witness statement

name: Peter Sutcliffe
section: Employment
for: The Defence
experience: McDonald's crew member, East Ham, 1986-1987


Witness outlines poor working conditions and hygiene problems, and attempts to start a Union branch


I worked for McDonald's at East Ham for over 12 months from December 1986.

Full cv: (not available for this witness)

full statement:

Practices at the Store

I normally took the early morning deliveries. These came at around 8.00am and were of frozen food or dry goods (cups, straws etc.) on alternate days. We were always being told to hurry up with getting the stock into the store and getting it put away, because of the pressure we would carry more and more box-loads at a time.

On one day I was carrying five boxes of frozen chips at once and I banged my hand into the metal frame of the freezer room door. This caused a deep cut in my right thumb. This incident was logged in the store's book for accidents at work. I bandaged up the wound which seemed to work at first. As the morning went on blood started seeping through the bandage. Because the lunch time rush was coming up I was encouraged by the store manager to stay at work. Eventually I had to leave because blood was dripping from the bandage onto the cooking surface where I was frying the hamburgers.

Because of a number at practices at the store I and my colleagues felt were unfair we talked about joining a union. These practices included the ways promotions and pay rises were decided and the way some of the managers treated staff. I joined the Transport and General Workers' Union. I urged other workers to join the union but no-one did, largely due to fear for their jobs. One junior manager advised us that McDonald's did not like trade unions.


In the Summer of 1987 the store had a lot at problems with mice. A pest control firm eventually sorted out the problem. Mice droppings would often be found within the trays of buns. This could have either been caused by mice at East Ham, or at the depot at Hemel Hempsted where the deliveries came from. Managers such as Mr Lucas Thorpe and Mr David Sexton did not take this problem seriously. They used to throw away the individual bun with the droppings in rather than waste the whole plastic sheet full at buns. A colleague, Andrew Wilson and I were told off for making it too obvious that we were chasing mice behind the counter which might have made the public suspicious.

date signed: Not dated
status: Appeared in court
references: Not applicable/ available

exhibits: Exhibits available here

transcripts of court appearances:

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