The occupiers who came in from the cold: workplace round-up for late Feb/early March

‘We own your son’ – another stall report

scottish unemployed workers' network


The Work Programme may be winding down, but Triage seem determined to continue to toy with and torment those still completing their two-year stints. When we met Jane and her son at this week’s stall, she told us that Triage employees had even come and chapped on her door to inform her that until his time on the programme came to an end they ‘owned’ her son. She was actually less concerned by this dangerously warped thinking and intrusive behaviour than by the fact that, while he was stuck in the useless clutches of Triage, he was not allowed to go to other organisations that might be able to provide him with some real help in his search for work.

John informed us that he had been sanctioned for missing an appointment due to being at a job interview. He had even gone to the jobcentre to warn them, but…

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Invitation to Dorset Radical Bookfair 2018.

Anarchy in the Sticks!

Dorset’s second Radical Bookfair will take place on Saturday 4th August 2018 at Beaufort Community Centre, Beaufort Rd, Bournemouth BH6 5LB (Nearest railway station is Pokesdown). All rooms have access for disabled people.


We invite applications for stalls from individuals, non-hierarchical groups and campaigns, grassroots unions, independent and non-commercial booksellers, artists, publishers and distributors. Priority will be given to those active in class struggle, antifascism, anti-oppression, environmentalism and mutual aid. No political parties please.

Stalls are £15 each in the main hall, we had to raise the price because this venue is significantly more expensive than last year but it has more space. In the unlikely event that we have any spare tables we’ll do our best to share them out on the basis of need. Setup from 9:30, open to public at 11:00.  There is a large car park at the venue.


We’d appreciate suggestions for talks…

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Universal Credit problem number a million and one – or thereabouts

scottish unemployed workers' network


A few grassroots activists can only directly help a tiny proportion of those who need assistance, but we hope by writing about what we do we can reach a few more people with similar problems, and also make a wider public a bit more aware of the realities of life relying on the DWP. The following two cases came to us by phone and internet. (The number in the heading is just a wild guess, but with 660,000 people now on UC it could be an under-estimate.)

Leanne rang us because she was planning to set up her own small business and she wanted to know whether to follow the jobcentre’s advice and move from Income support onto Universal Credit. Of course individual priorities will vary and ultimately the decision is hers, but we could tell her to start with that the DWP likes to encourage people to sign up…

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Open letter : Stand against transphobia

feminists against transphobia

As feminists of Bristol we stand together against transphobia.  The forthcoming ‘Woman’s Place’ event on the 8th February does not recognise all women as women –  specifically, it excludes trans women – and as such it is transphobic.

The event publicity says it will discuss the Gender Recognition Act but the publicity, its implied narratives, and the line up of speakers serve to exclude, harm and deny a voice to the very women that are most directly affected. This Act is important for the safety and well-being of all trans people and replaces a medicalised, difficult, expensive and slow bureaucratic system with one that gives all people the right to self-identify their legal gender.

This excellent article answers many of the issues concerning the actual implication of the proposed Gender Recognition Act. In Ireland, where the legislation changed in 2015, the experience of the feminist community has been very positive…

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My review of “The Caseroom” by Kate Hunter

lipstick socialist

the caseroom

This is a unique novel; how many are written by female  trade union activists about the history of women’s roles in trade unions and the struggle for equality at work?

The Caseroom is set during a dynamic period of women’s organising; 1891-1910. Iza Ross is a thirteen year old girl who, against all odds, is taken on as an apprentice  compositor in the Edinburgh print industry.  The opposition to women working in the print industry is spelled out by her older brother Rab who stops her one morning as she  leaves for work. “Ah’m a man at the frame, doing a man’s work. And you? You mean to be a frock at the frame? Better you’d never been born.”

women compositors

Rab and the other printers oppose the use by their employers of women as cheap labour.  As a female apprentice Iza gets only three  years training, unlike the men who get…

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Global resistance to app capitalism and the gig economy

Cautiously pessimistic

Across the world, workers are finding our jobs and lives reshaped by the new precarious forms of employment associated with app companies like Uber and Deliveroo, and wherever these new conditions arrive, people are fighting back.

Since the start of 2018, Deliveroo workers have taken action in Hong Kong, Belgium, France, Holland and Germany. You can read a fuller report from the Hong Kong strike here, and there’s an 8-minute video with English subtitles showing some of what happened in Berlin:

Meanwhile, over in Indonesia, Uber drivers have formed KUMAN, a union influenced by anarcho-syndicalism, which has grown to around 6000 members and taken repeated strike action, as documented in this interview. The interview also comes with a 30-second video showing some footage of KUMAN’s actions, including a beautiful moment where someone spraypaints “‘DELETE UBER” on a wall while still wearing their Uber uniform:

Last year…

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‘Power hour’ or Workers’ power?! – Reports from two Amazon workers, Hemel Hempstead, Winter 2017/18

Angry Workers of the World

Inside Amazon

With our series of Amazon workers’ reports [1] we hope to not provide yet another sad victim story of how Amazon turns humans into semi-robots. We leave this to the mainstream media. We want to dismantle the myth of Amazon being the all-powerful and well-organised global giant. We want to support the small but important efforts to turn Amazon’s international structure into the basis for a global exchange and coordination of workers:

We want to use the reports to address workers around us. We have to do this face-to-face and for this aim we have written and distributed leaflets at Amazon Hemel Hempstead this winter. We spoke to workers at the company bus stops in west London in the morning and with Amazon workers at the warehouse:

Two of our friends wrote reports after working at the Hemel Hempstead FC. Feel free to circulate them and to get…

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