McDonald’s Corp. workers at two restaurants in England have voted in favor of a strike, in what would be the first industrial action by staff of the American fast-food chain in the UK. Employees at one site in Crayford, near London, and a second in Cambridgeshire were balloted following a dispute over the use of zero-hour contracts and the company’s handling of internal grievances.
“Workers have found themselves living on low wages — with no guarantee of hours,” the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union said in a statement after the ballot on Friday. “This has been viewed by some as punishment for joining a union,” it said, adding that a strike is planned for later this year. Staff are now seeking a pay rise to 10 pounds an hour ($12.89), with workers currently awarded the minimum wage of 7.50 pounds for staff aged 25 and over, BFAWU President Ian Hodson said by phone.
The union cites the pay increase given by McDonald’s to U.S. workers in 2015 and their continued push to achieve a pay rate of $15. “McDonald’s workers in the U.K. will fight to achieve the same impressive results seen by their transatlantic colleagues,” it said.
“Our workers are paid above minimum wage and McDonald’s U.K. and its franchisees have delivered three pay rises since April 2016,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed response. “Employees of McDonald’s and its franchised restaurants can choose to join a union and of course we would not interfere with this,” they added, in reference to BFAWU’s accusation that management are encouraged not to recognize unions.