Wed, Aug 08, 2007 - Page 11 News List

McDonald's China raises wages 12 to 56 percent

AFP , SHANGHAI

McDonald's is raising wages in China by up to 56 percent, a company spokesman said yesterday, following allegations earlier this year that the US fastfood giant was underpaying local part-time workers.

George Gu, Shanghai-based spokesman of McDonald's China, confirmed reports yesterday that McDonald's will raise salaries for 95 percent of its more than 50,000 staff in China by 12 to 56 percent as of Sept. 1.

"The average salary increase will be around 30 percent," he said.

Fastfood companies including McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut were under investigation by Chinese labor authorities earlier this year after reports that they were underpaying local part-time workers.

The New Express based in Guangzhou City reported in late March that the three companies were paying part-time workers up to 40 percent less than the minimum wage of 7.5 yuan (US$0.99) per hour.

McDonald's runs more than 810 restaurants in China and is adding 100 new ones annually in the coming few years, Gu said.

The move is probably part of McDonald's efforts to improve its image, an official with China's state trade union said.

"I think the probe had the effect of pushing them," said Li Jianming, spokesman with state-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

"Our investigation showed McDonald's and KFC failed to implement the minimum wages. They were certainly under pressure due to the probe and now they have taken steps to improve their image through increased staff benefits," he said.

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