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 -

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Protest against Israeli shootings: For an independent Palestine alongside Israel

Submitted by SJW on 10 April, 2018 - 7:29 Author: Editorial
Gaza protests

The Israeli army has killed 44 Palestinians, and injured hundreds more, after Israeli Defence Force (IDF) snipers opened fire on demonstrations on Israel’s border with the Palestinian territory of Gaza, on Fridays between 30 March and 27 April.

One protestor, 18-year-old Abdel Fattah Abdel Nabi, was shot in the back as he turned to flee IDF fire. Another victim was Gazan journalist Yaser Murtaja, killed by a bullet to the abdomen underneath his bullet-proof vest clearly marking him out as a member of the press.

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NUS Conference 2018: defeat the right, fight for left-wing, militant leadership
Demo pic
AWLTue, 27/03/2018 - 12:09

At last year’s National Union of Students conference, NUS’s broadly leftish leadership was displaced by a new, mostly more right-wing team of officers. President Malia Bouattia, whose re-election we critically supported, lost to incumbent Shakira Martin.

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"There is a world beyond the campus" - Vote Sahaya James for NUS President
Vote Sahaya James for NUS President
SJWWed, 14/03/2018 - 12:00

Students don’t live in hermetically sealed containers, undisturbed by the oppression and exploitation around the world. Yet too often student unions behave as if they do.

We constantly hear the rhetoric of the “average student” concerned only with the costs of printing and nights out, as if campuses aren’t implicated in the injustices which define our society.

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National Policy Forum rowMatthewWed, 28/02/2018 - 12:22

The 17 February meeting of the Labour Party National Policy Forum (NPF) saw a row over electing a new chair.
Created as part of the Blairite process of blocking internal democracy, the NPF substitutes itself for the fully demonstratic policy-making conference that is needed.

Abolition of the NPF as one of the aims of the democracy review would be a welcome step.

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London Young Labour shows dangers for the leftMatthewWed, 07/02/2018 - 15:10

On Saturday 3 February, the AGM of London Young Labour took place at University College London. The conference was attended by about 350 young Labour members from across London, and passed good policy about defending free movement and working with the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, on social housing, and on creating the role of a trans officer on the committee.

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Tunisian youth fight back
Tunisian youth
SJWTue, 16/01/2018 - 19:43

Since the start of 2018 demonstrators have taken to the streets in Tunisia, protesting against the rising cost of living. The army was deployed following the death of a protestor, Khomsi el-Yerfeni, in Tebourba on 9 January.

When mass protests in Tunisia, led by the labour movement and the UGTT trade union federation, toppled the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January 2011, the work of dismantling the neo-liberal order he had built was only beginning.

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Momentum Youth shut down

Submitted by Matthew on 10 January, 2018 - 1:18 Author: Michael Elms

After Momentum’s internal democratic structures were shut down in January 2017, its nascent youth wing was taken over by a small friendship group.

Momentum Youth and Students became obsessed with factionalism, lauding trade union leaderships (in the hope of gaining employment in their offices), and weird Stalinist iconography. It was mainly active on social media.

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Left debates at Young LabourMatthewWed, 18/10/2017 - 13:08

Around 200 delegates attended the 2017 Young Labour Policy Conference at Warwick University over the weekend of 15-15 October. In a marked change from previous years the mood of the conference was left-wing. The conference voted for free education, shrugging off the attempts of the much-reduced Blairite faction to garner support for their graduate tax policy. Likewise, the conference voted to leave NATO — a clear break from the foreign policy of recent years.

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How to go forward from 8 June

Submitted by Matthew on 21 June, 2017 - 11:12 Author: Editorial

The 8 June election result has re-energised Labour’s activist base and helped put basic working-class demands back on the agenda. The increase in turnout among young voters, and the huge Labour lead among young voters, signal a major shift in British politics. All of this opens up a new period of Labour revival and recomposition.

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