Fast Food Shutdown: From disorganisation to action in the service sector

Cant, Callum and Woodcock, Jamie (2020). Fast Food Shutdown: From disorganisation to action in the service sector. Capital and Class (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0309816820906357

Abstract

This article discusses the Fast Food Shutdown, a strike on 4 October 2018 that involved Wetherspoon, McDonald’s, TGI Fridays and UberEats workers in the United Kingdom. It compares the different strategies of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers’ Union at Wetherspoon and Industrial Workers of the World at UberEats. The two case studies, drawing on the authors’ ongoing ethnographic research, provide important examples of successful precarious worker organising. In particular, the argument focuses on the role of action in organising, as well as the relationship between the rank-and-file and the union. While these could point the way to the recomposition of the workers movement – both in greenfield sectors and within existing unions – there remain important questions about how these experiences can be generalised.

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