John Williams, Cardiff East Socialist Party
This July, McDonald’s faced a crisis; over 400 current and previous employees made accusations of sexual abuse, racism, and bullying. Though a shocking figure, for hospitality workers such as myself, it wasn’t surprising. It exposed appalling practices in hospitality, many of which go unnoticed. So far, 157 reports have been fully investigated, resulting in 18 sackings.
It seems little has changed since McDonalds’s boss in the UK recently told MPs: “The company faces one or two sexual harassment allegations from workers each week”, as he pledged to “eradicate” abuse claims. But Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union, told MPs that the feedback the union is getting is that “nothing has changed”.
Join a union
We need to change attitudes and tackle the problem at its roots in the workplace. The best thing workers can do is to join a union and fight back against sexism and harassment. Workers can collectively challenge attitudes and make workplaces safe from vile behaviour and sexist managers.
Every complaint needs to be investigated fully in an open and honest manner. It needs the oversight of trade unions, with democratically elected committees in the workplace to oversee procedures. Part of this is to fight for the right for precarious workers to join a trade union, without fear of victimisation so workers can unite and tackle issues head on.