McDonald’s may raise its wages being forced by growing concerns over income inequality.
The fast food giant said the public focus on the issue “may intensify” over the coming months.
However, McDonalds warned that higher wages might impact its profit margins if it cannot offset them by raising prices as well.
McDonald’s may raise its wages being forced by growing concerns over income inequality
Fast food companies have been under increasing pressure to raise wages and workers at various outlets, including McDonald’s, have held strikes in recent months.
In its annual filing with the US financial regulator, McDonald’s said the long-term trend was “toward higher wages and social expenses in both mature and developing markets, which may intensify with increasing public focus on matters of income inequality”.
Fast food workers across the US have been demanding that the minimum wage in the sector should be raised to $15 per hour.
In December, workers in the fast food industry held strikes in 100 cities across the US.
The last seven South Koreans workers have left Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, after the two Koreas resolved outstanding financial issues.
The workers had stayed behind after the other South Korean staff had left to negotiate wages demanded by North Korea.
Kaesong Industrial Complex has been at a standstill since North Korea withdrew its 50,000 workers in April.
North Korea has previously restricted entry to Kaesong joint industrial zone, but this is the first time all South Koreans have withdrawn.
The last seven South Koreans workers have left Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, after the two Koreas resolved outstanding financial issues
Kaesong Industrial Complex, which was launched in 2003, was seen as one of the last remaining symbols of inter-Korean co-operation.
North-South tensions escalated following Pyongyang’s third nuclear test in February.
The last seven South Korean workers had been expected to cross the border at 17:30 local time on Friday.
“The return was delayed a little [today] due to some technical procedure issue,” said Hong Yang-Ho, head of the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee
“The North [Korea] fully co-operated during our returning process.”
Hong Yang-ho also said he believes there will be discussions about the future of the complex, but did not elaborate further.
South Korean vehicles loaded with outstanding North Korean wages and taxes worth $13 million crossed into the North at the same time the workers returned.
Those delivering the money have also returned to South Korea, reports say.
The zone is home to 123 South Korean companies which employ North Korean workers, and provides the North with badly-needed hard currency.
North Korea blocked South Korean workers from entering the zone in April, and withdrew its 53,000 workers from the industrial park a few days later.
After North Korea rejected Seoul’s calls for talks on resuming operations at the park, South Korea announced that it too would withdraw all its workers from the complex.
It pulled out 125 South Koreans last week and another 43 on Monday, leaving the final seven to “settle accounting and other unresolved matters”.
Pyongyang has been angered by tightened UN sanctions imposed after its February 12 nuclear test and by joint US-South Korea military drills, which it has described as “attack rehearsals”.
On Thursday, North Korea sentenced a US citizen to 15 years of hard labor for alleged anti-government crimes.
American citizen Pae Jun-ho, known in the US as Kenneth Bae, was detained last year after entering North Korea as a tourist. Analysts suggest Pyongyang could be using the jailed American as leverage.
An overview of the average annual hours worked per person in selected countries puts South Korea top with a whopping 2,193 hours, followed by Chile on 2,068.
Workers in UK clock up 1,647 hours and Germans 1,408 – putting them at the bottom of the table, above only the Netherlands.
Greek workers have had a bad press recently but they work longer hours than any other Europeans. Their average of 2,017 hours a year puts them third in the international ranking, based on figures compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
It’s worth mentioning that the OECD has only 34 members – most of them developed countries – and some very important countries, such as India, China and Brazil, are not among them.
The OECD data includes full and part-time salaried workers and the self-employed. It includes all the hours they work, including overtime.
While figures are available for some other parts of the world, they are not directly comparable to the OECD data because they are collated very differently or they are out of date, so we are focusing only on the OECD nations.
But by looking at data from the OECD and the International Labour Organization (ILO) we can see some broad and interesting trends.
“Asian countries tend to work the longest [hours], they also have the highest proportion of workers that are working excessively long hours of more than 48 hours a week,” says Jon Messenger, an ILO expert on working hours.
“Korea sticks out because it’s a developed country that’s working long hours,” he says.
“Normally it’s developing countries like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka – countries like this that are working long hours.”
An overview of the average annual hours worked per person in selected countries puts South Korea top with a whopping 2,193 hours, followed by Chile on 2,068
But working longer doesn’t necessarily mean working better.
“Generally speaking, long working hours are associated with lower productivity per hour. Workers are working very long hours to achieve a minimum level of output or to achieve some minimum level of wages because frankly they’re not very productive,” Jon Messenger says.
The picture is very different in the developed world, where working hours have been falling.
“Over the last century, you’ve seen a reduction from very long working hours – nearly 3,000 a year at the beginning of the 1900s – to the turn of the 21st Century when most developing countries were under 1,800 hours,” says Jon Messenger.
“And indeed some of the most productive countries were even lower than that.”
The drop in working hours is in part a reflection of the greater number of part-time workers in the developed world. A large number of part-time workers brings down a country’s average – in the case of Japan, for example, a high proportion of people work excessive hours, but many also work part-time, leaving the country in the middle of the table, with 1,700 hours.
“You have more and more people working part-time hours,” says Jon Messenger.
“They’re quite capable of supporting themselves, quite capable of producing what they need to produce, so it’s just not necessary to work longer than that.”
Tighter labor laws in developed countries, particularly in Europe, have also reduced working hours. The differences between the most developed nations are small but leave entitlement makes a difference.
Jon Messenger says the average Briton works 150 fewer hours than an American.
“The difference is really driven by the fact that the US is the only developed country that has no legal or contractual or collective requirement to provide any minimum amount of annual leave,” he says.
The UK, in contrast, is subject to the European working time directive, which requires at least four weeks of paid annual leave for every employee.
Some European countries have a higher statutory level of paid leave – 25 days in Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden in 2010, according to the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO). And some employers provide more paid leave than the statutory minimum.
Paid public holidays, which come on top of that, averaged between nine and 10 in the European Union in 2010.
“The combined total of agreed annual leave and public holidays varied in the EU from 40 days in Germany and Denmark to 27 days in Romania – a difference of around 48% or 2.5 working weeks,” EIRO said in a report published last year.
When comparing hours worked, however, there’s one more thing which must be acknowledged.
Each country collects its own data, and their methods may be not always be perfectly comparable.