McDonald's employees in Australia have been issued a threatening warning that, if they continue to push for their right to a 10-minute break, they had better prepare to not be allowed to go to the bathroom or have a drink on shift.
The employees have put pressure on the fast food giant to provide them with paid 10-minute breaks, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, after the Retail and Fast Food Workers' Union said few company-run franchises comply with the regulation.
In response to workers requesting breaks, one manager posted a threatening warning to a private Facebook page.
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The franchisee owns multiple McDonald's stores throughout Queensland. He addressed his message to "those crew who are all over Facebook tagging each other and commenting".
"As we all LOVE the legislation and are all clearly so hard done by .. let me clarify for you the below ENTITLEMENT," wrote the franchise manager Chris, from Tantex Holdings.
"If you work more than 4 hours, you become eligible for a '10 minute break'. So for the majority of crew you actually probably don't even qualify for a '10 minute break'".
The message gets worse.
"What this means is that if we implement this over our current situation, on your shift - this 10 minute break would be the only time you would be permitted to have a drink or go to the toilet. So I hope to god you don't get thirsty on your next shift because we just wouldn't be able to allow a drink. Fair is fair right?"
However, he's really not such a bad guy. He says he goes "above and beyond" for his employees, by allowing "ALL our employees irrelevant of shift length to have a drink of water as you require and have a toilet break on shift as you require.
"Are we really such bad guys? Honestly!!!"
The post provoked outrage from union officials. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the union is organising a protest outside a McDonald's in Brisbane, and is preparing to take legal action against Tantex.
Retail and Fast Food Worker Union secretary Josh Cullinan told the Sydney Morning Herald that these threats would be taken seriously.
"We are preparing to prosecute the franchisee for their action."
A staff member from one of the stores owned by Tantex said management has to stop threatening their employees.
"Most of their employees are under 18 and this is their first job, and they don't know what's legal and what's not and what their rights are," the staff member said.
Mr Cullinan says other union members throughout Australia have received similar threats when they pushed for the breaks they are legally entitled to, and he called WorkSafe and the Fair Work Ombudsman to intervene.