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#FFS410 strike rally in Leicester Square, 4 October 2018. Photo: Shabbir Lakha

#FFS410 strike rally in Leicester Square, 4 October 2018. Photo: Shabbir Lakha

The Fast Food Shutdown - #FFS410 - sees TGI Fridays, McDonalds and Wetherspoons workers strike in nine workplaces, joined by UberEats couriers in at least six cities

In the first coordinated action of its kind in the UK hospitality sector, today workers around the country are walking out and holding pickets and protests to demand a £10 an hour minimum wage, union recognition and secure contracts.

Details of solidarity events and pickets througout the day and around the country can be found below.

Live updates

Spectacular scenes in Bristol from striking Deliveroo bikers and cyclists, riding and marching in a hundred-strong cavalcade this evening:

We interviewed striking fast food workers in London this lunchtime, at their rally:

On the march this lunchtime in central London, workers from TGIs and McDonalds accompanied by a large crowd, following the rally in Leicester Square:

Hundreds turned out for the rally in Leicester Square:

Very lively, packed pickets at Brixton McDonalds this morning:

The action started in the wee hours of this morning at a Wetherspoons in Brighton!

 

Join the shutdown

The Fast Food Shutdown campaign involves BFAWU and Unite unions alongside War on Want and sees strike pickets at: two Wetherspoons pubs in Brighton ; four McDonalds in Brixton, Crayford, Cambridge and Watford ; three TGI Fridays in Milton Keynes, Covent Garden and Stratford in London.  It is being joined by strikes by UberEats drivers and riders in at least six cities, as below.

See below for details of UberEats picket protests today.

Growing movement

Organisers of the Fast Food Shutdown call it “a growing movement of workers who face similar conditions of poverty pay, precarious contracts and lack of union recognition.”

Jim Carlin of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union executive goes further and speaks of it as,

action that can change the face of trade unionism in this country by helping to build confidence among unorganised workers and in unorganised workplaces the length and breadth of this country whilst ultimately helping to bring exploitative employers to book.

Bosses at Wetherspooons in Brighton have already brought forward an annual pay rise for workers from April next year to this November in light of the strike action.

The campaign follows on the heels of - on the one hand - success for Unite union’s #FairTips campaign, as the Tories announced at their conference that government will finally introduce legislation barring restaurants from keeping staff tips. Unite held demonstrations at over 30 branches of TGI Fridays around the country in July, and was successful with similar action at Pizza Express franchises in 2015.

And on the other hand, the well publicised success of last year’s McStrike action at two branches in Crayford and Cambridge, as McDonalds decided to raise wages by 5.3% seeming afraid that organisation by the BFAWU bakers union may spread.

 

Gig economy solidarity: ride in and sign off

Joining today’s “FFS” coordinated action since it was announced on 20 September, has been solidarity from the gig economy, with the IWW union couriers network, along with IWGB and GMB, calling on members in UberEats in London, Bristol and many other cities to also strike for several hours from around 5pm.

This follows the major UberEats strike in London from 20-22 September over a large cut in the minimum delivery payment, amounting to a 40% pay cut.  Dozens of delivery workers held militant flying pickets, including outside the company’s headquarters where they blocked a main road junction and refused to be carolled by managers seeking to take them in individually and identify them. It echoed scenes at the successful wildcat strike in 2016 by Deliveroo riders over detrimental changes to payment.

Today, the couriers are again demanding £5 per drop after Uber’s fee and £1 per mile.

UberEats demonstrations and pickets today by delivery drivers are as follows - all are very welcome to join in solidarity:

    • Central London 5.30pm at Uber HQ, Aldgate Tower 
    • London 5-9pm at McDonalds: Clapham High Street, Bethnal Green, Holborn and North Finchley.
    • Bristol 6-8pm at McDonalds Broadmead
    • Brighton 6.30pm at the clock tower before picketing workplaces.
    • Cardiff 5pm at McDonalds Queen Street
    • Glasgow 12pm and 6pm at George square
    • Newcastle 5pm at McDonalds Grainger St. and Northumberland St.
    • Birmingham 5pm at McDonalds Cherry Street
    • Manchester 5pm at McDonalds Piccadilly Gardens

Broad scope

Organisers of the campaign around the strike action highlight an international vision, which undoubtedly takes inspiration from the Fight for $15 campaigns in the US and Canada, as the rally in London will be joined by “a delegation of workers from four continents”, with “actions from fast food workers around the globe on the same day for union rights, decent wages and working conditions”.  This is, “a global movement that is steadily growing stronger”.

Even in the UK, recent weeks have seen low-paid workers fighting back and winning in a number of sectors, such as Unison-organised cleaners at King’s College London announced and at Goldsmiths managing to get their services brought back in house, and United Voices of the World unionised cleaners at Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall winning the London Living Wage.

Striking workers’ testimony

 

 

Boni Adeliyi, TGI Fridays waitress in Milton Keynes:

We’re striking on on October 4th to show the strength we have when workers come together. The movement is growing and change is coming! All young workers should join a union – it’s important to know your rights and how to fight for them when they’re being ignored. Together we are stronger!

 

Katie Southworth, 22 from the ‘Bright Helm’ Wetherspoons pub in Brighton:

By announcing our ballot for strike action calling for £10 an hour and union recognition we’ve made the company look at its poverty wages and the unfairness of age related pay bands.Wetherspoons has now finally acknowledged that it’s current wages needed to rise. Their increase is small and been presented as simple generosity. We know this is not the case. By bringing the pay award forward to November Wetherspoons has highlighted the power that we have when we working together in a union. By unionising and threatening to strike we are already making small positive steps towards a better future for all workers.

McStriker Lauren McCourt:

We’re joining with Wetherspoons and TGI Friday’s workers because when we come together,  hospitality workers have the power to transform our sector. The days of poverty pay, insecure contracts and lack of respect for workers are numbered. A living wage of £10/hr for all ages, security of hours, and our right to a union are the basic rights we are fighting for. Hospitality workers are rising up and all those who suffer similar conditions should join with us. We will win.

Jack Hazeldine

Jack Hazeldine

Jack Hazeldine is an organiser in the People's Assembly and Stop the War.

Based in Bristol, he has coordinated the largest demonstrations and public meetings in the city in recent years: against austerity, in support of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of Labour, over the Junior Doctors' struggle and against the British bombing of Syria. He is currently travelling between the UK and Catalonia, building the solidarity campaign and corresponding on events.  

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