McDonald's workers have taken strike action, reports Kara Bryan
Workers at McDonald's have made history by staging the first ever strike in the company’s UK history, taking industrial action over pay, zero hour contracts and poor working conditions.
McDonald’s is a multi-national corporate behemoth employing 1.9 million people in 40,000 restaurants worldwide, making it the world’s second largest private employer. Last year it turned over a whopping $24 billion.
McStrikers are demanding a pay increase to £10 an hour and the right to join a union.
Hundreds demonstrated outside McDonald’s UK headquarters in East Finchley on Saturday in solidarity with members of the BFAWU picketing their Cambridge and Crayford branches ahead of the first #McStrike and more than 200 people gathered in Westminster to show their support, many dressed up as McDonald’s famous friendly-faced mascot Ronald McDonald to reflect the hypocrisy of McDonald’s PR campaign.
Behind the PR façade, the reality on the shop floor is a very different story. Staff endure insecure working conditions, low pay and a culture of bullying and misinformation. Ninety per cent of them are struggling on zero hour contracts.
The historic #McStrike continues the trend of a global fightback in which fast food workers are organising against corporate greed, demanding better working conditions, a living wage and the right to union recognition.
In New Zealand, Unite won an unprecedented victory which saw zero hour contracts banned completely and the fight for $15 an hour in the US has already won significant pay increases for over 22 million workers.
That fight has now crossed the Atlantic as BFAWU members demand a pay increase to £10 an hour and the right to join a union. McWorkers are standing up for their rights but to succeed they need public support.
One thing is absolutely certain; the fast food fight is only just beginning.
You can support the #McStrike by donating to the strike fund here: actionnetwork.org sponsored by the BFAWU.
Kara Bryan is a writer and activist and regular contributor to the Counterfire website. She is currently studying broadcast journalism at the University of the West of England and is a member of Counterfire and Stop the War