Workers at two McDonald’s restaurants staged the first strike to hit the company in Britain in a protest over pay and other issues on Monday. Fourteen workers at restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, in London, went on strike to demand an increase in pay to 10 pounds ($13) an hour, an end to so-called zero-hour contracts which offer no fixed hours, and more trade union recognition.
A spokesman for McDonald’s, which has operated in Britain since 1974, said the strikers represented less than half of the 33 union members who were balloted and the stated reason for the strike related to internal grievance procedures and not pay or contracts.
He said the company and its franchisees were offering staff the option of a guaranteed hour contract but so far 86 percent of its employees had chosen to stay on flexible contracts. A union representing the workers said it also wanted trained shop stewards to monitor stores across Britain. Two managers in the Cambridge branch of the restaurant were suspended this year for bullying and harassment, the union said.
Monday’s action coincides with strikes in the United States and Belgium. Small demonstrations in support of the striking McDonald’s workers were taking place in 14 locations in Britain. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party, said he supported “the brave McDonald’s workers, who are making history today. They are standing up for workers’ rights by leading the first ever strike at McDonald’s in the UK.”