McDonald's worker strike goes global
Fast food workers from dozens of countries on six continents are joining the push for higher pay and worker rights.
A US-wide strike by McDonald workers is planned for May 15 - a date which mirrors the $15 (£8.88) per hour pay they are demanding, that's double what most currently earn. Thousands of the USA's estimated 4 million fast-food workers are expected to take part in the one-day strike.
On that same date, workers from dozens of countries on six continents will hold protests at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC outlets.
The actions were announced outside a McDonald's restaurant in Manhattan, New York, at a meeting during which fast-food workers and union leaders detailed how they intended to expand a movement that began with a walkout in November 2012. On that occasion, some 200 workers went on strike in New York City, demanding a pay increase to $15 per hour and the right to unionise without retaliation.
"We've gone global," said Ashley Cathey, a McDonald's worker from Memphis who makes $7.75 an hour [£4.59] after six years on the job. "Our fight has inspired workers around the world to come together."
In the US, more than two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women, and many single mothers struggle to take care of their families on $7.25 per hour — or less, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
Actions are set to take place in 150 U.S. cities and 32 other countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America and Central America.
Some of the foreign protesters say they are taking action specifically in sympathy with U.S. workers. Louise Marie Rantzau, who is a McDonald's worker in Denmark, says she makes $21 an hour. She says she was surprised to hear U.S. workers have to fight so hard to make $15 an hour, and she says is "committed" to supporting their cause.
The issue is likely to be raised when McDonald's hosts it annual shareholders meeting on May 22. In its latest annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 24, McDonald’s listed among the risks to its growth in sales and profits: “The impact of campaigns by labor organizations and activists, including through the use of social media and other mobile communications and applications, to promote adverse perceptions of the quick-service category of the (informal eating out) segment or our brand, management, suppliers or franchisees, or to promote or threaten boycotts, strikes or other actions” involving McDonald’s or the industry.
While not specifically addressing fast-food workers, President Obama has called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 [£4.29] to $10.10 [£5.98] an hour. The UK's minimum wage is currently £6.31 if you are over 21.
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