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Lawyers claim attempted murder of McDonald's trade unionist in France

THERE is “no doubt” that an attempt was made to kill a leading McDonald’s trade union activist in France earlier this week, lawyers said yesterday as they submitted a file alleging attempted murder.

Kamel Guemari, a shop steward at the McDonald’s franchise in the Saint-Barthelemy suburb of Marseille, was in the restaurant’s car park on Monday when a Renault Clio drove towards him at speed.

His lawyer Ralph Blindauer said that it was his client’s sharp reflexes “which saved his life” as he jumped out of the way. 

Witnesses said they had seen the car parked at the entrance of the restaurant and that it raced towards Mr Guemari before fleeing with squealing tyres.

Mr Blindauer said he had been warning the public prosecutor for some time that a “tragedy” would happen, adding: “This has not surprised me.”

He said the apparent murder bid followed numerous “orchestrated” attempts “to remove Kamel Guemari, who has led a campaign at the McDonald’s restaurant for union recognition and better terms and conditions for employees.”

Mr Blindauer voiced concern that he may also become a target, saying: "My friends tell me to invest in a bulletproof vest.”

Last year, Mr Guemari doused himself in petrol and threatened to kill himself “to save jobs” after plans were revealed to close the McDonald’s, which employs 77 staff.

Workers occupied the franchise and the new owner of an Asian restaurant, which had been set to replace the McDonald’s, failed to turn up on handover day.

In Britain, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union spokeswoman Sarah Woolley said: “An attempt has been made on Kamel Guemari’s life … there was a plan to transfer the franchises in order to rid the company of this unionised stronghold and they’ve been holding firm for well over a year, including occupying the store at different times.”

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