Union organising

How to organise young workers

One of the most visible impacts of capitalist globalisation has been the massive expansion of low-paid (and often semi-casual) jobs in the service sector. This “precarious” employment — in bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, fast-food chains, supermarkets, high-street retailers, call centres and elsewhere — means long hours, barely-legal wages and unsafe working conditions. Young people fill these jobs. According to a recent TUC survey, workers between the ages of 16-24 make up nearly a third of the total workforce in hotels and restaurants in the UK (migrant workers and women of all ages...

Workers' Liberty 3/3: Factory bulletins in the 1920s and today

Workers' Liberty 3/3 (March 2006) reproduces many communist factory bulletins from the 1920s, and discussion from that era about how they should be produced. "Workers cannot write newspapers? Really? Just tell us some news about your factory". It also includes information on workplace bulletins produced by the AWL. Click here to download pdf.

Unions must stay active

In light of the developing surge in coronavirus cases, a Covid-19 subcommittee of the IWGB Union’s Executive Committee has issued a ruling stating that all face-to-face union activities – picketing, meetings, recruitment, leafleting – must be suspended, even if they were previously being carried out in a covid-distanced manner. This move is similar to a decision taken by the USDAW shop-workers’ union earlier in the year. In both cases, we think it is mistaken. Unions are an essential service. Like all other essential serivces, they must find ways of working with the increased risk (as all...

Care workers fight for rights

On 18 September are workers at Sage Nursing Home in north London, primarily migrant workers, organising through the United Voices of World union, threatened to strike for a pay claim of £12 an hour to give equality with NHS terms and conditions. Another important struggle for care workers lies in a successful legal case, taken by Unison against three domiciliary care companies, over time for travel counting as working time under the minimum wage legislation. A victory for this group of women zero-hours workers opens the door for action on this issue across the home care sector. Workers in the...

Deliveroo: more action

On Wednesday 26 August, Deliveroo couriers continued their organising drive in Sheffield by organising a boycott of the Mr Miyagi sushi restaurant. Mr Miyagi had become a byword for disrespect among drivers in Sheffield. They would use the Deliveroo app to oblige drivers to turn up at the restaurant long before the food was prepared. Drivers had to wait a long time for food orders — time for which they were not paid — and run the risk of getting parking tickets, or be subject to complaints from impatient customers. Mr Miyagi’s owner received a letter from the union outlining these concerns...

"Conditionality" and DWP hours (John Moloney's column)

“Conditionality” for benefit claimants has been restored, which means claimants can be “sanctioned” — i.e., have their benefits revoked — for things like being late for appointments. This is a spectacularly cruel decision on the government’s part, which PCS completely opposes. At the moment, bosses are still proceeding with a light touch and often not insisting that frontline DWP staff impose conditionality. But that’s likely to change, especially as claims continue to rise. We oppose conditionality both in terms of its impact on claimants, and its use as a productivity measure to discipline...

Remobilising the left

At the end of July, local AWL organisers met to discuss remobilising members to respond to the economic and political upheavals that face labour movement activists as the lockdown eases. Our window for that remobilisation may be short if lockdowns are partially or fully reintroduced. As socialist activists whose political bread-and-butter is face-to-face communication and outward-facing activity such as meetings, street protests, and picket lines, we need to learn the lessons of lockdown. Some trade union activity has been possible in some unions, at the local level and among leftists, but...

Organising home care workers

In April, deaths of those receiving domiciliary care services were 2.7 times higher than the three-year average, an excess only slightly lower than in care homes. Yet there has been little focus on this sector during the pandemic. The infection control issues reported by workers, lack of PPE and inadequate sick pay, are common across social care. The neglect from government has been even starker for home care workers than for care homes. Over half of domiciliary care providers report having no allocation from the national infection control fund, which specified 75% of the money for care homes...

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