McDonald’s workers in Britain are set to receive their biggest pay increase in over a decade at the end of January, which will see increases of 6.7% across non-franchise stores and some workers receiving £10/hour. The decision comes in the wake of an historic strike of McDonald’s workers in September last year.
The #McStrike – the first ever of McDonald’s workers in Britain – saw staff in two stores striking to demand £10/hour, an end to zero-hour contracts and an end to bullying by management. McDonald’s bosses have decided to make this concession due to the negative publicity caused by the strike and their fear that the strike could spread across the chain.
The announcement of the pay award is a commendable victory for the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) and the courageous handful of McDonald’s workers who went on strike. Not only did they shine a light on the exploitative employment practises of the second largest employer in the world but also highlighted that there is a way forward for workers caught in the race to the bottom.
This victory will surely provide new momentum to the Fast Food Rights Campaign in continuing their fight against zero-hour contracts and the culture of bullying and harassment in the industry, as well as demanding that all workers receive a minimum of £10/hour, regardless of age. If determined action by just 30 workers can win a pay-rise above anything McDonald’s have offered or been forced to give by legislation in a decade, imagine what we can do when thousands organise across McDonald’s and indeed the rest of the industry. This is a valuable lesson for precarious workers across hospitality, retail, call centres and other traditionally unorganised sectors – we can win significant concessions if we join a union and organise.
By Neil Moore, Chair, Irish Youth Committee, Unite the Union