MacDonald’s workers in Milan went on strike after four union workers were dismissed.

A demonstration outside the Duomo in Milan in support of the McDonald’s workers. Photo: FILCAMS-CGIL Milano

McDonald’s Italy workers and their unions are fighting the company’s dismissal of four union workers following the closure of its flagship restaurant at Piazza San Babila in Milan’s city centre. The conflict began on July 19 when managers told employees on duty that the restaurant would be closing the next day. Union representatives were not given any previous information.

The restaurant was closed without notice on July 19. The store, near the Duomo in the historic centre of the city, was the first fast-food restaurant in Milan and in the eighties was a symbolic venue for the new generation.

On July 20, workers were called to a meeting in a hotel and given transfer letters to one of the company’s ten directly-owned restaurants. Out of 50 workers, 46 were transferred to other restaurants, but on a temporary basis or to lower positions. The unions were prevented from meeting their members.

McDonald’s has refused to find a solution for four of the 50: two union shop stewards and two union members with 5 children each. In response to the company’s refusal to reinstate these workers, Italian food unions FILCAMS-CGIL, FISASCAT-CISL and UILTuCS-UIL held a strike in Milan on July 31.

Massimo Bonini, General Secretary of the CGIL Filcams Milan, said:

“Together with the other trade unions Fisascat Cisl and Uil Uiltucs, Filcams CGIL Milan will devote all the necessary steps to protect people involved in order to obtain the reinstatement of the sacked workers and delegates, responding with force to an attack that goes beyond the normal dynamics of negotiation. “

Only a few months ago McDonalds, through a communication campaign, boasted of its contribution to the success of labour reform.

“If this is their contribution we believe they can gladly do without it,” concludes Bonini, “The company’s layoffs and open confrontation give us complete and detailed information on this matter.”

Cristian Sesena, national secretary of the CGIL Filcams said:Solidarieta San Babila McDonalds Milan

“A shocking story that says a lot about a subculture of hostility towards workers which is dangerously gaining ground in this country.”

“We stand in solidarity with the delegates and workers unfairly dismissed. McDonalds is to restore a climate of normality respecting the role of the union. They need to withdraw the redundancies and involve workers’ organisations in managing the effects of the closure of the San Babila store. ”

Filcams CGIL, in support of the workers involved, has launched a campaign of social solidarity: SOLIDARITY SAN BABILA #McDonaldsProblems

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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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