Union organising

How to organise young workers

Submitted by martin on 11 January, 2008 - 4:44 Author: Editorial
Supersize my pay

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.


Submitted by NollaigO on Sat, 12/01/2008 - 21:28

Your article "How to organise young workers" is rather lacking in concrete proposals. For starters which union do you recommend for each particular work place? When do you contact the union Regional official? At what stage of of unionisation do you ask for official recognition? What role does your organisation play in imparting key information e.g. is there a need to know current trade union legislation?


Ni thagann ciall roimh aois

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on Sun, 13/01/2008 - 20:30

I think both the of the comments level extremely unfair criticisms at the AWL. The purpose of the editorial was not to provide a 'how to' guide to organising young workers; it was very general, very broad propaganda around the general issues designed to make the basic case that revolutionaries should take such work seriously and to suggest some international campaigns from which they might take inspiration.

AWL members have been involved in organisation campaigns in a whole number of workplaces and have also carried out the basic work NoillagO talks about, including through campaigns like No Sweat. The fact that one (necessarily broad, necessarily general, necessarily propagandistic) editorial did not set out detailed strategy is hardly a fair criticism to make.

I also think that Tom's criticism about the AWL buying into the myth that casualised workers are impossible to organise is manifestly untrue. If we thought this on any level, why expend considerable energy and resources bringing Mike Treen and Axel Persson to the UK? I'd agree that, as Tom puts it, "organising young workers, militantly, in unorganised sectors needs to be mainstreamed more effectively into AWL industrial strategy"; this tour, our work with the IWW through No Sweat, editorials like this and the work currently being undertaken by the some GMB activists and the TUC Youth Forum in Yorkshire (in which, I should add, young AWLers are absolutely central) is part of the process of putting basic organising at the centre of our industrial strategy. In a period in which pretty much no-one on the revolutionary left is taking any of this work seriously at all I think it's a bit harsh to attack us for not doing it all, exactly right, straight away.

As for the stuff about internal political conflict within Unite, I cannot comment. Why don't you come to the meeting/s and ask Mike Treen yourself, Tom?

PS: I notice from you profile on this website that you're in the GMB; me too. I'm becoming increasingly active around precisely these issues so if you want to discuss that work further please feel free to email me - skillz_999@hotmail.com

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

Submitted by AWL on 31 March, 2006 - 6:13

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.

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Support the May Day McStrike!

Submitted by SJW on 25 April, 2018 - 12:52 Author: a McDonalds worker

Workers at five McDonalds restaurants (in Crayford, Cambridge, Manchester, and two in Watford) will strike on Tuesday 1 May. Richard, a Bakers’ Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) activist from Watford, spoke to Solidarity.

I first got involved through one of our organisers, Gareth. I’ve been a member of the union since before the September strike but we didn’t have the numbers in Watford at that point to ballot, but I attended the strike committee meeting in Crayford. I helped build up the campaign with workers from the other stores.

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Industrial news in briefMatthewWed, 14/02/2018 - 13:47

As previously reported in Solidarity (461, 7 February), the Communication Workers′ Union Postal Executive has endorsed the agreement reached between CWU negotiators and Royal Mail, which will now be put to a vote of the membership.

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Deliveroo strikes go global

Submitted by Gemma_S on 1 February, 2018 - 9:23 Author: Gemma Short
Deliveroo strikers in Brussels

Deliveroo workers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong have all been on strike in recent weeks.

Deliveroo workers in Hong Kong stopped work on Monday 22 January and protested at Deliveroo′s Hong Kong office. Deliveroo in Hong Kong had previously paid workers by the hour rather than by delivery, giving them a stable and predictable salary.

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Organising: defects of the SEIU-Crosby model

Submitted by Matthew on 31 January, 2018 - 11:58 Author: Martin Thomas

Despite what you might think from David Morris’ polemic (Solidarity 459), I am in favour of unions employing full-time organisers to unionise new areas.

I am in favour of that, just as I am in favour of unions employing lawyers, running websites, publishing union journals or newspapers.

And better hard-working union officials than “lethargic, cautious, self-serving and incompetent” ones.

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End outsourcing at UoL!

Submitted by SJW on 16 January, 2018 - 8:07
Xmas cards

Security workers and receptionists at the University of London (UoL) will strike on 25 January over broken pay rise promises, with a protest in the evening in support of outsourced worker demands to be brought in house. 

IWGB union organiser and press officer Emiliano Mellino spoke to Solidarity.

The campaign is going well. On every single protest we have there are more people — both workers and supporters.

The Foundation Day protest on 21 November had easily 500 people, probably the biggest protest we′ve done at Senate House.

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Take organising seriously

Submitted by SJW on 16 January, 2018 - 8:03 Author: David Morris

Whilst it contained some interesting historical content, Martin Thomas’ feature on trade unions, ‘From the “organising agenda” to the democracy and solidarity agenda’ (Solidarity 457), fails utterly to grasp what the move to organising represents, the nature of the crisis in our unions or the historical approach our current has taken to the mass trade union movement.

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Industrial news in briefMatthewWed, 10/01/2018 - 13:22

On 2 January a notice appeared on the staff noticeboards of some McDonald’s stores announcing a significant pay rise for workers.

Pay for under 18s will now go up to a minimum of £5.75, under 21s to a minimum of £6.75, under 25s to a minimum of £7.95, and over 25s to a minimum of £8 in London. All workers will get an above inflation pay rise of between 5.4 and 6.3%. It is the biggest pay rise McDonald’s workers have had in 10 years.

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Industrial news in briefMatthewWed, 06/12/2017 - 13:29

After twelve weeks of strikes, Unite members have agreed a deal to settle a long-running dispute over changes to waste management services in Birmingham. On balance, this has to be considered a victory for the workers. The Labour council have agreed to withdraw proposed redundancies in exchange for giving the affected workers new job titles and duties.

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