From a speech given by Muahd, of the McStrike BAME members committee to a meeting organised by No Holding Back and the Trade Union Coordinating Group yesterday.
“My name is Muahd and I’m a member of the Bakers Union, from an immigrant family.
We fled Libya in 2014 to safety in Holland. In 2016 we came to the UK to start life here. We’ve faced many problems. Poverty and racism
I started work at 16 in the fast food industry. The company didn’t treat me with respect and dignity at all.
I would get paid as little as £20 a shift. My hours were unstable.
And I suffered bullying racism from customers and managers and was sexually assaulted.
The bosses didn’t take it seriously. They brushed it under the carpet.
I said enough is enough
I decided to fight back.
In 2018 I went on McStrike to end this shit.
As someone from the south east of England i can tell you this. I have more in common with a Mcdonalds worker or a pub worker in Sheffield than i have in common with, any boss i may have had in watford or London
Our committee of workers is southern and northern. We organise together. We have many things in common
We are exploited by big corporations who pay us as little as they can get away with, and which leave us in poverty.
Our hours are uncertain. Which gives us no stability. Our housing is poor and our rents are high.
These are the issues that unite inner city southern workers and northern workers.
In our union we say, a union is workers coming together to use our strength in numbers to get things changed we can’t change alone. That’s how we win.
By organising around our issues, u sing our strength in numbers to make change.
Im very proud to be a member of the BFAWU. I now sit on the BFAWU Mcstrike BAME committee
We formed this committee inspired by Black Lives Matter protests. We are a group of Black Asian and minority ethnic workers.
Who have pledged to support each other and build a union in fast food.
We are learning our history,
We are building each other up,
We are raising each others confidence.
We are making ourselves strong.
Because we know if we are gonna tackle racism we are gonna have big enemies in our way.
Enemies that benefit for racism.
Politicians who use racism to divide and make themselves popular, the corperations we work for who benefit from poverty and low pay.
Corporations who use our struggle against racism to market themselves to our communities
Finally the world is taking notice of black people being murder by police.
Racist policing is systematic
But also systematic racism also runs through multinational corporations, making millions in profit but paying us a poverty wage.
BAME workers are disproportionately represented in our industry. Poverty means we have to accept jobs quickly, forcing us into low pay and insecurity
Fertile ground for abuse and racism,
Companies like Mcdonalds say they are with Black Lives Matter
If you’re with us, recognise our union.
If you’re with us, pay us a living wage
If your with us, give us sick pay, so we can protect ourselves and our families from COVID-19 and poverty.
These problems are not just in the UK,
its the same all over the world.
Workers in South America face poverty and racism,
Workers in Europe face poverty and racism,
Workers in north america face poverty and racism.
We are a global movement in fast food.
I’m very proud to have been asked to make an announcement.
And I’m asking for your solidarity.
I’m very proud to announce that our co-workers in the USA are going on strike for black lives.
Workers in fast food, healthcare, hospitality and airports will strike for black lives this Monday.
We need your solidarity.
Join our solidarity call – this Sunday 19th of July
We have an American worker, UK worker and guest speakers.
Its important the movement for black lives moves into the workplace to fight systematic racism and poverty.
Its important unions are seen as and become vehicles to tackle racism.
We need a workplace movement for racial and economic justice, that breaks the divisions between workers by taking action and winning.
If you want to see unions fight racism and fight the big corporations for justice,
If you support racial and economic justice,
Join our call.
Black lives matter
Strike for black lives.
*Sunday 7pm* – a McStrike Zoom Rally with UK and US workers and global experts on racial and economic justice.
Together we will WIN! 💪
Register for the call now! bit.ly/StrikeForBlackLivesUK