Fast Food Rights protest to hit Brixton: £10 an hour and a union now

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE…

Fast Food Rights protest to hit Brixton: £10 an hour and a union now

Fast Food Rights campaigners plan an action tomorrow, Wednesday 17 September, at Windrush Square in Brixton, meeting at the site of the inspiring strikes by low paid cinema workers who have been battling for a living wage in recent months. We will be building on the efforts of Ritzy strikers and continuing to ratchet up pressure to declare Brixton a ‘living wage zone’.

The protest will meet at 5pm outside the Ritzy cinema before heading on to target a number of fast food restaurants in the area, raising the demand for a £10 an hour living wage, an end to all zero hours contracts and the right of fast food workers to organise in unions.

Fast Food Rights is a campaign that was set up in early 2014 in the wake of the inspiring strike movement by fast food workers in the US. They have shown that it is a mistake to write off sections of these workers as unorganisible, despite the fact that they are often on the lowest pay and worse conditions, with precarious hours and little if any job security.

The campaign, set up by the Bakers’ Food & Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), has developed links with the US strike movement, and took part in the strikes that took place there on 4 September when hundreds of fast food workers were arrested as part of a civil disobedience action.

In the UK, already our actions are attracting fast food workers, fed up of low pay and not being treated with the respect they deserve, who are contacting the union and joining up. Here, the average fast food worker is paid £5 an hour according to Payscale figures in January this year. McDonald’s, the biggest player in the UK fast food industry, has 90 percent of its workers on zero hours contracts, while Burger King has all its non managerial staff employed on this basis.

At a time when MPs are taking a 10 percent pay rise and when these corporate giants of the fast food industry are making mega-profits, it is a disgrace that the workers who generate this wealth are forced to scrape by on low pay and with so many left with no guarantee of hours.

That’s why Fast Food Rights will be descending on these employers tomorrow in Brixton, with our megaphones and our placards to demand a living wage of £10 an hour, an end to abusive zero hours contracts and for workers’ right to organise in a union to be respected and recognised.

For more information contact:

Phone: 07795 412 932 / 07739 326 010

Website: Fastfoodrights.wordpress.com

Email: fastfoodrights@mail.com

Facebook: Fast Food Rights

Twitter: @fastfoodrights

Mon 22 Sep: Fast Food Rights lobby at Labour Party conference: £10 an hour and union rights… No zero hours!

FFRs action 22 Sep 14 Lab conf lobbyFollowing the TUC’s vote to back the demand for a £10 an hour living wage, Fast Food Rights will be outside the Labour Party conference on Monday 22 September to keep up the pressure.

BFAWU national president Ian Hodson said, “We’re pleased that the TUC has agreed to adopt the £10 an hour demand.

“Our taxes should be used for funding the NHS, education and our welfare state, not to prop up low wages.

“We can have a better society, employers who can should pay a living wage, and those who can’t should get support from the government to do so. But when CEOs are getting paid 150 times more than their employees who are not on living wages, that’s a disgrace.

“The example of the strikes in the US show that it’s possible to fight back”.

Brixton Fast Food Rights action: Wed 17 Sep, 5pm at Windrush Sq

Fast Food Rights is holding an action in Brixton on Wed 17 September. We will meet at 5pm in Windrush Square outside the Ritzy… Come join us!

For a leaflet and details see FFRs action 17 Sep 14 Brixton

In the build up to the action, activists will be using the activists pack to visit workers in advance of the action. If you are doing so at anypoint, please let us know at fastfoodrights@mail.com / 07795 412 932

Eyewitness report: Towards $15 and a union: Thousands of US fast food workers joined strikes, and hundreds took arrests on 4 Sep

Raise Up NC pre strike meeting

Strikers prepare for the action in North Carolina at a pre-strike meeting

police approach strikers

Fast food workers remain solid at a key intersection in Durham, unperturbed by threats by police to arrest them if they don’t back off. They respond with a steely gaze and a slow rendition of a campaign song, “We ready for $15″

Organise the South banner

The success of the action by non-unionised, low paid workers in North Carolina is particularly remarkable given the South has been notoriously difficult for unions to organise

Durham sit down Mcds 2

“We’re fighting for our union, We shall not be moved, We’re fighting for our workers’ rights, We shall not be moved, Just like a tree planted by the water, We shall not be moved!”

Thursday 4 September saw US fast food workers escalate their strike movement for $15 and a union. Across 150 cities, thousands walked out onto picket lines and protests.

Around 500 took arrests through civil disobedience inspired by the Civil Rights Movement.

The strike was the next step in their struggle that began in late 2012 and since spread to every state. It followed the first ever US-wide fast food workers’ convention in July this year that brought together 1,200 from across the states.

The autumn strike was similar to the last action in May. But it also represented a serious upping the ante on the part of the strikers.

This time the decision by so many strikers to take part in civil disobedience underlined the growing determination of workers to show they are fighting to win, and in for the long haul.

I believe that we will win

“I believe that we will win” chant strikers to the beat of the drum. One McDonald’s worker walked out to join the strike as the marchers arrived

It was also the case that the strikes had intensified, with support deepening inside many workplaces.

 

Fast Food Rights and BFAWU organisers from the UK were part of an international solidarity delegation that joined the strikers in four key cities: New York, where strikers shut down Time Square; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina. We visited the campaign’s base in the South, and witnessed the incredible courage and vibrancy of the strikes there.

Strikers have developed links there with civil rights campaigners, and heard inspiring and encouraging words from Reverend Barber, president of North Carolina NAACP, before they marched off to their main target, a Durham McDonald’s.

Durham outside mcds 2

“We can’t survive on $7.25″ chant strikers outside a Raleigh Bojangles, before marching up the side of a motorway, with a stream of toots in support, to a Burger King

Raleigh pickets Bojangles

“We can’t survive on $7.25″ chant strikers outside a Raleigh Bojangles, before marching up the side of a motorway, with a stream of toots in support, to a Burger King

He told strikers, to loud cheers, that they were the continuation of the the movement for civil rights, for justice in America and that the CEOs should not be paid when workers, who generate all the profit, can’t afford health insurance, are relying on benefits to survive and can’t take care of their families.

“Burger King oh Burger King, What justice means to me, Burger King oh Burger King, Pay me $15… oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh oh…”, strikers descend on the store, making their voices hear