McDonald's Fined For
Exploiting Child Labour
The Guardian - London

A McDonald's restaurant has been fined more than £12,000 for employing schoolchildren illegally, forcing them to work overtime and late on school nights.
A franchise of the fast-food restaurant in Camberley, Surrey, was found guilty of working teenagers late into the night on school days, often without rest breaks. Child employment officers from Surrey county council found more than 50 breaches of the law.
The firm that runs the franchise, Ikhya Enterprises, was fined £12,400 by magistrates at Woking after being found guilty of 20 offences.
The breaches of regulations involved schoolchildren aged 15 and 16. One 15-year-old had worked 16 hours on a Saturday, seven hours over the legal limit. Another 16-year-old had worked from 5pm until 2am on a school day, when legally she should not have worked after 7pm.
Ian Hart, the council's child employment officer, said: "This is one of the biggest prosecutions in the illegal employment of schoolchildren and it is refreshing that the court has taken such a tough stance. Employers have to be aware that we will not compromise our statutory duty to protect the children of Surrey and that we will take appropriate action."
Mr Hart visited two McDonald's restaurants in Camberley earlier this year after a complaint from a parent and found that none of the young employees had work permits. McDonald's said in a statement that it only hired workers above school-leaving age.
The owner of the franchise in Camberley, Kevin Izatt, has been told to stop employing children under school-leaving age.
A McDonald's statement said: "We expect our franchisees and managers to maintain the highest standards in all restaurants. We are deeply disappointed that this was not the case in this instance.
"In court, Kevin Izatt explained that he did have a manual system in place to prevent infringements, however there had been a lack of follow up. He has children of his own and seriously regrets this lapse."
The TUC, which earlier this year said up to 500,000 schoolchildren could be working illegally, said a firm like McDonald's had a special responsibility to ensure that youngsters were not distracted from school work.,3604,530383,00.html


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