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Tag Archives: Solidarity
REBUTTAL TO BT GROUP’S CLAIMS – CWU INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE
This gallery contains 3 photos.
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Interview – Transport for London worker and RMT rep – On recent rail strikes – October 2022
We are seeing an increase in strike action in the UK, which is a good thing, but we don’t know much about the experiences and views of workers who are involved in them. We rely on the official statements of the trade union press officers, which doesn’t help us to answer the main questions when it comes to strikes: are the strikes actually effective, do they hurt the bosses? Do workers overcome divisions between different contracts, departments, professional groups or sectors? Do workers themselves learn how to conduct their own struggles and decide about form and goals?
The following interview with a comrade who works at Transport for London is a small step towards a more general debate between striking workers. We have to create independent forums to lead the debate, independent from political parties or trade union headquarters who have their separate interests when it comes to the strikes and mainly see them as recruitment grounds. If you feel the same, get in touch. If you want to talk about your strike experiences, get in touch. You can read a previous interview with the comrade about the situation during the Covid pandemic here. For a good general overview of the current crisis in global transport, check this out.
*** The current rail strikes
The recent strikes have been declared the biggest rail dispute in a generation, with 50,000 workers from rail services to track maintenance to Transport for London. Was there a different quality to that strike, for example, was there more communication between workers from the different rail sectors?
Some RMT pickets at Bournemouth Railway Station attended by Dorset wobs recently.
CWU pickets at BT openreach.
CWU pickets at BT openreach.
Wobblies from our branch have been supporting these pickets in Dorset and as far afield as Sussex. Here’s a picture from the one in Bognor on Monday.
A FW writes:
BT Open Reach were on strike today and are out at least twice this month. As a smaller part of the CWU they are beginning to feel a bit left out over Royal Mail’s dispute so if FWs could share a bit on Social Media to friends and Comrades it may help to get the message out a bit about their struggle.
IWW Statement in Solidarity with Canary Workers’ Co-op
The Canary media workers form Cooperative
The contemporary media industry is well known for puppeting the capitalist and state narratives and for promoting job insecurity, low wages and controls on the freedoms of journalists to speak the truth to power. The dynamic of employer and worker strips good journalists of the ability to provide the public with genuine working class perspectives and reporting on the events that we ought to know about. While this dynamic remains, even under the most progressive of bosses, the voices of the workers remain chained.
The Industrial Workers of the World welcomes the decision by our fellow workers and union members at The Canary publication, to take steps to remove bosses from their workplace, and create equitable and horizontal democratic structures through the founding of the Canary Workers’ Co-operative (CWC).
The workers of the CWC “believe in the need for a radical media that isn’t afraid to speak truth to power, amplify the voices of the oppressed, and envision a world beyond capitalism and the state. Radical media needs to be a microcosm of the world we want to live in. It needs to be worker-run and truly democratic.”
The organising of this Co-operative has taken place over many months and has emerged out of several conflicts that arose because of the behaviour of the Canary’s prior leadership, and the hierarchy and inequality institutionalised within the workplace.
While co-ops still exist under capitalism, we recognise the revolutionary spirit of this initiative that sets a positive example for others to follow; embodying the change you want to see; taking control of your own workplace; using your platform for the benefit of the working class.
The Canary Workers’ Co-op has adopted a horizontal and ‘sociocratic’ structure. This means that there will no longer be bosses and the workers will make all the decisions themselves in decentralised working groups and general meetings. All members are recognised as equals and will have equal democractic control of the CWC.
The CWC is run for the benefit of all the workers and everyone will be paid the same for a day’s work (currently £12 an hour). This is in contrast to the disproportionately high pay received by the bosses in the past, taken from the profits of the workers toil.
Furthermore the CWC is committed to providing education and training to members for the good of the co-op, and for the good of the movement. This whole process is a learning experience for all those involved, including the IWW itself as we support the CWC as it develops and redefines its relationship to the union and the wider class struggle.
We are proud of our fellow workers at the Canary for starting this journey to build a radical alternative to the capitalist structures which alienate the workers from their work and keep the means of production in the hands of a few.
IWW sends our solidarity to the Canary Workers’ Co-operative!
We celebrate this new beginning for you all, and we look forward to supporting you to achieve better working conditions and practices that will inspire others to follow this example.
Dump the bosses off your back!
London IWW Statement of Solidarity with UK Rail Workers
The London Branch of the IWW stands with the rail workers in their ongoing dispute. They are fighting not just for themselves, but for us all: as well as their livelihoods, the safety standards of the British rail network are under threat. The government-backed rail operators are attempting to reduce staffing levels on platforms, trains, and tracks in order to drive down wages, which they see simply as an overhead cost. Further, they intend to rehire many workers on zero-hours agency contracts in order to circumnavigate labour rights such as paid leave for holiday, sickness, and parenthood as well as allowing them to dismiss workers without notice or redundancy pay.
The transport industry is one of the few remaining industries in Britain with high union membership. This attempt to break it up by dividing the workforce is a direct attempt to weaken the unions, and the labour movement as a whole.
On top of it all, comes a slap in the face: during this period of exaggerated cost of living, and while the shareholders take home millions in profit, they are offering the workers that they aren’t trying to sack a real-terms pay cut.
However, the workers are standing strong: in the face of an endless torrent of vitriol from the British government and press, they are taking every opportunity to expose the inequalities and injustice that they face. Members of our branch have been proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with these workers on the picket lines, and we will continue to offer our support until the dispute is won. As long as we continue to stand together, we can tip the balance in the favour of workers around the world.
Mutual aid is the currency of solidarity; direct support for the striking worker is crucial to their success. As such, the IWW London branch are setting a budget to allow members to donate food and drinks to workers on the picket lines, and we encourage any members or supporters with the means to make a donation to the strike funds.
The momentum of the union movement is growing once again in Britain after half a century of targeted assault. Public support is on the rise, and workers in unions across the country are balloting to take action and stand up for their rights and their dignity. The doubling-down on anti-union rhetoric by the government and press is evidence that they are aware of the power that a unionised workforce wields, and that they are threatened by it. The IWW welcomes any and all workers both in and out of employment and of any nation, race, gender, or creed. Together we stand for a fairer world.
In times like these…
- Where a global crisis is once again followed by the threat of global war
- Where inflation is attack on our wages world-wide, while also so-called left governments from Germany to Spain to the USA agree to spend billions extra on rearmament
- Where the ruling class tries to deepen the division within our class, e.g. in form of deportations to Rwanda or other scapegoating actions
- Where the introduction of automation and technology doesn’t lead to a better life for everyone, but an increase of unemployment and pressure on wages
We have to be ready to break the cage of the law by…
- organising strikes in stronger sectors in solidarity with workers’ struggles in weaker sectors
- resisting job cuts and company closures if necessary through occupations
- fighting by all means necessary against overtime and work stress while others have trouble finding a job
- squatting empty flats and houses in response to increasing homelessness
refusing that people of our class go hungry or cold if necessary by defying energy bills
- physically opposing migration raids, deportations, evictions or arrests at picket-lines
We have to prepare ourselves for this. We have to stop acting like victims. The competition between trade unions and their fear to defy the law make them only a limited weapon in our struggle. Most organisations want to proclaim victories and therefore don’t allow us to learn from the strong and weak points of our strikes and struggles. We have to learn to speak for ourselves.
During the pandemic we have seen that workers in the so-called ‘essential sectors – transport, health, food – would well be able to run society in a better, more equal and less destructive way. We will have to take on this responsibility and wrest the means of production from the abyss of their system of profits and power.
Here in Bristol, like elsewhere, we have to find each other. Some of us work at Southmead hospital, others in local schools. We run a solidarity network in Avonmouth industrial and logistics area.
firstname.lastname@example.org / angryworkers.org
AngryWorkers’ Daily Dose of Class Hatred #4
Their borders – Our misery…
(This text was written a few days before the most recent tragedy in the Channel, during which 27 people drowned)
Syrian man found dead on Polish side of border with Belarus
Polish police say cause of death not determined after body discovered in woods near village of Wolka Terechowska.
“A forest worker informed the police about finding the body of a young man,” Tomasz Krupa, a Podlaska police spokesman, told Reuters.
“It is a young man of Syrian nationality around 20 years old,” Krupa said. It was not possible to determine the cause of death at the scene, he added.
At least nine people are reported to have died in the migration.
Death and misery has returned to an area of Europe which was the scene of unimaginable slaughter and destruction during the two 20th century imperialist bloodbaths. Today, the imperialist rivalries remain at a level of hostage taking, cyber attacks, altering the flow of resources, building alliances and eroding the opponents’ blocs and so on. The immediate trigger for the horrors in Eastern Europe has been the decision by the Belarus state to tempt refugees to fly to the capital Minsk from where they are moved to the border areas with Poland, Lithuania or Latvia – all part of “Fortress Europe”. The thousands of refugees already at or heading for the border between Belarus (an ally of Russia) and the states in the European Union (also part of NATO and the EU’s own military arrangements) are the pawns in the game of world capitalism in crisis.
Those are the particular features behind that hell hole but across the world desperation forces migration. In the deepening horrors of the 21st century, wars without end, ecological disasters and the absence of any hope of adequate paid work all overlap to make starvation, at whatever tempo, the only alternative.
Our siblings drown in the English Channel or Mediterranean, they suffocate in sealed lorries, have their primitive settlements and shacks destroyed and are beaten or worse by the state forces. Their possessions and money are sucked away by the “people traffickers”, now including the travel operators and airlines who flew desperate people to Minsk. Many of those who reach their “promised land” are enslaved by the gangs who robbed their money, gambled with their lives and still brutally control them and their family members that stayed behind.
For the bosses, we’re all “It”s of this or that nationality fit to be transported, trapped and tormented according to the whims of capital. Despite the systems of production and exchange having spanned the world for more than 100 years, it suits the bosses to keep their national states and to exercise their strength and control in each area.
In the case of the atrocities at the borders of Belarus it is poisonous for us to try and argue in favour of one set of state gangsters or another. The delusions of “national identity” and support for “our” national state and borders have always meant death and suffering for workers. Lest we forget!