Monday, August 02, 2004

McDonald's and Burger King sued in Korea for exploiting children

People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (which sounds like my kind of group) are taking a number of fast-food shops to court, according to the Korea Herald.
A leading civic group yesterday charged before the prosecution that several fast food franchises, including McDonald's and Burger King, violated the labor law by not paying minors and making them work illegal hours.

The People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy said at a news conference that food franchises had not paid monthly wages or weekly allowances to minors and forced them to work illegal nightshifts.

McDonald's and Burger King spokesmen insisted the franchises paid owed wages in May after a warning from the Labor Ministry. "As far as I know, we paid the delayed wages. Maybe some minors were omitted by mistake," Kim Keun-yong of Burger King's public relations team said.

"We thought that we already paid the wages," McDonald's public relations staff member Yoo Su-kyoung said. "I cannot say anything right now because the company has not announced its position officially."

A survey conducted by the Ministry of Labor and released in May said more than 200,000 teenage workers were exploited by employers last year and 20.5 percent worked over seven hours a day, the limit set by the Labor Standard Act.

The survey, which polled 188 McDonald's and 108 Burger King franchises nationwide, said 4,812 employees at McDonald's and 2,142 at Burger King did not receive weekly paychecks and paid holiday allowances.

Additionally, some 7,300 young employees worked late night hours. After franchises closed about 11 p.m., minors were required to continue sweeping and cleaning, the report said.
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