MCDONALD’S has been accused of exploiting workers amid a fierce row that brought protesters to the streets of Swindon on Monday night.

Members of the People’s Assembly and the Swindon Trades Council gathered outside the company’s Wharf Green restaurant to show their solidarity with disgruntled workers.

Protesters claim the fast food giant, which boasts an annual turnover of £17bn, is guilty of paying workers “poverty wages”, leaving them languishing on zero-hour contracts and is hostile to unionisation.

One of the organisers, Tony Hillier, of the People’s Assembly, made it crystal clear that he fully supports employees’ drive for a better deal.

He said: “The cost of living has gone through the roof while wages have stayed on the floor. People in work still need benefits just to survive – something must be wrong. We think people should receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

Monday’s protest coincided with other similar displays of solidarity which took place across the country under the #McStrike umbrella.

Last year, McDonald’s workers in two restaurants took part in an historic strike, the first ever for staff in the UK. Workers were calling for a £10p/h minimum wage, an end to zero hour contracts and union recognition.

Addressing the controversial issue of zero-hours contracts, Tony accepted that some people find them beneficial, but stressed that they leave workers unable to plan their finances and meet their living costs.

He said: “It’s no way for us to treat our fellow human beings.”

The protesters, around a dozen in total, stood by the entrance to the restaurant and handed out leaflets to members of the public.

An overzealous Brunel Centre security guard attempted to disrupt the protest, even threatening to call the police, but he quickly gave up.

Another man braving the cold to show his solidarity to staff was Anthony Monaghan. He said he hoped to see MacDonald’s workers given rights that employees at other organisations take for granted. He also hoped for widespread recognition that zero-hours contracts were not sustainable in the long run.

A spokesman for McDonald’s said, simply: “We respect the right of people to protest peacefully and are aware that the protest took place.”