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McStrike comes to Manchester on May Day

McDonald’s workers in Manchester have had enough of their poor & unequal pay, lack of union recognition and zero-hour contracts. To remedy the situation they are going on a ‘McStrike’ with other Mcdonald’s workers at selected outlets around the country. Workers supported the action by a 95% vote in favour for a strike on 1 May, which is International Workers’ Day, AKA May Day.

The industrial action at the McDonald’s store on Oxford Rd in Manchester city centre will begin in the early hours starting at midnight till 1am on Tuesday 1 May with a picket. A following morning picket will run from 7 till 8am, on the same day.

Stores in both Cambridge and Crayford, as well as two in Watford, are joining Manchester on the McDonald’s strike. Lauren McCourt, a McDonald’s worker from Manchester, who earns £7.25 an hour doing night shifts on Oxford Road, said:

“We’ve joined the McStrike because the time for change at McDonald’s has come. McDonald’s zero-hour contracts mean we live in fear of losing the future hours we need to survive. If I don’t get the hours I need, how am I supposed to pay my rent? It’s time for McDonald’s to respect its workers and give us the option of guaranteed hours.”

The two stores in Watford have particular significance for the strike as Watford is the hometown of Steve Easterbrook, the multi-millionaire Global CEO of McDonald’s, who reportedly earned £11 million in 2017, equivalent to £5,500 an hour, which is 759 times the hourly earnings of McCourt. In 2017 McDonald’s made $5.2 billion in profit (£3.7 billion).

#McStrike Manchester

Kayleigh O’Neil (left) and Lauren McCourt (right) outside McDonalds HQ in London. Source: TUC

In 2015 Easterbrook received a staggering 368% pay rise, and last year a relatively meagre 94% pay rise. In February McCourt and colleague Kayleigh O’Neill went down to McDonald’s HQ in London, demanding a living wage for McDonald’s store workers in light of the huge pay gap between them and the CEO. Joshua Khan, a McDonald’s worker in Watford said:

“Steve Easterbrook says he’s a Watford lad, yet those of us who work in the Watford store have had enough of poverty pay, zero-hour contracts and lack of respect on the job. He makes millions whilst we struggle to get by. He should get on his private jet and come talk to our union. We deserve a wage that means we can live with dignity.”

The members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) striking are demanding £10 an hour, a choice of fixed hour contracts, an end to the unequal pay for young workers and for union recognition. Ian Hodson president of the BFAWU said:

“We are pleased with the ballot result: the McStrike is growing and is on the road to victory. We will be supporting our members in McDonald’s as they take on the world’s second largest employer. The time for change at McDonald’s is long overdue.”

The Bakers Union members aim to repeat the victory achieved by the McStrike in September 2017, which occurred in two stores, one in Cambridge and another in Crayford, South East London. This was the first ever strike by McDonald’s workers in the UK. McDonald’s claimed only 0.01% of Mcdonalds workers went on strike that time. They managed to secure a pay rise which varied between workers but one reported a raise of £7.45/hour to £7.95/hour. McDonalds also agreed to offer all workers fixed term guaranteed hours contracts in place of zero-hour contracts, and claim 80% of employees have chosen to remain on zero-hour contracts. Although there is some dispute as to whether this offer has been properly implemented, McCourt has previously said. “Apparently we are all being given the ‘right to request’ fixed hours but they’ve not told us how to apply for it”.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said:

“Officially eleven of our 120,000 people [0.009%] are intending to take industrial action across five of our 1270 [UK] restaurants on 1 May. While we are disappointed, given our focus on putting people at the heart of our business, we are reassured that this number is an extremely small proportion of our UK workforce…

“We take the interests and wellbeing of our people very seriously and encourage anyone to speak up if they ever have any concerns…The intended strike action relates to pay and contracts. Over the last three years, we have taken a number of additional steps to ensure McDonald’s UK remains a great place to work.”

The McStrike in Manchester on the 1 May, International Workers’ Day, coincides with the Trades Union Congress celebrating the 150th anniversary of its formation in Manchester (#TUC150). The Manchester May Day festival, organised by Manchester TUC, will be opened this year by the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell on Sunday 29 April at 11:30 in the Mechanics Institute. McDonnell supported the previous McStrike in London and Cambridge, saying outside the Houses of Parliament:

“These are workers who are extremely vulnerable in terms of their employment conditions. And yet at the same time they’ve had the courage to come on strike. They’ve said: ‘We’ve had enough and we need to negotiate.’

“If I was McDonald’s management I’d be listening very carefully today. I’d contact the union and I’d get round that table.”

 

Conrad Bower

Manchester McStrike information – click here

Manchester May Day Festival opening information – click here

Other Manchester May day Festival and TUC150 events – click here

Feature Image – Facebook screenshot

 

 

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