The employees believe the takeover plan is a ruse to avoid paying them redundancy compensation. AFP / Christophe SIMON
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For decades, McDonald's was the brand French people loved to hate.However, in a turn of events that would have French-food purists choking, campaigners including local lawmakers have mobilized to save, not shut, a restaurant in one of the poorest suburbs of the southern city of Marseille.The campaign to prevent the "McDo," as it is known in France, from shutting – local Socialist and even Communist Party figures have joined Melenchon – is an unusual development for politicians better-known for their opposition to multinational companies.The restaurant is located next to the partly completed L2 trunk road in the tough northern suburb of Saint-Barthelemy, a multiethnic area home to a large Muslim population and some of the city's poorest housing estates.McDonald's, with its 77 staff, is the second-biggest formal employer in the neighborhood, after a local supermarket chain, trade unionists have said.Since opening in 1992, the McDonald's has helped stop some of the criminality, employees and campaigners say.At stake is the threatened closure of the restaurant by its current operator, a franchiser called Jean-Pierre Brochiero, who owns the restaurant in a 50-50 joint venture with McDonald's France.
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