Hamburger enthusiasts in Europe are eyeing what is going on in Britain with an ever increasing unease. For the first time since starting the sales of Big Macs and McNuggets over there, the employees of global chain McDonalds are going on strike in Britain.McDonalds opened in the UK in 1974 and has never faced strike action by its employees before.
The union of Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, which is one of Britain’s oldest trade unions and represents some 80,000 of the 115,000 McDonald’s staff in the UK (where the hamburger giant has 1,249 restaurants) is calling for an increase in salary to about 10 British pounds an hour, or some 13 US dollars.
So far, not much of a response has come from staff who are afraid of getting fired. In South East London there will be a first strike though. Some 40 staff will go on strike as form today at two restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford.
Workers were fed-up with taking home so little pay whilst the pound has dropped considerably versus both the Euro and the US dollar in the past year, making products in supermarkets considerably more expensive. Also inflation has risen quite remarkably. Meanwhile certain areas of Britain has seen house prices plummet for six months straight.
During all this, the McDonald’s chief executive, Mr Steve Easterbrook, reporter that he took home a total pay package of $15.35m last year, further infuriating the McDonalds staff.
Asking for a reaction to the planned strike, McDonald’s issued a statement via their spokesman which said: “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. We are proud of our people at McDonald’s. They are at the heart of all we do and we work hard to ensure that our teams are treated fairly. Our internal processes underpin that commitment.”