McDonald’s and TGI Fridays staff demand £10 an hour minimum wage

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Hospitality workers, couriers and drivers joined a noisy protest as part of a day of action in disputes over pay and working conditions.

Staff from several branches of McDonald’s and TGI Fridays restaurants, as well as two Wetherspoon pubs in Brighton, some Uber Eats and Deliveroo couriers and Uber drivers, took industrial action.

A rally was held in Leicester Square, London, where the workers chanted their demands for a minimum wage of £10 an hour and union recognition.

TUC general-secretary Frances O’Grady and shadow chancellor John McDonnell addressed the rally, offering support from the Labour and trade union movement.

Mr McDonnell said Labour MPs had been urged to join picket lines, adding: “Our message to exploitative employers is that we are coming for you.”

John McDonnel speaks at hospitality workers protest
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell speaking at the rally (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“The company decided to reallocate 40% of tips to kitchen staff – taking from one set of low-paid workers to give to another.”

Action has also taken place in cities including Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton.

The day of action has been organised by War on Want, Unite and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union.

Unite members at TGI Fridays restaurants in Milton Keynes and two in London will stage their eighth walkout since the tips row started.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady at hospitality workers protest
TUC general-secretary Frances O’Grady in Leicester Square, London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“They are leading a growing movement against low pay and insecure work in the hospitality sector and across the gig economy.”

The McDonald’s, TGI Fridays and Wetherspoons workers are demanding better working conditions across the hospitality sector, pay of £10 an hour and an end to “precarious” contracts.

Ms O’Grady said the protest showed workers were prepared to fight back over poor pay and conditions

“Workers are not asking for the moon – they just want a fair wage and guaranteed hours,” she said.

Scores of workers took part in the rally, joined by officials from unions in France and the United States representing hospitality staff involved in similar disputes.

They later stood outside a TGI Fridays restaurant in Leicester Square chanting their demands.

A McDonald’s spokesman said: “All restaurants remain open as usual today despite frustrating attempts by protesters at a handful of locations to impact our customers and our restaurant teams.

“This is the third attempt at action; and according to our records none of our people are on strike today.

“Any suggestion this activity is widespread and growing is not accurate – fewer restaurants, fewer employees involved and less support for the union from our people.

“This is against a backdrop of more people choosing to join our business, with over 1,700 new employees since May (the last attempted industrial action).

“As a growing and successful organisation we, along with our franchisees, will continue to invest in our people and create quality jobs and opportunities for all.

“We will also continue to offer people a choice between fixed and flexible contracts; as our people have told us they want to make the decision for themselves and choose what works for them.

“Since offering the choice to our people 80% have made the decision to stay on a flexible contract.”

A TGI Fridays spokesman said: “All team members are paid at or above the national minimum wage hourly rate and they keep 100% of tips with zero admin charges. Team members’ pay is regularly reviewed.

“Our team members are vital to the success of the business and we invest heavily in them. We offer careers, not just jobs, with initiatives such as an apprenticeship scheme and industry-recognised qualifications.

“All of this – and more – means that our team turnover is around half of the average for the hospitality industry.

“We know the vast majority of our team members recognise this and this is why out of a workforce of over 5,500 team members, fewer than 0.5% are involved in this action”.

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