Watch out McDonald’s, the ‘McStrike’ is coming
Tomorrow I and my fellow workers at McDonald’s in in Cambridge will go on strike for the second time. Last time we went on strike there were only two locations participating. This time around that number has nearly tripled with workers at five locations walking out. We’ll be striking for £10 an hour, for an end to zero hour contracts and for union recognition. It doesn’t sound like a lot – it’s not – but it has the power to change lives.
Too many McDonald’s workers struggle to get by every week. They don’t know if they’ll earn enough to pay their rent or bills. Everyone’s living with constant stress and it’s time for that to change. Ten pounds an hour is not much, especially considering– McDonald’s makes billions in profit. A modest increase in wages would recognize the contribution that our work makes toward those the profits.
Today’s low pay is made worse by how McDonald’s uses zero hour contracts. They are a cause of such instability in workers’ lives. When you rely on your shifts to survive, you are forced to beg for the shifts you need. You never know if you’ll be able to eat week to week.
McDonald’s claim that they’ve offered fixed hour contracts to everyone, but that was entirely for show. It wasn’t a serious offer. They made it too difficult for workers to access the new contracts.
That’s why we need a union, so we can solve problems like these. So we can come together to support each other, and make McDonald’s a better place to work. It’s really about respect. We’re standing up for ourselves. Bullying is present in too many McDonald’s locations. It comes from a lack of respect for each worker’s individual needs and wants but it’s by coming together as a union that we can fight back against it. Together we can ensure that no worker has to go onto shift worried about being bullied or disrespected.
When we stand together we’re no longer alone. When we stand together as McDonald’s workers we are powerful. We can support each other, and work together to solve our problems.
The support for our strike in Cambridge has been overwhelming. Teachers, lecturers, firefighters, other trade unionists, community and campaign groups like War on Want have all sent messages of encouragement. It’s been an incredible boost. It’s been great to have the support of my family as well, having them understand the importance of what we’re doing.
We’re not asking people to boycott McDonald’s – it’s about holding McDonald’s accountable for how it treats its workers. It’s about saying to Steve Easterbrook, the global CEO of McDonald’s, that he needs to listen to workers and respect our right to a union.
Eventually we will win. When we do it will change lives for the better. I’ll be able to spend a little less time focusing on McDonald’s and more on pursuing my studies. With £10 an hour in my pocket, I’ll have a bit more time to enjoy my social life. Our movement is growing and it’s growing really quickly. McDonald’s, watch out. We’re standing up for ourselves and others.
Annalise Peters is a 20-year-old McDonald’s worker in Cambridge, United Kingdom.