A McDONALD’S boss “laughed in the face” and cut the hours of a worker who told him she had experienced domestic violence, striking staff at the chain’s Crayford restaurant said today.
In an interview with the Star, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) activist Shen Batmaz, who has worked at the Crayford branch for just over a year, said one manager had prompted “countless” grievances.
“We had a worker who was a victim of domestic abuse in her past,” she said. “[The manager] came in screaming and shouting, she was obviously very affected by this.
“So she said to him, ‘please don’t talk to me like this’. She explained her history, explained what happened, and he laughed in her face. And he to her to ‘leave her problems outside of work.’
“And because of that action by him, because of her past and because of her now very bad relationship with this place, her shifts were cut by him, the shifts that she did have were very hard for her to deal with.”
It didn’t end there. “She lost a lot of money, eventually she was evicted from her home with her four-year-old son.”
And Ms Batmaz said this was not a rare case. “I really wish I could say to you this was the story of one worker in one store. But if you speak to McDonald’s workers across the country, they’ll tell you stories exactly like that.”
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said she couldn’t “comment on individual HR cases, but we do of course take any allegations seriously and will investigate accordingly.”
The Crayford restaurant, on the south-eastern fringes of London, remained open yesterday.
Managers drafted in a strikebreaking workforce, believed to be from branches in nearby Erith and Dagenham, east London.
But Ms Batmaz said: “I’d feel worse if we weren’t able to unionise [workers in those restaurants where strikebreakers were recruited from], which we have done.
“They’d been bringing them in from two weeks prior to train them up on our systems for today.
“We knew it was always going to happen, we knew we couldn’t shut it down, we knew we were never going to make a massive dent in their profits … not yet anyway. For us, it was just about being taken seriously.”
South-east London Labour MP Matthew Pennycook, who attended the 70-strong picket line to show his support, told the Star: “We’ve got to a point where the simple right to join a union is being contested.
“This dispute shines a light on that and the labour movement should get behind it.”