Zagreb, Croatia – One week prior to International Fast Food Workers day, the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) staged a mass ‘photo action’ featuring all 350 Congress participants to show solidarity with fighting fast food workers in Europe and across the globe.
Fast food workers are striking and protesting to demand their right to join a union, to better working conditions and to a living wage.
700,000 workers are employed in fast food in Europe, a sector characterised by a vulnerable workforce. A high number of fast food workers are below 25 years old, come from a migrant background and are employed in non-standard forms of work. The fast food sector is especially known for low wages, poverty pay and precarious employment conditionst and often denies workers the right to join a union. Such practices have generated a global wave of protests and strikes, which EFFAT has supported at European level with its affiliates.
Fight for 10: In May 2017, led by the Bakers Union (BFAWU), UK fast food workers staged the first-ever strike throughout the country demanding better conditions at McDonalds, the second-largest private-sector employer in the world: £10 per hour, an end to precarious contracts and for their right to join a union to be respected. Their strikes have spread throughout the hospitality sector in the UK. They are scheduled to strike on 12 November 2019, and are now pushing for £15 per hour.
Fight for 12: The collective agreement in the German fast food industry will expire by the end of 2019. Collective bargaining begins on 4 December in Berlin. 120,000 employees of fast-food restaurants cannot currently live off their wages and demand a salary increase to € 12 per hour.
Fight for 14: In Belgium and the Netherlands, EFFAT affiliates FGTB Horval and FNV, started the ‘Fight for € 14’ campaign as part of the international campaign born as an American movement in the fast food sector ‘Fight for $ 15’. The campaign ‘Fight for € 14′ is fighting for a gross minimum wage of € 14 per hour, or € 2,300 gross per month.
EFFAT is calling for the enforcement of decent pay and working conditions for fast food workers and all workers that contribute to bringing food to our table, as a key to guaranteeing workers’ rights and food security across the planet.
Malin Ackholt, EFFAT President, commented: “EFFAT reiterates its commitment to ensuring a sustainable food supply chain with fair pay and decent working conditions for all from farm to fork. Poverty wages in which workers are exploited by fast food retailers and other employers is not compatible with a fully-functioning democracy.”
Sue Longley, IUF General Secretary, said: “We must end the scandal of in-work poverty in the global fast food sector and beyond. It’s time for employers and labour providers to pay their workers a decent wage and to guarantee good working conditions.”
EFFAT Congress will also hear from a representative of SEIU’s Fight for $15, the campaign launched in 2012 by fast food workers in the US advocating for an increase of the minimum wage to $15. In addition to a livable wage, the movement is also demanding that global multinationals such as McDonalds respect a worker’s right to join a trade union and address complaints of workplace sexual harassment and violence.
Notes to Editors:
EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions, representing 120 national unions from 35 European countries, and defending the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and company managements.
IUF, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations, is an international federation of trade unions representing workers employed in agriculture and plantations; the preparation and manufacture of food and beverages; hotels, restaurants and catering services; all stages of tobacco processing. The IUF is composed of 422 affiliated trade unions in 127 countries.
Media contact: Maddalena Colombi – [email protected]