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McStriker addresses Greenwich trade unionists
Paul Callanan, Greenwich Socialist Party
On 6 September local trade unionists from Unite, PCS and NUT unions, as well as the local trade union council in Greenwich, gathered to hear from Lewis Baker, a striking McDonald's worker from Crayford. The meeting was called on the initiative of Socialist Party members in the Greenwich Unite branch.
The recent 24-hour strike at two branches of McDonald's (Cambridge and Crayford) was the first official union strike at the company in Britain.
Lewis explained how staff at the restaurant have suffered years of low pay, bullying and abuse from managers. The final straw was the arrival of a new manager.
Numerous grievances had been taken out against this bully, which were then completely ignored by the company.
Lewis gave examples of horrific instances of abuse, including holding workers in the back office in order for bosses to obtain the names of all members in the union branch!
But Lewis also outlined how these workers organised, and made history, by fighting back. Speaking about the strike's importance to working class struggle, he said: "McDonald's sets the benchmark for other companies setting poverty wages - if we can shift them, we can also help thousands more workers too".
- A Fast Food Rights day of action is being organised in Woolwich on Saturday 16 September, 2pm. Campaign supporters should get down to the McDonalds on Powis Street, SE18 6LQ.