Staff at McDonald’s, JD Wetherspoon and TGI Fridays staged a walkout today calling for better pay and workers’ rights in coordinated action taking place in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, London, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton.
Drivers for UberEats also staged their own protest on the same day as the Fast Food Shutdown action organised by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), War on Want and Unite.
Workers at JD Wetherspoon, McDonald’s and TGI Fridays want to be paid £10 an hour, and calling for an end to precarious contracts and recognition of their trade unions.
Around 50 UberEats and Uber drivers and supporters protested for better pay in the lobby of Uber’s London offices in action supported by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
UberEats delivery drivers want to be paid £5 per delivery and a further £1 per mile for each delivery.
Labour and the TUC back the Strike Action and Workers’ Rights
John McDonnell at the rally in Leicester Square Credit: Ollie Cole
The rally in London was attended by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who said: “Let me be absolutely clear that the Labour party is 100% behind this strike. We will fulfil the promise of our late leader John Smith, made way back in the 1990s – trade union rights for everyone.”
Trade General Secretary, Frances O’Grady also addressed the rally.
On the BBC’s Today programme today she described the strike as, ‘small but growing’.
O’Grady explained to the Guardian: “These are often young workers who increasingly feel they have nothing to lose. They are on low pay, often without training and often on zero-hour contracts.”
“Although these are small-scale actions, they are growing and spreading, and what I find really touching is that these are workers from different companies coming out to support each other.
“The key point is that a lot of these very rich and powerful multinational firms have deliberately put their workers on contracts that keep them scared. If you are on a zero-hours contract, they don’t have to sack you, they can just stop offering you shifts. So it’s a big ask to stick your head above the parapet.”
‘Fighting for a Fairer Future is Right’
The rally in Leicester Square, London Credit: Ollie Cole
Lauren McCourt who works for McDonald’s wrote in a blog: “Poverty wasn’t just a word to me – I was living it.
I knew that if the manager decided to take shifts away from me I would end up homeless. And all the workers at my store were struggling just the same.
Everyone I worked with was barely making ends meet. People were working 12-hour shifts every day just to make their rent – and 7 days a week because the free meal we got on our break was the only way we could feed ourselves.”
Earlier this year McCourt led a walkout of staff at the Manchester branch of McDonald’s where she worked, calling for better and conditions. “Going on strike taught me that we’re stronger when we stand together. For the first time, I felt like we had real power in our workplace.
And because the labour movement and our communities supported us, we knew what we were doing was right.
Because fighting for £10 is right, fighting to end zero hours is right, and fighting for a fairer future is right.”