McDonald’s staff have staged a walk out in the fast food chain’s first ever strike action in the UK.
Workers at two restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, south-east London, began the 24-hour action at midnight due to a dispute over zero-hours contracts and conditions. About 40 staff are on strike after a ballot in favour of industrial action.
The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union said staff want a wage of at least £10 an hour and more secure jobs.
Ian Hodson, the union’s president, said: “We fully support the historic decision by these brave workers to stand up and fight back against McDonald’s – a company that has let them down one too many times.
“For far too long, workers in fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s have had to deal with poor working conditions, drastic cuts to employee hours, and even bullying in the workplace – viewed by many as a punishment for joining a union.”
The strike has also won backing from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“Our party offers support and solidarity to the brave McDonald’s workers, who are making history today,” he said.
“Their demands – an end to zero-hours contracts by the end of the year, union recognition and a £10 per hour minimum wage – are just and should be met.”
McDonald’s said the action related to internal grievance procedures and not pay.
A company spokesman said: “We can confirm that, following a ballot process, the BFAWU has indicated that a small number of our people representing less than 0.01% of our workforce are intending to strike in two of our 1,270 UK restaurants.
“As per the terms of the ballot, the dispute is solely related to our internal grievance procedures and not concerning pay or contracts.
“As announced in April this year, together with our franchisees, we are providing our people with the option of a guaranteed hour contract, and all restaurants will have these contracts in place by the end of 2017.
“McDonald’s UK and its franchisees have delivered three pay rises since April 2016, this has increased the average hourly pay rate by 15%.
“We are proud of our people at McDonald’s, they are at the heart of all we do and we work hard to ensure that our teams are treated fairly. Our internal processes underpin that commitment.”