McDonald’s is one of the world’s biggest companies, employing about 1.9 million people worldwide. In Britain alone, McDonald’s employs around 100,000 people. While the company reported pre-tax profits of £271 million, they pay a pittance while the workers have no security of hours.
This is the situation that led to the first ever McDonald’s strike taking place in Britain during September. Workers from several chains stopped work, and set up pickets outside their stores. Solidarity protests were also held at a number of other locations. Some were organised by members of the Socialist Party in England and Wales.
The workers’ demands are simple. They want a living wage of £10 per hour, an end to contracts without guaranteed hours, the right to union representation, and an end to the culture of bullying. Sick and tired of having their concerns ignored, these workers decided to take collective action. Already this has borne results.
The strikes have put McDonald’s under some pressure and forced them to make some minor concessions. That said, the main demands of the workers have still not been met. The workers are however adamant that the campaign will continue until they win.
The protests and strikes had an epic response from the public and it is hoped that this will encourage workers at other McDonald’s stores to take action the next time around. The September strike, and the support received, has enthused the workers who are now confident that they have management on the back foot.
The action taken by these mostly young, and low paid, workers shows that big business greed can be challenged. This strike should serve as an inspiration to fast food workers the world over, including in Australia.
By Socialist Party reporters