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By  Nov 14th, 2012 04:38AM

Walmart workers and their supporters are planning to launch protests in stores in 15 cities across the US on Thursday, as part of a small but vociferous movement to raise wages and improve conditions for some of the nation's lowest paid workers.

The action follows strikes last week by fast food workers demanding a higher minimum wage and a civil disobedience action in Washington DC in August, where a coalition of Walmart workers and unions called for a minimum annual wage of $25,000 and the reinstatement of 20 employees they claim were illegally fired by the company after strikes in early June.

OurWalmart, a union-backed members group, says it has filed more than 100 unfair labour practice charges against Walmart with the National Labor Relations Board, including 20 illegal terminations and 80 disciplinary actions. The board said it was looking into "several cases".

Walmart have denied any wrongdoing.

Thursday's actions will include a march in Los Angeles and a rally outside the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco, where Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO and Walmart board member has a penthouse apartment. In New York, a petition will be delivered to the headquarters of Williams Capital Group, whose chairman, Christopher Williams, is a Walmart board member. Other actions are expected in Washington DC, where a bill was recently passed by the city council to pay workers for large retailers $12.50 an hour. Workers will also protest in Chicago, Boston, Sacramento, Miami and Dallas, according to organisers.

Last week's fast food strikes were aimed at raising workers wages to a minimum of $15 an hour and giving them the right to form unions. The federal minimum wage, which is $7.25, has not altered in four years. Walmart workers earn on average $8.81 an hour, according to OurWalmart. Walmart says its "average full-time hourly associate" makes $12.83/hour.

The protests by workers represent a tiny proportion of Walmart's 1.3 million workforce, but organisers say Thursday will mark the largest action since protests last November when, they claim, 400 workers walked off their shifts.

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