Union organising

How to organise young workers

Author

Editorial

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.

All out strike at BEIS

Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

Cleaners and catering staff at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) began an all-out, indefinite strike on 15 July.

This is extremely significant. It’s the first all out strike in a Whitehall government department for decades. The demands include the London living wage, sick pay, and direct employment.

The union is paying full strike pay. We won’t let these members be starved back to work. Fundraising for the strike funds is one of the best things activists in the wider labour movement can do to help these workers win.

TDL couriers turn tide

Author

Alex Marshall, TDL courier and IWGB rep

Twelve months of negotiating. The IWGB’s “Rise of the precarious workers” demonstration descending on TDL’s headquarters doorstep. Demonstrating outside the company Christmas party they weren’t invited to. A two day strike that included a motorbike procession to prestigious clients in the Harley Street area and temporary occupation of the company loading bay. Amazing speakers on the picket line including Owen Jones, Dave “Blacklist” Smith and Dr Louise Irvine and support from clients, entrepreneurs and heavyweights like the ITF.

Outsourced workers’ strikes

Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (personal capacity)

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) began a five day strike from 17 June, immediately following an outsourced workers’ strike at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (F&CO). Both strikes have had exceptionally lively picket lines.

IWGB surveys its work

Author

Zack, delegate to IWGB AGM

The Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), a seven-year-old small union of mostly low-paid, often precarious, and disproportionately migrant workers, had its union-wide AGM on Saturday 8 June.

The IWGB, with almost 5,000 members now, is known for a combative and creative approach to fighting for its members, with loud, disruptive and sometimes secret protests, flash-occupations, and the like. IWGB ‘s ten “branches” — what in many UK unions might be called “sections”, although with considerably greater autonomy from the central union — gave reports.

Outsourced workers’ strikes spread

Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

Outsourced workers’ disputes in the civil service are spreading. Cleaners, porters, and maintenance workers employed by the contractor Interserve at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office began a five day strike on 10 June.

Sparking and spreading disputes

Author

John Moloney, Assistant General Secretary-elect, Public and Commercial Services union, in a personal capacity

There are numerous disputes going on across the civil service at the moment. The Universal Credit dispute in Walsall is just one of them. That dispute focuses on workload, and there’s a feeling that other workers in similar situations across the union might take similar action. That opens up the potential for a wider dispute within the Department for Work and Pensions.

TDL out again on 10 June

Author

Duncan Parker, TDL courier and IWGB union rep

The couriers at The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) went on strike for the very first time for a 48-hour period on 24 and 25 May.

After a year of negotiations over pay and terms and conditions, where TDL used delaying and intimidation tactics, the couriers had had enough and balloted for strike action. The final straw was an attempt by TDL to force couriers into PAYE contracts with another pay cut. The ballot was a complete success with 85% voting for industrial action. We had two stunning sunny days and a great turnout for the strike.

Tube cleaners to strike

Cleaners in the RMT union working on London Underground are preparing to ballot for strikes. A cleaning worker and union rep spoke to the Tubeworker bulletin about the dispute:

“Tube cleaners have been campaigning for many years against injustice. We’re fighting for dignity, and equal conditions in our workplaces. Currently we have no company sick pay, which means cleaners who get sick are forced to come to work or face financial hardship. And we also have no free travel passes, unlike directly-employed staff working on the railway.

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