Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 31 May 2007

No to McJobs

Fight low pay

On the picket line at the Ritzy

On the picket line at the Ritzy

WORKERS AT Brixton's famous Ritzy cinema in south London were on strike on 26 May, aiming to secure themselves a living wage. At present their employers City Screen pay them the national minimum wage of 5.35 an hour and had offered them a pathetic increase of up to 15p an hour without a sales bonus. They went on strike and formed a picket line.

Roger Shrives

Poverty pay like theirs is unfortunately common, particularly for young workers who regularly talk of the low-paid jobs on offer to them as McJobs - in 'honour' of burger giant McDonald's.

This company claims to be sick and tired of hearing people talk of McJobs as low-paid dead-end employment.

They have produced a petition aimed at persuading Britain's dictionary compilers to change the current definition of McJob to "better reflect the reality of service-sector jobs".

Reality? McDonald's seem to presume that people don't read reports from China where they have been caught underpaying their young workforce, often paying them 40% below the already appallingly low legal minimum wage!

What about Britain? McDonald's specialises in employing workers who are under 21.

Last year around 1.3 million 18-21 year olds were paid less than 6.50 an hour. That is two-thirds of all employees in this age group! In hotels and restaurants, 60% of employees over the age of 25 earn under 6.50 an hour.

These low-wage posts are McJobs for life.

Big Mac and his whoppers obviously embarrass even capitalist gurus. The Financial Times says that McDonald's pathetic petition and attempts to call black white are "the genius of capitalism at work. This is the spirit that took junk bonds and turned them into high-yielding debt, that looked at the third world and saw instead emerging markets."

It points out: "McDonald's is not going to allow the small matter of meaning and popular usage to prevent it from getting its views across."

The working-class movement must see to it that we get our views across too.

International Socialist Resistance (ISR), the socialist youth organisation, has been campaigning against low pay since it was set up. This summer it is starting the Boost our Pay campaign.

Many young workers are furious at the poverty pay and dead-end prospects they face but aren't sure how to turn this anger into action. The key to fighting for better pay and conditions is through united action in the workplace as the Ritzy workers have done, and in linking campaigns together.

However, trade union membership amongst young people is still low - about one in ten. The unions must get organised in workplaces employing low-paid young workers and show that it is possible to fight for a better deal.

Fight for:

Ritzy Cinema strike

THE RITZY Cinema in Brixton has often been seen as a progressive enterprise with its support for good causes. It recently showed a 'Human Rights Week' season of films. Local people are appalled to find that behind all the liberal pretensions the owners 'City Screen' are just another bunch of cynical, anti-union exploiters who don't give a fig about people's 'rights'.

Andy Tullis, Lambeth UNISON convenor CYPS

Ritzy staff were on strike on 26 May over poverty wages. Currently paid the minimum wage of 5.35 per hour by cinema chain City Screen, staff rejected the company's latest offer of just 5.40 or 5.50 without a sales bonus and notified management of their intention to strike. It transpires that staff even had to take their employers to court to join the cinematograph and entertainment union BECTU.

The lively picket was well received by local people; many cinemagoers refused to buy tickets in disgust at the Ritzy's meanness to its staff.

Workers are on strike this Friday, 1 June in order to secure a living wage. Lambeth Trades Council has pledged its support and local trade unionists will be joining the picket line again on 1 June.

For more information and messages of support, contact BECTU reps on 0207 346 0900 or 0778 859697.

International Socialist Resistance (ISR)

Join the ISR "Boost Our Pay" campaign. See

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

In The Socialist 31 May 2007:

No to McJobs

G8 Summit protests

Protest against the G8 leaders

Protest at arrest and prosecution in Bolivia

Socialist Party campaigns

Campaign brings victory against cuts

Local campaign successes show effective leadership in action

National Shop Stewards Network founding conference

International socialist news and analysis

Southern Ireland general election: Smaller parties squeezed

Wales - Labour rule under threat

Talking about the 'real world' at Wales TUC

Socialist Party news and analysis

A double bonanza for big businesss

Fight against destructive school policies

Stop and question: A dangerous kite to fly

Unhealthy surpluses on NHS underspend

Socialist Party feature

Defend and expand public housing

War and terrorism

Refugee camp siege compounds Lebanon's deep political crisis

Protesters cleared

Marxist analysis: history

The Merthyr Rising 1831

Socialist Party LBGT

Repression of Gay Pride in Moscow

Homophobia: it's not over

Socialist Party workplace news

Hull UNISON takes historic step

Remploy try to close factories


Home   |   The Socialist 31 May 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Low pay:

triangleSainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!

triangleAmy Murphy for Usdaw president - vote for a fighting and democratic union

triangleBosses say 217 years to close pay gap - workers' struggle can close it now!

triangleMixed-fleet workers show strikes get results


triangleJob figures mask casualisation


triangleStrike wins biggest pay rise in ten years

Young workers:

triangleThem & Us

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Homes for All - Not billionaire profit!



School strikes against academy management



Hands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review



Refugee Rights to be launched in Manchester



Over 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march


Socialist Party

Why I joined: 'The Socialist Party is at the forefront of defending Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership'


Socialist Party

Past fund-raising campaigns show dedication to the fight for socialism


May Day

Ideas matter: help us fight to win with May Day greetings



Refugees march against racism and to demand rights



Unions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital



Hull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies



Strikers and parents rally again in Newham against academies



Hinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest



UCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action



Walkout from undercover policing inquiry

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018