‘low-road americanization’ and the global ‘mcjob’: a longitudinal analysis of work, pay and unionization in the international fast-food industry
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Royle, Tony (2010). ‘low-road americanization’ and the global ‘mcjob’: a longitudinal analysis of work, pay and unionization in the international fast-food industry. Labor History 51 (2), 249-270
This article examines the employment practices of McDonald's and other US-owned multinational corporations (MNCs) in the global fast-food industry from the 1970s to date. It focuses on the impact that different host institutions have had on pay and working conditions in different countries in the industry. The author argues that US fast-food MNCs still adopt the underlying principles of their US practices, even if the practices themselves could not be imposed in their entirety, often keeping unions out of workplaces and preserving their management prerogative, even when sector-level collective agreements have been imposed, and often limiting the impact of such agreements. Whilst some improvements have been achieved in some countries, adequate representation remains a serious problem, with many employees experiencing low pay, inadequate hours, insecure work, unpaid hours and sometimes hazardous and intimidating working conditions. The theoretical effect of host-country influences cannot therefore be automatically assumed; rather, the variations that arise across countries, while indicating national diversity, also emphasize variation within national systems and a limited form of convergence or 'low-road Americanization' in this sector.