Five years ago, “zero hours” contracts came to the attention of the national media. While there is no one type of “zero hours” contract, in all cases workers receive no guaranteed weekly hours or income. Workers are paid only for the actual hours worked, and the employer is under no obligation to provide any work. Their use by employers in very many sectors of the British economy has mushroomed in recent years. In 2006, possibly 0.5% of the workforce had “zero hours” contracts (130,000). According to the Labour Force Survey, 901,000 people (representing 2.8% of all workers) were on contracts that do not guarantee work in December 2017.
The EDL are now planning to march in the centre of Manchester on Sat 20th October. After growing and widespread opposition across the city the EDL were forced to abandon their planned national march to 'shut down' Didsbury mosque. Instead, they now intend to march in the centre of Manchester.
Join the protest, stop the march meet at 12.30 Piccadilly Gardens on 20th Oct.
The Smash IPP Benefit is only a few days away. The fun starts at 7.30pm in Manchester city centre, please call 07857 945846 on the day to find out the location.
Acts confirmed include:
Pasta Hull - psychedelic funk hip hop rock concoction and the most exciting up and coming band in Wales (https://pastahull.bandcamp.com)
Buff – anarcho space punk from Manchester (buff.bandcamp.com)
Ruff Trade – reggae straight outta Gorton (rufftradereggae.com)
Afshan D'souza-Lodhi - writer and activist (afshanlodhi.com)
Madz - beatbox street performer (https://youtu.be/-IYTTrIRv7E)
Plus bar, DJs, short films and a raffle with the chance to win some special prizes. Entry is by donation.
The Solidarity Federation will be holding a workplace organiser training day in Manchester on November 24th. The training is based on a direct action approach to organising rather than looking to use employment laws to resolve workplace issues. No experience of workplace organising is necessary and the training takes place in a fun and friendly atmosphere. So if you are interested in organising your workplace, or just want to learn about the organising process, this course is a great way to make a start.
For more information, or if you have any questions or queries, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Manchester Solidarity Federation concluded its dispute with Fortis Student Lettings in July. The dispute ended positively with the four tenants involved receiving a total of £832.00 in compensation. We have delayed issuing this statement until after confirmation of the compensation payments.
Before our involvement, the four tenants' complaints had been ignored; they found themselves being passed from pillar to post; their efforts to speak directly to Fortis managers were invariably met with claims that the person was not available; in some cases, these overseas students were met with what could most kindly be described as insulting claims by Fortis staff that they cannot could not understand them.
The landlord in our ongoing dispute in support of a tenant, Patrick, whose house was allowed to fall into a serious state of disrepair over a number of years, has served a fresh section 21 eviction notice, after the first one failed in court in early June. In the intervening period, Patrick and Brighton Solidarity Federation attempted again to open a dialogue with the landlord, providing considerable evidence in support of Patrick’s claim for compensation for poor living conditions and work he has undertaken, as well as the possibility of a grant to help fund the much-needed repair works. However, the landlord has been unwilling to enter into negotiations toward a solution, and has instead initiated a second eviction process.
Underemployment is the term used for workers who get fewer hours than they want and need to live on. In the UK there are now at least 1.4 million workers on zero-hours contracts and 865,000 agency workers, many of whom struggle to get enough hours a week to survive on. Added to which, companies are increasingly employing people on a part-time basis, often on contracts of 10 hours or less. This leaves workers dependent on any extra hours management may choose to offer them. According to the Office for National Statistics, just under 10% of the working population or 3.3 million people want more hours; or to put it another way, are part unemployed. To put this into context there are now twice as many people underemployed as there are unemployed.
Monday 18 June saw Manchester Solidarity Federation join tenants in a protest outside Fortis Student Letting in Altrincham, Greater Manchester. The protest is the latest event in a long running campaign being organised by the tenants because of the appalling conditions in the Fortis run building, where they are living. Throughout their stay, Fortis have refused to carry out even the most basic maintenance of the building. The tenants went weeks without water, months without heating and had to live in rooms covered with mould. On one occasion, water poured through a ceiling light fitting for weeks, with Fortis making no attempt to repair it. This was despite numerous complaints by tenants.
Guides for getting organised
If you would like to support us, you can donate to the Solidarity Federation. You can use your your debit/credit card, or a PayPal account if you have one. Donations will be used to support our work, including our free newspaper Catalyst and our workplace organiser training programme.