Staff at JD Wetherspoon, TGI Fridays and McDonald’s are all striking together

Staff at JD Wetherspoon, TGI Fridays and McDonald’s are planning a co-ordinated day of striking next month over wages just weeks after the pub chain posted ‘record’ annual profits.

The strike, which will take place on 4 October, will see employees at The Bright Helm and The Post & Telegraph pubs in Brighton call on the pub chain to raise their wages to £10 per hour and demand union recognition. They will be joined by staff from McDonald’s and TGI Fridays, who are also demanding higher hourly rates, reports the Guardian.

The minimum rate for bar staff over 18 starts at £8.05 an hour, and £8.25 an hour for kitchen staff, according to the chain, both are raised by 10p after a probation period, which staff claim has left them struggling to make ends meet.

Chris Heppell, a member of kitchen staff in one of the pubs, told the Huffington Post that he already pays “extortionate rents for squalid, shared accommodation and it’s a job that’s physically and emotionally exhausting.”

“Anyone who has worked in hospitality will know it’s a demanding job to do and we get very little from a company that makes millions from our hard work.”

Staff at the pubs met with Brighton MP Caroline Lucas on 7 September to air their grievances. A ballot was sent to 20 members of staff at the pubs, resulting in a unanimous vote in favour of strike action.

The strike has been co-ordinated by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), which helped to organise a strike by staff at McDonald’s eearlier this year.

The strikes have received support from a number of MPs, including shadow secretary for state and justice Richard Burgon, who posed for a photo with at the party’s annual conference on Sunday.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Rates of pay have come under review at most pub and restaurant companies.”

He said that Wetherspoon’s had increased pay rates in the last financial year (to July 2018) by £20 million and would be increasing rates this year by £27 million, a figure the strikers have said is insufficient for staff across the chain’s roughly 880 sites around the UK.

He added that the chain will reduce average working hours for management from 42.5 to 40 per week starting in April 2019

“We are also moving to the same rate for 18-21s as we already have for over 21s from November 5 2018.

“In addition we are putting up the rate of pay. In the last financial year we paid record monthly bonuses and free shares of £43 million, equivalent to about 50 per cent of our net profits.

“75% of this sum was paid to those who work in our pubs.”

The pub giant posted ‘record’ profits in its annual results last week. Profits before tax rose by 4.3% to £107.2m, while annual revenue was slightly higher at £1.7bn.

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