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Not lovin' it: McDonald's could face second wave of strikes

By Adam Parsons, Business Correspondent
McDonald's is facing a new round of industrial action, as a union ballots members over whether or not to take strike action in pursuit of higher wages and improved working conditions.
Sky News has learnt that the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union is balloting members over plans to strike in five different branches of McDonald's.
The union notified the company on 22 March, but details of the strike plan are only emerging now.Seven months ago, workers from the fast food giant went on strike at two restaurants - in Cambridge and Crayford, south-east London.Their action was against the use of a grievance procedure during a dispute between staff, but the strike became a lightning rod for protests against the use of zero-hours contracts.I understand that this proposed strike action would again include Crayford and Cambridge as well as a branch in Manchester.The other two restaurants that are being proposed for strikes are in Watford - the home town of McDonald's global boss Steve Easterbrook. There is also a sixth restaurant in central London.The Watford and Manchester branches are both franchised restaurants, while those in Cambridge and Crayford are owned by the company itself.The union is asking for three things - a salary of €10 per hour, an end to lower "youth rates" of pay, and greater flexibility in working hours. The union opposes the use of zero-hours contracts.
Not lovin' it: McDonald's could face second wave of strikes

Image:
Paul Pomroy, the UK chief executive of McDonald's
The union says the ballot will close 16 April and although there is no date yet for any strike action, the ballot paper says it could start from 1 May - that's the day after McDonald's releases its financial results and is also International Workers' Day.Last year's industrial action came as McDonald's was going through a policy of offering its staff a choice between fixed-hour jobs or contracts with flexible hours.
Around 80% of the company's 120,000 staff decided to go for the flexible hours deal.Two weeks ago, the UK chief executive of McDonald's, Paul Pomroy, gave an exclusive interview to Sky News, giving his first reaction to the industrial action.He said: "The strikes we had involved 14 members of staff in two restaurants - and they were not about zero-hours contracts or pay but involved the way that some people were treated."When you have 120,000 people working for you, you don't always get everything right. It was about a grievance procedure that wasn't followed properly."Ian Hodson, president of the BFAWU, said: "Representatives from six stores took a decision that they wished to be balloted on industrial action on issues of pay, unequal pay for young workers, and for a choice of fixed hours."The union is committed to supporting its members and campaigning for €10 an hour, an end to zero hour contracts and to give McDonald's workers a voice."In a statement, Tristan Bentley, a worker at the McDonald's branch in Crayford, said: "We want a better deal. We are the McStrikers, and we will not be silent, we will not be scared. We will do whatever it takes to win a better life for all McDonald's workers."
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Mr Pomroy told me today that the pay of McDonald's workers had increased by 25% since 2015. He added: "We take the well-being of our people very seriously and encourage them to speak up if they have any concerns."Our people can talk to our managers and raise issues informally, or more formally through our grievance procedure, and this is our preferred route to dealing with issues relating to our workforce. We remain committed to our people and their well-being at work."
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