2 min read

McDonald’s franchisee disputes worker break entitlements

A McDonald’s franchisee told its employees that if they took a 10-minute break, which they are legally entitled to, they would not be able to have a drink of water or be allowed to use the toilet for the rest of their shift.

Chris, manager for Tantex Holdings, which owns six McDonald’s stores in Brisbane, posted the following on the company’s Facebook page:

As we all LOVE the legislation and are all clearly so hard done by . . . let me clarify for you the below ENTITLEMENT!!! We are more than happy to go with the standard 10 minute break policy as below for those crew who are all over Facebook tagging each other and commenting. But let me clarify for you how this 10 minute break rule actually works. If you work longer than 4 hours, you become eligible for a ’10 minute break’. So for majority of crew you actually probably don’t ever qualify for a ’10 minute break’ What this means is that if we implement this over our current situation, on your shift – this 10 minute break would be the only time you would ever be permitted to have a drink or go to the toilet. So I hope to god you don’t get thirsty on your next shift because we just wouldn’t be able to allow a drink. Fair is Fair right? But as we go above and beyond for our people and we like to treat you guys much better than this, we allow ALL our employees irrelevant of shift length to have a drink of water as you require and have a toilet break on shift as you require. Are we really such bad guys ? Honestly !!!! It actually works better in our favour to follow this ‘legislation’ and keep you all working non stop. Hope this clarifies anyone’s raging concerns!

The post prompted the Retail and Fast Food Workers’ Union (RAFFWU) to organise a protest and bring media attention to the situation.

RAFFWU says that Tantex has misrepresented workplace rights and threatened adverse action against its employees for exercising their workplace rights.

It is planning to take legal action against the franchisee.

RAFFWU Secretary Josh Cullinan said “No worker should be barred from the toilet, or access to clean drinking water, let alone the very young workers at McDonald’s”.

In a survey of Australian McDonald’s employees last year, RAFFWU found that more than 90% of respondents reported not receiving a minimum 10-minute paid rest break for four hour or longer shifts.

The union then launched a campaign demanding that McDonald’s branches bring back their employee’s statutory breaks for its members, which it says has been successful at a number of branches.

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