Fast-food heavyweight McDonald's plans to increase the hourly pay of some of its US workers. It comes as large employers in low-paid service industries have announced wage hikes in response to mounting public pressure.
McDonald's said on Wednesday it would increase the hourly pay of some 90,000 US workers in company-owned restaurants, making it the latest employer to bow to public pressure on improving worker conditions.
From July 1 this year, the fast-food giant said the starting wages for full and part-time employees in its own restaurants will be one dollar above the state minimum wage.
But the pay raise won't apply to all workers, since the company owns only about 10 percent of its more than 14,300 restaurants. The rest is operated by franchisees, who make their own wage decisions.
Although McDonald's didn't specify the actual hourly average, the new pay scale could range from $6.15 (5.69 euros) an hour in Georgia and Wyoming to $11.50 in Washington, DC. Some cities have even higher local standards - like Seattle, in which a worker could earn $16 an hour.
The company added it expected the average hourly wage for workers in company-owned restaurants will reach more than $10 an hour by the end of 2016.
The move comes as pressure mounts on large employers in low-paid service industries, from retail chains to fast-food businesses, to increase wages that have effectively not risen for decades, when measured against the cost of living.
In addition to wage increases, McDonald's said employees will be eligible to accrue paid time off and to qualify for education assistance.
"We know that a motivated workforce leads to better customer service so we believe this initial step not only benefits our employees, it will improve the McDonald's restaurant experience," McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook said in a statement.
el/ng (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)