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SDA takes McDonald’s Franchise to the Federal Court for substituting paid breaks for free soft drinks.

The South Australian Branch of the SDA – the union for fast food workers – has lodged a landmark case against a third South Australian McDonald’s Franchisee in the Federal Court.

On behalf of 25 current and former McDonald’s workers, the SDA is alleging that IA & DM Robson Pty Ltd deliberately denied workers paid rest and drink breaks. IA & DM Robson Pty Ltd operate the Arndale, Croydon, Fulham Gardens, Port Adelaide, Harbour Town, West Lakes and Woodville restaurants.

As part of this, the SDA will also be alleging that workers were told they could receive a free soft drink in lieu of a paid 10-minute rest break.

The SDA is seeking thousands of dollars in compensation for workers who did not get the breaks they were legally entitled to and asking the Court to award penalties against the McDonald’s franchisee for breaching the McDonald’s Agreement and the Fast Food Award.

This action is in addition to two current filings in the Federal Court regarding the lack of paid breaks.

The original claim against Olle G & J Pty Ltd has increased from 14 claimants in the original filing to 61. In the recent action filed against Delbridge Investments Pty Ltd, the claimants have increased from 55 to 180.

These actions are in addition to the adverse action claim on behalf of 22 workers at McDonald’s Murray Bridge against Delbridge Investments Pty Ltd regarding physical, verbal and psychological abuse by management.

These actions are the tip of the iceberg. The SDA has collected hundreds of formal statements regarding workers’ concerns in McDonalds and thousands of past and present McDonald’s crew members have reached out to discuss concerns about their time at McDonalds.

Quotes attributable to SDA SA Secretary Josh Peak

“It should not have to keep coming to this.”
“The SDA has now lodged Federal Court action against three franchises, on behalf of 266 workers, across 15 restaurants just to ensure thousands of workers can get their basic entitlements.”
“It’s clear that the denial of rest breaks has been deliberate, systematic and widespread across McDonald’s restaurants.”
“It’s disheartening to think that teenagers across Australia have been deliberately misled and taken advantage of by McDonald’s.”
“McDonald’s can’t pick and choose which entitlements they choose to give workers and swap them out for freebies.”
“A free soft drink is not a substitute for a paid rest break nor is a Big Mac is not a substitute for a pay rise.”
“McDonald’s can’t continue to cut corners when it comes to their employees’ rights.”

Quotes from Joshua Kaye, 22, worked at McDonald’s West Lakes from 2014-2021

“I worked at McDonald’s for 7 years. For 6 years, I never received a paid rest break.”
“It was only when the SDA stepped in that things changed.”
“Talking about our break entitlements was generally a taboo topic at work, so we avoided bringing it up with managers.”
“Whenever I asked managers about paid rest breaks, they told me that we didn’t get those because we got a free drink instead.”
Quotes from Brock Hedges, 25, worked at McDonald’s Fulham Gardens from 2014-2017 “In my 3 years at McDonald’s, I never received a paid rest break.”
“I was never told about rest breaks by my manager and only became aware that they existed in my last year at Maccas.” “When I asked my manager if I could take my rest break, they told me I wasn’t entitled to them. “I even had to attend a disciplinary meeting with my store manager because I asked about these entitlements. I felt like I couldn’t speak up about this issue or any issues at work.”

South Australian Secretary Josh Peak is available for further comment upon request.
Media Contact: Jim Middleton – 0418 627 066