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US fast food workers demand decent pay

Fast Food workers in their thousands marched and demonstrated in cities across the US

Fast Food workers in their thousands marched and demonstrated in cities across the US on Thursday in a campaign for higher wages.

Organisers said that walkouts were staged in 100 cities across the country with rallies held in another 100 cities.

Fast food workers have historically been difficult to unionise due to the industry's high staff turnover rates.

But the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than two million workers in catering and other industries, has provided organisational and financial support to the campaign for fair pay over the past year.

Workers in McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and other fast food outlets responded with determination and energy on Thursday.

In New York City over 100 protesters blew whistles and beat drums while marching into a McDonald's at around 6.30am chanting: "We can't survive on $7.25" (£4.42).

Community leaders took turns giving speeches for 15 minutes until police arrived and ordered the protesters out of the restaurant.

But the crowd continued to demonstrate outside for about 45 minutes.

Later in the day, protesters rallied outside a Wendy's in Brooklyn and discouraged customers from entering during the protest.

In Washington DC, around 100 people protested outside a McDonald's in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

In Detroit around 50 demonstrators turned out for a pre-dawn rally in front of McDonald's.

And even as far afield as Phoenix, Arizona, workers took time off to protest.

New York Burger King employee Tyeisha Batts was among those taking part in the demonstrations.

She said she has been working there for about seven months and earns $7.25 (£4.42) an hour.

Ms Batts said she is only given between 10 and 20 hours of work a week because her employers want to avoid making her a full-time worker.

Under the new healthcare law, workers who average 30 hours a week would be eligible for employer-sponsored health coverage starting in 2015.

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