Belfast Telegraph

Strabane business chief hits out at quality of McDonald's jobs

The head of Strabane's Chamber of Commerce has questioned the quality of employment that will be brought when fast-food giant McDonald's opens its new branch in the area early next year.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Martin Gallen said: "I believe that they are not a great employer, that is my main concern.

"I am always happy to see jobs coming but I know from my own personal experience that not all jobs are good."

Planning permission for the restaurant - which will be located on Strabane's Railway Street - was given last year, with construction set to begin this month and the projected opening happening early next year.

Initially the fast-food chain said there would be around 65 jobs created at the branch, but that number has now risen to 120.

Mr Gallen said that his concerns had been raised due to strike action taken by workers at a McDonald's in England at the Cambridge and Crayford branches.

The strike action was taken due to concerns about low wages and the use of zero-hour contracts.

"I’m hoping these strikes in England, they can make some sort of difference to what is going on," Mr Gallen said.

He added that he was "under no illusion" that his comments would make a difference to conditions for McDonald's staff, but said that he would be speaking to various MLAs who were members of the Strabane Chamber of Commerce.

In a statement last month, SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said that the restaurant was a "positive start" but that "there remain many questions about the nature or quality of these positions".

"I will seek clarity in the hope McDonald's have moved beyond any defence of zero-hour contracts and provide the living wage to their employees with solid contractual hours," Mr McCrossan said.

Sinn Fein West Tyrone MLA Michaela Boyle has also welcomed the new restaurant.

Speaking to the Derry Journal, she said that the restaurant would provide "much needed jobs and career advancement opportunities especially for young people but also of equal importance help to retain and attract further trade to the town".

McDonald's has been contacted for comment.

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