US fast-food workers to stage nationwide walkout over low wages

The protest, encompassing more than 150 cities, is the largest to date

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The Independent Online

Burgers and chips are off the menu across much of the US today.

Workers in America’s vast network of fast-food restaurants are staging a national walkout to protest low pay and demand the right to unionise jobs.

Employees in more than 150 US cities, including New York, Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles, will call for a wage increase to $15 (£9.11) for their roles at the likes of McDonald’s, Burger King and Pizza Hut.

The protest is the largest to date in the two-year movement and comes as cities across the United States propose minimum wage increases.

Democrats in Congress are also seeking to raise the federal minimum wage ahead of November's mid-term congressional elections.

According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute think tank, the average worker in the restaurant industry makes $10 (£6.08) an hour, compared to $18 (£10.94) an hour typically earned in other sectors.

One in six restaurant workers, or 16.7 per cent, live below the official poverty line, compared to 6.3 per cent of those working in other industries, the report said.

But fast-food workers are even poorer, earning an average of less than $8 (£4.86) an hour, according to the Service Employees International Union, which supports the protests.

Senator Bernie Sanders wrote the following on Twitter:

Kendall Fells, organising director of the movement Fight for 15, told Reuters: "We're going to have walkouts all over the country.

"There are going to be workers who don't show up to work or who walk off the job at 12.01am or at noon."

Additional reporting by Reuters