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McStrike: McDonald’s UK experiences first ever strike action

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Global QSR giant McDonald’s experiences employee unrest in two UK outlets as strikes occur over minimum pay and zero hours contracts

McDonald’s workers from across the UK have congregated at Westminster in London, concerning a dispute with the company over pay and security of working hours. By midday today (Monday 4 September), approximately 200 people joined the protest against the QSR giant.

Just two McDonald’s branch locations, Cambridge and Crayford, are experiencing the company’s first ever UK strike action, but the walkout has received national media attention, as well as backing from political figures such as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) have announced their support of the workers’ decision to strike, with the union’s national president Ian Hodson stating that for “far too long, workers in fast good restaurants such as McDonald’s have had to deal with poor working conditions, drastic cuts to employee hours, and even bullying in the workplace – viewed by many as punishment for joining a union.”

Growing global movement

Back in April 2016, McDonald’s announced that workers would be offered a choice contract type, flexible or fixed, with minimum guaranteed contract hours.

A company official has stated that, “McDonald’s UK and its franchisees have delivered three pay rises since April 2016; this had increased the average hourly pay rate by 15%.”

As the strike continues to trend on Twitter under #McStrike, and national news stations continue to cover the event, the BFAWU have likened today’s movement to the wider push for a $15 an hour minimum wage for QSR workers in the US, #Fightfor$15.

“There is a growing global movement calling for the fair and decent treatment of workers. In the US for example, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have shown the importance of collective action.”

McDonald’s has said that the individuals involved in the strike represented 0.01% of its workforce, and only two of its 1,270 UK restaurants. It has also specified that the disagreement is “solely related to our internal grievance procedures and not concerning pay or contracts.”

As of Monday 4 September, an agreement is yet to arise between today’s strikers and McDonald’s over pay and working conditions.

Emily Lewis