4TH SEPTEMBER WAS AN HISTORIC day for our labour movement when workers from two McDonald’s shops - in Crayford and Cambridge - went on strike for the first time in the UK.
The strike was called over McDonald’s failure to deal with issues such as bullying, sexual harassment, reduction of hours for joining a union and health and safety. It was also about the company's failure to offer the guaranteed hours it promised workers in April and for an increase in pay. Workers from McDonald’s have signalled by this courageous decision that they will no longer accept being exploited in the workplace.
McDonald’s symbolises the low wage economy. The head office based in Thatcher’s constituency was opened in 1983 as she was plotting the attacks on the miners and the war against trade unions. The zero-hours contracts pioneered by McDonald’s are operating in every sector of employment. These workers have shown it’s possible to fight back.
Since the strike our offices have been full of requests to join the union. We have received information from workers telling us some real horror stories about the culture of bullying and sexual harassment happening in McDonald’s. More workers are saying enough is enough. Change is coming. The idea that you can't organise in corporations like McDonald’s has been shattered.
McDonald’s can bury its head and say it won't talk - but ignoring us won't stop us. Nothing is impossible!
is National President of the Bakers' Food & Allied Workers Union