Ethically and justice-driven Quaker employer in dispute with 3 sacked zero-hour workers

This Thursday afternoon 26th February, 3 sacked zero-hour workers together with their trade union – the Industrial Workers of the World – will hold their sixth peaceful demonstration outside Friends House, opposite Euston train station, the London headquarters of the Religious Society of Friends famously known as the Quaker Church. They will be demanding their immediate reinstatement, but most of all to have their concerns about the misuse of zero-hour contracts by the management team heard by the wider Quaker community.

Hundreds of messages supporting them have already been sent to Paul Parker, British Yearly Meeting Recording Clerk; many have been from Quakers in Britain and around the world, including this one from Brad Laird, South Bend (Indiana) Monthly Meeting:

“I am upset that you have done this and ask you to consider that of God in those whom you have terminated… These workers seem to be standing in higher moral ground than you, the employer.”

The workers will also be officially handing in grievances they hope will be taken seriously by the management team at Friends House. Their union, the Industrial Workers of the World, has approached ACAS in the hope of getting the Friends House management team to begin serious negotiations to resolve the matter.

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Picket outside London Friends House

In the absence of any attempt so far from the management team to resolve the issues raised by the 3 sacked workers, their trade union – the Industrial Workers of the World – will continue to support them in their struggle for truth and justice.

Background information

In November 2014 the management team at Friends House, the London headquarters of the Religious Society of Friends famously known as the Quaker Church, sacked 3 of their zero-hour workers. Two of the workers were also trade union representatives for their local Unite Union job branch and also dual card members of another union-the Industrial Workers of the World. All 3 were outspoken members fighting for stopping the use of zero-hour contracts in their “ethical” workplace, and struggled to be transferred onto more stable contracts.

The result of their fight and “speaking truth to the power” was the termination of their contracts without any notice or consultation. This came as quite a shock considering that the Quaker Church is known for relentlessly striving for social justice and peace. The 3 workers were then offered “an opportunity” to apply for part-time fixed-term roles covering the work they did and in such a way that they competed with each other. They refused to take up the false “opportunity” and instead chose to stand in solidarity with each other. In the spirit of Quaker values, which encourage mediation, the sacked workers invited Friends House management team to reinstate the workers and negotiate new contracts of employment, but were turned down.

You can read more messages of support from the workers website. The workers have also organised a petition in order to further publicise their efforts in seeking truth and justice. A crowd fund donation has been organised by the workers union to support their cause: For more information please email: London organiser or London iww

Telephone: 07519671958

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