04/09/2017 04:09 BST | Updated 04/09/2017 04:52 BST

I Will Be One Of The McDonald's Workers On Strike - Here's Why

War on Want

My name is Lewis Baker. I have worked at the Crayford McDonald's store for around four years now.

I will strike, and will be joined by colleagues from Crayford, and from Cambridge.

The truth is this. We have been left with no choice but to strike. It's our only real option. We need to raise awareness over our working conditions, and the way we are treated in McDonald's. I - like many others - have had our grievances ignored by the company, time and time again.

I work at McDonald's largely because of the flexibility the company claimed to offer. I'm studying at university, so I initially I thought i would work there until I finish my course. But, over the past few months, my thinking has definitely changed. I have experienced real problems with managers trying to force me to change my availability or be threatened with no shifts. Other workers have experienced the same.

Shifts have been rostered with six hours' notice:  workers find out what shifts they're working at 10pm and then have to start at 4am the next morning. McDonald's have power over my whole life: whether I can make medical appointments, meet my university commitments or to be there for friends and family. Yet on the flip side, if a worker misses a shift, even for genuine reasons, then the McDonald's punishes us. This system of unpredictable hours is unfair and it's time for it to change.

I'm motivated to strike because I want to see a change and change doesn't happen without fighting for it. If we McDonald's workers just accept the conditions we face, then this will all just carry on. We are not asking for a lot. We are asking to be treated with respect, have guaranteed hours, and to be paid a decent living wage of £10 that we can afford to live on. It's all very reasonable when you actually think about it.

Since the strike was announced, managers have done their best to make us feel uncomfortable. Our social media profiles have been sent to managers, who are trying to persuade us not to strike. They have made comments and jokes trying to belittle the union. We would be punished if we said similar things with our opinion. Despite this, we're sure that the joining the union and taking action is the best way for us to get the respect we deserve. We will not be intimidated.

I want to fight to make a positive impact for every one of my colleagues not just myself. I think working in fast food is a hard job and a lot of people underestimate the amount of work we as the workers actually put in. We deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I have colleagues who are 16 earning a lot less than a 21 year old simply because of their age - but it's the same job really and, therefore, we should all be treated fairly. It's not too much to ask from a company that earns billions.

I hope this strike gives confidence to all workers at McDonald's, and helps to raise awareness of the conditions that we are subjected to, day in, day out. I hope it makes McDonald's wake up and listen to us. And above all I hope that, by making a stand, McDonald's give us what we, as working people, deserve.