The Solidarity Federation Education Union (SFEU) is a new initiative, which grows out of the desire for connected struggle and defence of education workers across the board. In our small but growing Union we welcome all workers within the sector, from primary to higher education, and all roles within the industry, from caretakers, classroom assistants, through to teachers. While some of the existing unions can be fairly effective, many workplaces have no real union presence and workers are left to either defend themselves or have "agreements" imposed upon them. Furthermore, traditional British trade unionism tends to replicate rather than challenge divisions of workers along lines of grade, function, degree of precarity, and workplace by prioritising the interests of specific categories at the direct expenses of others.
Manchester Solidarity Federation held a picket outside the Polish Consulate in Manchester today. Our picket was in solidarity with self-organised Polish postal workers who have been involved in a two year campaign aimed at improving pay and conditions and are being supported by our Polish IWA sister-section the ZSP union.
Basic freedom of speech is under attack in Poland, especially for workers. The state-controlled Post Office is trying to criminalize workers who speak out about their working conditions. Protests by postal workers have led to harassment, threats against them and the unfair dismissal of three organisers: Klaudiusz Wieczorek, Rafal Czerski, and Zbigniew Trochimiak. In addition, the state has brought a series of bogus criminal cases against members of our sister union, the ZSP-IWA.
Stop state repression of workers now!
CNT-E has achieved recognition of the discrimination that Doctors Without Borders has committed since 2014 in their recruitment procedure. In that year, workers at the NGO managed to get their temporary contracts -whose use in this case was illegal- changed to permanent contracts. However, MSF did not change the contracts of two migrant workers.
SolFed responded to a call for international action after the sacking of a CNT member in Spain. Ana, a worker with Red Cross in Alicante, had suffered prolonged bullying by her works coordinator culminating in her wrongful sacking. Ana is a well respected substance abuse worker with years of experience. As a member of our sister union, the CNT, her sacking has initiated a campaign to see her reinstated. The sacking has thrown light on Red Cross and their vicious internal practices toward their workforce, high-lighting the fact that they are no different to any other cut-throat capitalist company.
SolFed locals responded with a communication blockade and pickets of Red Cross shops in Newcastle and Brighton.
Brighton's picket was part of a week of SolFed action, here's their report:
The past year saw the Sections of the IWA organizing more workplace struggles, more solidarity campaigns and more social protests than at any time since the decimation of the anarcho-syndicalist movement in the 1930s and 40s. Here the IWA Secretariat summarises international actions and local activities of the IWA Sections.
On December 6-7, 2014, an Extraordinary Congress of the IWA took place in Porto, Portugal. On the Agenda were unfinished items of business from the XXV Congress of 2013, plus new motions and initiatives. 80 delegates and observers from 13 Sections and one Friend organization took part.
Emotions ran high throughout the Congress. Again some outstanding matters need to go to the next Congress in 2016. A number of new iniatives were passed, including the creation of a media group, a historical project and the go-ahead for broad centenary celebrations in 2022.
We welcome the OLS from Sweden as new Friends of the IWA. We were all pleased to hear about their work and success in a few work conflicts and look forward to fruitful cooperation in the future.
Members of Manchester Solfed held a lively lunchtime picket outside a city centre branch of Santander bank as part of the International Workers’ Association’s international day of action on June 5. The IWA’s coordinated campaign is part of an escalation by the Spanish section, the CNT, in support of a union organiser sacked from one of the bank’ s outsourcing companies. Santander has been transferring thousands of jobs to outsourcing agencies to save costs by minimising the rights and security of its employees.
More information on the struggle can be found here: http://www.iwa-ait.org/content/1st-october-day-action-against-santander-bank-worldwide
Today's international day of action called by FORA saw Newcastle Local picketing the city-centre branch of HSBC, who provide finincial services to YPF the state-owned Argentinian oil company, making them complicit in the repression & persecution of Las Heras workers.
The absence of an Argentine consulate proved no barrier to Tyneside workers joining with IWA-AIT comrades in demanding the freedom of all Las Heras workers and the end of state-sponsored attacks on those fighting for their rights.
A picket of Poundland was organised in Manchester on May Day to coincide with the IWA days of action against Austerity, Exploitation and Oppression. Poundland is making use of the government's Workfare programme that forces the unemployed to work for nothing. The picket was organised by Manchester Solfed and was supported by members of Manchester AF. The picket took place at the Poundland shop in the Arndale Shopping centre and we were soon approached by security staff who demanded we stop our protest on the grounds that it was taking place on private property. A few hundred leaflets were distributed and the picket was generally well recieved by shoppers.
On January 5th 2013, South London SF hosted a conference to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the International Workers Association (IWA), to which SF is affiliated. The programme was lively and aimed not only at the history of the IWA but also at the current activities of the sections. As well as participants from across the UK, comrades came from France (CNT-F GAP), Slovakia (Priama Akcia) and Germany (FAU).