Ian Hodson says occupying McDonald's outlets could become necessary
WORKERS must be prepared to occupy McDonald’s if bosses threaten reprisals against their striking colleagues, Bakers union president Ian Hodson said yesterday.
The union leader paid tribute to the brave workers at the McDonald’s picket line in Cambridge — one of the two stores where staff are carrying out the first ever strike at British stores against the global fast food chain.
Mr Hodson told the crowds that the unionised McDonald’s workforce symbolised the “new labour movement” and should be recognised in the same vein as those who formed unions in Britain’s docks at the end of the 19th century.
However he warned that workers faced bullying and intimidation from McDonald’s bosses and urged people to defend those on strike should the company take action against them.
“If they try and discipline any one of these workers we want to see each and every one of you here bringing 10 others with you and occupy it.
“We’re not having our members diciplined, we’re not having our members isolated and we expect everyone to stand with them,” he said.
Workers are demanding to £10 an-hour, an end to zero-hours contracts and for trade union recognition after union members voted by 96 per cent in favour of action.
The Cambridge and Crayford walkouts coincided with strikes in Belgium and across the US to mark Labour Day as part of a global day of action against the exploitative chain.
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union rep for the Cambridge store Tom Holliday said: “We have fought tooth and nail to make sure that there are people on strike today fighting for each and every one of us.
“We can say to the bosses that we deserve a trade union, we can stand up for better wages and respect.”
Around 50 supporters joined the Cambridge picket line including Labour MP for the city Daniel Zeichner.
He praised the strikers for their part in rebuilding the trade union movement which he said is so essential when such “gross levels of inequality [are] scarring the country.”
“Companies like McDonald’s shouldn’t be scared of having a strong trade union.”