witness statement

name: Chantal Villeneuve-Gallez
section: Employment
for: The Defence
experience: 'Swing' manager and Union rep (France)


The witness clearly outlines the vicious anti-union sentiment and policy carried out by McDonald's. Though the witness has the position of shift-manager, she has been denied the roles and responsibilities which are an integral part of her job, because, she has helped establish a working environment where crew members have their rights protected - a complete anathema to McDonald's practices.....

Since the arrival CFDT Union in the Social + Economic Unit, legally recognised, important changes occured in the different restaurants in Lyon part of the S.E.U (social-economic unit).

  • First, the works council was created and elections for delegates in each restaurant were organised.

  • reimbursement of taxi fares for people finishing after 12.00 am

  • implementation of "dirt bonus" and back payment of owed sums in that regard as the tribunal judged that the employer was not following their legal duty.


    I am an area (swing) manager at McDonald's 'Bellecour' in Lyons and my work consists of assisting the shift manager that is to say taking responsibility for a particular area of the restaurant: either the seating area. or the kitchen or the counter. It is my job to ensure the smooth running of the area I am responsible for.

    Full cv: (not available for this witness)

    full statement:

    Since May 1993, the date of the elections of staff representatives in which I was a candidate, I have been asked to carry out tasks which have been incompatible with the position of responsibility which I have held since 1991.

    For example I am systematically assigned to kitchen duty either alone or with one other worker and am therefore doing the job of a kitchen worker and not of an area manager. In the months that followˇd these elections my role became that of a jack of all trades' at the mercy of the shift' manager, the area managers and even the other staff and I was relieved of all my responsibilities.

    Since May 1993 I have never been assigned to the service counter which is the most satisfying job for an area manager as it entails the overseeing and organisation of a team of cashiers, balancing the tills and management of staff on a daily basis. Overnight I became an outcast, no longer a part of the management team as before and yet not part of the staff team (crew).

    I have also suffered as I have been unable to express myself as a trade unionist - for example neither Hassen LAMTI (english text) nor myself have been able to express ourselves regarding working conditions at swing managers meetings from which we have been excluded.

    H.LAMTI (french text) and I have been unable to participate in team social events as we had to work on those days. In Lyons the procedure for such meetings is as follows: whenever one McDonald's branch organises a staff social evening the staff timetabled to work on that evening are replaced from another branch. At the first such evening the Manager Mr.PARASSIN told me he had been unable to find me a replacement. The same thing happened on the next occasion.

    H.LAMTI also found his previously agreed timetable modified that particular day and that he had been assigned to the later shift finishing at 2.30 am and therefore was unable to attend the staff party.

    On the morning of 29th January 1994 the CFDT organised a distribution of leaflets and posters had been put up at the entrance of the underground station facing the restaurant where I work. I arrived at work at 2 pm and was told by the shift manager to go quickly to the kitchen as there was only one crew member on duty and the restaurant was busy. Around 2.30 pm the manager came to me with a special mission'. He took me outside and said I had to take down the CFDT posters.

    At around 3 pm another manager who had taken over the shift came to get me to work in the kitchen where there was no longer a member of staff. I advised him that he would need to check with Mr.PARASSIN the branch manager before changing me to that post. Having spoken with Mr. Parassin the shift manager came to tell me that he was very sorry but I would have to remain taking down the posters of "my little friends' . I remained outside in McDonald's uniform (skirt and short sleeved blouse) until 6.30 pm in mid-winter.

    Confronted by this obvious evidence of discrimination against union activities, and as all my verbal requests remained unanswered whatever the motivations, my relations with the management were only by way of registered mail. The election of the works council of the Economic and Social Unit of McDonald's took place in June 1994. Faced with manoeuvering by the management to dissuade the workers from voting for the CFDT list of which I was a candidate, the State Prosecutor ordered a letters rogatory (sic.) so that an enquiry would be set up to investigate anti-union practices. During an interview with the new manager Mr. Ikhlei Hadj CKIKH, I fully realised to what extent McDonald's management didn't want CFDT unionists elected to, the Works Council. I informed inspectors' of this by letter. I have been systematically discouraged and isolated from other workers and prevented from taking any responsibilities.

    This clearly shows that it is inadvisable to be unionised at McDonald's.

    All these discriminatory practices aim to discourage workers witnessing these events from joining a union. I hope that my statement will draw the attention of those reading it to the fact that some employers practice anti-union policies and that in these conditions it is very difficult for someone to assert their rights.

    supplementary statement:

    Since the arrival CFDT Union in the Social + Economic Unit, legally recognised, important changes occured in the different restaurants in Lyon part of the S.E.U (social-economic unit)

    Regarding Ste. Vilpaix of which I am a personal delegate (and union CFDT member), the dialogue between our employer and the unionised members of staff has been reinstated, all the requests or problems are discussed and solutions are brought rapidly in collaboration with the employer.

    The employees are not scared any more to come to us with their questions and requests.

    Checked and verified 12/11/95 by Suna Scutcher.

    date signed: 8th September 1994
    status: Statement read out in court
    references: Not applicable/ available

    exhibits: Not applicable/ available

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