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.

Building-wide safety committees (John Moloney's column)

The outsourced workers’ strike at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 19-21 July was totally solid. I had the honour of addressing their picket line, and there was good support from elsewhere in the union and the wider movement too. It was especially good to see young activists from the UK Student Climate Network’s London chapter support the picket line, emphasising climate change as a class issue. BEIS is a key department in terms of climate strategy, so it’s especially important the links are made. The perspective now is to build towards further action in...

BEIS strike from 19 July (John Moloney's column)

Our outsourced worker members at the government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will strike for three days, from 19 July. These are workers who’ve had to come into work throughout the pandemic, despite the buildings they service being mostly empty. They’re fighting for increased pay, a bonus for having worked through lockdown, and annual leave entitlement owed from last year. On 14 July we’ll get the result of our ballot of cleaners and toilet attendants in Royal Parks, who’re resisting potential job cuts and who want party of terms with those who work direct for...

Link outsourced workers' disputes

The union has now made a formal complaint to the Cabinet Office about the treatment of our reps in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) Swansea. It’s increasingly clear that the strikebreaking campaign is, if not originating with management, certainly endorsed by them. The anti-strike, back-to-work petition was even tweeted by the DVLA’s official Twitter account. I’m pushing for the union to coordinate three outsourced workers’ disputes which are developing concurrently. On 29 June, we’ll get the result from a ballot of outsourced workers in the Department for Business, Energy, and...

DVLA out again 5 July (John Moloney's column)

Our campaign at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea increasingly looks like becoming a long and bitter dispute. The union is in it for the long haul and it’s certainly necessary here. The next selective action strikes will be on Monday 5 July, Wednesday 7 July and Friday 9 July We still don’t know who pulled the plug on the deal that was on the table a few weeks ago and which could have settled the dispute. All the signs suggest it was Grant Shapps, the transport minister. MPs have asked questions in Parliament about who withdrew the deal, and he’s simply refused...

Making some ground (John Moloney's column)

PCS annual delegate conference took place digitally on 13-14 June. Workers’ Liberty activists, as part of the Independent Left network, supported various motions to the conference. A motion on full-time officials’ pay, which talked about exploring ways to bring officers’ pay more closely in line with the average pay of members, was defeated, but by a margin which suggests some ground has been made in this debate since last discussed. Similarly, a proposal for the election of all officials was also defeated, but the motion on union structure that was passed included language about exploring...

"This is about the kind of world we want to live in"

Ali Treacher is a care worker, Unite the Union activist and workplace rep, and Secretary of the Care and Support Workers Organise! network (CaSWO!) She is also a supporter of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. She spoke to us about care workers' fight. CaSWO! has been meeting throughout the last year, since the start of the pandemic, after a Unison-organised call which brought together care workers around issues like workplace health and safety and PPE. The initial focus was basically offering each other solidarity and advice and sharing information. Government guidelines were so vague that we had to...

Uber signs union agreement

Ride sharing and food courier app Uber has signed an agreement with the GMB union. The agreement covers Uber drivers, but excludes Uber Eats couriers. According to the GMB, the agreement allows them to discuss issues including “national earnings principles”, pensions, and discretionary benefits. The agreement does not, however, enable the GMB to collectively bargain in a formal sense, and submit claims on pay and conditions on behalf of drivers. Following a legal challenge initiated by Uber drivers, who were then members of the GMB, Uber has been forced to recognise drivers as employees...

Industries and socialist priorities

In his Solidarity 592 article on union organising in the USA, Traven Leyshon backed moves within the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to encourage young socialists to get jobs in the logistics industry. The priority for young socialists to integrate themselves into workplace and union organising applies across different countries. How does that priority work out in the UK? Socialists should go for jobs which will give them good chances of building a base for intervening in working-class struggles from “the inside”. Workers’ Liberty has long argued for a priority to sectors like the...

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