Unhappy meal: €1 billion in tax avoidance on the menu at McDonald’s
February 26th, 2015 by Massimo

Unhappy_Meal_sqOn February 25 in Brussels, the IUF’s regional organization EFFAT along with a coalition of European and American trade unions unveiled a report about McDonald’s deliberate avoidance of over €1 billion in corporate taxes in Europe over the five year period 2009-2013.

The report outlines in detail the tax avoidance strategy adopted by McDonald’s and its tax impact both throughout Europe and in major markets like France, Italy, Spain and the U.K. The practice essentially consisted of moving the European headquarters from the UK to Switzerland as well as using intra-group royalty payments and channelling them into a tiny Luxembourg based subsidiary with a Swiss branch.

Between 2009 and 2013, the Luxembourg-based structure, which employs 13 people, registered a cumulative revenue of €3,7 billion, on which it reported a meagre €16 million in tax.

McDonald’s has faced widespread criticism in Europe and globally for the low wages and poor working conditions at its restaurants. In the U.K., for example, workers have protested McDonald’s practice of “zero-hours contracts”, which leaves workers without any guarantee of regular work or stable income.

In Asia/Pacific IUF affiliates a campaign against “zero-hours contracts” in the fast food industry was recently launched with demonstrations in New Zealand and Philippines. Actions against this model are planned in Ireland.

Details of the report will be presented to Members of the European Parliament, Commission officials as well as to the European Commission’s Platform for Tax Good Governance.

Read the full press release on EPSU website in English and French

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