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BBC News staff

McDonald's Begins McJob Petition

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Fast-food giant McDonald's has launched a petition to get the dictionary definition of a McJob changed.

0524 03
The Oxford English Dictionary currently describes a McJob as "an unstimulating low-paid job with few prospects".

McDonald's says this definition is now "out of date and insulting", and claims a survey found that 69% of the UK population agree it needs updating.

The campaign by the firm's UK arm is backed by the government's skills envoy and former CBI boss Sir Digby Jones.

'Making a stand'

"The current definition is extremely insulting to the 67,000 people who work for us within the UK," said McDonald's senior vice president David Fairhurst.

"It is also insulting for everyone else who works in the wider restaurant and tourism sectors.

"It is time for us now to make a stand and get the Oxford English Dictionary to change the definition."

McDonald's says that in its staff surveys, 90% of employees agree they are given valuable training that will be of benefit for the rest of their working lives.

And 82% of its workers would recommend working at the company to their friends.

'Derogatory'

McDonald's is now inviting its customers to sign petition books in its stores, or alternatively via a new website, entitled Change The Definition.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Clive Betts is sponsoring an Early Day Motion in the Commons, which regrets the use of the derogatory phrases attached to service sector jobs.

McDonalds says it will hand the petition into the Oxford English Dictionary in the autumn.

Its campaign is further supported by British Chambers of Commerce director general David Frost, British Retail Consortium director general Kevin Hawkins and City & Guilds director general Chris Humphries.

The word McJob was first used in the US in the 1980s and was popularised by Douglas Coupland's 1991 book Generation X.

It first appeared in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary in March 2001.

Last year McDonald's tried to improve the image of its employment opportunities with the slogan: "McProspects - over half of our executive team started in our restaurants. Not bad for a McJob."

© BBC MMVII

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