Brixton McDonald’s will be picketed tomorrow morning (4 October) as part of a campaign against low pay and zero-hour contracts that is backed by the Trades Union Congress, the umbrella body for all British unions, and the charity War on Want.
Members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) working in McDonald’s, Wetherspoons and TGI Friday are campaigning to be paid £10 an hour (below the London Living Wage of £10.20) and against “precarious” work that is typified by zero-hour contracts and a lack of employment rights.
The union said that Deliveroo and Uber Eats workers would also be involved. Its “Fast-Food Rights” campaign had helped to embolden workers who had “decided that enough is enough,” it said.
It urged members of the public to “show their solidarity to these brave workers, who ask for nothing more than a proper contract of employment, a fair wage and trade union recognition”.
Manchester McDonald’s worker Lauren McCourt, who led a strike there in May this year, wrote on the TUC’s website that everyone she worked with was barely making ends meet.
“People were working 12-hour shifts every day just to make their rent – and seven days a week because the free meal we got on our break was the only way we could feed ourselves,” she said.
“Our voice needs to reach all those young workers across the country who are struggling to get by. We need to tell them that they are powerful when they stand together with a union.
“Our parents have had a better life than we face. They could retire, go on holiday, own a car and maybe even their own home.
“But my generation are having to fight just to get a wage that pays enough to live on.
“That’s why I’ll be so proud tomorrow to stand alongside other workers who aren’t getting a fair deal – TGI Friday’s waiting staff who are fighting for their tips, JD Wetherspoons workers who are already winning pay rises, and with every McDonald’s worker who has had the courage to stand up and be counted.”
Brixton McDonald’s is due to be picketed between 8 and 9am tomorrow morning. It is run as a franchise and not directly by McDonald’s.
A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We are disappointed to confirm that industrial action is planned in four of our 1,300 restaurants on 4 October – Cambridge, Crayford, Watford and Brixton.
They said the number of people involved would be “extremely small” and that the restaurants would remain open as usual.
“Any suggestion that this activity is widespread and growing is not accurate,” said the spokesperson. “We understand that fewer of our employees are involved in industrial action than last May and fewer of our restaurants are impacted, with union support from our people diminishing.
“The numbers also represent an extremely small proportion of our workforce – in Brixton, for example, just two of our employees have been balloted for strike out of a workforce of more than 100.”
The spokesperson said that McDonald’s had recruited more than 1,000 new managers in the past year and, along with its franchisees, would continue to invest in its staff and “create quality jobs and opportunities”.
They said that McDonald’s staff had been offered a choice between fixed and flexible contracts and that 80% had made the decision to stay on “a flexible contract”.
The spokesperson did not respond to a request to know what workers in Brixton McDonald’s are paid.
The restaurant stands opposite the Ritzy cinema, where workers have been campaigning for the London Living Wage and trade union rights for several years.
Earlier this year an employment tribunal ruled that the cinema had unfairly dismissed three trade union activists.