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MCDONALD’S workers have said they will “stand together and win” as a strike of low-paid employees tomorrow will disrupt business at the corporation.
Employees in six of the global food chain’s London branches, who are members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), will be manning picket lines across the city on Tuesday.
The strike is expected to close the Balham, Catford, Crayford, Deptford, Downham and Wandsworth Town branches of the corporation, while huge numbers of community pickets are expected to pop up in solidarity across the city.
Among the workers’ core demands are a £15 an hour minimum wage, the option of having guaranteed hours of up to 40 hours a week and an end to youth rates of pay.
They also want shift patterns to be given to workers four weeks in advance, union recognition in the workplace and the right to be treated with respect by management, as part of a “New Deal” for McDonald’s workers.
Numerous senior Labour figures and parliamentary candidates are expected to join the protest, including shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Streatham prospective parliamentary candidate Bell Ribeiro-Addy.
The strike will take place on a global fast food workers’ day of action by the International Union of Food workers (IUF), which will see huge demonstrations in Brazil, Chile, France and New Zealand.
In 2017 and 2018, a series of walkouts in McDonald’s branches across the country related to fair pay and workplace dignity caused widespread damage to the company’s reputation, and led to large demonstrations and gestures of solidarity from trade unionists and other precarious workers.
BFAWU general secretary Ronnie Draper said: “McDonald’s workers are showing the way.
“They’ve challenged and defeated bullying by managers. They’ve won changes making life at work more bearable.
“My message to every worker is this: if you want to improve your workplace and your life, join a union. Participate. Stand together and win.”
Former TGI Fridays striker Lauren Townsend, who will be joining strikers in Wandsworth, said: “Going on strike for the first time is terrifying, and having support from the wider labour movement and public is crucial.
“If we are ever going to balance the forces at play in the world of work then we need more people to feel empowered to stand up against bad bosses and exploitative working practices.”
She also criticised McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook, who was given a “golden goodbye” in the form of a $42 million (£33 million) pay out when he was sacked for having an affair with an employee.
Ms Townsend said: “That is $42 million – on top of the disgustingly large wage he was earning whilst with the company – to just one man.
“At the same time, many McDonalds employees struggle to get by, living pay cheque to pay cheque.
“If this doesn’t highlight to you just how ridiculous the enormous pay inequalities have become in this country, then nothing will.”
In a video recorded last week for the Morning Star, striker Melissa Evans said: “£15 is what economists say you need to live in London.
“The whole country is being underpaid right now. Something has to be changed at the base level.
“This is a global fight – we are all getting together as McDonald’s workers around the world. We are going on strike and we will win.”
Mr McDonnell said: “Low pay and insecure work is endemic in the fast food industry. That's why I helped launch the fast food campaign and support these young workers in their campaign to secure decent wages and conditions.
"A Labour government will take on the big corporations such as McDonald’s to stop them from paying out poverty wages.”
The party has also committed to a £10-an-hour real living wage and an end to in work poverty, helping millions of low-paid workers across the country.
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