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By Esther Vivas
What we eat, although it may not seem like it, is conditioned by social class. Who else has, can opt for a higher quality meal. Who studies, because they can afford it or through scholarships, has more discretion when judging the current agricultural and food system. When, today, they want us ignorant and seek to turn education into a privilege, this implies condemning us to poverty, precarious jobs and poor nutrition. A few companies, like McDonald’s, are willing to increase their profits with it.
Several reports indicate that the lower the income, the worse the food. The White Paper on Nutrition in Spain, 2013, indicates how the crisis modifies purchasing habits, pushing consumers towards cheaper options. The consumption of cookies, chocolates, pastries and cakes is one of those that has increased the most in recent times. With the crisis, the diet of those who have the least is rapidly deteriorating. You buy little and cheap and you eat badly.
Not surprisingly, in the United States those who suffer the greatest problems of obesity are the African American and Latino communities. The same ones that make up the army of precarious and workers in fast food chains. In Spain, the autonomous communities with the highest poverty rates, such as Andalusia, the Canary Islands and Extremadura, have the highest figures for overweight populations.
McDonald’s, however, is not the exception but the norm. Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, Pizza Hut are other multinationals that follow this pattern. The day before yesterday, his workers in the United States rebelled. More than 100 cities, such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, hosted strikes and protests by employees of the fast food sector. His demand: a salary increase. Go from $ 7.25 (€ 5.3) per hour to $ 15 (€ 11). Working conditions in these centers are so precarious, among the worst, that many of their workers have to resort to other jobs and still depend on social benefits to make ends meet. Last summer, there was already a first mobilization. Now, it has spread to more cities.
A historic day. The mobilizations in the sector are scarce, due to the difficulties to organize in the workplace. Any attempt at union coordination is strongly repressed. But these protests point to a new type of struggle that brings together precarious workers, trade unionists and neighborhood activists. An example.
In the Spanish state, McDonald’s has also been the focus of protest. His work practices, as well as "culinary", are international. In 2007, at the McDonald’s Estación in Granada, a union struggle began that continues to this day. Its workers organized to demand decent working conditions. Layoffs, contract reductions, psychological pressure, imposed vacations, blacklist… was the answer. The fight continues. And despite pressure from the company and union discrimination, job improvements have been achieved for the entire workforce. A protest that has had support and mobilization days against McDonald’s in the rest of the State.
A decent job implies a decent life and a decent meal. McDonald’s means just the opposite. McMenus and McSalarios, no thanks.