Business

McDonald's UK boss says zero-hours contracts are fair

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Media captionPaul Pomroy, McDonald's UK, on zero-hours contracts: "Having surveyed our employees, they still love the flexibility"

The boss of McDonald's UK has defended its use of zero-hours contracts, saying they help staff stay flexible.

UK chief executive Paul Pomroy told the BBC that all his employees were notified of shifts two weeks in advance and were allowed to work elsewhere.

There has been controversy over companies using such contracts but not allowing staff to work elsewhere.

"Jobs at McDonald's are good jobs," he said. "Our staff are trained well and are proud to work for the company."

The firm is reviewing how it will pay the new National Living Wage to staff aged over 25.

Mr Pomroy admitted that would be a burden.

McDonald's says it pays just above the current minimum rate to its 80,000 UK staff.

The minimum wage currently stands at £6.50 an hour for workers aged 21 and over. Lower rates apply for other age groups.

Mr Pomroy also told the BBC he felt the company paid a "fair" amount of tax. EU officials are currently assessing whether they have sufficient evidence to investigate the company for tax avoidance.

"I'm confident we're going to come out clean, we have paid within 1% of the UK corporation tax for a number of years," he said.

Supply chain

McDonald's aims to buy UK-produced ingredients across the supply chain, but the changing seasons can prove challenging for some ingredients. Much of the chicken in its McNuggets is imported from Thailand and Brazil, but Mr Pomroy said he had visited those sites to ensure "fantastic standards".

Mr Pomroy took the helm this February and will oversee up to 30 new store openings in Britain this year, and every year for the foreseeable future. When asked if the chain had hit saturation point, he said: "We're not there yet."

McDonald's has recently closed more than 300 branches in Asia and America and globally sales and profits are sliding, a trend bucked in the UK.

Mr Pomroy said the company was addressing criticism of unhealthy food with clearer labelling and more choice.

"We've removed 50% of salt and 30% sugar from Happy Meals," he said. "We've expanded range and given customers choice."

He added that 90% of the UK population ate at McDonald's at some point every year.

The company is set to start a trial offer of table service at a dozen branches this year - something Mr Pomroy said should give customers more options when ordering, particularly with controversial gherkins.

He told BBC Breakfast's Stephanie McGovern that he ate at McDonald's two or three times a week.

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