UK

McDonald’s faces one or two sexual harassment claims each week, boss admits

Alistair Macrow, chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, told MPs on Parliament’s business and trade select committee that testimonies from staff members alleging abuse or harassment at work were ‘truly horrific and hard to listen to’ (House of Commons/PA)
Alistair Macrow, chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, told MPs on Parliament’s business and trade select committee that testimonies from staff members alleging abuse or harassment at work were ‘truly horrific and hard to listen to’ (House of Commons/PA)

The UK boss of McDonald’s said the fast-food chain faces “one or two” sexual harassment allegations from workers each week as he pledged to “eradicate” abuse claims.

Alistair Macrow, chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, told MPs on Parliament’s business and trade select committee that testimonies from staff members alleging abuse or harassment at work were “truly horrific and hard to listen to”.

It comes after a raft of sexual abuse, racism and bullying claims from workers were made in July, following a BBC investigation.

Earlier this month, law firm Leigh Day said a group legal action had been launched on behalf of a number of employees in relation to assault and harassment allegations.

On Tuesday, the boss said 157 reports have already been fully investigated, with 75 resulting in disciplinary action, which resulted in 18 sackings.

It said it is still looking into 279 other reports relating to safety and inclusivity in the workplace.

So far, it has seen 17 confirmed reports of sexual harassment and is looking into 27 further sexual harassment allegations.

Mr Macrow said: “We typically would see between 20 and 25 contacts per week, of which one or two are sexual harassment across the organisation.”

In the summer, McDonald’s launched a programme of independent investigations, audits of its complaints procedure, reviews of its code of conduct and a number of full disciplinary hearings in response to the raft of claims.

The boss added: “To be in charge of the business when these incidents are occurring is very hard to hear.

“I am absolutely determined to root out any of these behaviours, to identify individuals who are responsible for them and make sure they are eradicated from our business.”

Earlier in the committee session, union bosses said the situation has not improved for workers since McDonald’s launched its investigations.

Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, told MPs: “The feedback we are getting is that nothing has changed.

“There is a tick-box system that has been put in play, a video about how things are supposed to happen.

“We really welcome the involvement of EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) but what was really lacking is the workers’ involvement in that process.”