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Crayford McDonald’s worker warns of ‘culture of fear’ at restaurant during UK’s first ever ‘McStrike’

PUBLISHED: 09:57 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:12 07 September 2017

Crayford McDonald's staff have voted to go on strike

Crayford McDonald's staff have voted to go on strike

Archant

Up to 16 members of staff gathered with protesters outside the Crayford restaurant on Monday morning

Supporters and workers from McDonald's restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, during a rally at Old Palace Yard, London. Philip Toscano/PA WireSupporters and workers from McDonald's restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, during a rally at Old Palace Yard, London. Philip Toscano/PA Wire

One of the on-strike workers at Crayford’s McDonald’s restaurant has spoken of a “culture of fear” as she joined protesters today for the UK’s first ‘McStrike’.

Dozens of protesters joined staff gathered outside the Tower Retail Park restaurant in the early hours of Monday morning, staging a two-hour picket line in a row over working conditions and pay.

Last month The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) also warned of “bullying and sexual harassment” at the restaurant, as it announced the first ever McDonald’s strike on UK soil.

Crew member Shen Batmaz, from Swanley, told us working conditions became “impossible” as she joined 15 of her colleagues and union protesters outside the restaurant at around 5.30am.

McDonald's workers protest outside the Crayford restaurant. Credit: War on Want.McDonald's workers protest outside the Crayford restaurant. Credit: War on Want.

“We have workers at the Crayford who have been left homeless with a four-year-old daughter,” said Miss Batmaz, who has been working at the store for just over a year.

“Workers have suffered bullying and harassment, staff are afraid to stand up out of fear that their weekly hours could be cut to just one shift a week, there is a culture of fear and these are not conditions workers should have to put up with in one of the largest economies in the world, especially at a large corporation.

“McDonald’s has the ability to be a great place to work, but poor conditions and low pay are affecting workers and something needs to be done.”

Following this morning’s strikes at Crayford and Cambridge, protesters have marched on Westminster to make their voices heard, even gaining the backing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said: “Worker’s demands - an end to zero-hours contracts by the end of the year, union recognition and a £10 per hour minimum wage - are just and should be met.”

Crew trainer at the restaurant Lewis Baker added: “Managers have sworn at us, shouted at us, just general abuse when we get to work. I feel like whatever stress they are under they put on us.

“If the customers are rude to us we don’t have any backing by our managers, it just creates that culture that it’s okay for us to be abused at work.

“I don’t think at any workplace people should feel scared to come to work - we’re just trying to pay our bills.”

Mr Baker, who has spent five years working across two of the fast-food chain’s restaurants claimed managers took screenshots if staff posted on social media from union meetings and then sent them round to the area managers.”

McDonald’s said those taking action represented 0.01% of its workforce, adding that the dispute was related to its internal grievance procedures.

A company spokesman said: “As per the terms of the ballot, the dispute is solely related to our internal grievance procedures and not concerning pay or contracts.

“As announced in April this year, together with our franchisees, we are providing our people with the option of a guaranteed hour contract, and all restaurants will have these contracts in place by the end of 2017. McDonald’s UK and its franchisees have delivered three pay rises since April 2016, this has increased the average hourly pay rate by 15 per cent.”

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