We’d like to hear from workers in this position, you need a fighting union!.
“I have dined in your establishments many times but I write to inform you that I will never do so again and nor will any of my friends or family.
The reason for this is that my stepson has the misfortune to work in your Thomas Sheraton bar in Stockton and I am now aware of the basis upon which you operate and profit.
He is “employed” on a zero hours basis and earns barely enough to feed himself. Not long after joining your establishment he got into trouble with his rent due to the extremely low wages and was evicted from his home. I blame the basis of his employment with you for this. He now lives 2 miles away from your bar and is obliged to walk this distance to and from work as he does not earn enough to afford public transport. Yesterday my wife was obliged to buy him new shoes as he had worn holes in his existing ones. I think it is appalling that you do not provide your kitchen staff with appropriate footwear. If you feel that this communication is becoming a stream of negative comments then I urge you to read on as I have more to say. This 4 mile round trip trudge is sometimes made to attend a one hour shift. Unbelievable, a day’s work of just ONE HOUR. Furthermore, if he attends expecting a longer shift this is sometimes not the case as he is sent home if trade is slack. He, your employee takes all the risk, you the employer take none. You’ll note that I do not mention his name. This is for fear of reprisals. Before you scoff, let me tell you this: When he first joined you, after two months of working every single weekend he politely enquired if he might have a weekend off. He was given the weekend off but worked no other hours either. A genuine ZERO hours. This was clearly a reprisal and he has never asked for the weekend off again.
The only way he can survive on such grindingly low wages is by getting benefits top ups. In order to do this he must provide pay slips which you do not provide. He is obliged to download them and print them himself and given that he will never be able to afford a computer and printer so long as he works for you, he must go to the library. I put it to you that it takes him more effort to work for you for a pittance than it does me to fulfill a full time job.
Clearly your business model requires that the public purse subsidise your employee’s wages. This to my mind makes your firm and others like you one of the benefit scroungers we hear so much about these days.”
Here’s the Sheraton’s Facebook page, if you want to have a word..
From a F.W. who wishes to remain anonymous.
My issue came about in early October when my employer approached me with allegations made against me by another employee that I had breached the company’s social media policy. I was suspended on full pay immediately for four days, and I was told to come into work after these four days for an investigatory meeting with my employer, along with a witness for them, and a witness for me. I work for a large corporate business who can instantly replace me with another worker at their decision.
Scared that my job was in danger, I spoke to my close friend and her mother for advice, and it turned out that they are both members of the IWW and they could get me help quickly. They told me to contact ‘Wobbly Joe’, one of the IWW reps for Bournemouth and Dorset and they assured me that he would be of great help with my issue. After speaking over the phone a few times, Joe told me that he could help me out with my case and so we arranged for a meeting to take place before the investigatory meeting at work.
At the meeting which included myself, Joe and my friend’s mother, the fellow IWW member, I was given great advice to help me in my investigatory meeting. Feeling empowered and supported, I went to the meeting and handled it very well. I conducted my defence by refusing to answer their questions in order to prevent any evidence against me being gathered. Therefore, my employer could not forward the case onto a disciplinary.
I was allowed to return to work that same week and I told them that I did not want to experience any hostility from any of the managers or employees on my return. They agreed. I was very pleased with this outcome and felt very encouraged by the support of Joe and the IWW. I decided that I would like to be a member of the IWW because I knew that they could always help me out again if I experienced similar troubles at work. Being part of one big union for all workers means that I will always be supported by other workers, and I would be always willing to support other members too.
– A Worker.
You can help!
Dorset IWW General Members’ Branch wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers’ Union in protecting the interests of rural workers in South Africa. As revolutionary syndicalists we demand full respect for all our Fellow Workers regardless of their industry or location, affirming our tradition that an injury to one is an injury to all.
We are disgusted at the attempt of the state to suppress the union by imposing punitive and disproportionate costs on it for defending its members legally, potentially stripping this isolated workforce of its only independent voice.
We appreciate that some of the products we consume in Western Europe are provided by people toiling in conditions we abolished a century ago. As conscious working class militants we are well aware that the bourgeoisie would if it could, reduce us all to the lowest circumstances and it must be emphasised that the presence of super-exploited workers anywhere in the global market exerts downward pressure on us all.
Therefore the CSAAWU is in the vanguard of the class struggle and deserves the solidarity of all workers, we urge our comrades around the globe to provide whatever assistance they can, financial or otherwise.
Long live the CSAAWU! Victory to the organised working class!
What had originally been planned as an anti-workfare picket outside Poundland in Poole hit a snag early on – rumours started circulating that Poundland had pulled out of the workfare scheme within a couple of days of the action being decided upon. We decided to press on and do some leafleting instead and it was no coincidence that we spent most of our time outside Poundland.
Only one incident spoilt an otherwise pleasant day. A thuggish-looking defender of the exploiting classes decided to verbally abuse a female fellow-worker. At least he was brave enough not to target the toddler who was also with us (though he isn’t an official member… yet).
I think there are some lessons we could learn from this. For a start, I think the event was too vague. We couldn’t actually picket Poundland without risking getting egg on our faces in the (admittedly unlikely) event that they actually had fully pulled out. As a result we settled on handing out leaflets explaining what workfare is to random passing members of the public. While raising awareness is a worthwhile endeavor, I’m not sure that many of those who took leaflets would ever do anything about it. I think we need to either picket a definite user of workfare, or target the jobcentre and the providers (Best Training, A4E, etc.)
I also think there were too many of us in too small an area, leading to some people complaining that they’d been offered leaflets multiple times.
It was an enjoyable morning and we raised awareness of this exploitative and harmful program, but next time I think we need a definite target.