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For Fast Food Workers Earning Minimum Wage, 80 Percent Is Not Enough

Staff at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wetherspoons, Burger King, and KFC are pushing the companies to make up wage deficits

Coronavirus hits Wetherspoons staff: graffiti on a Wetherspoons pub in Crystal Palace
Graffiti imploring JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin to guarantee his staff pay during the “stay at home” period
Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

Fast food workers’ union pushes corporations to make up workers’ salaries

As huge restaurant chains and fast food corporations shut down during the novel coronavirus outbreak, their workers have been subject to the same initiatives as the rest of the hospitality world: the promise of an 80 percent furlough payment, backed by the government. Now, the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) is pushing McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, and Wetherspoons to top up the remaining 20 percent of what it describes as “poverty wages.” A worker on minimum wage based on an average of 30 hours per week would take £247.89 per week after tax. Some employees are on zero, 8 or 16 hour contracts.

For workers at chains like McDonald’s and Costa, the 80 percent scheme only accounts for “directly employed” staff — those working at “company-owned” restaurants. Staff at franchises should receive the same, but are subject to the policy of the franchisee, whose autonomy over hours and pay is one of the benefits companies promise to get them interested in taking on restaurants. 82 percent of McDonald’s restaurants are franchised and McDonald’s made $26 billion of sales globally in Q3 2019.

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