01/05/2018 11:16 BST | Updated 01/05/2018 11:53 BST

Just One McDonald's Worker Walks Off Shift During #McStrike, Firm Claims

But union slams the ‘undermining’ of workers brave enough to strike.

Toby Melville / Reuters
Protestors demonstrate in support of workers at British McDonald's restaurants striking in a protest over pay and other industrial relations issues last September (file photo).

McDonald’s claims just one worker has walked out during today’s much-publicised #McStrike.

The global fast food chain said no workers left their posts at two of the three branches involved in industrial action on Tuesday morning. 

Just one employee, at a Manchester branch, stayed away from work. 

Union bosses hit back at the company’s claims, saying the Happy Meal giant was manipulating rotas to “deliberately undermine” those brave enough to strike.

Further strikes at two branches in Watford are due to take place this afternoon where the company expects up to five employees to walk out.

#McStrike, led by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), has been publicly backed by Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, and firebrand North West Durham MP, Laura Pidcock.

It follows the first-ever walkout of British McDonald’s workers at two branches in London and Cambridge last September. Both branches were also involved in Tuesday’s action.

[READ MORE: Meet the striking McDonald’s workers who made history]

The strike aims to serve up a £10 an hour wage for McDonald’s 120,000 UK staff, union recognition, and to replace zero-hours contracts with fairer fixed deals.

BFAWU President Ian Hodson hit back at claims over numbers, telling HuffPost UK: “I’m getting angry with McDonald’s and their deliberate undermining of what these workers are doing.

“Potentially what McDonald’s has done is to make sure that the workers who took part in our ballot are not rosta’d on [to work shifts during #McStrike].

“We’re not playing the numbers game.

“The reality is that these people have walked out on strike and that’s taken courage.

“This is a massive corporate giant. It has the ability to pay its employees fairly.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We are expecting industrial action outside five of our restaurants today with three strikes scheduled to take place this morning, we can confirm that across these three restaurants only one person who was scheduled to work took industrial action and this was in Manchester.

“Other attendees, at Cambridge and Crayford, were protesters and not our employees on strike.

“While we are disappointed, given our focus on putting people at the heart of our business, we are reassured that the number of our people involved is very low and an extremely small proportion of our UK workforce of 120,000.

“We take the interests and wellbeing of our people very seriously and encourage anyone to speak up if they ever have any concerns.”

McDonald’s said it has introduced a raft of increases to pay since 2015, including a recent inflation-busting raise at company owned branches, as well as offering new contracts to those who want them.