McDonald’s employees recently staged their first UK strike, following rows over zero-hours contracts and workplace bullying claims. The strike action signals the first time McDonald’s workers have walked out since the famous American burger chain came to the UK more than forty years ago.
The staff also want their pay to increase to £10 an hour. This would raise it above the minimum wage of £7.50 for staff aged 25 and over. The battle for more wages follows a campaign by McDonald’s staff in the US who want an hourly rate of $15.
Trade union, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Alliance, represent the fast food workers involved in the UK strike. The McDonalds staff come from restaurants in Crayford, near Dartford, and Cambridge.
Staff offered choice, says employer
McDonald’s say the grievance relates to internal procedures and would affect fewer than 0.01% of its workforce, across only two of its 1,270 UK restaurants. The company claims it gave staff the choice of fixed or flexible contracts and that 86% chose the flexible option. The company has become one of the biggest users of zero-hours contracts in the UK. However, it pledged to offer guaranteed hours contracts to all of its 115,000 UK staff by the end of 2017.
The catering sector has become renowned for zero hours contracts and low pay. Historic difficulty in unionisation of catering workplaces has left workers in the sector lacking the collective bargaining power and the typical protections that trade union membership affords.