The Socialist 10 October 2018 |
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First coordinated catering and courier strike whets workers' appetite for action
Catering and courier workers on their joint strike rally in Leicester Square, 4.10.18, photo by Scott Jones (Click to enlarge)
Workers at several branches of McDonald's, Wetherspoon and TGI Fridays have struck together, joined by couriers for Uber Eats and other gig economy workers.
The 'Fast Food Shutdown' on 4 October - #FFS410 - was called by five trade unions: BFAWU, Unite, IWW, IWGB and GMB. Here we carry reports of some of the actions.
The Socialist spoke to TGI Fridays worker Lauren at the central strike rally:
Striking together with workers at McDonald's, Uber Eats and bar staff taking action for the first time at Wetherspoon is brilliant. It gives us confidence and shows the power that we have when we strike together.
We are striking over the removal of tips, but just like our McDonald's, Wetherspoons, Deliveroo and Uber Eats comrades, we are fighting for a real living wage and an end to unfair age-restricted rates of pay.
By going on strike we believe that we can win. McStrikers forced McDonald's to give them a pay rise after they first took strike action, and our action in TGI Fridays has forced the Tories to attack employers for stealing tips.
But we won't stop until we see real action to halt bosses doing this and force them to pay us proper wages and recognise our trade unions. And I strongly encourage every waiter, bartender, delivery driver, chef and cleaner to take a stand and join a union.
At midnight, workers at the Post and Telegraph pub in Brighton walked out of work, greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of young trade unionists. They were soon joined by staff at the Bright Helm, another Wetherspoon-owned pub in town.
After travelling to a demonstration in London alongside workers from McDonald's and TGI Fridays, the Wetherspoon strikers returned to Brighton for a rally before separating into pickets outside each pub. The Post and Telegraph was forced to close early as a result.
Most young workers are struggling to get by, stuck in low-paying jobs and precarious contracts. In Brighton, the minimum wage is far below what is needed to live on, with some of the highest rents outside London.
But now many are fighting back, with unions such as BFAWU supporting them. Young workers should build on the lessons of these strikes and plan our own coordinated actions to win real change in conditions.
Connor Rosoman, Brighton Socialist Party
Over 50 trade unionists, students and supporters attended a protest rally organised by Manchester Socialist Students outside McDonald's at Piccadilly in the city centre.
The protest was very well received by members of the public, who stopped to take leaflets and showed support for the primarily young workers. Older generations also understand the challenges faced by young workers, with many saying they do not understand how young people are supposed to 'get on in life' these days.
After speeches from young workers, students, the Socialist Party and the trade union council, we marched to TGI Fridays, where there were further speeches from students who had only recently got involved with Socialist Students. Again this action gained support from groups of onlookers.
Yazmin Magaby, Manchester Socialist Party