Today - on US Labour Day - McDonalds’ fast food workers in Cambridge and Crayford (South-East London) are staging the first ever strike in the UK to coordinate world action against the fast food giant.
Organised by EFFAT's affiliate Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), McDonalds’ workers are demanding: 1. £10 hourly minimum wage; 2. An end to zero-hour contracts; 3. Recognition of their trade unions.
In April 2017, McDonalds' had promised workers guaranteed hours contracts to employees who wanted them. However, the BFAWU claims that workers at most stores were uninformed until the strike was announced. Now, workers and the BFAWU rightly demand to close the deal, a potential major victory for around 80,000 workers at McDonald’s, and a successful example of workers’ organizing strategies.
Over the last couple of years, the fast food sector has been under crucial scrutiny by institutions, civil society organisations and trade unions both across Europe and world-wide.
In the USA, McDonald’s have come under significant pressure as part of the “Fight for $15” campaign – supported by the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU). More than 10 million workers in the USA are currently on the way to obtain $15 an hour as a result of the efforts made throughout the campaign.
EFFAT, together with EPSU and SEIU, is part of a coalition of European and American trade unions, representing 15 million workers in various sectors of the economy across almost 40 countries aimed at unmasking McDonalds’ abusive employment practices, poor working conditions, tax avoidance and anti-union behavior around the world.
The European Commission is currently investigating McDonalds’ tax structure aimed at avoiding the taxes it owes on the royalty payments received from franchises across Europe.
EFFAT’s German affiliate NGG has recently signed a national agreement with the fast food employers' association, following months of nation-wide strikes and national and local protests in response to the employers' refusal to pay a living wage.
EFFAT is closely following the sector in Europe and the affiliates who are tasked with organising employees. Convinced of the effectiveness of mobilisation, today EFFAT firmly stands with the UK's fast food workers who are demanding their rights be respected.
Workers urgently need the support of the wider trade union movement. Messages of support, encouragement and solidarity for the workers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Material, videos and testimonials of the strike can be followed on Twitter @FastFoodRights | #McStrike | #FastFoodGlobal