13 Days Remaining

Saturday 19th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Felicity Collier

MCDONALD’S workers are to strike in Britain for the first time after a beefy ballot yesterday backed action over unpalatable pay and conditions at two of its branches.

Beleaguered zero-hours employees in Crayford and Cambridge voted 95.7 per cent in favour of action over low wages and insecure hours, as well as a a host of other injustices on the menu.

The infamous multinational burger chain has, they say, failed to honour a promise to end its use of exploitative contracts which starve workers of their ability to meet rent — some have even lost their homes.

Workers are demanding a fair basic wage of £10 per hour and the recognition of their right to form a trade union.

The Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) and GMB have both been recruiting workers, with BFAWU being the first to show McDonald’s bosses a taste of industrial solidarity.

BFAWU national president Ian Hodson said the fi rm has let workers down “one too many times.”

He said the multi-billion-dollar firm had been given “countless opportunities” to resolve grievances by offering workers a fair wage and acceptable working conditions.

“Instead, they have chosen to ignore their workers by tightening their purse strings — filling their CEO’s pockets, at the expense of workers here in the UK and across the world.

“This is a call for change. Our members demand to be listened to — they have a right to get their voice heard.

“Hopefully senior figures at McDonald’s will be listening, because this behaviour cannot go on any longer.”

Crayford store worker Shen Batmaz 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 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.”

Almost 100,000 people work in McDonald’s restaurants across Britain and the ballot offers an early taste of a possible national strike later in the year.

In the US, a “Fight for $15” wage campaign saw McDonald’s restaurants closed across the country in 2015 and up to 20 million workers have won wage increases since 2012.

The average pay of a McDonald’s customer assistant is estimated at a paltry £11,005 a year, according to recruitment website Indeed which pools submissions from employees.

Hourly rates average out at between £6.70 per hour and £7.25, which is only 5p over the minimum wage for under-25s.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his support to the workers.

“Just last month I met with the bakers’ union and some of their members who work at McDonald’s. They explained that although they have long campaigned for better pay and working conditions, the corporation has not addressed their concerns.

“Low pay and zero-hours contracts are a symptom of Tory Britain.”

And shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey MP added: “The strike at McDonald’s is motivated by working people coming together to fight for decent pay and working conditions.

“The next Labour government will stand up for workers and transform the workplace by introducing a £10 an hour minimum wage by 2020 and enforcing all workers’ rights to trade union representation.”

McDonald’s said in a statement: “As per the terms of the ballot, the dispute is solely related to our internal grievance procedures. We are proud of our people at McDonald’s, they are at the heart of all we do and we work hard to ensure that our teams are treated fairly.”