This Terribly Stupid Strike Against McDonald’s
THERE’S a very stupid piece of labour activism going on over in the US. It’s a series of strikes and demonstrations against McDonald’s over the pay that the people working in the stores receive. The reason it’s such a silly set of demos and strikes is simply that McDonald’s doesn’t actually employ the workers. So why shout at the people who can’t change the situation?
More than 100 demonstrators seeking better pay for McDonald’s workers were arrested as protesters swarmed the fast-food chain’s corporate campus near Chicago demanding a minimum wage of $15 (£8.88) an hour and the right to unionise.
The protest against McDonald’s Corp, the world’s biggest restaurant operator by revenue, came a day before a shareholder vote on executive pay, including that of Chief Executive Don Thompson, who earned total compensation of $9.5 million (£5.62 million) in 2013.
McDonald’s doesn’t actually own or run any of the restaurants in the US. What the company does do is design the stores, do the advertising and produce the basic ingredients. And that’s all: the actual restaurants are owned by the franchisees. And it is those franchisees who employ the workers: and also those franchisees who determine how much each worker is going to get paid.
The whole idea of shouting at McDonald’s about that pay is therefore simply a waste of energy. They don’t even have the power to raise the wages to $15 an hour even if they wanted to. It’s protesting to the wrong people.