For the first time since opening a restaurant location in the United Kingdom, fast-food giant McDonald’s is looking at their first ever employee strike. Two locations in the UK have had employees recently call for industrial action. These two locations, one in Cambridge and one in Crayford, bear London, both saw employees vote for a strike. The overwhelming vote by members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) are looking for more stable working hours as well as a minimum wage of £10 per hour.
A company spokesman stated that McDonald’s is focused on ensuring their employees are treated fairly, and are working hard for that. The fast-food giant claims that the vote at the two locations represents less than 0.01 percent of their entire workforce. The Big Mac maker stated that the ballot voted on is part of the company’s internal grievance procedures, according to the BBC.
The vote for a strike may just be the beginning. The vote by these two locations may have a ripple effect throughout the UK and Europe. It resembles the same action taken in the United States a few years ago. What started small, as a few fast food restaurants called for better wages, a higher minimum wage campaign began that spread across the United States. The result in the U.S. was the promise of a gradual increase to the federal minimum wage and the threats from employers that they may be forced to let employees go because they could not afford to pay more.
In the United States, people who were unqualified for higher paying jobs were finding the need to work multiple minimum wage jobs just to keep a roof over their heads. Many worked more than a 40 hour work week across multiple jobs, and they felt that was unfair. The vote in the UK by employees at the two McDonald’s follows the same path, basically wanting hours that are more regular than they are now, and more income so they are not struggling.
In April, McDonald’s in the UK offered employees the choice of flexible or fixed hours, as well as guaranteed minimum hours per week, but it apparently was not enough. Time will tell if this strike threat will spread through the rest of the UK McDonald’s like it spread through the U.S. fast food industry.
What do you think? Will this start a minimum wage revolution in the UK? Will the entire British fast food industry be affected? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy UK McDonald’s