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'Together we are powerful' – McDonald's workers announce biggest wave of fast food strikes Britain has seen

BFAWU announces industrial action to win £15 an hour, steady shift patterns and union recognition

MCDONALD’S workers have warned bosses that “together we are powerful” as they announce the biggest wave of fast food strikes Britain has ever seen.

Employees in six of McDonald’s London branches, who are members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), have told company managers this morning that they will be going out on strike on Tuesday November 12.

The strike is expected to shut down the Balham, Catford, Crayford, Deptford, Downham and Wandsworth Town branches of the transnational fast food corporation.

Among the core demands of the workers is a £15 an hour minimum wage, the option of having guaranteed hours of up to 40 hours a week and an end to the uneven youth rates of pay.

Workers also want their shift patterns to be shown to them four weeks in advance, proper 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.

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 large demonstrations take place in at least six countries, including Brazil, Chile, France and New Zealand.

This is not the first time that British McDonald’s workers have gone on strike.

In 2017 and 2018, a series of walkouts related to fair pay and workplace respect caused widespread damage to the company’s reputation, and led to huge solidarity across the British trade union movement.

Wandsworth Town McDonald’s worker Melissa Evans said: “I need £15 an hour so I can show my son that poverty is not the only option.

“Me and my colleagues are coming together in a union to show the world that McDonald’s workers deserve the same level of respect as everyone else.

"We are coming together to tackle poverty pay, insecurity of hours and lack of respect which has gone on at McDonald’s for too long.

“We are tired of being exploited, but together we are powerful. We will win a new deal for McDonald’s workers.”

Crayford member Lewis Baker, who was also active in the previous four strikes, said: “McDonald’s can afford to pay us £15 an hour. It’s a reasonable request for a corporation that earns millions every day.

“Instead of listening to what we’ve been demanding, McDonald’s has tried to dismiss us, saying we were few.

“Yet McDonald’s workers everywhere face the same issues of poverty pay, insecure hours and a lack of basic respect.

“We are growing bigger with every strike. It’s time for McDonald’s to give its workers a New Deal.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson told the Morning Star: “We are extremely disappointed that a very small number of our people in just a handful of our restaurants are considering industrial action.

“Their potential actions do not represent our people. We are committed to investing in our workforce, listening to and doing what is right by them.

“We regularly review pay and benefits to ensure we are rewarding our people, and we pay well above the government minimum wage. Our pay rates are extremely competitive within our industry and are ahead of many of our competitors. 

“The BFAWU is calling for 40 hour guaranteed contracts, which is something we already offer – but has been chosen by very few of our people. With all given the choice, around 90 per cent of our employees have chosen to remain on flexible contracts, valuing the ability to work their shifts around their lives.”


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