Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 April 2014

Junk jobs - we're fightin' it!

Protesting for fast food workers' rights in London

Protesting for fast food workers' rights in London   (Click to enlarge)

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) called a day of action against zero-hour contracts on 29 March, which was supported by the Fast Food Rights campaign and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU). 30 actions took place around the country to highlight the plight of workers on zero-hour contracts, call for a living wage of 10 an hour and contracted hours, and to appeal to those workers affected to get involved in the campaign and to join a union. See


Protesting against zero-hour contracts in Lewisham

Protesting against zero-hour contracts in Lewisham   (Click to enlarge)

30 people marched through Lewisham town centre in south London protesting outside Subway, McDonald's, Burger King and KFC.

The protest got a brilliant response from people shopping in the area who were disgusted at how low-paid workers in fast food restaurants and shops are being treated.

People took leaflets, stopped and listened to the chants and even joined the demonstration. Local trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners had also turned out to support the protest.

When Fast Food Rights activists went into the restaurants to talk to staff we got an excellent response - one worker signed up to join BFAWU on the spot! The campaign is now discussing declaring Lewisham a 'living wage zone' and launching a huge fight to demand that all the area's employers pay workers at least 10 an hour.

There was more support later when campaigners carried out a tour of Leicester Square, one of central London's busiest eating areas.

Helen Pattison, London YFJ


YFJ protest against zero-hour contracts at Sports Direct in Shirebrook

YFJ protest against zero-hour contracts at Sports Direct in Shirebrook   (Click to enlarge)

Around 30 people supported the YFJ protest outside Sports Direct in Shirebrook, north Derbyshire. Sports Direct employs around 5,000 people in the Shirebrook area - 4,700 are on zero-hour contracts or temporary work arrangements.

Mike Ashley who owns Sports Direct, as well as the best part of Newcastle United football club, recently agreed to award himself a 65 million bonus.

There are many migrant workers and under-18s who work at Sports Direct. Some workers are being paid as little as 3.50 an hour and workers have to undergo humiliating searches when clocking off.

Our protest helped to show that no worker has to be left alone and defenceless in the face of bullying management.

Also on the protest were members of the GMB union, which organises some Sports Direct workers, the Fire Brigades Union, the Socialist Party and other activists.

Nathan Sharpe, Mansfield and north Derbyshire Socialist Party


Our second day of action had a big impact on workers in Newcastle. People agreed with our leaflets and many had their own stories to tell.

Beth Farhat, regional secretary of the TUC, brought a lot of young workers to the stall while also promoting the TUC's fair pay fortnight.

We went inside the likes of Burger and McDonald's advertising our public meeting for fast food workers on the 12 April, Brunswick Church, 12pm.

We also signed people up to the union. Everyone was enthusiastic about taking our campaign forward and won't stop until we end zero-hour contracts.

Paul Phillips, Newcastle YFJ


McDonald's felt the presence of the Fast Food Rights campaign in Swansea. Security and managers were posted at all entrances and we were barred from entering.

But outside we had a great reception, with local people, young and old, flocking to sign our petition.

We heard horror stories of young workers on one-hour contracts and other examples of exploitation.

YFJ worked alongside local Socialist Party members and Greggs workers organised in BFAWU.

Gareth Bromhall, Swansea YFJ


Nick Parker, secretary of Lincoln and District TUC, said: "we're proud to support the fight to put an end to low pay and the use of zero-hour contracts and commend Youth Fight for Jobs for calling this national day of action.

"Politicians like George Osborne keep telling us that the economy is in recovery and unemployment is falling.

"If that's true then companies like McDonald's, which made a UK profit of more than 243 million in 2012, can afford to share the proceeds of the recovery with their workers, and give them proper hours instead of permanent insecurity.

"We call on fast-food workers to emulate their US counterparts who have built up a magnificent movement of protests and walkouts for $15 an hour. Join BFAWU and organise together to fight for your rights at work."

Lincoln and District TUC


In Wakefield, Leeds and Sheffield, activists from YFJ were joined by other supporters of the Fast Food Rights campaign.

In Wakefield, activists ran a stall outside McDonald's on Kirkgate. We spoke to loads of people passing by, including one person who explained how McDonald's had forced her out by reducing her shifts after the first time she refused to do overtime.

Iain Dalton, Yorkshire YFJ organiser


In Liverpool the day of action was the latest in a series of protests and campaign stalls on the issue of zero-hour contracts.

The fantastic response we received has come to be expected. I've lost count of the number of people, of all ages, who have approached us in solidarity, shaken our hands, and exchanged stories with us of their own experiences or those of people they know.

The demonstration we held was outside Sports Direct. A security guard who approached us to find out what we were all about left with a smile on his face and one of our leaflets in his hand.

Another man stopped and told us he was an employer of 45 people and was utterly disgusted with the practice of zero-hour contracts.

We plan to continue the campaign and have further actions. It's time to get rid of zero-hour contracts.

Giorgo Moulas, Liverpool Socialist Party youth organiser


Mark Best of Coventry Youth Fight For Jobs said "Young people today aren't represented by any of the main parties in parliament. We're not apathetic, we're angry and we're going to do something about it."


Our message was loud and clear in Cardiff, aimed at the fast-food companies who rake in huge profits at the cost of exploiting their workers, with chants such as "What do we Want? Union Rights! When do we want them? Now!" and "Living Wage, no matter your age!".

We split into groups and leafleted some of the fast food workplaces along Queen Street, the main shopping area in Cardiff.

Then, following the example of activists across the pond in the US we tried a loop protest. We marched around in a circle chanting and waving placards.

This form of protest developed because static protests are banned in the US. While they are allowed in the UK we thought that a loop protest would inject energy and draw more public attention. We weren't wrong!

Afterwards we set up a YFJ campaign stall and held a rally. We spoke about the need for fighting trade unions like BFAWU in fast food workplaces.

We warned that if the government and employers get away with normalising zero-hour contracts then workers may as well be handed a blank piece of paper in place of a contract.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 2 April 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Real jobs for all!

The truth about the miners' strike

TUSC: No-cuts election challenge grows

Climate change: Socialism and global planning essential

Unplug the 'Big Six' profiteers

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

France: Government punished in local elections

A million march for dignity in Madrid

South Africa: It's your opportunity to make history!

Socialist Party workplace news

Doncaster strike: Fight Tory 'don't Care UK society'!

Probation officers walk out

Victory for Carmarthenshire Unison

Unite EC elections start

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Junk jobs - we're fightin' it!

Kent 'peasants' storm Rochester

FF success: perspectives, planning and persistence

Worcestershire: Is socialism only way of saving NHS?

May Day greetings in the Socialist

Socialist history

London: Quinn Square Rent Strike 1938


Home   |   The Socialist 2 April 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Youth Fight for Jobs:

triangleJarrow March: an inspiring show of solidarity between workers and youth

triangleUnison Broad Left meeting

triangleNSSN lobby of the TUC: an urgent time for our movement

triangleBFAWU conference 2016: "A council of war"

triangleDay of action against poverty pay: 10 now!


trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleRBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

triangleRoyal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

triangleVictory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!


triangleCoventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights


trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


triangleCourt maintains injunction against fracking protesters


triangleRMT strikes against removal of train guards spreads


triangleRough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests


triangleUprising to save the NHS!


triangleStrikers rally in Liverpool


triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting


triangleWe're freezing: reverse cuts to boiler replacement schemes!

Zero-hour contracts:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts


triangleYFJ to join 'free education' demo


triangleWaltham Forest Universal Credit protest


triangle4,800 young people hurt after officers 'restrain' them


triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay


triangleThe Socialist Inbox


triangleWakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question


triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield


triangleSocialist Students day of action demands free education


triangleChatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee



Unite protest against blacklisting


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm



BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes



Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test



School staff strike against privatisation



Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services



PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference


North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters


Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest



Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000



TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections



Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students



Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice