11 February 2014
The Fast Food Rights campaign, a newly launched initiative supported by John McDonnell MP, has called a day of action on Saturday 15 February under the banner ‘Hungry for Justice’.
Ian Hodson, national president of BFAWU, said, “This campaign is about bringing to an end the heinous zero hours contracts in operation across the industry. It is about people receiving pay that they can live on; it is about fighting for a pay rise for workers. We are talking about hugely profitable companies here—they can afford to pay their workers a decent wage.”
In London the day of action will see activists assemble at 1pm outside the McDonald’s on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street to raise awareness about workers’ rights and highlight the need for union organisation. Events will also take place elsewhere in the country on 15 February. Details will be announced on the campaign’s website.
Campaigners will be building support for the day of action amongst fast food workers in the run up to 15 February. Meet Saturday 8 February 1pm and Monday 10 February 6pm at McDonald’s on corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street to help.
The next campaign meeting is on 24 February, 6pm at Vernon Square campus of SOAS (NOT RUSSELL SQUARE CAMPUS), room VG06, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW. Near Kings Cross station. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE.
An upsurge of protests and strikes in up to 100 cities in the US by fast food workers burst through at the end of 2013, showing the potential for unionising in the industry. This movement highlighted a stark situation, where more than half of the US fast food industry’s 3.65 million workers rely on benefits to top up their income, and 68 percent are the main breadwinner in their household.
In the UK, we’ve seen the extent of the scandal of zero hours contracts exposed, while the UK take away and fast foods industry raked in a total revenue of £5 billion. In 2012, fast food chains in the UK saw sales rise to a staggering £6.9 billion. Yet for example, McDonald’s, the leading player in the UK industry, boosts its mega profits through forcing 90 percent of its workforce to live on zero hours contracts. And despite the huge profits made by these corporations, the average fast food worker in the UK earns just £5 an hour according to PayScale figures in January 2014.
Fast food workers need strong unions so they can fight collectively for decent pay, secure contracts and respect. The day of action on 15 February will mark the beginning of a battle that will take on the multinationals that dominate the fast foods industry, ensure workers know their rights, and open the door to organising fast food workers into unions.
John McDonnell said “Work in fast food restaurants for many people means low pay, insecure employment and poor employment conditions. We are launching this campaign to recruit fast food workers into a trade union so that we can secure decent pay and conditions. We call upon trade unionists to join us in our day of action.”
Fast Food Rights is supported by Bakers Food Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), Unite the Resistance, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Youth Fight for Jobs and the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) and other campaigning organisations.