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McDonald’s workers on historic strike in Britain – Solidarity with their just struggle

Their solidarity towards the strike of the workers at McDonald’s fast food chain in Britain expressed labor-trade unions in Greece and Turkey.

The Trade union of workers in Catering, Hotels, Tourism of Athens issued a statement expressing its solidarity to their colleagues working to McDonald’s in the UK, who went on strike earlier this week, struggling for better salaries and abolition of the “zero hour contracts”.

More specifically, the union states:

“Every country has two faces. One face represents wealth and luxury, where a minority is exploiting the work of others. On the other hand, there is the face of the majority of the workers struggling to live with poverty wages. Even we, who daily serve food to thousands of people, we do not manage to serve food to our families.

The workers in catering, tourism and hotels of Athens, support your fair demands for better wages, working hours and union recognition.

The flight of every worker for life, working conditions and working rights, is a fight that concerns us all.”

In Istanbul, members of the Communist Party of Turkey raided McDonald’s restaurants in the city addressing the workers and customers, ‘Did you hear? McDonald’s workers are on strike!’

The leaflets announced that McDonald’s has over 1 million employees throughout the world and 85 thousand of them who work in Britain are on strike. It vocalized the demands of the workers for higher hourly pay, union rights and an end to slavish treatment of bosses.

‘Over 200 thousand fast food workers in Turkey work in precarious, unsecure conditions, long hours standing and with low wages. Average hourly pay starts from 7 liras [about 2 dolars] and daily overtime reaches 9 hours, without week-end holiday.’

The leaflet told that  McDonald’s workers under these conditions are expected to seem jocund and keep hardworking. They are monitored by cameras and a momentary rest is an excuse to get fired. Meanwhile the bosses record a turnover of 6 billlion dolars. ‘A “smiling service” in front of the kitchen and a cruel exploitation behind…’

CP of Turkey stated that fast food culture speeds up the reaping of bosses and for workers the only way out is to get organized. “In Britain, Germany, Turkey and elsewhere in the world’said the leaflet, ‘either in McDonald’s or in others, the same exploitation, the same class of bosses. The only way out is to get organized and to act collectively.”

McDonald's strike UK 2

Regarding the historic strike of workers at McDonald’s, we read in the article published at the New Worker (No 1934, 8 September 2017), official newspaper of the New Communist Party of Britain:

WORKERS at two branches of the McDonald’s fast food chain began strike action early on Monday – the first strike at McDonald’s in Britain since the chain first opened in Brit- ain in 1974. The workers are members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU). They are demanding £10-per-hour minimum pay, union recogni- tion, an end to zero-hours con- tracts and an end to the bullying culture rife behind the scenes at McDonald’s.

Staff at the two branches, in Crayford, Kent and in Cam- bridge, were balloted for strike action and last month voted by 95.7 per cent in favour of the strike. Picket lines outside both branches found support from the general public and other trade unionists and progressives. Later on Monday they travelled to Westminster for a rally.

The workers are angry at the way managers use the zero-hours contracts to bully workers by cutting their hours so they can never be sure what their wages will be. This has led workers to lose their homes through not being able to pay rent. One young woman on the picket line described the bul- lying culture to reporters: “My mum passed away in January and the manager just thought I went on holiday. The way I was treated was really bad. I went into hospital because of the stress of it.”

ess of it.” Twenty-seven-year-old Lew- is Baker, who helped to organise the Crayford strike, said: “There is proper bullying going on here. The conditions have become really bad. There’s discrimination. Hours are cut if you’re not a manager’s favourite. “The fight for £10 an hour is great and it would help us all, but it won’t make working here any better.

“We’ve had bosses tell us this strike is a joke. But it’s not a joke,” he said gesturing to the crowd of supporters. “For everyone to come here and show them we have support is just incredible.”

In a statement before the strike, Ian Hodson, president of the BFAWU, said: “For far too long, workers in fast food restau- rants such as McDonald’s have had to deal with unexplainably poor working conditions, dras- tic cuts to employee hours, and even bullying in the workplace – viewed by many as a punishment for joining a union.

“Trade unions, such as mine – Baker’s, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) – have worked to support these brave workers in standing up and fighting back against McDonalds – a company which has let these workers down one too many times. “Yet, despite all the attempts to change McDonald’s approach and help them become a fairer employer, nothing has been done on their side. Nothing has changed. Empty promises have been made. Yet nothing has been delivered.”

On Monday he said: “This is the second-largest restaurant company in the world that makes $22 billion (£17 billion) reve- nues a year, and yet its workers are living in poverty. They have been the pioneers of zero-hours contracts.” This is the first strike at Mc- Donald’s in Britain but it is part of an international movement, the Fast Food Global workers’ movement. In the United States, McDonald’s has come under pressure as part of the ‘Fight for $15’ campaign.

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