Socialist Worker

Strikes and protests make an Unhappy meal for fast food fat cats

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2500

Protest in Glasgow

Protest in Glasgow (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Campaigners from the Fast Food Rights campaign and the Bfawu union took action across Britain last Thursday. They targeted McDonald’s in solidarity with striking McDonald’s workers in the US.

Protests took place in Wakefield in west Yorkshire, Cambridge, Glasgow and elsewhere.

The action was part of a growing campaign for union rights, a £10 an hour minimum wage and an end to zero hours contracts.

In Glasgow fast food workers marched and occupied a KFC.

They also staged a “picnic” outside a McDonald’s, where they ate “unhappy meals” of low pay and zero hours that made them sick.

Lorna McKinnon, a fast food worker in Glasgow told Socialist Worker, “We got a really good response from KFC workers when we went in.

“They all had big smiles on their faces—they were enjoying us being there.”

She added, “New members of our Bfawu fast food workers branch who had never been involved in the campaign were playing a leading role.”

Bfawu organiser Gareth helped organise the Wakefield protest.

He said, “The big event in Glasgow really looked like one of the US cities, where fast food workers have been fighting for $15 an hour.

Push

“But we also went for a big push in Wakefield to try and make new connections there.

“We spent a long time talking to workers there beforehand, and we got a lot of support from them.”

Meanwhile fast food workers in the US struck to demand a $15 an hour minimum wage. The strike came after minimum wage increases in several states.

In Boston, Massachusetts, protesters blocked tramlines and Commonwealth Avenue, one of the city’s main roads, and tramlines.

Strikers in Birmingham, Alabama, chanted, “We are the workers, the mighty mighty workers.”

McDonald’s worker Bush Paulding said, “What brought us out here today, people like McDonald’s are trendsetters for low wages that are causing people to struggle in society.”

Another worker, Brandon Brown, added, “We’re trying to raise up the minimum wage—all this working and people ain’t getting what they supposed to get.

“You work hard, you’re supposed to get something in return. We don’t get nothing in return and that’s why we up here fighting.”

The protests in Britain were followed by news on Friday of last week that McDonald’s will allow workers to move from zero hours to fixed term contracts.

Paul Pomroy, the boss of McDonald’s in Britain, has previously defended the use of the contracts.

But now he has said that the move away from them has come as a result of “feedback” from workers.


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