Former McDonald’s employees have welcomed the company’s banishment of a Queensland franchisee accused of exploiting staff.
The decision comes after an investigation by The New Daily found crew members at the Forest Lake store were subject to bullying, unpaid work and prevented from joining a union.
McDonald’s head office confirmed David Robinson, who owned four franchises including Richlands, Forest Lake, Inala and BP Logan Highway, has since been fired and stripped of his investments as a result of the inquiry.
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“This particular franchisee is no longer part of the McDonald’s business; our head office has taken over operations of his restaurants,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Skye Oxenham told The New Daily.
“We take any allegation regarding payment or working conditions very seriously and will continue to enforce the highest possible standards in our business.”
Jessica Burns, 23, told The New Daily earlier this month that young employees at the Forest Lake store were regularly forced to attend unpaid “cleaning nights” during her four years as a manager from 2010 to 2013.
Since Mr Robinson’s lay off, Ms Burns has been inundated with thank you’s from current employees, who say the franchises are “already a better place to work”.
“The crews are starting to relax and enjoy their job now,” she said.
“Now, crews are not under immense pressure and can concentrate more on making sure the customers order are right and quality is good.
“It’s the first step to McDonald’s showing they are listening and do care. It shows companies and business owners can not keep doing this to their staff and expect to always get away with it.”
Former Richland crew member Courtney Leishman said staff, past and present, were relieved to hear of Mr Robinson’s axing.
“You have no idea how good it feels to know that he has been let go,” Ms Leishman said.
“Already the staff at McDonald’s are relieved and apologising for their behaviour to staff, previous and current. How much stress everyone was put under constantly making them difficult to talk to.
“I really hope the stores will now improve and better treatment of staff will happen.”
However, another ex-Forest Lake employee, Drew Sonter, was less optimistic about the future of Mr Robinsons’ stores.
“I feel this news is the start of some good change within the stores and for those still working at the stores. Although, I am going to be honest and say I am not relieved,” he said.
“There have been managers he put in power who have even worse attitudes than David ever could, and they have retained their positions.
“The job is not done cleaning those stores up until management have a good clean through as well, so in my opinion I do not feel relief nor feel that this is over for those there being abused and taken advantage of.
“However, McDonald’s did make the right move. Hopefully things can now be monitored directly.”
Mr Robinson declined The New Daily’s request for comment.