Another win for Dorset Wobs!

Recently we successfully managed a disciplinary and grievance case on behalf of a Fellow Worker charged with misconduct. The employer seemed hell-bent on dismissing our member with no regard for procedure or evidence. The casework was skillfully handled by one of our newest trained reps. Our Fellow Worker wrote:

“Throughout what for me was a very stressful Time my Union worker with their professionalism and calm approach has taken the anxiety out of the process.

By going through the company’s policies and using them against the company won the day for me as they couldn’t argue with a firm precise response. Attention to detail is the key and I was looked after with such”

Want to help the work along? – Join the Union – Get involved!

Solidarity in the face of redundancy: a message from EF staff to St. Giles staff

IWW (Wales, Ireland, Scotland & England Regional Administration)

To the teachers at St. Giles Language School,

Covid-19 has negatively impacted the global economy significantly. The TEFL profession is no exception. In this challenging situation teachers and TEFL workers are supporting each other to make sure that the financial losses caused by the pandemic don’t fall solely on our shoulders.

As language school staff, we’re all in this together and we need to stick together. Let’s be resolute and determined and use all of our collective skills to get through this difficult period.

It is important to remember that, although you face redundancy, none of you are redundant because the talent of teaching in a style unique to each of you is enshrined in you that cannot be taken away.

All of us at EF and St. Giles shall stand together in solidarity with each other to get through these difficult times keeping in mind the maxim “united we stand – divided we fall”.

Casual workers demand pandemic pay from UWE. IWW-WISERA

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England

Bristol IWW is today publishing this statement on behalf of our members at University of the West of England (UWE) who have been facing hardship and distress due to the Executive Team’s decision not to furlough or provide direct financial assistance to all casual staff during the universities Covid-19 closure.

One hospitality worker described to the union how this situation was causing them concern, as “no furlough means that I will not be able to pay rent next month (or beyond) and that I’m at risk of homelessness. The only communications I have received told me HR is ‘looking into it’ and I haven’t heard anything back since”.

Another student ambassador explained that “many casual staff are reliant on their university income to get by financially, and we are worried that finding alternative work elsewhere in frontline industries would place us and those close to us at greater risk of infection by coronavirus”.

The IWW has written to UWE’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Steve West, on behalf of our members and their colleagues at UWE to highlight the detriments that they are currently facing and asked that these issues be addressed. Sadly Professor West has responded by refusing to discuss these issues with our union. Therefore, we have been left with no other option but to make this situation known publicly and to ask for the support of the wider Bristol community and to encourage our fellow workers at UWE to join in our struggle to reach a fair and amicable resolution.

We ask that:

  • Professor West meets with casual staff and representatives from the IWW so that our concerns can be heard.
  • All casual workers who are not furloughed under the job retention scheme should receive at least the equivalent pay through direct financial support from the university.
  • UWE informs all casual workers of the steps being taken to provide them financial assistance and explains clearly any criteria for pay.
  • All casual workers should be fully back-paid for the time since the universities closure on 24th March.

The Secretary of Bristol IWW, states that “While many workplaces have been affected by Covid-19, the actions (or lack of) taken by UWE has highlighted the precarious situation that many casual workers find themselves in. There is no good reason why the Executive Team should treat these workers any different to the permanent staff when they are so essential to the reputation and daily operation of the university”.

The IWW would like to appeal to readers that if you are a casual worker at UWE and would like to help your colleagues who are organising, so that ALL workers at UWE receive fair financial support during the pandemic, please Email bristol@iww.org.uk to get in touch and join the struggle!

Workplace Notes

The Anarchist Communist Group (ACG)

London Bus Drivers Act to Protect Themselves (and Get Free Transport for All!)

After the death of at least 26 London bus drivers from coronavirus, their colleagues had had enough. They forced Transport for London (TfL) and the London bus companies to ensure that front doors on buses stayed shut, so that passengers could enter by middle and back doors and avoid contact with drivers. For this to happen, it was necessary to stop paying fares. TfL was reluctant to do this, because of loss of revenue, but they had to back down under pressure.

However, some 2,000 buses in London have entry by front door only and bus workers want these routes to be suspended unless multiple door buses can replace them.

Read More

Essential workers of the world unite!

Roarmag

The “heroes” who sustain our lives during this crisis, are barely able to sustain theirs. A heterogeneous working class movement of frontline workers can change this.

Authors: Santiago Leyva del Río, Kaveri Medappa

Ironically, the global pandemic which threatens our lives has put a spotlight on the infrastructures that sustain them. The workers who have always been saving lives, caring for the ill, cleaning and sorting waste, producing goods and providing services essential for the uninterrupted running of lives have been made “heroes.” The same capitalist actors who considered these workers easily replaceable and often dismissed their work as “unskilled” are now cynically hailing them as “warriors.”

The classification of certain workers as “essential” has created conditions which allow for disparate groups of workers to think about themselves as part of a collective. The nature of this crisis has made the infrastructural labor that sustains everyday life evident. On the one hand, this conjuncture has revealed, and will exacerbate the shared vulnerabilities of “essential workers.” On the other, it has altered the public perception of this work, paving the way for its social and economic valorization. These new circumstances open up possibilities for the articulation of a heterogeneous working-class movement.

The sudden glorification of essential workers can be considered an epiphanic moment in which the ideology that shapes our world views, notions of ourselves, our aspirations and desires can no longer obscure what is really essential. Neoliberal ideology has loudly denied the vulnerability and the interdependence which sustain our lives, sedating us into an alienating, individualistic sense of normality. However, our slumber has been disturbed and we have been abruptly awakened from our complacent fictions to collectively confront a reality that is more crude than usual, yet more real than what we call normality.

Our two-faced governments encourage us to clap for essential workers from our homes, while insisting that we need to get the same economy which has been ostracizing these very same workers back on its feet: a return to “normality.” In so doing, they turn our former precarious lives into an aspiration. We are witnessing an iteration of what Mark Fisher called capitalist realism — the idea that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. In this interregnum, the only thinkable alternative to what is perceived as a literal confrontation with the end of the world seems to be the longing for a nostalgic return to a crappy past. Will essential workers continue to be clapped for and worshiped as heroes once we go back to the new, old “normal”?

Read more

The Factories, The Fields, and the Firearms to Defend Them.

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

“The working class is able, once it so desires, to take control of industry and thus establish a much more efficient and satisfactory society .”

(from the pamphlet: “One Big Union,“ by The Industrial Workers of the World)

You, me and our entire class of society’s underprivileged who produces everything with very little or nothing at all to show for it have – once effectively organized – the potential within us to free ourselves from the stresses that come with the struggle for survival of material needs.

While the study below is based on research conducted in 2020, the final analysis will be found to resonate up to the hour the bell of the social revolution is sounded. It’s of the deepest importance for the masses – the have-nots who’ve been no strangers to struggling since we were born – to firmly grasp the magnificence of our Worth, and our potential and power. Our potential for freeing ourselves from being taken advantage of by the government system is overwhelmingly greater than that of the government system taking advantage of us all!

This has been a very fortunate truth for the less-fortunate of the world ever since societies have allowed governments to exist, and our social contract with the State has proven to be nothing less than a taxing, hostile machine worth defying and reducing to irreparable ashes.

The more the righteous seeds of becoming free from social & economic oppression be planted richly in the minds of the poor and oppressed who are governed, the greater the potential becomes to overthrowing the government with overwhelming resistance; especially when the rational alternative of governing ourselves (exercising autonomy) is given the necessary attention it deserves deep in the roots of our ethical nature.

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people, and the few, who make up the employing class have all the good things in life.”

– From the Preamble to The IWW Constitution.

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E-mail gal-dem: Stop using kickstarter.

The kickstarter US internet funding company is notorious for its anti-union attitude and open hostility to Working Class self-organisation, so we are dismayed to find that the gal-dem media outlet has gone into partnership with it.

With its magazine format, gal-dem combines popular culture and other ephemera with some incisive political, social and historical content.

The Kickstarter United union was initially formed not just to haggle over wages but to hold the company to account over its politics, in particular failure to support an anti-Nazi publication and poor handling of sexual harassment.

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/kickstarter-votes-to-form-union-will-other-tech-employees-follow-suit

The management’s response has been patronising and arrogant, they call themselves “the leadership” and claim to know better than their Workers! They fired union organisers Taylor Moore and Clarissa Redwine and tried to bribe them into signing non-disclosure agreements – which they refused, other sackings followed.

www.currentaffairs.org/2019/09/we-stand-with-the-kickstarter-union

In a leaked memo they bleat:

“The effort to unionize Kickstarter hasn’t felt transparent or fair.” and: “Furthermore, we feel we’re owed more detail from the union organizers as to what their specific demands are and how a union will address them.”

Bosses are not leaders, they are a class who purchase our time and a pretence of deference, as cheaply as possible and use it to increase their capital, an abstract quantity that represents their power over us and their ability to restrict our access to the things we produce. They trade our needs and abilities on the market and reward us with a fraction of the social product they expropriated from us and our Fellow Workers the day before. This isn’t “transparent or fair” and the Working Class owes them nothing.

It’s been the experience of the IWW that some charitable and ‘third sector’ enterprises make the worst employers. They are often extremely hierarchical, run by unaccountable self-important cliques who expect their employees to work for love. In fact every Worker needs a union and has an absolute right to organise on the job, this is not negotiable.

Most radical and progressive causes have disengaged with kickstarter and will boycott their clients. This is from the facebook page of the musician and activist Robb Johnson:

“I have just cancelled – I hope – the current Kickstarter. In response to questions about union membership Kickstarter support responded:

Currently no employees at Kickstarter are unionized. We’re not in a position to speak to this at length, but we can tell you that Aziz Hasan, Kickstarter’s CEO, spoke with the staff earlier this year and shared the leadership team’s position, which is that the company is better set up to achieve its mission without the framework of a union. He also said that leadership would not voluntarily recognize the union if asked.

I don’t want to work with or make money for a “leadership” that is anti-union.

– Robb Johnson.

If like us, you have enjoyed gal-dem in the past, please e-mail them at info@gal-dem.com and urge them to make up their minds which side they’re on in the Class War. Or comment on their Facebook page

Wob kitchen report for Tolpuddle 2019.

The usual rush to set up tent and kitchen on the Friday was nothing a small group of Wobs couldn’t handle and we were ready by about 16:00 when the rain truly got going.

Concerns had been raised about food waste in previous years so the kitchen was tasked to cut down on it, improve on recycling and recycle any monies saved back to branch.

With a budget of £125 the scope for savings were good; the numbers for the first meal were small, but feedback was good for the curry and all subsequent meals. We did not use the chafing dish, so saved on fuel for its use, and then again on the Sunday lunch.

Of the £125 pounds available we spent a total of £76 on all aspects of all meals, leaving a balance of some £49 that as agreed should be returned to branch for use as funds for the Wob kitchen at radical book fair in September 2019.

Slop waste was drastically reduced and that is correct, no foam plates were used or plastic KFS (knives forks and spoons), so reducing known harmful waste.

Tinned, jar and fresh vegetables were problematic but were reduced and leftovers given to branch members for use at home after Tolpuddle 2019.

This year we had no takers for the Wob catering Cadre, but this could be down to low numbers so if the branch wishes to continue with this, maybe at some future branch meeting we can structure the idea for its use in education and ease of use.

For my part loved Tolpuddle 2019 and looking forward to 2020.

In solidarity,

Les.