Socialist Worker

McStrikers walk out over pay, union rights and to ‘take back control over our lives’

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2680

Strikers gathered in Downing Street after the picket

Strikers gathered in Downing Street after the picket (Pic: Guy Smallman)


McDonald’s workers struck across six stores in south London on Tuesday to demand £15 an hour and union rights. It marked the fourth “McStrike” in the Bfawu union’s long-running campaign for fast food workers’ rights.

Workers from the six stores and their supporters held a lively picket line outside Wandsworth Town McDonald’s. They chanted, “I believe that we can win,” and, “If we don’t get it, shut it down.”

Melissa, a first-time McStriker from Wandsworth, said she was “taking back control over my life”. “McDonald’s has had control of my life for a very long time and I’ve had enough,” she said.

“You can’t control people that are united and that’s the point of doing this.

“Now we have the control—it’s no longer in the hands of McDonald’s.”

The walkout took place at McDonald’s in Balham, Catford, Crayford, Deptford, Downham and Wandsworth Town.

Lewis, a worker from Crayford, was on strike for the fourth time. He told Socialist Worker that workers would “keep going until we’ve won”.

Struggling

“Living in London on barely more than the minimum wage is difficult,” he said. “You have a massive corporation like McDonald’s and we’re struggling from pay cheque to pay cheque.”

Lewis added that support from Labour and the trade union movement had given strikers a “sense that we’ve got people behind us and motivated us”.

McStrikers were joined by Labour MPs and councillors, including shadow minister Keir Starmer. Starmer told the picket line, “Low pay is unacceptable, insecure work is unacceptable, no union is unacceptable.

“What you want is what we want in this election.

“An incoming Labour government will deal with low pay, will deal with insecure work and will properly recognise trade unions.”

Labour should include a pledge of a minimum wage of at least £15 an hour in its manifesto.

Workers are right to strike now for it—not wait for a Labour government.

After the picket line in Wandsworth Town, workers planned to protest outside Downing Street.

 


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