All out in support of Striking University Staff!

University staff represented by the UCU at 60 universities across the UK are on an 8 day strike starting November 25! Why? Universities have failed to uphold promises about pension contributions and pay, equality, casualisation, and workload.

According to the Universities and Colleges Employers Associations (UCEA), pay has dropped by around 17% in real terms since 2009, even with an overall £2 billion surplus at HEs. On top of this, the disability pay gap remains at 8.7%, the gender pay gap at 15%, and black academic staff earn 12 to 13% less than white colleagues. Over 170,000 staff are also employed through fixed or casual contracts, leading to employment uncertainty.

Conservative union laws have meant that although, overall, more than 75% of UCU union members voted for strike action, only universities that met the 50% participation threshold have been able to call for a strike. This is a perfect example of the political effort expended to suffocate the labour movement in the UK. Thus, it is worth remembering that although not all universities are on strike, all universities are affected by the above statistics.

Corporatisation of Education

This strike needs to be understood in the context of the general trend of ‘corporatising’ universities and education at large. Universities are being increasingly run as a business which means that any and all costs need to be suppressed for the sake of the bottom line. As such, staff have salaries stop rising, recruitment decreases, workload increased, and contact hours with students are slashed. This makes it impossible for universities to meet their social and civic duties of educating the next generation. Students become nothing more than the products on the assembly line of the university factory.

I’m a student, this strike is inconvenient

Strikes are inconvenient for everyone. No one wants to be out on a picket line to demand for their most basic rights, especially during the winter season. If your university is on strike, it’s important to remember that a strike is a last resort and happens only when employers refuse to do the right thing. It’s a university’s unwillingness to treat staff fairly that has led us here.

It’s also important to remember that drops in staff working conditions also means that your quality of education decreases, even though your fees keep going up. We believe that teachers and students deserve the best, and that the way to get that is by fighting together.

How can I support the strike?

If your institution is on strike, do not cross the picket line! Better yet, why not join it and have a few conversations with striking staff to better understand their concerns. Picketers also always enjoy a bit of music and some snacks and warm drinks. If you choose to join the picket line, make sure you follow UCU picket line guidance.

If your university is not on strike, we would encourage you to pick a day and visit the nearest picket line. You can also print out our leaflets supporting the strike (long version / short version) or these ones prepared by the UCU and distribute them on campus. We would also urge you to have conversations with your professors about these strikes and their work conditions as well as ask for your student union to endorse the strike – which the National Union of Students has already done.

The IWW

It goes without saying that the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) are fully behind this and every struggle fought by the working class in the UK and around the world. There is no doubt that education has a central role in our society. The worsening conditions under which our educators work under, from university professors to scientists in research institutions, are symptomatic of the steady onslaught of capitalism which has submitted all activities to the interest of profit.

We believe, as we always have, that it is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. Only then, absent the constant roadblocks set up by capital, can education, and indeed all social services, achieve their mission of empowering workers and advancing science.

With this in mind, we call on our members across all Branches and Industrial Unions to take concrete actions in supporting this strike.

If you are employed by an educational institution, please reach out to the IWW’s Education Workers Union (IU620) on education@iww.org.uk

Download our leaflets in support of the strike:

‘Mickey Mouse’ scabs endanger safety at Heathrow.

Union News

Striking Heathrow firefighters are being undercut by a privatised strike-breaking outfit from Surrey County Council, the FBU has learned.

The union has slammed the “backhanded” method of strike-breaking, warning that replacement crews will not be sufficiently trained for airport or airplane fires. Unite members have currently suspended strike action after bosses made an improved pay offer.

The strike-breaking unit, South East Business Services, was set up by Surrey County Council over four years ago as a separate local authority trading company. Some firefighters initially signed up to the unit, which came with a £3,000 pay package, but pulled out upon learning that the unit was set up to provide strike cover.

Firefighters in Surrey are not generally trained to provide airport or airplane fire cover, which requires specialist skills. The FBU believes the strike breaking plan is badly thought out and could risk public safety at Heathrow Airport.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This is a backhanded act of strike-breaking from Surrey County Council. Airport fire crews are specialists and, quite frankly, this Micky Mouse outfit will not be trained to deal with airplane fires to anywhere near the standard of airport firefighters. They’re playing fast and loose with public safety at an airport, one of the most high-risk locations imaginable.

“Striking Heathrow workers have the full support of the FBU. It is grossly unfair that they be treated so poorly, while executives and shareholders line their own pockets. No one, and certainly no firefighters, should be helping bosses undermine this strike under any circumstance.”

Unite suspended the strikes planned for earlier this week to allow members to vote on a new pay offer, but strike dates are still on the table for later this month.

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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!

St Valentine’s day massacre! Bournemouth IWW couriers join national Deliveroo strike.

You can support the riders by not ordering food on Valentine’s day!

Couriers affiliated to Dorset IWW are taking industrial action this thursday 14th February 2019. We are demanding:

• Return to July 2018 fee level.
• Increase distance fees for journeys over 2.5 miles (amount to be negotiated).
• Reduce the delivery zone (size to be negotiated).
• Stop on-boarding* new riders and drivers immediately.
• Remove double orders that show only one address.
• Give reasons and supporting evidence when terminating contracts.

* This is deliveroo’s euphemism for recruiting scabs to break a strike. It is to be hoped prospective riders will have nothing to do with this despicable tactic.

Please don’t order a takeaway on Valentine’s day. Why not join your partner in the kitchen and cook something together? It’s a lot of fun, and no-one wants to f*** a scab.

https://iww.org.uk/iww-couriers-network/

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Invitation to: Gig Economy Organising Roundtable (London, 24/01)

Open to all interested parties.

Invitation:

Gig Economy Organizing Round Table Thursday January 24th, 7-9pm, May Day Rooms, Fleet Street, London

Open to: Labour organisers and union members

The roundtable will function as a sort of focus group centred around the conceptualization of work and organiseable conditions. The aim will be to recognise new conditions in platform work organizing, like digital communication, precarious hours, and dispersed solidarity, better understand how organisers are responding to gig economy conditions, and envision future tactics.

The central question will ask how organisers conceptualise work, and how the shift to platform organising has changed their perception of what work is possible to organise. From this starting point, we will discuss the effect of digitization on solidarity, the use of physical pickets, and how legal channels fit into the gig economy.

The London IWW would like to invite organizers from the IWW and any union involved in gig economy work to attend. Ideally, attendees will be union organisers or members who have had some experience with gig economy campaigns. If they also work in the gig economy, even better!

It is free to attend and the London IWW has set aside funds to help defray the costs of IWW members from new or smaller branches.

Please let us know if you or someone from your branch/union is interested in attending.  If you would like the London IWW to assist with transport cost, please let us know in advance how much you would like to request.

For further information or to reserve your place, please contact Tom and Gaby at redandblack83@gmail.com & gabrielle.jeliazkov@gmail.com.

Mass Sackings at Deliveroo – What can I do about it?

If you work for deliveroo and would like help in organising in our area, please get in touch

From I.W.W UK

During the week leading up to Christmas 2018 Deliveroo took it upon themselves to sack (or ‘terminate’ in RooSpeak) hundreds of couriers, sending out identical emails alleging fraud on the part of the sacked couriers. No notice was given, and no opportunity for appeal. When challenged to give specific evidence of these fraud allegations Deliveroo has so far flat out refused. We can only speculate on why Deliveroo would choose to make such an audacious attack on their workforce, so close to Christmas. Perhaps it was a cynical ploy to increase staff turnover, weakening our collective power, or perhaps a bug in their terminator algorithm caused some overzealous culling.

While recognising that our legal status as self-employed, drastically limits our recourse to legal protection, we believe that by working together and taking collective action we can best force Deliveroo to pay attention to our grievances.

We, the IWW Couriers Network, have publicly demanded that Deliveroo give full evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of our terminated colleagues, or they reinstate them with immediate effect. But demands alone are unlikely to be enough. We can’t promise you that we will get you your job back, or a fat defamation payout, but we believe that together we are stronger, and that by developing collective responses to such attacks on workers we have the best chance of success. Below are some suggestions of what you can do, whether you’re a recently terminated courier, an active courier, or anybody else who wishes to show support.

What can I do if I was terminated? Get in touch with the IWW Couriers Network

The best way we can fight these unfair terminations is together. If you get in touch with us couriers.network@iww.org.uk we can a) begin to assemble a picture of what took place, the scale and the distribution of these terminations and b) put you in touch with your nearest couriers network branch, so you can get involved in any plans that might be taking place in your city or region.

Submit a Subject Access Request to Deliveroo

One of the difficulties with challenging these terminations is that Deliveroo doesn’t provide enough information,or specific enough information, to challenge or appeal their decisions. A Subject Access Request (SAR) is a way of making a company hand over all the personal information they have about you. It is not certain that these requests will provide specific cause of terminations, but we expect that it will give us enough information to make a case that the fraud allegations are baseless. A successful SAR needs to be very specific in what it asks for, and as such we have provided a template that can be used. This template can be found at the bottom of the page.

Join the IWW!

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a union for all workers, with a specific focus on supporting workers in traditionally non-unionised industries. Recognising the transient and precarious nature of ‘gig-economy’, the IWW Couriers Network has been supporting workers who are not paid-up members of the IWW, and we will continue to do so. But such activities have costs, and the IWW depends on member’s dues to pay for anything. We have no paid officials, so you’re not paying for some union bureaucrat to sip champagne on their yacht. All dues go straight towards supporting workers in their struggles. It is also a union that you can take with you between jobs, and by joining you will be a part of a grassroots network of solidarity whoever you are working for and wherever you are based. It costs as little as £1 a month to join, and can be done online here:

What can I do if I still work for Deliveroo? Speak to your fellow couriers, and reach out to any who’ve been terminated

Building direct relationships between workers is the first step towards building meaningful solidarity. Share your outrage about these terminations, and the threat that now hangs over the heads of those us us who still have a job. Especially try to make contact with anyone who was terminated in your city. Let them know that you support them, put them in touch with your local IWW/Couriers Network, and send them a link to this document!

Think about and discuss how you can communicate your anger to Deliveroo and show support and solidarity for the sacked couriers

For good reasons, many couriers are worried to stick their neck out and publicly challenge Deliveroo. As the current case shows, they have a tendency to sack us with no reason given and no chance to appeal it. There are a number of things you can do depending on what risks you’re willing to take, from contacting local media (who will often be happy to report such cases, and will most likely be willing to respect your anonymity), to holding strikes and pickets. Talk with your colleagues and former colleagues about what you feel you can do.

Support any actions planned in solidarity with the terminated workers

If a petition is circulated then sign it, and if a protest is organised then show up. Use a fake name or cover your face if that makes you feel more safe. It’s particularly important that if there’s a strike called in your city that you join it. If you don’t want to show your face in public, then at a minimum don’t accept orders during the specified hours. Withholding our labour is often the most powerful tool we have, but it only works when workers stand together as one.

What can I do if I don’t work for Deliveroo but want to show my support? Speak with friends, family, and colleagues about what’s going on in Deliveroo.

Raising awareness is always a great place to start. It might be especially interesting to talk to colleagues about how this relates to your experience in the workplace. The ‘gig-economy’ model is being rolled out across many industries, particularly in the service sector, so the struggles we face today might be the struggles you face tomorrow. If you work in the food industry, or for a restaurant partner of Deliveroo, then it is especially important that we develop an understanding of each other as workers and how our struggles intersect.

If there is a strike or boycott in place then don’t order Deliveroo.

Even better, make it publicly known that you would have ordered a meal through Deliveroo but didn’t since you heard of the action taking place. Advertise the strike or boycott widely to maximise the effect.

Join a union (and be active in that union)!

An injury to one is an injury to all, and a victory to one strengthens all of us. The IWW is open to all workers, or there may be another union present in your workplace or industry, or you could even join both!

Please contact couriers.network@iww.org.uk to let us know if you have submitted a SAR / got a response / been rehired

Subject Access Request email

Deliveroo Contact Addresses

DPO@deliveroo.com

support@deliveroo.co.uk

hr@deliveroo.co.uk

corporate@deliveroo.co.uk

press@deliveroo.co.uk

Template Email

In line with my GDPR rights, I wish to make the following subject access request:

1) A copy of any and all information held about me by Deliveroo, whether by name or rider number.

2) I wish to receive copies of any and all emails on Deliveroo systems that mention me by name and / or any other identifier – eg rider number, phone number, vehicle registration number, email address – and in particular any that concern the termination of my contract.

3) Clearly you hold information on me which has led to you terminating my contract. I am asserting my legal rights to see any and all information regarding this termination, whether by name or any other identifier such as those stated above. Specifically I am requesting the data on each and every instance where I allegedly marked food as delivered in my app which was never delivered to the customer. This information should include date, time and postcode and any other material or identifiable information for each of these alleged offences please.

4) Please provide me with records relating to the assessment of each of my alleged failed deliveries, the reasons for your decision that each of these was not completed and evidence that you had to pay compensation to customers because of my alleged failure to deliver their food.

5) Can you please let me know who my data has been shared with, including any and all third parties.

If my request is not complied with, or is not responded to within the specified time, I will make a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office in addition to seeking further legal advice.

Many thanks for your swift responses, you have up to one calendar month to deliver this information to me in electronic form to this email address.

Thank you for your cooperation

https://iww.org.uk/iww-couriers-network/

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