All McDonald’s restaurants in Peru was announced to be closed for two days to mourn the “death of our collaborators”, said McDonald’s operating company in Peru Arcos Dorados in a statement on Twitter.
This was done in response to death of two young employees at a McDonald’s restaurant in Lima because of electrocution which has spurred protests. The incidents have also given rise to anger over the working conditions in companies in the wider economy of the country. there are allegations that the general working conditions in Peru are exploitative and even dangerous on occasions.
An investigation into the deaths of Alexandra Porras, 19, and her former boyfriend Gabriel Campos, 18, has been initiated by Peru’s public prosecutor’s office. It was reported that the duo had died in the early hours of Sunday while they were engaged in cleaning the kitchen of one of the stores of the fast food chain.
An electric shock handling a soft drinks machine had killed Porras, according to Peruvian police. Campos too was fatally electrocuted when he tried to help Porras, the police said. When emergency services arrived at the restaurant, both were found dead.
Protests outside the US restaurant chain in Lima were organized on Tuesday after the death of the duo.
Most of the protesters were young people who were visibly angry at the alleged exploitative work market that largely did not follow labor laws, has poor health and safety standards and the pay was low for jobs even in the formal economy. According to Peru’s statistics institute, almost 70 per cent of the workforce of Peru works in unregulated conditions.
Arcos Dorados, the operating company of McDonald’s in Peru also said in its statement that it was “working to determine the details of what happened and will contribute with everything necessary in the investigation”.
“The police have carried out all the proceedings. And we as a company have complied with giving them all the information and access to the required spaces of the establishment,” McDonald’s legal representative Ricardo Elias told local journalists.
However, firefighters and municipal security workers told local media on Sunday they were prevented from entering the restaurant when called to the incident.
“If the rights of these young people have been violated, we will proceed with the sanctions, although the money is not important because a life has no price,” said Silvia Cáceres, Peru’s labour minister.
A 30-day investigation to ascertain whether the McDonald’s branch was in any way responsible for the death of the two employees would be carried out by it, said Peru’s workplace safety agency Sunafil. It added that if found responsible, the restaurant could be fined 189,000 soles.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)