Locals

The Solidarity Federation has a two-fold structure: members belong to Locals and Industrial Networks. Locals form the backbone of SolFed and put solidarity into practice in the local community. They are organise or get involved in local campaigns across a wide range of issues – both in the community and in workplaces. Issues are wide-ranging: defending our natural and local environment and health; opposing racism, sexism and homophobia; in fact, anything which defends or contributes to our mutual quality of life. It is all part and parcel of building a solidarity movement. A Local is formed whenever there are three or more members in a defined geographical area, who should meet at least once each month. Locals are expected to use their own initiative in pursuing their activities.

News from SF locals

Partygate: Shock Horror Boris Johnson Tells Lies

As the ‘partygate’ row reaches fever pitch, it’s worth putting things into context. Politicians and their various hangers on in the media may be getting a touch overexcited but, in the end, what does it really matter? If Johnson goes or stays, in a few months’ time it will be all be forgotten and the whole circus will have moved on to the next big issue.

The whole point is that the Westminster bubble is totally detached from the day to day lives of ordinary people. Sure, issues like ‘partygate’ do, to use the phrase so beloved of political commentators, “cut through” to ordinary voters because they expose just how obnoxious and arrogant the current Tory Westminster elite truly are. This may cause people to engage with the political process briefly, but once the circus has moved on, they will be back to worrying about day to day issues that affect them directly.

COVID: World’s 10 richest men see their wealth double during Covid pandemic

The 10 richest men in the world have seen their global wealth double to $1.5tn (£1.01tn) since the start of the global pandemic following a surge in share and property prices that has widened the gap between rich and poor, according to a report from Oxfam

The charity said the incomes of 99% of the world’s population had reduced from March 2020 to October 2021, when Elon Musk, the founder of the electric car company Tesla, and the other nine richest billionaires had been collectively growing wealthier by $1.3bn a day.

It is estimated  that by 2030, 3.3 billion people will be living on less than $5.50 per day

 

TUC study finds that more than 250,000 workers self-isolating without adequate or no sick pay

A TUC study found that in December more than 267,800 workers in private firms were self-isolating with minimal sick pay or no sick pay at all. 

The reason for this is not hard to discern, given that the UK has the least generous statutory sick pay in Europe, worth just £96.35 a week. And even this poultry amount is only available to employees earning £120 a week meaning 2 million workers, mostly women, do not qualify. These appalling findings in the TUC study do not include the ever expanding army of casualised workers classed as “workers” or “self-employed” who are also not entitled to statutory sick pay. 

The study highlights the fact that two years into the pandemic, we still face a situation where millions of workers, have to choose between breaking the law in regards to isolation and risk spreading Covid or going without any form of income. 

Baker supported by Brighton SolFed gets pay out after grievance procedure

The last 18 months have been quiet for Solfed as a lot of our activity consists of using direct action to challenge employers and landlords. Lockdowns, “social distancing” and online meetings and activities all work against the physical solidarity that this needs. As a local we continued to meet in the virtual world, checking in on each other, having discussions and offering support.

We also continued to be contacted by workers and tenants with issues related to their work or housing. People were invited to meetings to discuss it but online meetings can be exhausting and strange. We discovered how different it is to meet someone for the first time in a little box on a screen compared to being in a room with all the social cues that come with it. For many it was too much and the consequence of sharing difficult issues with strangers on screen meant that they didn’t return. We all shared the frustration of that.

One of the successes we had during this period however was supporting a worker through a grievance process with their employer. This was a baker who we’ll call Peter (not his real name). One of our members acted as his union official in meetings and negotiations. They relate their experience of the process here.

other news