For the first time in 43 years, McDonald’s workers in Britain staged a strike to protest pay and others issues Monday.
The company, which has operated in the country since 1974, saw workers at Cambridge and Crayford restaurants strike for a pay increase to 10 pounds, or $13 an hour, more trade union recognition, and an end to contracts that don’t offer fixed hours.
A spokesman told Reuters that the strikers represented less than half of the 33 union members who were balloted, and the actual reason for the strike related to “internal grievance procedures,” not to pay or contracts. Additionally, despite being offered the option of a guaranteed-hour contracts, 86 percent of employees have chosen to remain on flexible hours.
“Zero-hour contracts” force employees to accept any work offered while failing to provide minimum work hours.
“As announced in April this year, together with our franchisees, we are providing our people with the option of a guaranteed hour contract, and all restaurants will have these contracts in place by the end of 2017. McDonald's U.K. and its franchisees have delivered three pay rises since April 2016, this has increased the average hourly pay rate by 15 percent," McDonald's U.K. said to CNBC in a statement.
McDonald’s operates 1,270 restaurants in the U.K. Small demonstrations in support of the strike took place at 14 Britain locations.
According to Reuters, Britain’s main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn supported the strike. “They are standing up for workers' rights by leading the first ever strike at McDonald's in the U.K.," he said.