Everything We Know About the New Alton Towers Ride


Alton Towers has a new ride, Wicker Man, and it’s due to open this Spring. The ride will combine wood and fire for a terrifying experience, and it is the first wooden roller coaster to be built in the UK in over 20 years. The project was led by Great Coasters International, the leading creator of wooden rollercoasters in the world. The ride cost £16m to make and it has taken four years to be completed.

At almost 58 feet tall and with 2,000 feet of wooden tracks, the new coaster is a sprawling, intricately designed ride which is sure to thrill visitors. Until now, we didn’t know much about it, but Alton Towers has now released drone footage of the ride, filmed in the dark in order to show the full effects of the fire and to keep us excited.

Riders will twist and turn through the tracks before passing through a wooden structure on fire, which is half a ram’s head and half a human head. The twelve trains will pass through the tracks three times before coming to a dizzying halt.

A spokesperson for Alton Towers said:

“We are hoping that visitors will be blown away by Wicker Man’s breathtaking size, whilst the primal essence of the wooden coaster and amazing effects will leave them wanting to ride again”

The ride is not based on the 1973 film the Wicker Man, nor the American sequel starring Nicholas Cage. In the original film, a policeman attempts to find a missing girl before realising that the island he is searching for her on, practices pagan rituals.  We were first introduced to the idea of the Wicker Man via Alton Tower’s Halloween mazes – one of which focused on a mysterious group of people in the woods.

After the Smiler crash a few years ago, it’s understandable that some visitors will be concerned about safety. However, Alton Towers has stated that not only have they used the latest innovations in safety technology, the ride is also undergoing rigorous testing – which you can see in another video of drone footage released on the Alton Towers Facebook account as part of a live video. Operators will also have to undergo hundreds of hours of training before the ride is open to the public so that visitors can enjoy the ride with the utmost level of confidence.

If you’re looking forward to visiting the park for the Wicker Man ride and you’re hoping for a ticket promotion, you’re in luck. Seabrook Crisps is set to run a promotion on both multipack and single packs of their new Fiery Woodsmoked BBQ flavour, which has been developed specifically for the promotion in mind. The promotion will offer customers 2 for 1 entry, worth up to £55. The flavour is limited edition and will be available from April this year, to coincide with the launch of the ride.

Are you looking forward to riding the Wicker Man coaster?

New Rail Ombudsman to Escalate Train Complaints for Commuters

New Rail Ombudsman to Escalate Complaints for Commuters

After consultations on how to improve customer satisfaction for railway passengers last autumn, changes will be coming later this year. More than half of customers aren’t happy with the way that train companies handle their complaints. The introduction of a new rail ombudsman service is going to help commuters get the resolution they deserve. Until now, train passengers with a dispute had to contact the independent watchdog Transport Focus. While Transport Focus can demand a response, they have no legal power to make the train company take action. The customer would have to take the train company to small claims court to get compensation. This obviously causes a great deal of hassle for the individual.

The Trouble with Train Companies

Previously, the only complaint which could result in a refund was a delay. Paying the customer back was at the train company’s discretion, depending on the severity of the complaint. This is still true, but in the last couple of years, the law has changed. Since October 2016, an extension to the Consumer Rights Act allows passengers to claim their money back for other issues. This could be anything from health and safety concerns to staff misconduct or service failures. The problem is that several train companies did not update their complaints or refund processes on their websites. Many customers did not know this new information about their entitlement to a refund and missed out as a result.

Mandatory Scheme Registration

The Office of Rail and Road confirms that when they launch the scheme later this year, all train companies must participate. This regulator of the railways will make registering for the ombudsman a requirement. Having this be a requirement for an operating license will give the ombudsman the power of a statutory body. The ombudsman will be able to make legally binding decisions for railway complaint cases. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute will help to approve and monitor the standards of the scheme. Customers will still have to wait 8 weeks after making a complaint to a train company before escalating to the ombudsman. According to the Office of Rail and Road, this could be sooner in some cases.

How Will a Rail Ombudsman Help?

When it launches, the ombudsman scheme will be able to deliver appropriate responses to customers with complaints instead of just support. The service will be free, and customers can use it to make compensation claims. The Rail Delivery Group is developing the scheme to meet the legal standards of the Ombudsman Association. The ombudsman will improve standards across the rail industry, as its investigations will uncover any failings. The railway companies will have to take action to avoid legal consequences. At the moment, customer surveys show that poor experiences are damaging trust in the companies. The ombudsman will help to restore this trust in the train industry and keep customers using the railways.

TalkTalk Mobile Closing Down: Customers Offered O2 Contracts

TalkTalk Mobile Closing Down Customers Offered O2 Contracts

TalkTalk Mobile is contacting customers to tell them that they will not renew their contracts when they expire. Now in partnership with O2, TalkTalk Mobile will instead offer customers a discounted O2 contract. TalkTalk intends to close its mobile business to save money, and focus on its broadband services instead. So what does this mean for the 900,000+ SIM customers with TalkTalk Mobile? If you also have TalkTalk broadband, you can get a 25% discount on an O2 bundle. Otherwise, you will have to switch to another provider when your contract ends. TalkTalk Mobile will no longer be an option.

Simplifying TalkTalk

The move to get rid of the mobile platform comes as part of an effort to overhaul TalkTalk. Previously, TalkTalk relied on Vodafone as a mobile network operator since 2010. Last summer both TalkTalk and Vodafone were among the telecoms companies customers complained about the most. According to Which? TalkTalk has been voted the worst internet service provider in the UK five times in a row.

With this track record, the company desperately needs to shake things up. Apparently, TalkTalk believes the answer is scrapping TalkTalk Mobile. A spokesperson said that the agreement with O2 is great news for TalkTalk Mobile customers. They will now have access to a wider range of 4G services for great value. Shifting Mobile customers to O2 will also allow TalkTalk to invest more time and money into improving the landline, broadband, and TV services on its fixed network.

Changing Providers

With the closure of TalkTalk Mobile, customers have few choices. If they take the offer and switch to a discounted O2 tariff, they still have to keep TalkTalk broadband. Alternatively, customers can choose to switch to a different mobile provider entirely. They could still keep a TalkTalk package of other services such as broadband if they chose to. However, the attraction of “quadplay” services is the convenience of not having separate bills.

In withdrawing from the quadruple play market, TalkTalk might lose some of its customers. Additionally, the hassle involved in changing providers might not make staying worth it. Either way, even if they accept the O2 offer, customers will have to get a new SIM and request a PAC code to keep their TalkTalk phone number. As they will effectively be O2 mobile customers, they will have to contact O2 with any problems. If they are still on TalkTalk broadband, they will have to deal with separate customer services all the time.

What Should TalkTalk Mobile Customers Do?

TalkTalk states that business will continue as usual for Mobile customers until their contract runs out. The company will contact every customer in advance to offer them the O2 deal. At the moment, there is no cut-off date which customers have to make a decision by. Even the O2 deal is liable to change, so while it is currently 25% off, this isn’t a permanent discount. For this reason, TalkTalk Mobile customers might be better off looking for a deal elsewhere.

Since switching mid-contract incurs termination fees, even if it’s to O2, customers should wait until their contract is about to end. Around this time, take a look at the packages and prices available across multiple mobile providers to compare them. Sale prices often change throughout the year and only last for a fixed term. Just because it’s cheaper for the first year doesn’t make it worth it to have to switch providers again later. Customers should also take into account local network coverage, customer service quality, and any other incentives before choosing a provider.

Increased Train Fares Leave Commuters Out in the Cold

Increased Train Fares Leave Commuters Out in the Cold

Happy New Year, railway commuters! Your travel costs just went up again. Unions and Labour politicians are protesting this increase in train fares at around 40 stations across the country today. As of the beginning of the year, average train fares increased by 3.4%, with season ticket costs rising by 3.6%. This is above the consumer price index inflation rate and the biggest increase in train fares since 2013.

Many commuter routes have increased by over £100 a year, such as Maidenhead to London and Liverpool to Manchester. For many people, train fares pushing up to £4,000 a year are just too much. Plenty of commuters to London are searching for new jobs outside the city to avoid these high transport costs. Even with lower wages outside the capital, workers will still save money without the expensive train journeys.

Protesting the “Pricing Off” of Commuters

The general secretary of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union, Mick Cash, noted that people who rely on trains are being pushed out of using the services by the mounting costs. The union advocates for public ownership of the railways. Privatisation led to poor and unreliable services, with customers still expected to pay more for them.

As a result of the price increase, protests are happening outside major train stations across England and Wales. As today is a bank holiday in Scotland, protests will take place there tomorrow instead. The shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald joined protesters at King’s Cross in London earlier today. In an interview, he pointed out that fares have risen three times faster than wages since David Cameron was first Prime Minister.

McDonald was also meant to speak at a protest in Leeds later today, but was unable to make it after his train ironically broke down. According to reports, train services in the north of England are actually the worst in the country. You might already know this, in the likelihood that National Rail has let you down before.

The Defense of Rising Train Fares

The chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, Paul Plummer, tried to explain the price increases. He said that the fare costs will go towards much-needed upgrades and service improvements. Whereas fares used to cover around half of the cost of running trains, this has also risen. Now 70% of the money to run train services comes from ticket sales.

After “decades of underinvestment” fares are rising to support “massively required” railway developments, according to Plummer. He emphasized this by speaking from London Bridge station, where five newly opened platforms will double the station’s passenger flow. Most of the money from fare increases will go towards multiple projects across the country.

What to Do When Yodel Fails to Deliver

Yodel Delivery Complaints

With Christmas creeping up, delivery companies will be feeling the strain this time of year. More and more people are buying their gifts online, relying on the courier chosen by the retailer to deliver their orders in time. Whether ordering presents to their own addresses or sending them to the recipient, customers will expect delivery conditions as promised. However, some couriers frequently let retailers and their customers down. Due to the increase in demand, it’s likely to only get worse at this time of year.

The Problem With Yodel

Despite consistently negative feedback over the last several years, many retailers still use Yodel to deliver their goods. Yodel won the not-so-coveted title of Worst Parcel Delivery Firm in a poll of 11,000 consumers on MoneySavingExpert.com following the Christmas 2016 period. There’s been no end of news coverage for ridiculous scenarios involving incompetent Yodel workers. Sometimes there can be some humour in the situation, like leaving a parcel “under the doormat” as a safe place. Most of the time, customers are left dismayed by the shoddy service, and empty-handed as parcels often go missing.

The poor service even led to the creation of a website named “Yodel Hell” which documents the company’s worst offences. Recently, Yodel made the news yet again for more delivery driver shenanigans. These included dumping a parcel over a fence and shattering the contents, as well as carelessly trying to throw a parcel onto a balcony. It seems like Yodel drivers didn’t learn after one threw a parcel onto a roof two years ago. Last Christmas, a Yodel driver even stole other parcels when delivering to a customer’s address.

If the problem is the behaviour of the drivers, then should the company itself be getting all this bad press? Well, yes, because no matter how many customers complain, Yodel does not seem to care. The company doesn’t appear to have made any effort to improve either their delivery services or their hiring and training process. Many people who complain using the customer service helpline feel the response was inadequate. An apology or a bouquet of flowers doesn’t fix a broken or missing item.

Know Your Consumer Rights

So, when Yodel’s delivery service inevitably fails to impress, what do you do? A lot of the time, Yodel refuses to claim responsibility in the case of a missing parcel. If they refuse to help, what you need to remember is that your contract as a customer is actually with the retailer. When the delivery service damages the goods or fails to provide them, the retailer will be liable to refund you or provide a replacement.

The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, Martin Lewis, says customers need to “complain to the retailer and make them justify why they use firms with dire reputations. If they won’t, we must stop buying online from firms using crap services.” However, this isn’t always an option. The specific item you want to buy may only be available from a retailer who uses Yodel. Retailers usually choose Yodel to keep their costs down. Yet in the long run, the amount these companies pay out in refunds and replacements surely must create a loss. Not to mention the poor service putting customers off ordering from them ever again.

Remember that you also have the right to return goods for a refund within the seller’s returns policy. Whether you ordered from Amazon, Argos, Boots, or any other retailer using Yodel, always contact the retailer directly to inform them of your situation. Even if the goods aren’t damaged, but the packaging was, you should still be entitled to some kind of compensation. Sometimes, unfortunately, retailers won’t accept your word that you never received your parcel. If Yodel marked it as delivered, even though there’s no sign of it, you may end up out of pocket.

In the case of a missing parcel and no support from the retailer, you’ll have to escalate your complaints. The website Resolver will give you information on your rights and how to complain to Yodel. If you’re not having much luck, follow MoneySavingExpert’s useful guide for complaints escalation. Even if you end up taking them to small claims court, you deserve compensation. Don’t let careless companies ruin your Christmas! If you need to make a complaint to a delivery service besides Yodel, you can find out how here.

What to do if you parcel doesn’t arrive in time for Christmas

Like most people, you are probably ordering many if not most of your Christmas gifts online this year and it’s almost inevitable that at least one of your Christmas gifts won’t arrive when they are due to leave you very stressed and worried. Below is a list of how to complain and inquire about missing packages with different courier companies.

man wearing a Christmas hat with parcel and alarm clock

Royal Mail

If your parcel is due to be delivered by Royal Mail and it has not arrived yet you can track your delivery on the Royal Mail website here. If there is no information available when you enter your tracking number or if you didn’t receive a tracking number you should contact Royal mail by phone call on 0844 826 8010 or by filling out the claims form here.


You can also track your parcel if it is being delivered by Hermes as they should also send you a delivery tracking number which you can enter onto the site here. If your parcel hasn’t arrived or it arrived late you can contact Hermes by the online chat option here or by calling 0843 208 2273 to speak to someone from customer services about finding your parcel in time for Christmas.


For parcel that was meant to be delivered with Parcelforce, you can track your parcel here. If you have no luck tracking your parcel it is best you call Parcelforce on 0843 557 4879 to speak to a member of the customer service team about finding your parcel or to ask about receiving compensation for a late or lost parcel. If you would prefer to not talk on the phone to customer services you can contact the customer service team on the help form available here.


As DPD is one of the main courier services, you will most likely end up using it for one of your deliveries this Christmas – if your delivery has not arrived on time or it has not arrived at all you can contact DPD by calling the customer service team on 0843 557 3392 to find out where your parcel may be. If you haven’t already you can try and track your parcel here.


If your parcel has not arrived and it was due to be delivered by UPS you can try to track your parcels whereabouts here or you can directly contact UPS regarding you late or missing parcel by calling 0843 557 3634 to speak to a member of the customer service team about your package. You can also contact them by using the online chat feature here.


If you need to track down your yodel parcel you can do so by entering your tracking code here on the website. Alternatively, if you believe you need to speak to a member of the customer services team regarding your package you can call 0844 556 4733 or use the chat feature on the website here.

Amazon Key – a new reason you’ll never need to use any other store again

Amazon has introduced a new feature to their services that means you’ll never want to shop anywhere else again, since they’re becoming increasingly accessible for every situation. As if it wasn’t already amazingly easy to access your future purchases with Amazon’s same-day delivery, their robot-deliveries and their idea for a click and collect supermarket that removes any need for cash or aisles. And now, they’ve decided to push the boat out even further, and have decided that they want to bring their couriers into your home.

Yep, you read that right – Amazon has decided that nothing would be better for you than if a random member of their courier team would be able to be let into your home to leave your parcel inside whenever you’re not there to collect it yourself. Amazon believes that their new lock-and-camera system can make gaining access to your home while you’re out a lot more secure, so you can always receive your parcels.

Amazon Prime members can buy the Key edition of the Cloud Cam as well as a smart lock for a total of $249 – and it will all be installed for free. When you get one of the locks on your door with the indoor security camera monitoring your doorway, the in-home kit will allow any authorised people into your home.

When Amazon delivery employees arrive at your home they won’t be given a passcode to your home, they will instead have request permission to enter your home. From here, Amazon’s records will verify that their employee is at the right address at the right time, and then by using their encryption process the Cloud Cam will begin recording and your door will be unlocked so that the employee can enter.

Amazon customers will even be able to stay on top of their in-home deliveries with real-time alerts, where they can watch the video of the delivery in real time or after it has been completed.

As well as being able to let Amazon employees enter your home, you can also give your friends and family temporary, recurring or permanent access to entering your home. You’ll also be able to allow other service employees like cleaners, dog walkers and others to enter your home on specific dates and times.

This is just another way Amazon is making it easier for customers to receive their orders in a quick and secure manner. The company has also recently announced Hub, which will be a locker-like system that you can use if you’re living in an apartment complex and want to make sure that all of your parcels are delivered safely and securely.

Amazon Key will be launching on the 8th November 2017, and will initially run through 37 cities in the US, and will work with same-day, one-day, two-day and standard delivery orders.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars

As we enter the colder half of the year, we start to see the beginnings of Christmas’s emergence, and with that, we see the entrance of beauty advent calendars.

Beauty brands all over start to tease us all by making advent calendars full of tiny versions of their products so that we can fawn over the brands we love every day through December. It is a much-beloved time of the year, and honestly, makes the run-up to Christmas that much more exciting. It’s like when you were excited to eat your chocolate advent calendars as a kid, but now you get to open new products that you can put on your face and body to make you look and feel amazing.

All kinds of brands have jumped on this bandwagon, meaning that there is always a mix of luxury brands mixed in as well as the standard brands you would expect. With this in mind, we decided to compile a list of the best luxury and standard advent calendars that you can purchase this year!

Luxury (over £100)

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

John Lewis

This is John Lewis‘ first ever beauty advent calendar, and as a start-off point it looks like they’re coming out strong. With 25 items available in the calendar, ranging from brands like MAC, Benefit and even a Hermes fragrance, this calendar could definitely be worth the £149 that John Lewis are asking for. This calendar is available now, so make sure you don’t miss out!

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury’s Naughty and Nice Magic Box lets us try out her best-selling products in an adorable travel size version of themselves, meaning that we can get an idea of the products we love before we head out to buy them all in an after-Christmas splurge. This calendar includes 12 items and is available soon for £150.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan


Selfridges are offering an amazing 24 items in their beautifully designed calendar this year, with a wide range of products from brands like Lancome, Victor & Rolf fragrances and Urban Decay as well so that you can really get a full idea of the products that they work with. Their calendar is currently available and is being sold at £120.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Jo Malone

Jo Malone’s advent calendars are always famous for smelling delicious and providing an amazing collection of her fragrances, and this year is no different! The Georgian townhouse-designed calendar will hold 24 items ranging through mini perfumes and body creams in all of our favourite scents. The calendar does come in at the hefty price of £300 and is only sold exclusively in Harrods throughout November until it is released nationwide in November.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder’s impressive calendar includes 25 items this year, with a wide range of drawers in its star-shaped design holding all the best Estee Lauder brands, like Clinique, Origins, MAC, Bobbi Brown and so on. There have only been 1,000 of these calendars created, so if you want one you’ll have to fight for it! At £125 per calendar, they’re offering a great deal as the collection of products inside are worth around £197. This calendar will be available at the end of October.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle


Fenwick’s gorgeous advent calendar, with its delicately painted doors, generously includes 25 items that are a mix of bath treats, makeup and skincare. The calendar includes popular brands like Lancome, Nars, Clinique and This Works, and is priced at £150 for sale in mid-October.

Standard (under £100)

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

The Body Shop

The Body Shop have been incredibly generous with their advent calendar this year, as they have created not just one but three calendars for us to choose from, which means you can decide just how much you feel like treating yourself this year. With the prices for the calendars starting at £45, each calendar includes skincare, bath & body products, fragrances and makeup from The Body Shop. Each version of the calendar will give you the chance to save an amazing amount on the products, with the standard calendar saving you £40, and the luxury option saving £113 from the price you would pay separately in store. The calendars are available for sale now.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

Soap & Glory

Soap & Glory’s calendar, which is available for sale in Boots stores, has 24 products for you to test in the lead up to Christmas, and provides items from their makeup and skincare ranges so that you’re looking and feeling good, as well as smelling amazing! The calendar is available now for only £40.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan


Benefit’s calendar manages to sell out every year that they offer it, as it includes all of the fan favourites that you would be looking for in the calendar. The 12 items that are offered in the calendar include the famous Hoola bronza and their ‘They’re Real’ mascara, as well as a great selection of other products. All of the products sold separately would cost around £76, yet Benefit sell their calendar for £34.50. The calendar will be available to buy on the 12th October.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan


ASOS’s calendar shows their connections to multiple brands that they sell through their online store, and provides 25 items including products from brands like Zoeva, Smashbox, Cowshed and St Tropez as well as many others. The calendar is available for £55 and can be bought now.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan


NYX is known for their incredible products at low prices, and this translates into their calendars as well. The calendar includes 24 items and has lipsticks and creams, highlighters and eyeshadows among the products it offers. You can buy the NYX advent calendar now for only £50.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Amazon Beauty

The Amazon Beauty calendar displays all of the impressive brands that Amazon are working with, and has 24 items from brands like Laura Geller, Bourjois and John Freida. As well as typical beauty products, they also have a few bath treats included, and are offering the calendar for only £50. The calendar is available to buy now.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle


Marks and Spencer‘s advent calendar has 24 items from brands like Eyeko, REN and Rodial, and is designed in a beautiful Christmas display, so you know you’ll be excited for the festive season with this calendar. The calendar is available to buy now for only £35, but all customers have to first spend £35 on clothing or homeware in a Marks and Spencer store first before they can buy the calendar.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Feel Unique

Feel Unique’s advent calendar has 12 items from popular brands like NYX, Elizabeth Arden and Jurlique, and will make you ready to go out and shop for full versions of all of the products the minute Christmas is over. The products would cost around £90 in retail prices, but are only £30 when sold in the calendar. Feel Unique’s calendar is available from the 19th October.


From making this list, we’ve had so many ideas about the calendar(s) we want to buy! Let us know which calendar you’re going for, or even if you think we’ve missed a great calendar off our list!

Russia’s Burger King try to ban IT – saying he looks like Ronald McDonald

Russia's Burger King try to ban IT - saying he looks like Ronald McDonald

The newly-released revival of Stephen King’s IT has been praised through the box office for its refreshing reprisal of the inter-dimensional villain who takes the shape of a clown among other things to terrorise the people in the small town, Derry.

However, with every great thing there will always be someone who disagrees with it existing, and in this case, the Burger King operation in Russia is the culprit. Representatives from the company have complained to Russia’s FedeRussia's Burger King try to ban IT - saying he looks like Ronald McDonaldral Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS), as they state that the titular character, IT (also known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown) looks like Ronald McDonald, the avatar from their rival fast-food company.

The company have argued that Pennywise has been designed to look like Ronald McDonald, citing the colours of the clown and his use of balloons to lure children as obvious references to McDonald’s mascot and have claimed that the widespread attention from the film could be free advertisement for the fast-food chain.

Now obviously, if the terrifying clown from IT was supposed to be a form of subtle advertisement for McDonald’s, we wouldn’t be able to say that it has worked very well, as our first thoughts after watching the film weren’t an intense hankering for a Happy Meal. In fact, after watching IT we’d prefer to stay away from any clown-themed advertisement, so perhaps you could even say that it works in Burger King’s favour more than McDonald’s.

However, as ridiculous as the complaint seems, the FAS has stated that they are reviewing the complaint, although they have suggested in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that it would be hard to prove that there is any deliberate promotion of McDonald’s within the film, stating that they can’t judge the content of the film as the writer and director will have their own interpretation of the character, but they can check for any hidden product placement in IT.

Since IT’s release in September, the film has already grossed over $502 million worldwide, with $14 million of that alone contributed by viewings in Russia. The film is still available in over 100 cinemas in Russia, proving that removing its presence will be a difficult task to undertake.

The first ever McStrike is happening, and people are conflicted

The first ever McStrike is happening, and people are conflicted

Over 200 people have gathered by Parliament to support the first ever strike action in the UK against McDonald’s (which has been labelled the McStrike), including members of the Labour party like Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Emma Dent-Coad. The strike action has also produced praise from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as he posted on his Facebook his hopes that all fast food workers would organise and join trade unions to improve their working lives.

The strike action has been organised and is represented by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) after several members from London-based McDonald’s restaurants joined the union after being left unhappy with bullying and misconduct from management. The strikes have been called to tackle this mistreatment from management as well as concerns about low-paid and job insecurity with their zero-hour contracts.

A McDonald’s spokesman stated that the strike is solely related to internal grievance procedures and not over concerns surrounding pay or contracts – yet refused to go into detail on the internal grievances as they didn’t want to single out any specific cases. However, many have stated that this is untrue, as multiple workers taking strike action have singled out their need for better job security and pay that doesn’t leave them within the poverty line.

The strikers have originated from two McDonald’s restaurants within London, in Crayford and Cambridge where members of staff have frequently experienced problems with management as well as their struggles over pay and their contracts. Some staff have provided stories of sexual misconduct and bullying being breezed over by management as well as the refusal to allow staff members to call in sick – while holding the security of the few hours that they have available to them over their heads. Many others have discussed how their low pay means that some are left without a permanent roof over their heads, while others cannot afford to pay for their own meals aside from the meal that the company provides them in their shifts.

The fast-food employees within the restaurants had voted in favour of industrial action following their concerns around the zero-hour contracts that they were offered with their roles in the company, and also requested that a minimum wage of £10 an hour was applied – following Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to raise the national minimum wage to this price during his election campaign. The BFAWU also said that McDonald’s had failed at their attempts to become fairer employers, and also stated that they believed the fast-food chain had yet to introduce any working conditions that could be deemed acceptable, as well as job security or even an affordable living wage.

McDonald’s announced earlier this year that they were allowing 11,500 workers that lived in the UK the option of switching from zero-hours (or flexible) contracts onto fixed ones, as well as increasing pay three times since April 2016 which has increased the hourly rate by 15%. Yet, many within the union do not believe that these movements have been enough, or even doubt the existence of these offers in the first place.

Over the last few years, there has been a global fight back by fast-food workers to get organised and create unions so that they can demand decent living wages and their right to union recognition. And in some countries it has proved successful – workers in Denmark have managed to higher their working wage so that they earn over $20 an hour, as the company was forced to recognise their trade union. There are also fights happening with the US and New Zealand, with The Fight for $15 winning significant pay rises for over 22 million workers in the US, as workers linked with community groups to fight for their justice. In New Zealand, zero hour contracts have been abolished by the UNITE union – all of which have helped begin the strike movement seen within the UK.

And this is only the beginning of the strikes in the UK. Already workers in Scotland and other areas have seen the strike movement started within the two London restaurants and have began to speculate on their ability to fight back against the unfair treatment of fast-food workers in chain restaurants. With plenty of people being left homeless or in poverty from the existence of zero-hour contracts – a fate that is exacerbated by the existence and combination of the minimum wage – it is time to fight back against the difference in wages between the real workers in McDonald’s and those on the top. McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook took home a combined wage of £11.82m last year – while a 17-year old on minimum wage working in the blistering heat of a McDonald’s kitchen would be earning £4.75 an hour – a touch over the national minimum wage for someone of that age in the UK which stands at £4.05 for under-18’s currently.