The SDA’s – the union for fast food workers – landmark Federal Court claims against McDonald’s over the deliberate denial of paid 10-minute breaks will be in front of a Federal Court Judge today.
The SDA is alleging McDonald’s Australia has been complicit in the systemic exploitation of workers and misrepresentation of their rights across company-owned and franchisee-run restaurants.
The SDA is seeking that workers are paid compensation for working through their breaks and that McDonald’s is penalised by the court for breaching the Fair Work Act.
Since December 2020, the SDA has lodged 11 claims on behalf of almost 1000 workers against the fast-food giant and its franchisees – with two of these claims lodged earlier this week against Victorian franchisee SJ Wojciechowski P/L and NT franchisee, VIGR holdings Pty Ltd.
The SDA’s 11 claims are, collectively, the biggest of their kind in Australian history, with workers from 129 sites across the nation openly coming forward to stand up against systemic exploitation and deception.
These claims could impact hundreds of thousands of current and former McDonald’s workers nation-wide and deliver millions in compensation.
Along with concealing their break entitlements, many McDonald’s operators told workers they could have a free soft drink in lieu of a paid rest break.
The SDA is continuing to investigate these contraventions at all other McDonald’s sites and encourages anyone who has worked at McDonald’s in the past 6 years to visit national.sda.com.au/maccas to get involved.
Quotes attributable to SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer:
“From our investigation, it’s clear to us that McDonald’s and franchisees conspired to deliberately and systematically deny workers their paid rest breaks.”
“This multi-billion-dollar global corporation owes some of our lowest-paid and youngest workers millions in compensation – it’s time they stopped clowning around and took responsibility for this exploitation.”
“As one of the largest employers of young people, they need to do better.”
“McDonald’s is a well-oiled machine – its operators and franchisees are completely aware of their legal responsibilities and cannot plead ignorance.”
“Fast food restaurants are busy and hot workplaces and workers should be getting their paid breaks.
“It’s shameful to think workers, many of whom are in their first job, have been lied to about their workplace rights”
“It takes a lot of courage to openly stand up and speak out against their employer and the SDA is proud to take this all the way on behalf of McDonald’s workers.”
“These Federal Court Claims are not just about compensation and penalising McDonald’s, it’s about sending a clear message that this systematic exploitation will not be tolerated.”
“There have been almost 9,000 current and former workers register to be part of our Federal Court Claims and this will continue to grow until McDonald’s takes action to remedy these underpayments.”
National Media Contact: Jim Middleton – 0418 627 066