McDonald's workers 'over the moon' about pay rise but vow to fight on for living wage

'We know they can afford to pay it and what we’ve done with such a small amount of people going on strike shows what it’s possible to achieve,'  said McDonald's employee Steve Day

Ben Chapman
Thursday 04 January 2018 10:41 GMT
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The pay rise will apply to workers at restaurants that McDonald’s owns - for franchised branches the new rates only act as a recommendation
The pay rise will apply to workers at restaurants that McDonald’s owns - for franchised branches the new rates only act as a recommendation (Getty Images)

McDonald’s workers are "over the moon" after the fast-food chain gave workers an above-inflation pay rise following the first UK strike action in the company’s history.

Staff aged over 25 will be paid between £8 and £10 per hour from 22 January. Younger staff will also receive boosts.

Steve Day, who works at McDonald's Cambridge restaurant, was one of the workers who walked out in historic strike action in September.

He told The Independent: It’s the biggest pay rise McDonald’s workers have had in ten years. We're over the moon, but it’s not enough.

"Wages have been stagnant for far too long."

Mr Day pointed out that the London Living Wage is now £10.20 and McDonald's chief executive Steve Easterbrook doubled his wage to $15.4m in 2017 - an hourly wage of roughly £5,700.

"We know McDonald’s can afford to pay the living wage and what we’ve done with such a small amount of people going on strike shows what it’s possible to achieve," Mr Day said.

"We’re already taking more action, talking to McDonald's workers up and on the country.

"They have been coming into the union and getting involved.

The 40p per hour increase on McDonald’s current pay of £7.60 equates to a 5.3 per cent pay improvement. It means wages at the fast-food chain will keep slightly above the official UK minimum wage which is set to increase from £7.50 to £7.83 in April.

The pay rise will apply to workers at restaurants that McDonald’s owns. For franchised branches the new rates only act as a recommendation.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said that the company regularly reviewed pay and that the latest increase was not the largest in a decade.

“From kitchen to counter to front of house, our success would not be possible without the hard work of our people, so we will keep working hard to do right by them,” the spokesperson said.

The news was hailed as a victory for workers at two McDonald’s restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, in south London, who went on strike in September over pay and conditions.

Jeremy Corbyn congratulated workers and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) which represents many of those who took industrial action. But he also tweeted that the fight for £10 per hour “is not over”.

“We achieve more together than we can alone, which is why we should all join a trade union,“ Mr Corbyn wrote.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell also showed his support, tweeting: “I pay tribute to the #McStrike @bfawu1 young workers who took on McDonalds resulting in today's pay rise victory. It demonstrates the vital role trade unions play and the importance of joining a union.”

A 24-hour strike by UK McDonald’s workers last year followed far more widespread walkouts in the US where the “Fight for 15” campaign has seen thousands of staff join the picket line.

The movement began in 2012 with fast-food workers at McDonald’s, Domino’s, Burger King and other chains in New York demanding $15 per hour as well as the right to join a union without experiencing any consequences from their managers.

It has since spread across the country and to other low-paid industries such as retail. The giant US chain Target pledged in September to boost hourly pay to $15 an hour for its 323,000 workers by 2020.

In the UK, the Labour party has committed to increasing the UK minimum wage to £10 per hour if it gains power.

The Government plans to hike the minimum wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020, which would equate to around £8.56 on current projections.

A McDonald's spokesperson confirmed the new pay rates. “While our franchisees set their own pay rates, we have recommended an increase across all age bands for our hourly employees to be implemented from 22 January,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

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