All 115,000 staff at McDonald’s will be offered a choice between remaining on a flexible, zero-hours contract or moving to a fixed position that guarantees four, eight, 16 or 30 hours per week.
The fast food chain’s UK boss Paul Pomroy said employees had raised concerns about the impact of controversial zero-hours contracts. Some were struggling to get mobile phone contracts and car loans, for example.
"Financial regulations have changed and people wanted the choice,” he explained in an interview with Sky News. “I listened to that and yes, it was time that I moved forward. So we now offer people flexible contract where they can select different hours.”
Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics in September showed show that the number of people on zero-hours contracts has exceeded 900,000. McDonald’s is one of the biggest users of these contracts, but large numbers of staff could still remain on the more flexible contracts: in trials, only one in five switched to a fixed agreement.
Pomroy also confirmed that staff will be paid at least £1 more than the National Living Wage, and announced a home delivery trial.
However, he appeared to brush off the chain’s responsibility to provide healthier meals – despite the fact that 3.7 million people visit a McDonald’s every day in the UK.
“Whilst the reduction of salt and sugar will remain a focus, customers “don’t want a nanny state”, he explained. "They want to be given a choice. They're out for a treat with their family and friends. They want that choice."