This article examines the labour relations practices of multinational corporations (MNCs) in the German and Spanish quick-food service sectors. The demand for greater profitability and lower costs is leading to a greater standardization of work methods across a widening range of food service operators, resulting in the gradual elimination of more expensive, skilled and experienced workers, and an increasingly non-union approach in employee relations practices. The outcome involves increasing standardization, union exclusion, low trust, low skills, and low pay. These sectoral characteristics appear to outweigh both country-of-origin and host-country effects. The findings therefore confirm continuing variation within national industrial relations systems and the importance of sectoral characteristics and organizational contingencies in understanding MNC cross-border behaviour.
This paper focuses on the employment practices of both multinational corporations (MNCs) and large national competitors in the German fast‐food industry, such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, Nordsee, McDonald’s, Churrasco and Blockhaus. The paper poses a number of questions. Have the activities of MNCs affected the employment practices of national companies? Are companies adopting union exclusion policies and if so why and to what extent? Does the “country of origin effect” help explain the activities of MNCs? What changes are evident in workers’ terms and conditions and how effective are statutory systems of employee representation in practice? The findings suggest that Anglo‐Saxon‐based MNCs are more likely to adopt anti‐works council and non‐union policies in the sector, suggesting that MNCs may indeed be able to transfer their management practices across borders, imposing their employer‐based systems with little regard for German institutional arrangements.
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