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EFFAT today extends its support and solidarity to German affiliate NGG as fast food workers’ longstanding struggle for fair pay in the sector is set to go to arbitration next Monday. Read EFFAT’s full letter of solidarity below.


Brussels, 28 February 2020

Dear comrades,

EFFAT sends its warm solidarity greetings to you. We stand squarely behind you in your fight against in-work poverty in the fast food sector and support you in your ongoing actions to secure fair pay for fast food workers in Germany.

We commend your continued action and optimism over recent weeks as you try to exert your legitimate rights at work and to pressure McDonald’s and others in the Federal Association of System Gastronomy (BdS) into doing the right thing.

We share your anger and dismay that, despite several months of good-faith negotiations on the part of union representatives, employers are still only prepared to offer fast food workers the tiniest of pay increases above the statutory minimum wage. This is scandalous and disrespectful.

Although we welcome the recent findings of the German Federal Statistics Office that the introduction in 2015 of a statutory minimum wage has increased incomes for many workers in the hospitality sector, this should not distort the overall picture: €9.35 per hour is not enough for most fast food workers to make ends meet – the minimum wage must be increased to at least €12 per hour to be genuinely poverty proof. Moreover, estimates suggest that many workers – perhaps even as many as 2.4 million [1] – are currently engaged in some form of work at below minimum wage.

As collective bargaining enters into arbitration proceedings, we ask, therefore, that the minimum wage be raised to €12 per hour in accordance with your reasonable demands. In addition, we ask that government efforts to identify and punish employers avoiding paying the minimum wage are stepped up.

We also demand that McDonald’s and other transnational fast food chains stop making billions of dollars in profit on the backs of grossly-underpaid workers, and instead invest more of its colossal revenue into hard-working staff that make it possible. This is especially acute given McDonald’s decision to accord a seven-figure bonus to its former chief executive while its workers continue to be paid poverty wages, having to rely on top-ups from the state. This cannot be right. Workers deserve dignity at work, and fair pay for their hard work. It’s time for living wages.

The voices of workers will not be silenced, and we will continue to stand in solidarity with you all until you reach a fair collective agreement with your employers.

In solidarity,

Kristjan Bragason
EFFAT General Secretary

[1] according to a recent study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)

German version available here.