Workers from six McDonald’s restaurants in south London walked out on strike today, delivering a petition demanding £15 per hour and better conditions to Downing Street.
Members of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) working at McDonald’s branches in Wandsworth Town, Downham, Balham, Deptford, Catford and Crayford took part in the action, which followed earlier strikes on 4 September 2017, 1 May 2018 and 4 October 2018.
The strikers are calling for wage increases to £15 an hour, the abolishing of youth rates, the choice to have up to 40 guaranteed hours a week, notice of shift patterns four weeks in advance and recognition of the BFAWU.
Melissa Evans, 32, who works at the Wandsworth Town branch, told those gathered in Westminster: “We’ve had enough of counting down the days until we get paid, we’ve had enough of choosing between our food and our gas and electric we’ve had enough of not having any money to get to work.
“We all need the same thing, a decent standard of living and the ability to enjoy life. As it stands we can’t, we can’t even think about having fun because the next day we’ve got to go to work and it’s pure stress, constant stress, that’s why we need £15 an hour and guaranteed contracts,” she continued. “We’re expected to keep going when wages go up by 20p a year but the price of food, gas, electric, fuel everything else goes up by more than a pound - how are we supposed to keep up. Change is needed right now.”
Another speaker at the Westminster rally said: “These workers are striking, striking for the right to a decent life, a decent living, a contract of employment that gives them the right to holiday pay, gives the right to time off, the right to breaks, the right to be able to raise grievances, the right to health and safety, the right to organise in a trade union. These workers are striking for £15-an-hour, because currently if you receive the London living wage, which none of these workers do, it will cost you 106% of your earnings to pay for your rent and your transport to work.”
A McDonald’s spokesperson had earlier said that just nine of its employees were expected to take part in the action. It added: "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. While it is unfortunate this may be taking place, it is encouraging that there has been a steady decrease in the already small numbers of our people previously balloted. In October 2018, when activity was last planned, ultimately none of our people actually took action.
“We are also aware that there have been some additional small scale events organised and attended by the BFAWU. These are not strikes, and we believe very few of our people are involved.
“As a growing and successful organisation we, along with our franchisees, will continue to invest in our people and create quality jobs and opportunities for all. 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% of our employees have chosen to remain on flexible contracts, valuing the ability to work their shifts around their lives."
The action coincided with a global day of action by fast food workers called by the International Union of Food.
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