Fast Food Rights hosts inspiring US strikers sharing their lesson of the fight for $15 an hour and a union

Fast Food Rights ‘Hungry for Justice’ campaign was thrilled to host a delegation of fast food workers from the United States on their UK leg of a global tour (#fastfoodglobal) from Thursday 13 to Saturday 15 November.

Fast food workers from the US have set out to visit unions across the world to spread the lessons from their incredible strike movement for $15 an hour (around £10 an hour) and union rights.

Here in Britain we face the same issues of poverty pay, job insecurity through zero hours and the fight for respect and dignity at work.

Flavia Cabral—a McDonald’s worker from the Bronx in New York, Alvin Major—a Brooklyn, New York, based KFC worker made a great journey across the Atlantic alongside Nicholas Allen, an international organiser for the fast food strike campaign and Gregory Reynoso, a fast food strike organiser based in New York.

They landed into a very rainy Glasgow on Thursday 13 November.

FFRs Glasgow meeting 1They spoke to a lively and passionate meeting of around 70 people that was put on by Fast Food Rights and hosted by the Scottish TUC (STUC). Dave Moxham, assistant general secretary of STUC, remarked that it was one of the best meetings he’d had the privilege of chairing in all his time as a trade union official.

FFRs Glasgow meeting 2One young woman who works at a Glasgow food outlet spoke out in the meeting about the issues of low pay, inconsistent shifts and management ridiculing and putting down staff. She joined BFAWU bakers’ union from the floor of the meeting.

The Glasgow branch of the campaign has recently seen successes with a chunk of fast food workers signing up to the union.FFRs Glasgow meeting 4

But there were also supermarket workers, care workers and others who face the same issues of zero hours, low pay and lack of respect at work. FFRs Glasgow meeting 3They spoke of how inspired they were to hear from the struggle in the US.

The meeting made a spread in the Sunday Herald and got coverage from the BBC too.

The strikers were also able to make a flying visit to the Scotland Hazards conference, where delegates hung on to hear them as soon as they knew they were coming. Glasgow Hazards

Katy Clark MP also squeezed in a meeting with the delegation at their hotel. Katy Clark MP shows support for Fast Food Rights and the US strikers

Flavia Cabral, McDonald's worker from the Bronx speaks at TUC reception

Flavia Cabral, McDonald’s worker from the Bronx speaks at TUC reception

On Friday we travelled down to London from Glasgow, and the strikers were hosted at a reception at TUC congress house at an event put on by Fast Food Rights and chaired by John McDonnell MP.

Alvin Major, Brooklyn KFC worker shares his experience from the strike movement

Alvin Major, Brooklyn KFC worker shares his experience from the strike movement

Nick Allen, fast food organiser gives an overview of how the strikes spread from a few stores in New York to 150 cities, and to every state in the US

Nick Allen, fast food organiser gives an overview of how the strikes spread from a few stores in New York to 150 cities, and to every state in the US

Alongside activists from the executives of a number of unions, there was press there and TUC officials such as Lauren Usher and MPs such as Dawn Butler.

Ian Hodson, BFAWU national president summed up the event with a big push for the campaign, now backed by the TUC, for £10 an hour now, and encouraged people to join the lobby at parliament over zero hours contracts on 21 November.

 

On Saturday the US strikers spoke to 5-600 trade union activists and campaigners at the Unite the Resistance conference in London. They brought the house down, receiving a standing ovation in the opening plenary where they spoke alongside St Mungos and Care UK strikers, a New Era housing campaigner, Billy Hayes from CWU, and speakers from NUT teachers’ union, Unison and others.

The incredible Flavia receives overwhelming standing ovation sharing her story of getting involved in the strike movement for the future of her kids and millions others

The incredible Flavia receives overwhelming standing ovation sharing her story of getting involved in the strike movement for the future of her kids and millions others

 

The strikers also spoke in rammed workshop session at the conference on ‘The fight against zero hours and organising the unorganised’.

Their contribution explaining how they organised the strikes was hugely helpful for a number of zero hours workers who came in from the floor and discussed the difficulties in trying to unionise from scratch.

Alvin inspires the crowd, explaining the difficulties of living on poverty pay with four children: He joined the strike movement when it first began in late 2012

Alvin inspires the crowd, explaining the difficulties of living on poverty pay with four children: He joined the strike movement when it first began in late 2012

The strikers get a warm welcome at the Unite the Resistance conference opening rally

The strikers get a warm welcome at the Unite the Resistance conference opening rally

 

 

Fast Food organiser Greg Reynoso addresses the workshop

Fast Food organiser Greg Reynoso addresses the Unite the Resistance conference workshop

The strikers also popped in to the TUC’s Big Youth Event and spoke to the delegates there, joining Sarah Wooley from BFAWU’s executive. At the TUC Big Youth Event

The next step in the campaign here in Britain is a lobby at parliament on Friday 21 November, as a zero hours bill is debated (details below)

US fast food workers are set to see more strikes in 2014, which Fast Food Rights in Britain will be supporting.

Fast Food Rights ‘Hungry for Justice’ campaign will be building on our links with the US fast food strike movement and joining future global days of action. 

Watch this space!

 

To get in touch with Fast Food Rights in your local area or find out more, contact 07795 412 932/ 07739 326 010 or fastfoodrights@mail.com  

FFRs parliament protest 21 Nov 2014

US fast food strikers coming to the UK 13-15 Nov: Come and hear their story!

Fast Food Rights campaign is hosting a delegation of fast food workers from the United States who have been at the forefront of the incredible strikes for $15 and a union that have spread across every state.

"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 heard

Fast food workers in North Carolina during the last US-wide strike on 4 September, when thousands struck and hundreds of strikers were arrested as part of a civil-rights style mass civil disobedience

The strikers are coming to the UK from the 13 to 15 November as part of a global tour to spread the lessons of their inspiring battle that has seen workers among the lowest paid in the US and in the most difficult conditions taking on notorious multi-national corporations like McDonald’s. They are speaking in Glasgow and London: Come and hear them share their story! On Thursday 13 November, at 7.30pm, the Scottish TUC and the Bakers’ Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) are hosting the Fast Food Rights public meeting at the STUC building on Woodlands Road, G3 6NG, where the strikers will be speaking alongside activists who have been organising through Fast Food Rights to unionise fast food workers in Glasgow, and Dave Moxham from the STUC. Then on Friday 14 November, the TUC in London is hosting an event with press and MPs where the strikers will be speaking. More details soon. On Saturday 15 November, at 12 noon the US strikers, Flavia Cabral and Jorel Ware who are both McDonald’s workers in Manhattan are speaking at the Unite the Resistance ‘Striking Together and Organising to Win’ national conference’ in the opening plenary, and later at 2pm in a workshop at the conference run by BFAWU bakers’ union, ‘The Fight Against Zero Hours and Organising the Unorganised’.  The strikers will also be visiting the ‘ Big TUC Youth Debate’ at congress house. Please find leaflets to use around fast food workplaces to build for the public meeting in Glasgow on 13 Nov here,and to hear the strikers speak at the London event on 15 Nov hereFast Food Rights Glasgow mtg 13Nov2014

Fast Food Rights UtR workshop 15 Nov

Fast Food Rights protest at Labour Party conference after TUC backs £10 an hour demand

manc lab conf rallyFast Food Rights activists gathered outside the Labour Party conference on 22 September on a lobby to demand the Labour leadership commit to the TUC supported call for £10 an hour now.

The demand was initially passed at the Bakers’ Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) conference in June this year, and other unions such as the GMB have also backed it.  A motion was then passed at the TUC annual conference in September to back the demand.

As mega corporations such as those in the fast food industry rake in huge profits, it is a disgrace that the workers who produce those profits struggle to make ends meet, with a £5 an hour average wage for fast food workers in the UK.

With the cost of living going up, nothing less than £10 an hour now is a wage that workers can live on. All workers deserve the right to live, not just to scrape by in poverty on zero hours and low pay. Boosted by the TUC backing, Fast Food Rights will continue the fight for £10 an hour now.

 

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