‘WHAT do we want – fair pay! When do we want it – now!’ shouted hundreds of striking McDonald’s, TGI Fridays, Wetherspoons, and UberEats mostly young workers at a joint rally in London’s Leicester Square yesterday.
They chanted: ‘I believe that we can win! ‘If we don’t get it – shut it down!’
Speakers at the rally chaired by BFAWU general secretary Ronnie Draper included TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
TGI Fridays striker Lauren Townsend told the crowd: ‘TGI Fridays took 40 per cent of our tips to give to the kitchen staff.
‘On the Minimum Wage someone under 21 gets £5 an hour. Food is no cheaper. It seems every year we’re given more work and get less for it. ‘We are fighting unscrupulous employers who are taking advantage of workers. We’ve had enough.’
BFAWU executive committee member Lauren McCourt said: ‘At McDonald’s we had a strike last year against low pay and zero hours contracts. ‘It was the first time we felt we had any power in the workplace. We’re fighting for the future. Workers at McDonald’s, TGI Fridays and Wetherspoons stand together. Draper made the point the movement of hospitality workers is international and introduced speakers from France McDonald’s strikers, the USA and Thailand.
O’Grady told the rally: ‘Let this be the time and place when workers say “we are not going to take it any more. ‘ “We are fighting back and organising. We are not asking for a minimum wage or a living wage we’re asking for a fair wage.” The way you do that is through a trade union. ‘The multinational companies have deep pockets, they can afford a pay rise and pay their tax, too. We are going to carry on fighting until we win.’
Unite national officer Mike Roberts said: ‘It’s a scandal. Workers are not properly paid.
‘Workers have said they’ve had enough. They are standing up, rising up. TGI Fridays if you think you can keep taking tips you are making a big mistake.’
A French striker told the rally: ‘My name is Gabriel, I work for France McDonald’s.
‘I’m here to make more than a promise, we are determined. We’re facing union busting, social dumping and terrible working conditions. We are suffering the same things that you are.’ US speaker Betty said: ‘We’re fighting for more than $7 an hour. I’m sure you can get £10 an hour. ‘We’re fighting for $15 an hour. We’ll keep fighting and we will win.’
Earlier, Annalise Peters from Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, joined fellow McDonald’s strikers on the picket line in Brixton. She told News Line: ‘Today is very special.
‘The mixed strike movement started September last year and we are seeing it growing so fast. ‘Now there are other restaurants and hospitality employees getting on board and joining the movement.’