McDonald’s and TGI Fridays staff demand £10 an hour minimum wage

Hospitality workers, couriers and drivers joined a noisy protest as part of a day of action in disputes over pay and working conditions.

Staff from several branches of McDonald's and TGI Fridays restaurants, as well as two Wetherspoon pubs in Brighton, some Uber Eats and Deliveroo couriers and Uber drivers, took industrial action.

A rally was held in Leicester Square, London, where the workers chanted their demands for a minimum wage of £10 an hour and union recognition.

TUC general-secretary Frances O'Grady and shadow chancellor John McDonnell addressed the rally, offering support from the Labour and trade union movement.

Mr McDonnell said Labour MPs had been urged to join picket lines, adding: "Our message to exploitative employers is that we are coming for you."

TGI Fridays worker Lauren Townsend said a change in tips policy earlier this year was costing waiting staff hundreds of pounds a month.

Protesters demonstrating about disputes over pay and union recognition. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Protesters demonstrating about disputes over pay and union recognition. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

"The company decided to reallocate 40% of tips to kitchen staff - taking from one set of low-paid workers to give to another."

Action has also taken place in cities including Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton.

The day of action has been organised by War on Want, Unite and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union.

Unite members at TGI Fridays restaurants in Milton Keynes and two in London will stage their eighth walkout since the tips row started.

Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said hospitality workers were "finding their voice", adding: "These workers have had enough of low pay and insecure work.

"They are leading a growing movement against low pay and insecure work in the hospitality sector and across the gig economy."

The McDonald's, TGI Fridays and Wetherspoons workers are demanding better working conditions across the hospitality sector, pay of £10 an hour and an end to "precarious" contracts.

Ms O'Grady said the protest showed workers were prepared to fight back over poor pay and conditions

"Workers are not asking for the moon - they just want a fair wage and guaranteed hours," she said.

Scores of workers took part in the rally, joined by officials from unions in France and the United States representing hospitality staff involved in similar disputes.

They later stood outside a TGI Fridays restaurant in Leicester Square chanting their demands.