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THE Fire Brigades Union (FBU) slammed fast-food chain McDonald’s today after staff refused to serve firefighters weary from dealing with a major blaze because they had no cash on them.
Yorkshire and Humber regional secretary Dave Williams said he did not blame McDonald’s staff but the company and its management regime of low pay and strict discipline.
The incident occurred at the weekend after fire engulfed Clifton Moor retail park outside York.
Ten fire appliances and crews were called out as a large area was covered in thick, dark smoke.
Two aerial appliances were used and firefighters were at the scene from 4.30pm on Saturday and overnight.
Some of them went into a local McDonald’s and asked for refreshments after new crews arrived to relieve them. They were refused because they had no money on them.
They left and were later brought drinks by a local resident.
Mr Williams told the Star: “It’s an indication of the capitalist society we live in.
“McDonald’s staff are among the lowest-paid in the country and often adhere to company policy for fear of repercussions.
“Our sympathies are with that group of workers. They are often not unionised and feel too intimidated to stick out against company policies.”
A McDonald’s spokesman apologised for the incident and praised “the fantastic work of our emergency services,” thanking the individuals that dedicate their lives to protecting the local community.
He thanked those who “bravely tackled” the fire, adding: “They should have been provided with free refreshments on the night as a small recognition for their efforts.”
The spokesman added: “McDonald’s will, of course, be happy to reimburse the member of public involved and we will be in touch directly with our local fire and rescue service.”
McDonald’s workers are campaigning for a £10-an-hour wage regardless of age and for trade union recognition, as are workers at restaurant chain TGI Fridays and pub group Wetherspoon.
The Unite union is recruiting at TGI Fridays, while the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union is organising at McDonald’s and Wetherspoon.
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