In Brief

McDonald's faces first ever UK strike

Workers at Crayford and Cambridge branches are demanding a £10-an-hour minimum wage, union recognition, and scrapping of zero-hour deals

McDonald's is facing its first workers strike in the UK since it opened in 1974.

The 40 staff members who are striking at the fast-food giant's Crayford and Cambridge branches are not members of a union, but the Bakers', Food and Allied Workers Union agreed to take up their case.

The union has taken advice from protesters in the US and New Zealand who have campaigned for better conditions at McDonald's in the past, reports the BBC

McDonald’s employs around 85,000 staff in the UK and one million worldwide.

"The fast-food chain has been one of the biggest users of zero-hours contracts in Britain," says The Guardian. It announced in April that workers would be offered a choice of flexible or fixed contracts with minimum guaranteed hours, but says 86 per cent have chosen to stay on flexible contracts.

Among the workers' demands are a £10-an-hour minimum wage, union recognition and the scrapping of all zero-hours deals.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has offered his backing to the protest, which the union said would be well-supported.

Ian Hodson, the union's president, said: "We fully support the historic decision by these brave workers to stand up and fight back against McDonald's - a company that has let them down one too many times.

"For far too long, workers in fast food restaurants such as McDonald's have had to deal with poor working conditions, drastic cuts to employee hours, and even bullying in the workplace - viewed by many as a punishment for joining a union."

'Proper bullying'"For many of those on the picket line, it’s working conditions and internal processes which have become - unexpectedly - intolerable," says HuffPost UK

"Things seemed to change," one of the striking workers' told the website. "My mum passed away in January and the manager just thought I went on holiday. The way I was treated was really bad. I went into hospital because of the stress of it."

Another of those on strike at the Crayford branch told the website: "There is proper bullying going on here. The conditions have become really bad. There’s discrimination. Hours are cut if you’re not a manager’s favourite."

A spokesman for McDonald's said: "We can confirm that, following a ballot process, the BFAWU has indicated that a small number of our people representing less than 0.01% of our workforce are intending to strike in two of our 1,270 UK restaurants."

"As per the terms of the ballot, the dispute is solely related to our internal grievance procedures and not concerning pay or contracts."

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