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British Mcdonald’s Workers Go on Strike

On Monday, September 4th, British McDonald’s workers are set to strike for the first time in their history. The staff at two restaurants of the US fast-food giant are issuing a call for industrial action over better pay and more secure working hours.

Alejandra Ríos

September 3, 2017
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The workers are demanding a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour, an end to zero-hour contracts, and the recognition of the right to form a trade union as employees of the company. Many of the McDonald’s workers do not earn enough to maintain themselves or their families, and they have suffered intimidation and bullying from the management as it exerts pressure on them not to organise themselves in trade unions.

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Image From McStrike

Workers at restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, near London, have overwhelmingly decided in favour of a strike amid concerns over these working conditions. Their action has been fully supported by the Bakers, Food, and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), the largest independent food sector trade union in the country.

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Image From McStrike

A union-issued statement explained: “Workers have found themselves living on low wages with no guarantee of hours. This has been viewed by some as punishment for joining a union, and has seen employees struggle to meet their rent payments, whilst some have even lost their homes.” These conditions persist despite the fact that McDonald’s is the second most powerful corporation in the world and in 2016 made a profit of $24.62 billion.

Shen Batmaz, a McDonald’s worker at the Crayford store in South East London, said:

“In spite of being a global giant and a household name, the conditions McDonald’s workers are subjected to across the world are simply not up to scratch. This strike in the UK is part of a global movement advocating for fair salaries and decent working conditions. McDonald’s should listen to all its employees around the world, and take immediate action.”

The first ever strike of McDonald’s workers in the UK echoes the campaign for US$15/hour (equivalent to UK£11.65) led by their US counterparts. McDonald’s employs around 80,000 people in the UK, and although only two restaurants have voted to go on strike, there are fears that the action will spread among workers in other restaurants.

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Image From McStrike

The UK McDonald’s strike is part of a movement known as the ‘Fast Food Rights’ campaign which demands the rights of fast food workers to a fair wage and decent working conditions. But the action is also part of a series of struggles among low wage workers, mainly women and immigrants, advocating for these rights. Cleaners and porter staff in London hospitals and British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew are amid others engaged in militant struggles in the UK.

On the day of the strike, trade unionists, activists, and friends will be holding rallies in solidarity with striking McDonald’s workers outside the company’s restaurants in different cities around the country.

They are @FastFoodRights on twitter, and will be using #McStrike and #FastFoodGlobal

Support the McDonald’s strike!
End zero-hours contracts!
For a £10 an hour minimum wage!

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