Workers at McDonald's branches in Crayford and Cambridge are on strike today, marking the first ever UK industrial action faced by the fast food chain.
Employees began a strike at midnight after voting overwhelmingly for action. They cited zero-hours contracts, pay and working conditions as concerns. However McDonald's has said that the strike is only about grievance procedures and not related to pay.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted his support for the strike this morning
The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), which helped to organise the action, said that low-paid workers deserved a living wage and more secure jobs.
In a blog post on the Union's website, president Ian Hodson wrote:
This ballot is all about fighting for a £10 per hour minimum wage, and the need for McDonald’s to recognise their worker’s right to form a trade union, as employees of the company. So far, they have chosen to ignore their workers by tightening their purse strings – filling their CEO’s pockets, at the expense of workers here in the UK and across the world.
Around 40 workers were set to strike, though some reports suggest only 14 people did so. The employees are not unionised, but the BFAWU agreed to take on their case.
In an official statement, a spokesperson for McDonald's 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 per cent of our workforce are intending to strike in two of our 1270 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 per cent.
“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.”