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June 24, 2017

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Fast-food workers plan global day of protest in efforts for better wages

NEW YORK -- Fast-food restaurant employees are to hold a global day of protest and strike action next week in a push for better pay and conditions, officials said in New York on Wednesday.

Convened for the first time under the banner of an international trade union, the fast-food workers agreed to launch their movement on May 15 with strikes in 150 U.S. cities and protests in 33 countries.

"Workers from dozens of countries on six continents announced they were joining the growing movement for higher pay and rights on the job at restaurants like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC," organizers said in a statement.

A crowd of 70 international demonstrators gathered outside a McDonald's in Manhattan for the announcement.

In the United States, fast food employees are demanding a salary of US$15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum wage of US$7.25 paid at many fast-food chains.

"People are coming together. This is time for change," Elizabeth Rene, a 24-year-old McDonald's worker told AFP. Next week she will participate in her third strike in the last two and a half years.

Around 200 fast-food workers who began protests in New York in late 2012 saw their movement eventually spread across 100 U.S. cities.

"We are facing the same challenges, we are facing the same problems, the same struggles. We'll continue until we reach our goal," said Massimo Fratini, coordinator for the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations.

IUF represents 396 unions and 12 million workers across a total of 126 countries.

Among the many activities planned for May 15 are protests at 30 McDonald's branches in Japan, demonstrations across five Brazil states and throughout Morocco, and strikes in the Italian cities of Venice, Rome and Milan.

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