Protest takes place outside McDonald’s

Noise: Demonstrators outside McDonald's Traralgon Central on Friday. Photo: Supplied



ALLEGATIONS of sexual harassment led to a demonstration outside McDonald’s Traralgon Central on Friday 17.

The rally, organised by the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union, was attended by McDonald’s employees, who walked off the job earlier this month amid claims of sexual harassment.

The Saturday Age reported that Sarah Hudson, the shift manager at the time said employees walked off the job, and called police after not being able to get hold of senior management.

“No one was feeling safe,” she told The Age.

“The crew and myself were in a lot of distress.”

She closed the store, only to later be berated by a senior McDonald’s manager for doing so.

Management then sent her a letter, directing her to a meeting to discuss concerns around what it felt amounted to “serious misconduct” for closing the restaurant without permission.

The letter also cited “impact (on) the restaurant’s profitability and reputation”.

It is believed complaints of sexual harassment have been accumulating at the Traralgon store since early December.

The union responded by writing to McDonald’s, who followed up by sending a second letter to Ms Hudson and other staff who worked at the time the store was temporarily shut. The Age reported the follow-up meetings were “not disciplinary in nature”.

In a statement, the fast food giant said sexual harassment had no place at McDonald’s.

“All McDonald’s employees complete training in McDonald’s Respectful Workplace Policy and are expected to uphold our values at all times,” a spokesperson said.

“We encourage our employees to speak up and report any breach of our policy and values.

“McDonald’s takes these allegations seriously and will continue to work with the franchisee and relevant authorities.”

Staff issues at the ‘Traralgon main Maccas’ have almost certainly correlated with poor customer service experience recently.

Only a fortnight ago, after a 10pm finish at work and with nothing else open, this writer found himself waiting 20 minutes in the drive-thru for what one would consider a standard order.

While there may have been reason to become agitated, upon peering through the window, it was clear the store appeared to be drastically understaffed – the staff member taking the order at the first window also served food at the last.

Following Friday’s rally, the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union praised those for coming forward.

“The community rally against sexual harassment at McDonald’s Traralgon was huge,” it posted online.

“The solidarity from other unions was fantastic.

“The young workers of McDonald’s heard loud and clear that workers will support them and believe them.

“This was only the second protest by workers against McDonald’s in Australian history, and follows the action in Brisbane in January 2019 when McDonald’s coerced children.”