On strike in Sheffield!

LabourStart UK

Food couriers employed by gig-economy firm Stuart will be striking in Sheffield, UK, from 6 December. These couriers, who are spuriously “self-employed” and serve takeaway giant JustEat, are being slapped with a 24% cut in their per-delivery base rate.

Stuart claims that the base-rate cut is made up for by a new distance-based bonus. But in fact the changes simply mean that drivers will have to go further and faster to earn the same money. It’s a pay cut and a recipe for risk on the roads.

Food couriers will demonstrate at Sheffield Town Hall at 12 noon on Sunday 28 November and then move to indefinite strike action from 6 December, shutting down deliveries from McDonald’s and expanding to take on other chains.

The couriers’ union, the IWGB, is a small, young union, and it needs help to build up its strike fund!

Please donate here.

Demonstration on 28 November (facebook event)

Bristol CEX solidarity pickets.

Bristol Solidarity Federation have picketed electrical goods retailer CEX in solidarity with their workers in Barcelona who have suffered bullying, dismissal and unfair disciplinary measures.

Multinational CEX may be known to you a seller of video games but it also becoming known as terrible exploiter of worker’s rights. One serious concern is how a CNT-AIT member has been not allowed a reduction of hours even the care for a child, actions will continue until their demands are met.

Solidarity Federation is the British section of the International Workers’ Association (IWA-AIT)

An injury to one is an injury to all.

Help support IWW vs Golders Green College!

gofundme

V has worked at Oxford Colleges International for over 17 years. She has trained most of her colleagues in teaching english as a second languge, and has written a number of revision resources and workbooks for students.

At the end of September, she was informed that at the beginning of next month she would be transferred to a new contract with reduced hours and pay. Her employer has repeatedly refused a consultation meeting with union representation present, and she has been forced to work under protest, on a contract she cannot afford to live on, being denied redundancy pay or proper payment for the 16 days of untaken holiday she had accurred.

We are now taking this case to employment tribunal on the following grounds:

  • Illegally changing contract and employer without consultation, amounting to an unfair dismissal without redundancy pay.
  • Illegally refusing a grievance complaint meeting with union representation present.
  • Repeated failures to send pay over the past year, forcing V to accrue overdraft fees and causing significant financial distress.

While this case goes to employment tribunal, we are looking for funds to support V financially. Direct donations are welcome, or you can buy any one of the learning resources and colouring books on V’s etsy store , each of which will come with a signed thank you note from her.

Thank you for your support

V, and the TEFL Workers’ Union

National Labour Relations Board Rules in Favour of Voodoo Doughnuts Workers

IWW-NARA

On October 6, 2021 NLRB found merit in and are reaching a settlement to bring back Voodoo Doughnut staff who were fired during a strike in June of 2021

Portland, OR — On October 6th, 2021, Doughnut Workers United-IWW (DWU) received word from the National Labor Relations Board that 7 of the 9 striking workers who were terminated will have their jobs reinstated with back pay upon the conclusion of our most recent Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Voodoo Doughnut. DWU was informed that two ULPs have settled in the union’s favour. These ULPs include charges concerning topics of managerial surveillance, the posting of union information in communal work spaces, workers entering the building off the clock, as well as the recall of seven of the nine terminated workers who were fired for going on a health and safety strike around the growing concerns of temperatures inside the restaurant, knowingly in direct violation of the national labor law.

In June of 2021, twelve workers went on strike due to

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Another Bournemouth TEFL case: bogus contracts at Anglo-Continental School of English.

In June 2021 a language teacher who we shall call ‘Jo’ asked us to help prepare a case against Anglo-Continental School of English regarding the fraudulent use of “fixed term contracts” after reading about the successful outcome for staff at Kaplan School.

Jo started work at Anglo-Continental on a fixed term contract in 2010. This ended when the school closed for its December break. Jo returned to the school in January and the contract was extended for one year.

This pattern was repeated over the next eight years. They worked in the same job at the same site for at least 11 months each year with 4 weeks paid holiday, being upgraded to Co-ordinator in the summer months. The HR manager even admitted they had to break the contract annually to deny them full employment rights; often when they requested a holiday they were given a P45.

After four years, according to UK employment law, Jo became a permanent employee by default, however they were never informed of this fact by management (a breach of its contractual duty of “trust and confidence”).

In March 2020 the school shut and Jo was put on ‘furlough’ until 31st July. Their contract was then terminated on the grounds there was no work; in law this is simply ‘dismissal by reason of redundancy’. They were not consulted over redundancy selection nor told of their entitlement to compensation (another contractual breach).

Had Jo contacted the union at the time we would of course have taken it to tribunal. Unfortunately these cases are time limited but we believe if a sum is owed to a Fellow Worker, it remains owed until it is paid.

In March 2021 Jo returned to the school with a new contract which ran until they took a week off on 4th June after which it was again renewed.

In July the TEFL union wrote claiming compensation and passed the casework to Dorset branch. Within days Jo was fired. Dismissals for Trade Union activity and ‘whistle-blowing’ are automatically unfair so no need to quibble over length of service. We’ve now exhausted the grievance procedure and ACAS Conciliation so we are, at last, taking it to the Employment Tribunal.

Sinister: Guido Shillig

We have sight of internal e-mails that show Anglo-continental as a dysfunctional organisation with no clear demarcation of responsibility (and a limited grasp of the English language). Five members of staff, including senior managers were overruled on a whim of their sinister boss Guido Shillig, who we’re told “doesn’t like unionists”.

The IWW will not rest until we obtain for our members the full fruits of their labour. If you teach English as a foreign language join the TEFL union and help put this villain in his place.

Tell ’em what you think:
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Tel: 01202 557414

The Great Pause – Seven interviews on Covid with workers in India.

Angry Workers

“We were always told one must work to survive, but for the first time we witnessed a situation where to stay alive, one must stop working.”— A factory worker in Delhi (Our friend and comrade Anumeha Yadav interviewed male and female workers in different industries about their experiences during and after Covid.

We document these interviews here. We engaged in similar interviews here in the UK, if you haven’t read them yet, check out the summary) When the central government announced a lockdown with four hours-notice on March 24th, workers responded in multiple ways. Some queued up for hours to get food rations as relief, others walked or cycled over hundreds of kilometers, leaving slums and the work-sites they reside in, to return to villages for wheat harvest or paddy planting, or to be with their families during a health emergency. Most of these workers lacked any formal contracts and association. But they organised at work-sites to demand being allowed to return to their homes in villages. At many sites, the agitations even turned violent. The government was pressured to run special trains to labour-surplus regions in north and east India.

After June 2020, work steadily resumed at construction sites, commercial establishments including shops, malls, factories, workshops, offices, though with changes. The coronavirus pandemic strained international links in production, and the movement of people across the globe for daily business. The State as well as corporations recalibrated production. Firms cut back operations in some areas, but also expanded into new markets and opportunities, such as in bio-tech, or home deliveries.

Organizations used the flux created by Covid-19 to

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Surprise picket at United World language school in support of disabled worker.

Mike is a language teacher with 20 years service at United World school of English in Bournemouth. Language schools are notorious for exploitation and poor employment practices, hence the need for a TEFL union within the IWW. Mike is now suing them for constructive dismissal on grounds of disability discrimination under the equalities act 2010.

Thanks to those Fellow Workers who turned out at short notice to support him, it was great fun. Arriving at 9:30 we made a placard on the spot and gave out many leaflets. Reception from the public was entirely positive and it’s good to chat with people about their own work problems.

The bosses’ pathetic blithering fell on deaf ears, had we heard their side? Save it for the tribunal, mush, it’s an adversarial process. You can complain to these types till you’re blue in the face but when you take action they act all hurt. One told us our picket was illegal, which it isn’t. It never ceases to amaze us how ignorant some managers are concerning the laws made on their behalf.


If you treat your workers with disrespect we will shut you down! Have a read of our leaflet and tell ’em what you think:

United World School of English, Brandon & Clifton House, 44 – 46 St Peter’s Rd. Bournemouth, BH1 2LT
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 315166
What’s App: +44(0) 7825
https://www.unitedworldschool.co.uk/contact-us

Solidarity from the Overseas Teachers to Language House London staff

Industrial Workers of the World WISERA (Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England Regional Administration)Demonstrating the IWW’s commitment to solidarity within and across workplaces, the teachers at the Overseas Teachers – in the middle of their own dispute over bogus self-employment – have sent words of solidarity and congratulations to the teachers at Language House London who’ve just won their case against false self-employment.

To our Comrades over at Language House London,

Congratulations for winning your tribunal case after a long campaign against the awful wage-theft you’ve encountered!

It is great news to see comrades in a similar situation winning their case, we have full sympathy towards the efforts you have made to get to this point and we thank you for fighting for justice from the terrible conditions that you faced at the company. We hope that you can now take a well-earned rest from campaigning.

Solidarity,

Comrades at The Overseas Teacher

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!

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”?

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