While France is not synonymous with fast food, one McDonald's near Marseille is so beloved by its staff, they fought tooth and nail to keep it open and won.
The restaurant in Saint-Barthélemy was adorned with colourful signs that read "McDo is killing our jobs" and "Billionaire company, employees miserable", in protest against its impending sale.
The McDonald’s is Saint-Barthélémy’s second largest employer, with 77 employees, 55 of whom are full-time, according to French media.
"The restaurant allows the young people from the neighbourhood to integrate socially and professionally and also acts as a catalyst for young people who could have fallen into delinquency," Anousone Um, a member of the SUD Solidaires union, told Euronews.
This "Mcdo", as locals refer to it, was destined to become an Asian fast food restaurant, due to "structural financial losses" (€3.3 million since 2009), according to a June 14 letter from the local franchise operator, Jean-Pierre Brochiero.
However, a French court Friday banned the sale of the franchise to Hali Food, to the delight of employees, according to AFP.
After staging protests, the employees and their union representatives took their case further — they appeared in court Monday to argue that their restaurant and five other Marseille McDonald’s should not be sold.
The other five restaurants concerned are still to be taken over by another McDonald's franchisee after the court said it would not block the sale.
Local politicians have come out in support of the employees. Like Samia Ghali, senator for the Bouches-du-Rhône department and mayor of Marseille's 15th and 16th arrondissements (Saint-Barthélemy is in the 14th arrondissement). Ghali said: "It is a fight that of David against Goliath, it is a battle for employment, but especially for dignity."
The court is set to make its final decision on the matter on Friday. For the workers at Saint-Barthélemy McDonald's, the result is much more than a question of employment, since the restaurant has become a fixture at the heart of their community.
Euronews has contacted McDonald's' French office for comment.