London: McDonald’s workers staged the first ever strike in Britain today in protest at pay and working conditions at the US fast-food giant.
About 40 workers gathered outside two restaurants in Crayford, southeast London, and in Cambridge before attending a protest outside parliament.
Workers are demanding an hourly wage of 10 (USD 13), union recognition and an end to zero-hours contracts, under which employees are required to be available for work but have no guaranteed minimum hours.
“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,” Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, said in Cambridge.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour party, lent his support, saying the demands “are just and should be met”.
McDonald’s highlighted that those on strike made up less than 0.01 per cent of its workforce and that 86 per cent of its workers had opted for flexible contracts.
“McDonald’s UK and its franchisees have delivered three pay rises since April 2016, this has increased the average hourly pay rate by 15 per cent,” it said in a statement.