Story: McDonald's staff strike over poverty pay, working conditions and insecure hours.
Reasonable take: Solidarity to the workers who want to earn enough from their full-time job so they don't have to live in poverty.
Brain rot: "I don't get paid enough, so no one else should either!" – the people of Britain.
This week, McDonald's workers in London went on strike, calling for union recognition, the abolishment of youth wages and zero-hour contracts, safer and improved conditions and an end to poverty pay. Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers' Union, which represents the striking workers, said: "McDonald's can expect more strikes, unless they actually start taking up the offer we keep making them, which is to sit down and talk with us. McDonald’s has unfortunately got a terrible history when it comes to workers' rights, and unfortunately we’ve seen too many examples of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace."
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell joined the workers on their "McStrike" at Downing Street, while Jeremy Corbyn tweeted his solidarity: "My advice to @McDonalds: meet their demands. Real change is coming."
But Labour's solidarity with the McStrike was a step too far to some, including that one boy from your form class who currently lives in his mum's annex but drives an Audi A4 on-tick, and believes that one of the top ten most valuable companies in the world shouldn't pay those "greedy cunts" £15 an hour because "it's economically illiterate".
Whenever someone prominent posted in solidarity with the McStrike, it immediately seemed to be followed by a barrage of comments from people incredulous that these "bottom of the ladder" workers were demanding the right to eat food after paying their landlord.
A common reasoning from some members of the British public as to why McDonald’s workers must endure in-work poverty was how "easy" their jobs allegedly are. I wonder if they mean the incessant threat of violence hanging over them as they pot up a Smarty McFlurry, or the gruelling long and unsociable hours often spent serving people who clearly detest them that makes it so piss-easy? The only explanation is that the "easy" bit stems from everyone’s receded childhood memory of McDonald's as the best place in the entire world. The other mooted rationale being used as justification for impoverishment was that McDonald's employees are "unskilled" workers (who make the company billions each year).
It's a tragedy that so many people who should be organising their workplace and demanding a fairer wage are so entrapped in this late capitalism mindset that all they can offer is scorn instead of solidarity, as office normies fumed up and down the country that "nurses could end up being paid less than burger flippers".
Yes, Katie-Louise, it's almost as if the underpaying of NHS workers is something the government is responsible for, and not Jeremy Corbyn, who you’ve just called a "twisted cunt for wanting this".
Notably, earlier this month McDonald’s fired their British Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook for having a relationship with an employee, but still managed to give him a golden-arched leaving handshake of more than $37 million. When Corbyn pointed out that it "would take a full-time McDonald's worker over 1,500 years to earn what their ex-CEO just reportedly got paid off", he was mostly met with a stream of bile from people more aghast at him supporting the prospect of their neighbour earning a living wage than some CEO getting sacked for fucking a subordinate on the job and getting tens of millions pounds for it.
A quick search of the McStrike story on social media will serve as a sharp reminder of how badly sections of working-class Britain has succumbed to the tang of shit and boot leather. McDonald's should probably consider adding the "succulent Ripped Dap with dogshit glaze" to it’s "Great tastes of the World" menu.
As Britain continues to operate on the terrain defined by subhuman Conservative policy and neoliberalism, we have to remember Thatcherism or other indoctrination was never just about the free-market or "greed being good", but the purposeful erosion of the idea of society and empathy among working classes.
I wonder if I could tell the construction workers in ancient Egypt for Ramses III, who participated in the first labour strike in recorded history when they tooled down and protested at their insufficient and late food rations, that – 3,174 years later – their plight would still be mirrored by modern man. What would they think? They'd probably struggle to comprehend it all, predominantly because I'd be talking to them in English, but it's honestly as if some of us have become so accustomed to paying out the arse for the privilege of existing that we can't accept a good thing when it lands on our fucking doorstep.
For instance: today, when Labour pledged to give full fibre-broadband access to everyone in the UK by renationalising part of BT, people reacted as if John McDonnell was promising to give every man, woman and child in Britain a "PlayStation 5 with Death Stranding" next year (a policy I’d support). Instead of discussing the possible virtues and how mental it is that BT was privatised in the first place, BBC News just shit the bed and spend ages ranting above the phrase "BROADBAND COMMUNISM".
I might listen to these words about the perils of giving free internet to the masses if they were coming from a Tibetan monk, but not from some smarmy liberal cunt literally on the internet.