In solidarity with the first ever strike undertaken by UK employees of fast food behemoth McDonald’s, grassroots Labour Party movement Momentum have put together a video exposing the dangerous conditions in which employees are allegedly forced to work.
The piece is unflinching in its criticism of the company’s apparent disregard for health and safety in the name of efficiency of service and maximisation of profit.
It highlights the lack of basic protective provisions for staff handling hot oil, as well as other hazardous work practices that betray a dearth of training procedures.
A further gripe of staff featured in the video is their being employed on zero hour contracts, rendering their services easily disposable and continued employment dependent on their productivity under said conditions.
Global sales at McDonald’s increased by 5% in 2016, and in the second financial quarter of 2017, the company earned $5.53 billion in global sales. According to McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook, this is the
…strongest global comparable sales and guest count results in more than five years…
Projected profits for the remainder of the financial calendar are optimistic, with the introduction of their ‘gourmet’ Signature Collection meaning the company expects to continue exceeding shareholders’ expectations, as was the case during 2016.
The McDonald’s UK PR department make much of the company’s ethical stance on the ingredients they use, proudly boasting that the meat is sourced either from Ireland or Britain, and their fish harvested from sustainable stocks. On a global level, however, the company’s record is less than satisfactory, with the vast swathes of land required to rear cattle for their beef considered a significant contribution towards the destruction of Amazonian rainforests. This policy and the company’s sponsoring of sports events to promote foodstuff deemed substandard from a nutritional perspective are ethical conundrums not quite so venial.
Striking staff are demanding a minimum wage of £10 per hour.
McStrike! May refuses to back McDonald's low paid, insecure, intimidated workers after Corbyn raised their walkouts in Britain #PMQs
— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) September 6, 2017
The McDonald’s strike scandal epitomises the struggle faced by thousands of people living hand to mouth on zero hour contracts. Indeed, the slang term McJob has become a byword for any low-paid job with limited prospects and little security. A job in which workers’ efforts are meagerly rewarded by companies making hundreds of millions in profit at the expense of the financially struggling masses; in which companies take liberties with health and safety in the knowledge that employees have no choice but to continue working for them so – ironically – they may put food on their own tables.
Good luck to all those involved in #McStrike today. pic.twitter.com/Aisc858JGE
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) September 4, 2017
It’s a bona fide Erin Brockovich scenario, and the McStrikers are appropriately pragmatic about their chances of success. Although we have yet to witness anyone crossing any picket lines.
A victory over McDonald’s, however, would pave the way to a living wage for all.
You can watch the powerful video below:
You can recognise these McDonald's workers by the burns on their arms#mcstrike pic.twitter.com/oiidBvS4VW
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) September 5, 2017
Become An Evolve Politics Subscriber
Your subscriptions go directly into paying our writers a standard fee for every article they produce. So if you want to help us stay truly independent, please think about subscribing. We literally couldn’t function without the support of our fantastic readers.Subscribe
Or a One-Off Donation to Evolve Politics
If you don’t want to subscribe, but still want to contribute to our project, you can make a one-off donation via the donate button below. All your donations go directly to our writers for their work in exposing injustice, inequality and unfairness.Donate