A recent trial conducted by McDonald’s in the UK which offered employees a chance to move from zero hour to guaranteed minimum hour contracts only saw 20% of the staff take the opportunity. This is part of a bigger effort by the company in the UK and New Zealand to provide employees an alternative to politically contentious zero hour contracts.
McDonald’s and its franchisees use flexible contracts in many countries, and these have attracted criticism for not providing employees basic benefits such as health, pension and life insurance, forcing the state to subsidise precarious workers. In Brazil, franchisee Arcos Dourados was fined €2 million for violations including flexible work schedules.
The trial, which took place in the context of protests by employees throughout the UK, offered all staff in St Helens, Merseyside the choice of 4, 16 or 30 hours a week guaranteed. There are plans to expand a similar policy to the whole of the UK.