McDonald’s 15,000 UK zero-hour workers could change to fixed contracts with a minimum number of set hours each week.
This followed staff complaints that not having guaranteed weekly employment meant they struggled to get approved for mortgages or loans.
Trialing new contracts
The fast food chain has been testing out the swap to fixed-hours contracts in 23 of its UK restaurants. It’s offering staff contracts in line with the average number of hours they work per week. Initially, the company plans to extend the fixed contracts to more than 50 of its restaurants. It will then roll it out across the country to all existing and new workers towards the end of year. McDonald’s UK say that most of their employees are happy with working on flexible contracts. However, some have requested guaranteed hours, especially as this will help them get better financial products. But the company denies that this move is a reaction to political pressure. Instead, it claims to be reflecting its workers’ lives.
Zero-hours contracts controversy
Zero-hour contracts offers unpredictable working hours and shift changes at short notice. But the government’s employment minister believes that employers should pay a premium rate if calling out workers on standby. But the TUC believe the government should go even further and completely ban the use of zero-hour contracts across the country. According to the union, staff employed on these contracts earn a third less per hour.
These contract changes form part of wider modernisation plans by McDonald’s. The company will also be introducing digital touchscreens in its restaurants, a premium burger and trialing a new delivery service.