MacDonald’s workers are going on strike, for the first time in Britain. Vice reports:

“Forty McDonald’s workers are set to strike across two outlets in Cambridge and Crayford, Greater London, after the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) announced it was balloting members. If the ballot is successful, it will be the first time in the company’s history that McDonald’s workers have taken strike action in the UK.

The union says members have been left with no alternative but to consider strike action after the company drastically cut employee hours, and workers made allegations of bullying.

McDonald’s workers are also dissatisfied with the company’s continued use of zero-hours contracts, despite promises of guaranteed hours. The union claims its members have found themselves unable to meet their rent payments and have been forced out of their homes as a result.

Workers will also be calling for a fair wage of £10 per hour, and the recognition of their right to form a trade union as employees of the company.”

We’ve written before about the need for the SFA to find a more appropriate sponsor of youth football than a company associated with dietary-related ill-health and exploitation.

Way back in 1997, McDonald’s were part of the longest running libel-trial in British history. The judge ruled that they ‘exploit children’ with their advertising, produce ‘misleading’ advertising, are ‘culpably responsible’ for cruelty to animals, are ‘antipathetic’ to unionisation and pay their workers low wages.

In March 1999 the Court of Appeal made further rulings that it was fair comment to say that McDonald’s employees worldwide “do badly in terms of pay and conditions”, and true that “if one eats enough McDonald’s food, one’s diet may well become high in fat, with the very real risk of heart disease.” More here.

As news spills out that the windfall from Celtic’s progression to the Champions League is considerably more than the paltry £2 million distributed amongst 42 clubs – the UEFA Solidarity payment is £4m divided equally meaning £365,000 to each of the top flight clubs (more here) – the idea that the pay-off from giving MacDonald’s promotion to young people aspiring to health and fitness is a good move by our governing bodies is laughable.

The Ladbroke’s ‘sponsorship’ deal is pathetic, but the MacDonald’s deal is worse. Jock Stein and Bill Shankly would be spinning in their graves.

It’s time to drop MacDonald’s – whose deal ends next year anyway – and find a sponsor for Scottish Youth football that sends out a message of healthy eating and fitness.

The argument that you just need to take the money from whoever is doling it out is just defeatists nonsense. The role of a governing body should be to act with a bit more gumption than that.

This is about trying to tackle our childhood obesity epidemic, and about projecting what kind of a country we want to be. Football doesn’t have to be associated just with booze, fags, gambling and fast food. As our game grows and our clubs aspire to compete in Europe, we need to update our vision of the lifestyle footballers lead and capitalise on the potential for role models and clubs to offer a positive message to girls and boys playing football.

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