Socialist Worker

As McDonald’s bosses forced to grant some pay rises, workers vow to fight for more

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2586

McDonalds workers on strike last year

McDonald's workers on strike last year with supporters (Pic: Guy Smallman)

A section of McDonald’s workers have won their biggest pay rise in ten years.

The firm reviews pay every January and the pay increases will come into effect on 22 January.

McDonald’s worker Sam told Socialist Worker, “The pay rise comes months after our strike. That’s no coincidence.”

Sam’s pay is set to rise by 40p an hour.

“McDonald’s said in September that it was just 0.01 percent of workers striking,” said Sam. “Well, if 0.01 percent can win the biggest pay rise in a decade let’s see what more of us can do.”

But behind the headline pay rise bosses are desperate to claw back whatever they can.

The pay rise only applies to workers at stores directly owned by McDonald’s – around a fifth of the workforce.

Some 85,000 people work in McDonald’s stores in Britain, but about 80 percent of stores are franchises.

The firm says it can only make recommendations on pay to these stores, but many set pay at the minimum wage or at rates close to it.


As well as new “minimum” rates of pay, McDonald’s lists “maximum” rates of up to £10 for crew members.

Sam described how it is almost impossible for workers to get these higher rates of pay.

“Every year you work at McDonald’s you get a pay review,” said Sam. “You have to be marked three or four on all the categories to get a pay rise.

“McDonald’s have a quota in stores about how many threes or fours they can give out.”

Despite bosses’ dirty tactics, workers rightly view the pay rise as a victory. The strike raised the profile of their Bfawu union. And the news of a pay rise could increase the number of people looking to get involved in the fight.

Sam said, “For us this has been a morale boost. We’ve achieved something we were told we couldn’t.

“If we unionise more workers and hit them with more strikes then it will be easier for us to win.”

The fight to make McDonald’s and other poverty-wage firms pay better wages will be a long and bitter one. But pay rises are possible.

“We’re getting people in position to do it again,” said Sam. “There will be another McStrike.”

Sam’s name has been changed to protect their identity.

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