McDonald’s workers historic step, in their fight for fairness

By Ian Hodson (BFAWU National President)

For far too long, workers in fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s have felt taken for granted by their employers.

Trade unions, such as mine Baker’s, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), have worked to support these workers in standing up for their rights.

Last month, our union notified McDonald’s that workers from 2 of its stores – Crayford and Cambridge – will be balloted, with a view to authorise a strike. Today, those workers took an historic step – to announce their intention to strike for the first time in UK history. Results from the ballot today showed that 95.7 percent of the balloted McDonald’s workers, voted in favour of the strike.

That’s certainly a statement of intent – and discontent – if there ever was one. And the voice of these workers is only going to get louder.

This ballot is all about fighting for a £10 per hour minimum wage, and the need for McDonald’s to recognise their workers' right to form a trade union, as employees of the company.

Workers have the right to voice their concerns. Some workers are working full time and are still living in poverty. That’s the harsh reality of it. 

There is a growing global movement calling for the fair and decent treatment of workers. In the US for example, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have shown the importance of collective action – with their ‘Fight for $15’ campaign having seen more than 10 million workers move towards a $15 minimum wage, and with 20 million workers in total having won wage increases since 2012.

Now, the BFAWU and our members will fight to achieve the same impressive results seen by our transatlantic colleagues – starting with the strike later this year.

This strike is a call for change. Our members demand to be listened too – they have a right to get their voice heard. Hopefully, senior figures at McDonald’s will be listening, because this voice is not going to go away, and this behaviour can go on no longer.