Book Review; Women Workers and the Trade Unions by Sarah Boston

lipstick socialist

boston-book

Where can you read about the history of the trade union movement? Over the years I have been on many trade union courses,  but none of them gave me any insight into the history of my union or the origins of the trade union movement. I am currently researching the Manchester and Salford Women’s Trades Council and  felt I needed some background reading,  but discovered that  there are few overall histories of the trade union movement, and even less about women’s role in it. One exception is Sarah Boston’s book Women Workers and the Trade Unions.

This work is not only very well researched but  is written in an accessible and interesting way, no  doubt influenced by her own history of being a trade union rep in the ACTT and understanding the audience she wanted to get her book out to.

I like Sarah’s anger about the way in which…

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Prison news for mid-February

Mid-February workplace round-up: Deliveroo, cinemas, cleaners and more…

Cautiously pessimistic

A quick round-up of ongoing workplace issues across a few different areas and sectors:

10-days

In Brighton, Deliveroo workers are still counting down the days to see if management will agree to their demands or if they’ll have to take further action. As ever, those of us not in Brighton or London can still help to encourage the spread of Deliveroo workers’ self-organisation by helping distribute the Rebel Roo bulletin to keep staff elsewhere informed about what’s going on. Similarly, the Angry Workers of the World collective are always looking for help getting the word out to other ready-meal factory workers about what they’ve been up to.

hackney-living-wage

Today sees a co-ordinated strike for the London Living Wage across four Picturehouse Cinemas, with workers at Crouch End, Hackney, Picturehouse Central, and the Ritzy in Brixton all picketing despite the cold.

Cleaners at King’s College London have…

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Human rights and workplace wrongs: Equality Commission staff sacked while on strike

Cautiously pessimistic

Yesterday, in the middle of an ongoing dispute with the PCS union, the Equality and Human Rights Commission sacked 10 members of staff without giving them any notice. The PCS report that protests were held in response today outside each EHRC office in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. Four more days of strike action are planned for Wednesday 1 March 2017, Monday 20 March 2017, Tuesday 18 April 2017, and Wednesday 17 May 2017.

Sacking established members of staff with no notice period during a strike is a pretty shocking attack from the EHRC, and we shouldn’t let them get away with it. Obviously those who have an EHRC office nearby will be able to get involved more directly in providing support, but the PSC have a few general suggestions that people can do anywhere:

How you can help

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Strikes and coppers: remembering Grunwick and Orgreave

Cautiously pessimistic

A quick plug for two (somewhat related) upcoming events:

On February 15th, there’ll be a discussion in London, on the subject of “Strikers & Spycops – From Grunwick to Now”. From the event description:

“Spycops and Strikers is part of a series of Grunwick 40 memorial events, organised in co-operation with the Special Branch Files Project, the Undercover Research Group and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance.

Since the exposure of Mark Kennedy as an undercover officer inside the environmental movement in 2011, many more so-called #spycops have been found out by the activists they spied upon. We now know that since 1968, the Special Demonstration Squad infiltrated political and activist groups that they considered a threat, including the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, Anti-apartheid movement and CND.

We also know that prominent supporters of the Grunwick strike were bugged and followed and that there were attempts to infiltrate the strike committee…

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