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28 February 2018

KFC delivery crisis: make the bosses pay, not the workers!

Rob Williams, chair, National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)

As I was eating my breakfast on 21 February, I was contacted by London's LBC radio about the crisis at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The news headlines may have tried to make light of the frustrations of regulars missing out on their fill of fried chicken - but there is a serious side for workers.

Normally, the host Nick Ferrari is a fearsome defender of corporate rights, especially when it comes to transport union RMT and tube strikes. He tends to explode when there is any mention of nationalisation!

But on this occasion, even he didn't try to justify workers being forced to pay the price of management's mistakes by losing pay through cancelled shifts.

It has once again lifted the lid on the precarious nature of fast food workers' employment.

Last October, general union GMB wrote to KFC to warn management about changing couriers to DHL. As the public is now aware, moving to DHL led to KFC's supply crisis, which saw restaurants closed down or running a depleted service.

Correctly, GMB is fighting to ensure that no KFC or DHL staff lose money.

As I told Ferrari, in my capacity as chair of the NSSN, we are proud to be part of bakers' union BFAWU's Fast Food Rights campaign. That union organised the first strike in Britain by McDonald's workers last September.

KFC might miss a couple of days because of their error, but they make super-profits for 52 weeks a year, so could easily afford to pay workers.

I used the interview to publicly call on KFC workers to join a union, like the BFAWU or GMB, as the best way to fight super-exploitation by management.

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