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McDonald’s Workers Begin Walk Out

By: Rajeev Sayal of The Guardian

McDonald’s workers in Britain are striking in a dispute over zero-hours contracts and working conditions that is being closely observed by the fast food industry and trade unions.

Staff from branches in Manchester and Watford will join colleagues in Crayford and Cambridge as part of a “McStrike” as workers demand a minimum £10-an-hour living wage.

Members of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union are also asking for a choice of fixed-hour contracts, the end of unequal pay for young workers, and union recognition.

Employees at UK branches attracted worldwide attention in September by striking for the first time. Britain is one of McDonald’s strongest markets, reporting 12 years of quarterly growth.

While the numbers of employees taking strike action on Tuesday is small – just 11 are officially involved – one academic said the move was significant.

Tony Royle, a professor of employment relations at the University of York, said the dispute was symbolic of the growing income gap, an increase in precarious work and a decline in independent trade union representation.

“McDonald’s is a multibillion-dollar corporation which continues to pay its senior executives sky-high salaries while paying low wages for the vast majority of its 2 million employees.

“Young workers in particular have felt the brunt of the ‘flexible’ labour market and austerity government policies and are increasingly frustrated, angry and ready to fight for a more just workplace.

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