McDonald's UK workers stage strike with international allies

McDonald's UK workers stage strike with international allies

McDonalds workers in the UK will go on strike on 4 September, a date marking the US Labour Day holiday to address issues of working conditions internationally.

On Friday, staff at restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, in south-east London, voted in favour of industrial action to demand wages of at least £10 an hour, secure contracts with guaranteed hours and formal trade union recognition from McDonald’s – The Guardian reports.

The date marks the attempt to solidify action against the fast food giant with franchises around the world, according to the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), who are calling for international support.

In April, McDonalds announced it would offer guaranteed hour contracts to employees who wanted them, but the BFAWU allege that workers weren’t informed about this until they decided to strike.

Organiser Gareth Lane, said: “All of a sudden they’ve put it online where workers can see that all workers will have a contract with guaranteed hours by the end of the year. This is a huge victory for these workers who’ve stood up, decided to organise and take this strike action.

“We don’t trust McDonald’s to deliver these guaranteed hours to workers,” he said. “We want them to sign, legally, that they’ll give these guaranteed contracts by the end of the year.”

Recently, HR Grapevine spoke to Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK, about their decision to offer zero-hour contracts: “We heard from some of our people that they’d value fixed hour contracts to help gain access to financial products like car loans or mobile phone contracts. In response, we began a series of trials where we offered the choice between a flexible and a fixed contract with minimum guaranteed hours.”

He told us that throughout a trial of both fixed hour and zero-hour contracts, the majority of participants (around 80%) chose to stay on their existing flexible contracts; with around 20% opting for fixed hours.

The UK action will be supported by organisers from the Unite union in New Zealand, who are visiting the UK to advise striking staff. Workers from Belgium will also travel to London to support the strike. A BFAWU representative said: “In the past we have had action on every continent.”

A spokesman for McDonald’s said on Friday: “We can confirm that, following a ballot process, the BFAWU have indicated that a small number of our employees representing less than 0.01% of our workforce are intending to strike in two of our restaurants.”

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