I've not got much experience of organising, and I work in an industry where it's rare for people to be unionised (IT). But I did win some small victories at my last workplace (mostly thanks to SolFed's workplace organiser training) and like they say, the best way to learn is by trying! This is a report on two of those victories - blocking an attempt to give us unpaid overtime, and improving health and safety. Things were easier because we were all on permanent contracts and couldn't be replaced quickly, but harder because no-one else had much knowledge of unions or organising and because we worked in a small open-plan office where it was hard to talk without the boss overhearing.
This year's Bristol Anarchist Bookfair is looking at "Building an anarchist future". As part of this dialogue Bristol SF will be hosting a workshop on:
Healthcare Beyond the State. For a people's NHS
What can we learn from recent NHS struggles that could help shape a health service based not on some golden age that never was but instead on the principles of direct democracy and mutual aid? How can we provide progressive healthcare without the bureaucrats and the bosses?
Here is how Bookfair Collective hope that the workshops and meetings with develop the theme of "Building an anarchist future".
George Ferguson, the elected Mayor of Bristol, is directly responsible for cuts to services in this city - including services for children. He has halved the number of beds at the Bush, a residential centre for disabled children.  Even though the council voted to preserve funding - he pushed it through personally. This month the Hawkspring, a vital service that helps families affected by drug addiction, almost closed after having its funding from the council slashed. It only stayed open thanks to a charity stepping in to help at the last minute.  This is all while having plenty of money for other things - like massive pay-rises for council bosses , and £2.3 million a year on public relations and marketing. 
A second picket of Jimmy’s in Bath passed off with everyone in good spirits and confident of winning the holiday pay owed to former employees of the Jiimy's in Brighton.
The dozen campaign supporters handed out a couple of hundred leaflets during the Saturday lunchtime period. The leaflet outlined the central issue. Non-payment of £1,500 in holiday to three people who worked for Jimmy’s in Brighton and how they are still waiting on P45s. Some customers turned away on hearing how Jimmy’s treat their staff and one tour guide even told us he wouldn't be bringing groups there any more, which could be a big dent in the business!
Security tried to move the protestors on saying the pavement was private - but the picket just stood their ground. Outnumbering security 4-1 and then the police refused to help, so they had to just watch from the side.
Three Bristol Solidarity Federation members travelled to Bath today (26th March 2016) on an Easter Bank Holiday weekend to picket the ‘Jimmy's' restaurant there after a request from the Brighton Hospitality Workers for collective national direct action against their bosses after they refused to pay them about £1,500 in owed wages and have yet to supply them with a P45.
As a Bristol SF member recently arrived at a UK airport he was not expecting to be approached by plain clothed police and invited to have a little chat. This blatant attempt to harass and intimidate one of our members swiftly ended as the SF member, after realising they were not going to detain him, attempted to record the conversation and chased them off.
Bristol SF have a clear message for the police. We are about working-class solidarity, internationalism and freedom. Your creed is suspicion and paranoia. Your role is to protect privilege and crush dissent. We will never talk to you.
On the 24th of October, members of Swindon Anarchists, including SolFed members, took 3 vehicles crammed with supplies to the refugee camps of Calais.
As numbers at the camp swelled to over 6,000, the group decided we had a responsibility to offer what solidarity we could to men, women and children forced into cramped, cold and unhygienic conditions just for seeking a life free of war, persecution, poverty and hunger. As well as hoping to improve material conditions in the camp, we reject the concept of national borders, embrace freedom of movement for all and support all those whose circumstances have forced them into conflict with the border regime, the political class and their stooges in uniform.
Attempts by the nazi Bristol United Patriots to march through Bedminster, on Saturday 17th October, ended with them being routed and seen off. Their feeble attempts to mobilise failed to happen because of community action and brave resistance by anti-fascists. Members of Bristol Solidarity Federation joined up with others to ensure that they were not free to spread their message.
One Bedminster resident said he "was chuffed to fuck" to see people willing to come to his neighbourhood and stand up to racists and fascists.
In the last election, about 22 million of us didn’t vote . That’s more people than voted for any political party. It’s not because we’re apathetic – it’s because most of us see through the “good cop, bad cop” routine of Labour and the Tories. Both parties support cuts, privatising the NHS, and making life hell for benefits claimants.  In the same way that a “good cop” will offer a cup of tea and a “friendly chat” while a “bad cop” shouts and makes threats, the Tories jeer at “scroungers” while Labour smiles and talks about the need to be practical. But whatever they promise in their manifestos, they both want to do the same thing – to screw us over on behalf of the rich.
Saturday the 13th December 2014 was a busy day for the Bristol local, as they took on workfare in Bristol and poverty pay in Swindon.
Members of Bristol Solidarity Federation turned out of a roving anti-workfare action in Bristol, responding to a callout from our friends Bristol Anarchist Federation. Around 30 people, many dressed as santa and belting out carols with revolutionary and anti-workfare lyrics held a noisy action in central Bristol calling on (and in one case, briefly invading) well known workfare users such as Poundland, Savers, M&S and Primark.
Join the anti-workfare Street Party in Bristol this Saturday, 13th December 2014.
Meeting at the Castle Park bandstand at 2pm sharp before moving off to visit some firms who profit from using unpaid workfare labour. Please try and make this and pass it on to your mates.
Bristol Solidarity Federation will be there, so look out for our banner! Our friends and comrades in Bristol Anarchist Federation and Bristol IWW are also helping mobilise for the event.
There is a facebook page for the event: "As we approach solstice we are told that we are in a season of giving – yet some companies still aren’t giving workers a wage. As we approach solstice we are told that we are in a season of giving - yet some companies still aren't giving workers a wage!
Bristol Solidarity Federation extends it’s solidarity to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) as they continue to take industrial action over detrimental changes to pensions - with the latest day of strike action happening today, 9th December 2014.
SolFed members in Swindon, along with other anarchists and local union members helped maintain a near constant show of support on their local picket line: "We brought along banners encouraging support from passing cars, and the reception was great. We also made a donation to the local firefighters strike fund." Members of the local in Stroud attended recent picket lines at the Stroud fire and rescue station and are featured in the following video explaining the dispute, made by Stroud Against the Cuts:
Recently, workers at YHA hostels around the country launched a campaign for the living wage (£7.85 an hour, up from their current average of £6.50). Bristol Solidarity Federation would like to extend our Solidarity to YHA workers, who are also campaigning around irregular shifts and unfair payment for sleepover shifts. We meet regularly at the YHA in Bristol, which has also hosted our workplace organiser training, conference, new members days and other events. However, we will be boycotting the venue and encouraging other groups to do so until the demands of the YHA workers campaign are met. As a further show of solidarity, members of Bristol SolFed visited the YHA to make sure the workers there were aware of the campaign. Good conversations were had with staff and leaflets distributed in English and Spanish.
While The Ritzy workers marched through London demanding the Picturehouse chain pay the London Living Wage. In Bath members of the Bristol local of the Solidarity Federation leafleted the cinema goers and asked them to consider a future boycott of the cinema because of the chain's refusal to pay a decent wage to the staff in London. The local staff and visitors were highly supportive of the picket and were disgusted to hear of how a profitable company is refusing their staff a wage that they can live on.
This dispute is becoming increasingly bitter. Boycott the Little Theatre. Bring the Picturehouse to its knees.