McDonald’s workers take their strike to Downing Street3 min read

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Beleaguered McDonald’s workers are taking their strike for higher wages to Downing Street today.

Staff members at six McDonald’s restaurants in London will ‘McStrike’ for the day while dozens of protests will take place in towns and cities across the UK.

Employees are demanding wages of £15 an hour, an end to youth rates, the choice of guaranteed hours of up to 40 hours a week and notice of shifts four weeks in advance.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is supporting staff at McDonald’s – which has a market value of £113 billion – over their ‘poverty wages’. 

Employees are demanding wages of £15 an hour, an end to youth rates, the choice of guaranteed hours of up to 40 hours a week and notice of shifts four weeks in advance

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is supporting staff at McDonald's - which has a market value of £113 billion - over their 'poverty wages'

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is supporting staff at McDonald’s – which has a market value of £113 billion – over their ‘poverty wages’

A McDonald’s spokesman assured customers the six London stores affected – Wandsworth Town, Downham, Balham, Deptford, Catford and Crayford – will still be open on Tuesday. 

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American businessman Chris Kempczinski became McDonald’s chief executive last week, after former boss Steve Easterbrook was fired for having a relationship with an unnamed employee.

Mr Easterbrook left with stock awards worth £29 million along with a severance payment of £505,000, and his successor will earn the equivalent of £97,000 a year plus a target bonus of £165,500.

Lewis Baker, who works at Crayford McDonald’s in London, said he will be striking because he struggles to pay rent on his income of £8.80 an hour.

Mr Baker, 29, said: ‘There are a lot of workers who are struggling to pay their bills and get by day to day.

‘We don’t have set hours, so we don’t always earn enough to pay the bills.

‘If we got £15 an hour, it would have a massive impact – I would be able to afford to pay my rent, to pay my bills, go on holiday and have some kind of work-life balance.

‘I think it’s important to strike against massive corporations like McDonald’s who are making millions.’

A former McDonald’s employee, Connor McLean-Bolingoli, said he was paid £6.20 an hour when he worked at the fast food outlet as a teenager.

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Mr McLean-Bolingoli, 22, said he left the job in December 2017 after being told to work night shifts despite his bosses knowing he was a young carer.

He said: ‘The staff are more or less seen as expendable, as they know there will always be new high school and uni students taking up positions.

‘I left because I had been scheduled to work overnight shifts for the first time since explaining that, as a carer for my mother, who has MS, I couldn’t work overnight shifts.’

The former employee, who now earns double his McDonald’s wage, said the low pay for employees translates into bad customer service.

He said: ‘I was told by a guy on my first day, ‘we don’t get paid enough to care about getting normal burgers exactly right’, and obviously that attitude lets things down for the customer.’

McDonald's workers also want recognition of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union (BFAWU)

McDonald’s workers also want recognition of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU)

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell will join the workers at Downing Street to challenge their ‘poverty wages’.

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He said: ‘Low pay and insecure work is endemic in the fast food industry.

‘A Labour government will take on the big corporations such as McDonald’s to stop them from paying out poverty wages.

‘Labour’s commitment to a £10-an-hour real living wage and an end to in-work poverty will help millions of low-paid workers across the country.’

Anti-poverty charity War on Want, the Trades Union Congress, and the BFAWU will be supporting the workers. 

Jess Bower (centre) who is on strike from the McDonald's restaurant in Crayford, SE London

Jess Bower (centre) who is on strike from the McDonald’s restaurant in Crayford, SE London

The strike will take place on a global day of action for fast food employees called by the International Union of Food Workers, which will see events in countries including France, Belgium, Brazil, Chile and New Zealand.

In the UK, McDonald’s workers also want recognition of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU). 

The American fast food company has a market value of £113 billion and employs 130,000 people in the UK.