May Day McStrike
ON INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY, 1st May, workers at five McDonald’s stores went on strike to demand £10 an hour, an end to youth rates, the option of guaranteed hours and for their right to a union to be respected.
The day was a massive success as McDonald’s workers took a stand for justice, and the public and politicians came out to show their support. It showed that the McStrike is only going to grow until McDonald’s treats its workers with the respect they deserve.
The day started shortly after midnight when Blaz Mesner, a Slovenian McDonald’s worker, walked off his shift in Manchester. He was met by a loud and noisy reception of supporters. One supporter, Jodie Boy, a delegate from Hull Trades Council, made the journey specially to express his support.
Many others came out to show their support, including Lynn Collins from the North West TUC, and Manchester, Salford and Hull trades councils, and Labour Students. There was little sleep in Manchester as workers came back to picket their store in the morning. Among the supporters was Natalie Bennett, former leader of the Green Party.
In Crayford McDonald’s workers were going on strike for the second time. In Cambridge the picket line bridged the ‘town and gown’ with students from Cambridge Defend Education, and the university lecturers’ union UCU among many who came to show their support. By midday workers from all five stores came together in Watford, the home town of multimillionaire global CEO Steve Easterbrook. Laura Pidcock, the shadow Labour Minister for Labour, herself a former McDonald’s worker, spoke powerfully about the change that is needed. Richard Shattock, a McDonald’s worker from Watford, spoke about the inequality at the heart of McDonald’s business model where Steve Easterbrook can earn £5,500 an hour and a Watford McDonald’s worker only £5.75.
There was a tidal wave of support for the McStrikers online including messages from around the world, many from McDonald’s workers. Parliamentarians also spoke out in support. Alex Mayer MEP for the East of England raised the issue in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and Daniel Zeichner MP for Cambridge raised it in Westminster. The message that the McStrike was back, bigger and stronger than before, made headlines across the UK. Workers were buoyed by the massive show of public support. Their message was clear: they are willing to do whatever it takes to win £10 an hour, an end to youth rates, guaranteed hours and for their right to a union to be respected.
The day was a massive success as McDonald’s workers took a stand for justice, and the public and politicians came out to show their support.