Paul Pomroy explained: “I want to treat them fairly and look them in the eye.”
Mr Pomroy will tell all 115,000 employees of the restaurant chain that they will be given a choice between remaining on a flexible, zero-hours contract or moving to a fixed position that guarantees either four, eight, 16 or 30 hours work per week.
In a wide-ranging interview, the fast food boss also revealed that the company would, for the first time, be trialling a delivery service this summer and offered a word on the state of the UK economy – saying it was facing “unprecedented times”.
But it is Mr Pomroy’s decision about zero-hours contracts that is likely to attract the greatest attention.
These contracts have become a hugely contentious political point in recent years, with accusations that some employers have exploited them by refusing to give workers any guarantees about their working routine.
Mr Pomroy said that he “didn’t recognise” that characterisation, and insisted that his workers “don’t get left waiting for shifts and they can have other employment”.
But he also said that many of his employees had raised concerns about the impact of zero-hours contracts.
He said: “We survey our people and one of the things they told me was that in the current climate getting things like mobile phone contracts, car loans and mortgages was getting tougher.
“Financial regulations have changed and people wanted the choice. I listened to that and yes, it was time that I moved forward.
“So we now offer people flexible contract where they can select different hours.
“Where we’ve tried this out, up and down the country, 80% of people stay on zero-hour contract – they’re working mums or they’re grandparents that want to take the summer off, or they’re students who want to revise.
“But 20% of people do decide that they want to move on to a fixed contract, and so we do that for them.”
McDonald’s decision to trial home delivery is a response to a world where the likes of Just Eat have flourished. This was the first time Mr Pomroy has spoken about the subject.
He told Sky News: “What’s obvious to us now is that customers now would like McDonald’s to look at delivery.
“The market’s growing – I’ve been looking at that market for 18 months now – customers are starting to ask us when McDonald’s are doing delivery.
“We think we’re going to start probably in June. We’ll start in a small, controlled way.
“We serve 3.7 million people per day so you can’t go from one store to 1,300 quickly without causing disruption.
“So I need to make sure we can manage taking delivery in the UK but it’s exciting for the business and the brand.
“Customer will tell us what’s the right proposition – what they’re willing to pay for delivery.
“We looked at other brands that already do delivery. We’re not the first to deliver. But we want to be a follower that does it in the right way.
“So if you order a Big Mac meal at home, then you want to feel that you’ve been well treated in terms of the price and the way it’s been delivered.”
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