- September 4, 2017
McDonald’s faces its first ever strike by workers since it opened in the UK in 1974. Protests by unions and members of the public over zero-hours contracts and low pay are also expected.
Around 40 staff from restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford in south-east London are striking today following a ballot in favour of industrial action. They will also be attending a rally in Westminster.
McDonald’s have said those taking action represented a small fraction of its workforce and that it was related to its internal grievance procedures.
The fast-food giant employs around 85,000 staff in the UK and one-million worldwide. It is one of the biggest users of zero-hours contracts in Britain, although more recently it has started offering workers the option of moving to fixed contracts with minimum guaranteed hours.
One of Britain’s oldest trade unions, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), said staff were demanding a wage of at least £10 per hour and more secure working hours.
Ian Hodson, the BFAWU national president, said: “This is the second-largest restaurant company in the world that makes $22bn (£17bn) revenues a year, and its workers are living in poverty.”
“McDonald’s has had countless opportunities to resolve grievances…This is a call for change.”
“For far too long, workers in fast food restaurants have had to deal with poor working conditions, drastic cuts to employee hours and even bullying in the workplace – viewed by many as a punishment for joining a union.”
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has backed the protest. In a statement he said: “Our party offers support and solidarity to the brave McDonald’s workers who are making history today. They are standing up for workers’ rights by leading the first ever strike at McDonald’s in the UK.”
Staff at the Western Road branch in Brighton are expected to go on strike around 6pm tonight. It is not known how many are planning to strike.
By Clare Calder