Transphobia and the Bookfair – a clarification.

Anarchy in the Sticks!

It should be blindingly obvious to everyone by now that we are a trans-inclusive event. The collective has many transgender and non-binary comrades and they are welcome at the Bookfair.

We are mostly class-struggle anarchists and libertarian socialists, therefore anyone campaigning for the state to constrain transgender – or any other – people against their will, or to coerce them into prescribed paths and patterns of behaviour, would not be welcome.

We don’t see any need of exclusive facilities for cis-people, precisely because cis-people are the hegemonic group. For the same reason we don’t need white history month, straight pride month, international men’s day or exclusive clubs for gentiles. If attendees advocated for such things you would expect us to show them the door.

We should all beware of imposing our pet theories on other people’s lived experiences. You’re welcome to your ‘nuances’ (whatever that means) but don’t come around telling anyone they’re deluded or faking it. Please do not bring ‘gender-critical’ or ‘sex-essentialist’ propaganda to the Bookfair.

Enjoy the Bookfair, we’re going to!

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Delfin English teachers win contract improvements after joining IWW

We would like to start a TEFL group in Dorset, there are many language schools especially in the BH postcode area. If you are employed by one of these firms in any capacity and would like to participate in this new initiative, please get in touch.

If you are a student, we would like to hear from you also. Remember you can carry your IWW membership in and out of work, and across national borders.


After joining the TEFL Workers Union, teachers at Delfin Language School in London have won paid meetings, paid CPDs, paid sick days, a pay policy, and an end to zero-hours contracts.

Teachers at Delfin Language School in London have joined the TEFL Workers Union, part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). As a result, they have won major improvements to their working conditions.

Prior to unionisation, Delfin contracts were copied-and-pasted templates off the internet that, in many instances, didn’t meet basic legal minimums. After a year-long campaign, the teachers now have paid meetings and CPD training sessions, five paid sick days, a pay structure and contracts that guarantee a minimum of 15 hours a week. With union support, the teachers also won back pay and a pay increase for three teachers who’d been unfairly denied a rise.

Throughout the campaign, workers have stuck together and stood up for themselves and each other. This has meant many things: taking out individual and collective grievances, setting up a shared email account to communicate collectively with management, demanding group meetings with senior managers, and organising a boycott of yearly appraisals.

On one occasion, an IWW representative in Ireland had to pay a visit to the main Delfin campus in Dublin in order to get a response from the school. Similarly, the London teachers’ negotiating hand was strengthened when their fellow Delfin teachers in Dublin joined the UNITE ELT union. Teacher-to-teacher and union-to-union communication increased the teachers’ power and made management aware that national boundaries would not prove a barrier to solidarity.

Throughout all of this, the IWW TEFL Workers Union has been instrumental in offering legal guidance, a meeting space, representation, training, and strategic advice.

One of the Delfin teachers had this to say about the value in joining the union and getting organised:

“I’m not exactly coming up for retirement, but I wish I’d done this ten years ago. All aspects of my working life until this last year have been in the hands of my employers and this has not worked out well for me. I’ll never let that happen again and neither should any other teacher.”

The struggle is not over. Delfin has agreed to meet their staff for formal negotiations and the teachers still want to secure paid prep time, better pay, and greater accountability and transparency from management. The IWW TEFL Workers Union will be there to help them achieve that.

If you work in a language school, the IWW is happy to sit down with you to discuss your contract and answer any questions you may have. We also offer training, advice, and representation in disciplinaries and grievances.

The TEFL Workers Union is open to all workers in language schools, including receptionists, admin staff, interns, cleaners, and sales staff. If you work at a language school and you have a problem at work, the IWW has got your back.

tefl@iww.org.uk
https://iww.org.uk/tefl-workers-union
https://facebook.com/teflworkers

No Work Without Pay: Boycott CJ Barbers!

Brighton SolFed
Brighton SolFed has started a public campaign against CJ Barbers, who owe one of our members over two months in unpaid wages. The worker was employed as an “apprentice” for no wages, with the promise of paid work after two months. Unfortunately, this kind of practice is common in the barbering industry in Brighton, so the worker decided to go along with it. After the two months were up, CJ Barbers paid him…£50 a week, for full time work! The worker left two weeks later.

During this so-called “apprenticeship” the worker was given no contract, no opportunity to work towards any qualification, and worked full time hours. This therefore does not meet the legal requirement of an  apprenticeship, which is why we are demanding that CJ Barbers pays our member the full legal minimum wage, holiday pay, and pension contributions for the hours he worked, which total £2821.63.

The worker explains: “CJ Barbers promised me an education and a fully paid position after two months of free labour. This was a lie on both fronts so I quit when I discovered they had no intention of ever paying me properly. They were exploiting my labour and lying about my ability as a barber to prevent me seeking other employment.

“Because they did not keep keep up their end of the deal I am now demanding they pay the minimum of what my workers rights entitle me to.”

SolFed tried to resolve the dispute amicably, offering them the opportunity to resolve the matter before we made it public. However, we received no response to our overtures. Therefore, on Sunday 7th April, we opened a public dispute by picketing CJ Barbers. The management were immediately hostile, with both owners yelling at SolFed members, and one pushing picketers around. However, his attempts to disrupt the picket by pretending to be cleaning his windows only served to provide entertainment for passers-by! The owner also made a number of baseless accusations about the character of his ex-worker.

The owners have also made several legal threats against both the worker and SolFed, and contacted the police multiple times in an attempt to scare us away. However, it’s clear that they’ve realised that this kind of intimidation doesn’t work, and have instead now taken to the internet with their friends to refer to us as a “gang”.

Unpaid trials are a huge problem in our city, and Brighton SolFed has had success in the past  of organising with workers to ensure that no work is without pay.

Our dispute with CJ Barbers will be ongoing until this worker receives the pay they are owed.

An injury to one is an injury to all!

 

Call to action: protect Kevan from racist violence

Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee UK

IWOC member Kevan Thakrar is urgently in need of support from people outside of prison. Having been held in what amounts to solitary confinement in Close Supervision Centres (‘prisons within prisons’) for the past nine years, Kevan has recently been subject to severe racial abuse from other prisoners at HMP Whitemoor.

These prisoners are members of the ‘Death Before Dishonour’ group, a network dedicated to abuse and violence towards Muslim prisoners, whose members have carried out acts of extreme violence. Kevan has previously written about the ways in which racist abuse is condoned and encouraged in prisons. Journalist and ex-prisoner Eric Allison has also written about the racial abuse Kevan has experienced in the past and the systemic Islamophobia at HMP Frankland.

Please write to prison and Ministry of Justice officials to demand that Kevan is protected from prisoners and officers perpetrating racist abuse and violence, and that he is afforded his basic human rights such as time out of his cell, meaningful human contact in the prison and contact with family and friends.

You can write to:

CM R. Grice
Head of Security
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

Or phone the prison on: 01354 602 350

David Gauke
Secretary of State for Justice
102 Petty France
Westminster
London
SW1H 9AJ

Or contact him at the Ministry of Justice: https://contact-moj.dsd.io/correspondence/topic

Steve Barclay
MP for North East Cambridgeshire
stevebarclay.net/contact

You can also write to Kevan. He may not always be able to reply but really appreciates support and solidarity:

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

The Working Class has no country! Solidarity with Brazilian couriers in Dublin.

Borders serve only the bosses, states are cross-class alliances. Away with them!

From IWW Ireland.

Brazilian Deliveroo couriers in Dublin have been leading a campaign against xenophobic attacks and thefts.

All of us who have worked as couriers know the physical dangers we face on a day to day basis. Not only must we navigate urban traffic, often in the dark or adverse conditions, but we have very little control over the areas we travel to, and those of us on bikes and mopeds are continuously physically exposed.

These factors are compounded by inequalities within society around race, nationality, gender, sexuality, age, physical ability, and so on. An area that feels safe to a white man, might not feel so safe to woman of colour, or some may face racial profiling from police or Immigration authorities as they go about their jobs.

On top of this, our work require that we carry around expensive equipment, whether vehicles or smartphones. This can make us targets for thieves, who in certain areas have set up strategies specifically targeting couriers for their vehicles, smartphones, and whatever else they may be carrying.

The arms-length nature of our relationship with our ’employers’ means that they can shirk most of the responsibility for our safety or for any loss or damage to equipment. Where insurance schemes are offered, they are limited in scope and can be hard to access.

These are all aspects of precarious employment – various means by which risk is pushed down on to us, the workers, while those who employ us are set to reap the rewards.

In Dublin they are setting an example in how to challenge this state of affairs – by standing together, collectivising the struggle, and forcing those who seek to reap the rewards to account for the risks we must face.

From across the UK and Ireland we declare solidarity with our fellow couriers in Dublin, and all those who stand up against violence and xenophobia in their workplaces and beyond.

We can only fight precarity with solidarity!

Skipton’s Bournemouth picket 16th February 2019.

This afternoon five of us picketed Skipton Building society Bournemouth branch in solidarity with Brighton Solidarity Federation’s Housing Union, as part of the continuing  campaign to obtain compensation for tenants rendered homeless by Fox & Sons in Brighton Kemptown.

Dorset IWW supports Brighton tenants against Fox & Sons

Fox & Sons is part of the Connell’s group which owns dozens of similar companies and reported pre-tax profits of £28.9 million in the first six months of 2018. It’s ultimately owned by the Skipton Building society so the campaign is being escalated to their branches and subsidiaries.

Landlord drops Fox & Sons after single picket, whilst our campaign escalates to Jade Software in Australia

As usual we received support from passers-by, the workers at Skipton’s didn’t actually know the company owned  Fox & Sons, they were friendly and even brought us some coffee!

– An injury to one is an injury to all!

Report from the front line: Bournemouth couriers shut down deliveroo on Valentine’s day!

L Bournemouth town centre, R banner drop on A338

Twenty-seven riders struck in Bournemouth. Nineteen picketed the largest and busiest KFC in Bournemouth, others went sick, or celebrated valentines with a loved one. Four scabs crossed the picket line, looking “furtive and guilty” – you know who you are! However four new riders were recruited to the strike group.

One striker assessed the viability of ordering food on the customer app:

“The only places I can order from are ones that provide their own delivery … It worked. I can’t get any (deliveroo rider) delivered food at the moment. … all the town centre and landsdowne restaurants show up … From 9:15 I couldn’t order food if I wanted to.”

Future actions will enforce deliveroo rates equivalent to the new minimum wage of £8.21 per hour. Another striker commented:

The overall feelings of anger, aggression and disgust towards Deliveroo, rose again last night, to a new level. We refuse to let Deliveroo reduce us to poverty stricken workers, who are grateful for crumbs that fall from the company’s table.

The support from other striking riders in the UK was uplifting, and show us that the battles being fought by individual towns and cities are now combining, to becoming a united and coordinated War.”

Don’t cross picket lines!