McDonald’s ex-CEO says it's cheaper to hire robots than people on minimum wage

Some business owners have already begun to take humans out of the picture

Zlata Rodionova
Wednesday 25 May 2016 13:46
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A robot serves food at a restaurant in Shenyang, China
A robot serves food at a restaurant in Shenyang, China

Economists are increasingly concerned over the impact of the “rise of robots” and other technological innovations on employment levels.

Now a former McDonald’s CEO has warned that robots will take over the fast food industry because they are cheaper and more efficient than humans.

Ed Rensi, claims that if low skilled employee insist on having an increase income in the US, their employers will be forced to replace them with more productive and cost-effective robotic innovations.

“It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 [£24,000] robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 [£10.20]an hour bagging French fries,” Rensi said during an interview on Fox.

"It's nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe," he added.

Rensi believes lawmakers should do away with a federal minimum wage and instead leave it to the states.

“I think we ought to have a multi-faceted wage program in this country.If you’re a high school kid, you ought to have a student wage. If you’re an entry level worker you ought to have a separate wage,” Rensi said.

His comment came as US democratic lawmakers and trade unions across the country are fighting to raise the minimum wage of a person to $15 hour.

Hundreds of McDonald's and Taco Bell employees walked out in the largest strike in the history of the fast food industry in 2012 to demand a $15/hour wage. By 2015, the movement had spread to 270 cities across the US.

In California the minimum wage is set to rise from $10 (£7.02) an hour to $15 (£10.60) the highest state-wide minimum wage anywhere in the US, it was announced in March.

In the UK, some fifteen million UK jobs are at risk of being taken over by robots in the coming decades, according to the latest calculations by the Bank of England.

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