Socialist Worker

Global protests as US fast food workers supersize their strike

by Julie Sherry in New York
Issue No. 2403

Workers and supporters marched in New York last week

Workers and supporters marched in New York last week (Pic: Julie Sherry)


 

The biggest fast food workers’ strike so far is set to hit the US on Thursday of this week.

Solidarity protests will take place in over 30 countries in a global day of action to demand union recognition, better pay and respect at work.

This will see up to 20 protests outside McDonald’s sites across Britain, organised by the Fast Food Rights campaign. This is a campaign that was initiated earlier this year by the BFAWU bakers' union, Labour MP John McDonnell and Unite the Resistance.

The global day of action is centred around unprecedented walkouts by fast food workers in around 160 US cities. This comes in the wake of strikes spreading across the US since November 2012, with 130 cities hit by the last strike in Autumn 2013.

The global day of action was launched in New York last week at an international fast food union conference with around 90 delegates. The conference hosted by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF).

The IUF comprises of 396 affiliated organisations in 126 countries, representing a combined membership of 12 million workers.

The New York conference heard from union organisers, campaign activists and McDonald's workers from across the world. They discussed the terrain in each country to gain an overview in the battle against multinational fast food corporations, particularly McDonald's.

Delegates also organised how to develop international solidarity with the growing strike movement in the US.

Activists drew lessons from the different experiences, illustrating that the US strikers' demand for $15 (£8.80 an hour) and a union was possible. 

In New Zealand, McDonald's workers talked about their strikes that forced union recognition. A Danish McDonald's worker explained how they won the equivalent of £12 an hour. 

US strikers from McDonald's and KFC spoke about why they got involved and how they organised and spread strikes in the space of 12 months across the whole of the US. They also spoke about how the strike movement has transformed the dynamic of the workplaces in the industry.

The international delegates marched to a McDonald's in Manhattan for a press conference on Wednesday of last week to launch the day of action.

For details of protests in Britain go to fastfoodrights.wordpress.com
Tweet your photos to #fastfoodglobal and email them to reports@socialistworker.co.uk

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.