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SCOTTISH NATIONALISTS have been branded “appalling” over an MSP’s plans to host a Holyrood event sponsored by McDonalds, in spite of Nicola Sturgeon’s pledge to turn the screws on unscrupulous bosses.
Fulton MacGregor, who represents Coatbridge and Chryston in the Scottish Parliament, will host political colleagues at an “evening of celebration” for the “Fun Football” initiative. This is a new scheme promoted by the Scottish FA and McDonalds.
The event invitation said the scheme’s “headline offer” to Scottish kids is “over five million hours of fun football across the country and a collective ambition to grow the game.”
But Mr MacGregor has been criticised for hosting the October 30 event while McDonalds workers are taking strike action against management.
The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union says it is fighting against “poverty pay, precarious contracts and lack of union recognition” at the chain. Earlier this month, workers downed aprons at four McDonalds restaurants, while others were targeted by flash mobs of young trade unionists seeking to build momentum for the fast food rights campaign.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay told the Star: “McDonalds is a company that made £22 billion in revenues last year, yet it continues to operate a culture of low pay and poor employment conditions.”
The Scottish Labour frontbencher said that, in light of the recent industrial action, it was “appalling that an SNP MSP is using his position to provide a platform in the Scottish Parliament to support a company that has such a poor record when it comes to the employment conditions, particularly of young people.”
Mr MacGregor said: “I am a proud supporter of trade unions and workers' rights. I am an accredited living wage employer and have advocated its roll-out across my constituency.
“This event is about the work McDonald’s and the SFA are doing to promote grassroots football to disadvantaged and marginalised groups across Scotland.
“Football, and sport in general, has huge power and potential to impact positively on physical and mental health and overall wellbeing and I hope that this event will help to highlight that.”
Mr MacGregor was asked by the Morning Star if he supported the strike action by McDonald’s workers and whether he had raised the workers’ demands when organising the event, but he did not respond to these questions.
BFAWU Ronnie Draper said he did not object to McDonald’s taking part in such a scheme, but he questioned the company’s commitment to the communities it serves.
“The best way to have fun with McDonald’s would be for it to pay a living wage and recognise the union,” he told the Star.
“Maybe then its workers would be able to play football and watch football. That would be fun.
“I would call on all Scottish MPs to get this company to recognise there’s a trade union there, to get them better terms and conditions and stop the bullying and harassment.”
McDonald’s says its “flexible” contracts are preferred by a majority of workers and argued last month that “any suggestion that this activity is widespread and growing is not accurate.”
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