Young workers and working students came together at Goldsmiths College on Saturday 12 May for ‘Student Worker Solidarity 2012’, an activist gathering organised by the Young Members Network of the GMB union’s Southern Region.
Co-sponsored by Goldsmiths Students Union, Royal Holloway Students Union and social justice NGO People & Planet, the event aimed to share experiences, skills and resources for anyone involved in trade union organising in their workplace or on their campus (and, as is often the case, when those two places are one and the same).
Bar workers employed by their own Student Union swapped war stories with young Tube workers and workers employed on precarious contracts in un-unionised workplaces traded knowledge with public sector trade unionists from workplaces with 100% union density.
The event represents the start of an attempt by a group of young trade unionists in London and the south of England, particularly in the GMB, to win our unions to a more radical and ambitious strategy for organising the tough-to-crack retail, hospitality, and service sector workplaces where many young people and working students are employed.
Activists interested in pursuing this work will be meeting again in London in June to discuss plans. Watch this space for details, or email me here.