Gaza protest is hitting restaurant staff in pocket, boss warns

Gaza protest is hitting restaurant staff in pocket, boss warns

Duncan Taylor, owner of the McDonalds Restaurant in Thornbury, as well as two others plans the same kind of refurbishment seen in here at his other pair of establishments. PIc Ms rep CH. (9516821)

Protesters at the Tesco store in Undercliffe, Bradford, earlier this month

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

STAFF at a Bradford fast-food restaurant are losing hours and pay because pro-Palestinian demonstrators are driving away trade, its boss has warned.

Duncan Taylor, who has the franchise for the McDonald's at Thornbury, says the flag and banner-waving protests have hit the store hard but it is not just the tills that have been affected.

Mr Taylor, who also has the McDonald's at Kirkgate and Forster Square as well as two in Sheffield, said demonstrators have been outside the Thornbury business everyday since August 1 "unfairly targetting" it.

He says takings are down considerably and he is having to cut workers' hours meaning they take less home for their families although he is trying to find them more work at his other branches.

Mr Taylor has met the protesters to explain he is an independent business and the UK franchises deal with McDonald's UK arm and have no contact whatsoever with the US parent company.

He said: "I just want business as usual. I'm being unfairly targeted, it's been a nightmare. We've explained this to them, we've had a meeting. We are being caught up in the crossfire so to speak.

"I feel really sorry for my staff who are losing hours because of this, it's hard on them and their families. They are also being abused by the protesters,they've had eggs thrown at them.

"Some of the protesters have also been shouting at customers and jumping in front of cars to stop people from coming in. I have reported this to the police who do come up. I don't want to make any of this worse but I wanted to put the record straight."

Mr Taylor said his McDonald's franchise is a major sponsor of Bradford City's Disabled Football Team.

"We work very hard with the community, from sponsorship of a local football team to helping with litter-picks and cleaning up graffiti."

He said his Forster Square branch was also feeling the pinch with a noticeable reduction in the number of Asian customers visiting it, there have also been protests outside the McDonald's in Ingleby Road, Girlington.

A McDonald's UK spokesman said: “As a company that operates in more than 1,200 communities in the UK, we respect employees and customers from all backgrounds.

"McDonald’s UK does not donate to the Jewish United Fund or any political organisations and refutes any suggestion that we have taken a position related to ongoing political or religious conflicts.”

The Bradford protesters have not just been targetting McDonald's in the city, they have also gathered outside Tesco and Sainsbury's stores.

In one protest outside Tesco Express in Otley Road, Undercliffe, earlier this month about 30 men, women and children gathered outside for about six-hours with banners and leaflets denouncing Israel and the supermarket giant, earlier they had been at the Tesco in Canal Road urging people to sound their car horns in support of forcing the store chain to take Israeli goods off its shelves.

Despite protests it seems supermarkets in Bradford are standing firm and are are not giving in to demonstrators.

A Tesco spokesman said: “Like all major UK retailers, we sell some products that are sourced from Israel. We do this in line with the Government position on trade with Israel, and we mark all products clearly with the country of origin, so customers can make informed choices about what to buy.”

Bradford-based Morrisons said it had not had any protests at any of its stores so far and it had not taken any Israeli good off sale.

When Sainsbury's was asked by the Telegraph & Argus about removing Israeli products, a spokesman said: "As a non-political organisation, Sainsbury's would never take such a decision on grounds other than ensuring the quality or safety of our products."

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