McDonald's Strike
Image: © Rui Vieira/PA Wire/PA Images

Would you pay more for McDonald’s if it meant staff were paid better?

"If McDonald’s don’t listen to their staff, I'd probably stop going."

Across the US, fast food workers are going on strike next Monday for higher pay and the right to join a union. Staff at two branches of McDonald's in the UK are joining them, asking for better wages, a fixed number of hours of guaranteed work a week, and for their union to be recognised.

It's the first time McDonald's staff in the UK have gone on strike, ever.

We went to our local McD's, and asked customers how they felt about it – whether they think staff are underpaid, and whether they'd be willing to pay a bit more for their burgers if that's what it came down to.

Here's what a few of them had to say:

Georgia, 20

McDonalds strike Georgia

"I think they should do it. It’s completely justified. They’re overworked and underpaid.

I’ve seen people punch those self checkout machines

"I’ve worked in hospitality before – zero-hours contracts aren’t fair, you can work 40 hours or 4 hours. We live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and people have got rent to pay.

Ethically I shouldn’t come and eat here but I still will... it’s cheap and easy. If the burgers cost a pound more I’d still pay it. In places like McDonald’s, humans are important. Machines won’t replace the human element – I’ve seen people punch those self checkout machines."

Fiona, 48

McDonalds Strike Fiona

"I think it’s wrong for them to go on strike. They knew the conditions when they took the job. People need McDonald’s open, it’s ridiculous. If pay’s not fair then it should be changed across all McDonald’s and strikes in two places aren’t going to change that.

I think it’s wrong for them to go on strike. They knew the conditions when they took the job

"I understand they’ve got a point to make but if they’re interrupting people from getting their food then it’s going too far. They’ve got a job to do, and they should appreciate that. Some people don’t.

I don’t really think about how much people are paid when I get food, I’ve got my own things to think about, it’s not really my responsibility to think about it. If somebody had spoken to me personally, maybe I’d think about it more.

I worked at McDonald’s a long time ago, just as a part-time job. I only lasted a few months; I couldn’t handle the workload, and we were paid a lot less then. I remember thinking I can’t work for this. I know how they feel.

...I’m changing my mind now. They’re standing up for what they think is right. I have to respect that."

Sheni, 37

McDonald's Stike Sheni

"I think people have the right to strike. They’re working hard. It’s always busy. I think £10 an hour is fair. People want to be happy with their work, they want to have a stable future.

The point isn’t about how much the burgers cost. If you’re making a billion a year you can top up the salary of the staff. They don’t have to put the prices up.

If McDonald’s doesn’t listen to its staff I’ll stop going. I could go to Burger King

"If there was a machine working in the restaurant, would you go there? I wouldn’t go there. It doesn’t make sense. If they do that people will be out of jobs, they’ll be waiting for Job Seeker’s Allowance – they’ll mess up the system and they don’t need to do it.

If McDonald’s don’t listen to their staff I would probably stop going. I could go to Burger King – look, there are bare chicken and chips shops on the high street. The food isn’t alright, it’s quick. I’m a chef myself, you can say the work’s unskilled, but it’s not like you can just get anyone to make your food. I think it’s very skilled.

When I go to McDonald’s all I think is that I shouldn’t be eating it – ‘oh my God, I’m buying this mass production food again’... But we still do it."

Anastasia, 21


"I think people don’t realise how badly people are treated at chain places like McDonald’s. Going on strike raises awareness. I’ve boycotted McDonald’s for about five years.

Saying prices go up if you pay people more is just lies. They just want people to support strikers less

"I went when I was a kid, but since I’ve been old enough and had my own money I don’t go. If my friends go to McDonald’s I wait outside.

I think saying prices go up if you pay people more is just lies. They just say that because they want people to support strikers less. One of the main reasons I boycott it is the way it treats employees both here, and the people who source their food.

I’d want people to be getting living wage in the UK – in London that’s £9.75, but I’d also want proof of sustainable investments, at the moment lots of farmers can’t afford to treat themselves. If they were treating humans correctly, then yes, maybe then I’d get a Big Mac."

Lisa, 48

McDonald's Strike Lisa

"I’ve been eating here since I was eleven. I’m 48 now. This McDonald’s has been here since I was a little girl. I speak to the staff all the time, they work really hard in there, they deserve more money. We all do.

I’m not talking about bankers, or people with really high up jobs. I’m talking about people like you and me. We all deserve to be paid better

"The cost of living in London is so high, we all deserve more. I’m not talking about bankers, or people with really high up jobs. I’m talking about people like me and you, we all deserve to be better paid.

McDonald’s are rich, aren’t they? They make a lot of money. They should keep their employees feeling safe and secure, getting paid what they deserve and on secure contracts. You have to look after your staff no matter what. If the price of burgers have to go up then they have to go When it’s too cheap I eat too much of it anyway. Maybe it would be a good thing

I’m glad the employees are standing up for themselves. Everybody has to."

Paul, 26

McDonald's Strike Paul

"Train strikes, the miners' strike, it just holds the country at hostage. If everyone does it, the economy shuts down.

When medical staff don’t get paid enough, maybe it’s justified. The world would live without McDonald’s but we couldn’t live without doctors. 

Strikes just hold the country hostage. Change has to come from the top downwards

"I’ve backed myself into a hole here, but I don’t know the answer. In some cases there might need to be some sort of action, but I don’t know where I sit. Change has to come from the top downwards. It’s up to the government to make sure there are minimum standards.

I don’t really like going into McDonald’s anyway, it’s not a great company. I eat here occasionally. Knowing about the strike probably hasn’t changed my mind – I know they’re a shitty company anyway."

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