McDonald’s Workers’ Resistance - reflections, 2004

The founding Glasgow branch reflect on their time in MWR as it basically winds itself down.

McDonald’s Workers’ Resistance was set up by a group of teenage workers at one restaurant in Scotland in 1999. In 2000 those workers decided they needed to communicate with other McDonald’s workers in the UK and around the world. An international network developed and by 2002 it was possible to organise a co-ordinated, international day of industrial action, see http://www.geocities.com/globaldayofaction . However, 2003 proved a disappointing year as many of the groups and individuals who had been involved in the network left or were fired from their jobs, organisational mistakes were made and the network struggled with dubiously sincere rival organisations.

At the time of writing only one person from the original group is still working for the golden arches, so as the network seeks to rebuild itself, those who have 'retired' have engaged in a period of analysis and reflection on our experiences with MWR, what went wrong and what lessons we can learn from this particular response to the problems (and opportunities) of organising casualised workplaces where no tradition of unionism exists. A revamped website is now online at http://mwr.org.uk . Additions to the site include, an extensive section on McDonald’s workers (very limited) rights at work ( http://mwr.org.uk/rights.htm ), a brand new forum for relevant news and discussion ( http://mwr.hyperboards.com ), attempts at practical and theoretical analysis ( http://mwr.org.uk/analysis.htm ), a brief history of MWR ( http://mwr.org.uk/about.htm ), a speech delivered to the Canadian Labour Congress last October ( http://mwr.org.uk/wayne.htm ), interviews ( http://mwr.org.uk/interviews.htm ), quotes ( http://mwr.org.uk/quotes.htm ) and more.

Our ambitions with this new site are firstly to ensure that the work that we have done over the last six years will not be wasted and that McDonald’s workers will have the resources necessary to continue and develop the tradition of resistance that has been established, and secondly to make available as much information of our experiences as possible, in the hope it might be of use to someone else attempting to establish resistance at their workplace. We are impatient for the development of a libertarian, combative, direct-action based workers movement and hope MWR has some small contribution to make in that regard. The struggle continues.

A massive thank you to everybody who has shown us solidarity over the years,

Glasgow MWR