This paper examines the problem of effectively regulating the labour relations practices of multinational corporations. It focuses on the activities of the McDonald's Corporation in a number of European countries. The findings suggest that public and private codes of conduct have a very limited effect and that determined and well-resourced corporations can not only undermine regional forms of regulation - such as that provided by the European Union - but also, and to a considerable extent, national-level regulation. This is particularly evident in the area of independent trade union representation. Although its aim of avoiding collective bargaining and union recognition wherever possible is only partially successful, McDonald's appears to have developed a number of highly effective strategies for limiting the presence of trade unions at restaurant level, particularly in avoiding or undermining statutory works councils and union representation rights.
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