know his second name), two managers both called Jenny and the main manager Jim Atkinson.

Smiling (37)

In training we were all told to look happy. I don't think much would happen if we didn't smile though.

Freezers (43)

The work that we had to do in the freezers was called stock rotation. This was where stock was put at the back when it came in and older stock was pushed to the front, This was about 3 or 4 times a week.

Sometimes it would take up to 2 hours to do this. I did this in the Marble Arch outlet. I asked for stock handlers' gloves and overalls or stock jackets. I asked the assistant manager Steve Quinn. He said that they didn't have any such warm clothing or equipment. I asked whether they were going to get any and he said No.

I don't remember anyone particularly getting ill or being injured as a result of this.

Chemicals (44)

There were chemicals for washing up. There was a special liquid for cleaning stainless steel. This was also used for cleaning the diffusers for the lights. I don't remember what it was called.

I can't remember the names of anyone who got skin rashes. It was reported to mangement but I can't remember to whom.

Target figures (47)

It was common knowledge that this targret figure was 15% so I am not able to give any more details than that.

Calculation of revenue every hour (48)

I don't know anything about this.

Levels Of takings (49)

The takings at the Marble Arch branch never fell.

New staff and falling sales (53)

I don't know anything about whether this happened or not.

Hostility to Trade Unions (57)

This matter was never brought up and I had no individua1 instances of hostility to Trade Unions.

Repercussions on complaints (60)

There was only one rap session whilst I was there. I don't remember any repercussions of any complaints being made.

Discrimination against Trade Unionists (62)

I don't remember any such discrimination.

date signed: July 27, 1993
status: Statement was read out in court under the Civil Evidence Act.
references: Not applicable/available

exhibits: Not applicable/ available

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