McDonald’s workers are taking their strike for higher wages to Downing Street today.
Staff members at six McDonald’s restaurants in London are on ‘McStrike’ for the day while dozens of protests are taking 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.
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.’
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer met picketers outside Wandsworth McDonald’s before they went to Downing Street, to present their demands to the Prime Minister.
Sir Keir told some 30 campaigners: ‘We wanted to take time out of the election campaign to come and stand with you and support your cause, because low pay is completely unacceptable, insecure work is completely unacceptable, no union is completely unacceptable.’
He urged protesters to ‘keep going’ as they cheered and waved signs reading ‘Fight for £15.’
McDonald’s employee Melissa Evans said she was striking to show her son ‘there’s more to life than this poverty’.
She said: ‘We need change right now, we have had enough of living in poverty and working for nothing.
‘Right now I don’t have a penny to my name. You go home and you just get in your bed and cry yourself to sleep. You wake up and you can still hear the beeps (of McDonald’s tills) in your head.’
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell joined the workers at Downing Street to challenge their ‘poverty wages’.
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.’
The strike is taking 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).