Union organising

How to organise young workers

Supersize my pay

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Editorial
Lessons from New Zealand, France, and the USA about how to organise young workers in the fast-food and similar industries.

One of the most visible impacts of capitalist globalisation has been the massive expansion of low-paid (and often semi-casual) jobs in the service sector.

This “precarious” employment — in bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, fast-food chains, supermarkets, high-street retailers, call centres and elsewhere — means long hours, barely-legal wages and unsafe working conditions. Young people fill these jobs.

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Workers' Liberty 3/3: Factory bulletins in the 1920s and today

Workers' Liberty 3/3 (March 2006) reproduces many communist factory bulletins from the 1920s, and discussion from that era about how they should be produced. "Workers cannot write newspapers? Really? Just tell us some news about your factory". It also includes information on workplace bulletins produced by the AWL. Click here to download pdf.

How to take revolutionary politics into the workplace.

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Class not nation

The Maritime Union of Australia has launched a campaign about employment in coastal shipping following the removal of the Australian crew from MV Portland. Bob Carnegie, Secretary of
Queensland MUA, has written to the national MUA about the presentation of the campaign.

The Maritime Union of Australia has launched a campaign about employment in coastal shipping following the removal of the Australian crew from MV Portland. Bob Carnegie, Secretary of Queensland MUA, has written to the national MUA about the presentation of the campaign.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Ollie Moore, Ben Tausz, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Lancashire County Council is on the verge of making sweeping cuts.

The cuts include over 2,500 job losses (compulsory and voluntary). Around 40 of the 75 libraries in Lancashire will close, as will 5 out of the 10 council run museums, all subsidised bus routes, and numerous other front line services will be cut.

Lancashire and Lambeth library workers fight cuts; teachers fighting for respect; Tube offer falls short; fighting casualisation in higher education; Open University strike; Enfield parking strike.

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Growing up in the age of austerity

Author: 

Kelly Rogers

Putting my finger on exactly when or how I became a socialist is far from easy.

I grew up in a working class family. My dad was a printer, and he worked long weeks at the printing press, for many years rotating between day-shifts, late-shifts and night-shifts. He hated his job.

As I got older, I began to pay more attention and realised quite how exhausting and onerous the work he did was. When he was made redundant I was in my late teens, and was very aware that losing his sense of security and purpose was hugely damaging to his self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

Putting my finger on exactly when or how I became a socialist is far from easy.

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Rebuild socialist infrastructure!

Author: 

Edd Mustill

It was interesting to read the latest in the exchange between Daniel Randall and John Cunningham (Solidarity 367).

Over the last few years it has often seemed to me that exhortations to rethink our fundamental ideas have come from many quarters and not resulted in much. They are in a similar vein to the person who sits in the campaign planning meeting saying “we need to be more creative,” but when you drill down into what they actually mean it doesn’t go much further than “have a Twitter” or “sit in a shop for a bit.”

There is a real historical crisis of political social democracy which is occurring due to the reconfiguration of the labour market, the death of manufacturing jobs and all the rest of it. The irony is that the trade unions will probably, in the long run, ride this out much more successfully than the Labour Party will. Of course our call centres and warehouses are not post-industrial in any sense, as workplaces.

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US docks: automation versus union power

Author: 

Barry Docherty

Members of the American International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have just agreed a five-year deal with the employers federation, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The deal covers 20,000 dockworkers at twenty-nine US west coast ports.

The nine-month-long war of attrition by the PMA which preceded the deal was the latest stage in an employers’ offensive against US dockers stretching back to the early 1960s. Before then, working conditions on the docks had been dictated by the ILWU’s victory in the 1934 US West Coast dockers strike.

Members of the American International Longshore and Warehouse Union have agreed a five-year deal with the employers federation, the Pacific Maritime Association. The deal covers 20,000 dockworkers at twenty-nine US West Coast ports.

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The old new

Are Amazon’s warehouses “post-industrial”? Does not, in fact, even a large university or hospital have rather a lot in common with an old-fashioned industrial complex? Agency working, casualisation, and precarity have disrupted and to some extent atomised the relationship of workers to their work, and to each other. But while those things are now more common, they are not entirely new.

Unlike many who emphasise the novelty of any given period, and insist that some innovative new approach must be adopted, John Cunningham (“It is not ‘business as usual for the left”, Solidarity 366, 3 June 2015) at least has the honesty to admit that he doesn’t know what that new approach is. “I take no pleasure from the comments I make here”, John says, “as I have no alternative to offer.” Honest, but nevertheless frustrating.

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Three decades of organising

Author: 

Gerry Bates

Veteran Australian trade union activist and Workers’ Liberty member Bob Carnegie has been speaking to meetings around the UK about his organising experiences over three decades.

Starting the tour on Tuesday 12 May Bob spoke to a meeting of Lambeth Left Unity, alongside an activist from the Ritzy Cinema workers campaign. On Wednesday 13 May Bob spoke at the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) conference with Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group. The FBU may have been subject to blacklisting practices and a police cover-up.

Veteran Australian trade union activist and Workers’ Liberty member Bob Carnegie has been speaking to meetings around the UK about his organising experiences over three decades.

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How New Zealand workers took on the fast food companies, and won

Author: 

Mike Treen, National Director (Unite New Zealand)

This article is republished, with permission, from the Unite website here.


Workers in the fast food industry in New Zealand scored a spectacular victory over what has been dubbed “zero hour contracts” during a collective agreement bargaining round over the course of March and April this year.

A campaign led by workers in the Unite union in New Zealand has defeated zero-hours contracts at several fast food chains. Mike Treen, National Director of Unite, tells the story of the campaign.

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