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European trade unionists celebrate record French fine for McDonald's

The European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU) has welcomed a record fine handed to fast-food giant McDonald’s in France last week for tax avoidance. 

General secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan said it was great news that McDonald’s “will not feed on impunity” after the bumper €1.1 billion (£93 million) fine was issued on Friday. 

“The historic fine by the French government shows that stealing money from the public and workers can be punished. 

“I am proud that our report Unhappy Meal produced together with our sister US and European trade unions has shed light on a business model of tax-dodging to the detriment of workers and social welfare,” he said. 

The fine is higher than the €965 million (£818m) penalty handed out to Google in 2019, although further penalties will be added to this. 

McDonald’s actions have been deemed “immoral although not illegal,” Mr Goudriaan said, adding that he hopes the fine will fix the broken tax competition rules in the European Union. 

The EPSU called upon EU governments to enforce global public country-by-country reporting and swiftly adopt a global corporate minimum tax of at least 25 per cent rather than the 15 per cent as proposed by the commission and the OECD.

War on Want executive director Asad Rehman said: “This huge fine is a testament to years of campaigning by trade unions and ordinary people that has shone a spotlight on McDonald’s dodgy practices and forced governments to act.

“McDonald’s business model, of clever tricks to dodge taxes, poverty wages and poor working conditions gives them the company an unfair competitive advantage and is fuelling record levels of inequality.  

“It's unacceptable that whilst millions of people are struggling to make ends meet, corporate giants are pocketing huge profits by exploiting tax loopholes. Governments must act against all corporate tax dodgers and ensure McDonald's and others pay their fair share of taxes in the countries where they operate.”


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