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Fast food workers strike across the UK

Fast food workers strike across the UK



2 min

| 2018 |

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Thursday 4th October 2018, fast food workers organised a huge strike across the UK against poverty pay. McDonalds, TGI Fridays and Whetherspoons restaurants were shut down and UberEats and Deliveroo deliveries were disrupted. Workers from London, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh and a dozen other cities joined forces chanting “I believe that we can win”.

“I’m striking for an end to zero hours contracts and for a higher minimum wage. We are asking for £10 an hour” said one striking McDonalds worker in Cambridge. Another TGI Fridays striker explained how they began to organise after 40% of their tips were given to kitchen staff, to avoid giving kitchen workers a payrise.

“I know people who are living on their friends’ sofas because they can’t afford their rent. Some people have to skip food for the day so they can stay in their house” explained one young Wetherspoons worker. As well as no regular hours or guaranteed income, these fast food restaurants pay youth rates, meaning any worker under the age of 21 earns as low as £5.90 an hour.

UberEats and Deliveroo couriers also joined the fast food shutdown, refusing to take orders in cities in England, Wales and Scotland. The self employed couriers have no legal right to a minimum wage and have no guaranteed income if business is slow, leaving many of them struggling to survive from one week to the next.

“we are striking to demand a minimum of £5 per delivery, that will enable us to make the minimum wage” said one of the couriers interviewed at the strike in Glasgow.  “We’ve decided to strike today because it’s the same day that workers in McDonalds and Wetherspoons are striking. They are people we work with quite a bit, so we wanted to show our solidarity”.

Zero hour contracts and poverty wages are widespread in the hospitality sector, but union density is well below average at 2.5%. This fast food shut down is as an amazing example of the strength of coordinated action, and shows that workers in supposedly hard to organise workplaces are standing up for themselves with more determination and willpower than ever.

“I feel like people are gaining more confidence now. It’s encouraging to know that we are in this together” concludes the Cambridge McDonalds worker.

The energy behind these strikes and protests will no doubt inspire others to do the same. Organising in the fast food sector with the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) and IWW and IWGB courier branches has increased massively over the past couple of years, and it looks like the movement will continue growing. They believe that they can win, and so do we!



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