On Saturday, the Lib Dems' party conference was in Brighton. Following a protest march, there were simultaneous mass pickets of firms using workfare across Brighton. Rather than simply 'having our say' and being ignored by politicians, the idea was to disrupt a high profile coalition policy - the forced, unpaid work schemes known as workfare.
Saturday March 3rd was a national day of action against workfare, called by Boycott Workfare. In Brighton, members of Solidarity Federation headed down to Jubilee Street to support the Brighton Benefits Campaign picket of Tesco.
Turnout was encouraging, with over 50 people in attendance. A sizeable socialist contingent marched from Tesco in St James Street to Jubilee Street, before moving on to McDonalds. As numbers were still high outside Tesco, we were able to take another group to picket the Tesco store on Queens Rd. This was quite successful in turning people away, with only one person manning the checkouts inside the store.
Saturday the 25th of February saw six members of the North London Solidarity Federation hold a successful stall on Kilburn High Road. Donning hi-vis jackets emblazoned with SF logos and armed with a large batch of “Stuff Your Boss” workplace rights leaflets, we felt ready to face the Saturday shoppers.
We had some extremely useful conversations with members of the public, many of whom were facing attacks on their working situations and had felt let down by their trade unions. We also spoke to many of the non-unionised retail workers who stock shelves and scan barcodes in the shops which line the high street. Predictably, they had abysmal working conditions and many employees seemed genuinely grateful for the workplace rights leaflets, some taking extra copies to give to their workmates.
Today, members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation held a picket outside two branches of Pizza Hut in Liverpool City Centre. This was in solidarity with members of the Pizza Hut Workers’ Union (part of the IWW) in Sheffield who had called for a nationwide day of action against the company as part of their ongoing dispute with Pizza Hut management over pay, conditions and union recognition.
The demands are stated by the union membership as follows:
“In drivers conditions we are demanding regular updates of all moped drivers safety gear. We are also demanding an increase to deliver drivers per-delivery commission, which now stands at 60p, which clearly does not cover costs.
SOLIDARITY WITH THE LA SENZA SIT-IN
UPDATE - From the La Senza Sit-In Facebook page:
Four women workers as the Dublin La Senza store have taken the bold step of occupying their workplace to ensure they get fair redundancies. The protest has met with overwhelming support and the local community has come out to support these courageous workers.
Today saw the London Solidarity Federation hold a picket in support of a victimised Whole Foods worker. The action was held in conjunction with protests in Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Reno and San Francisco.
The demonstration had been called in defense of Natalia, a San Francisco Whole Foods worker who was sacked for speaking up in support of herself and her workmates and took place outside the Soho branch of Whole Foods in London.
On Saturday Brighton Solidarity Federation held a ‘Stuff Your Boss Doesn’t Want You To Know’ stall and distribution in Brighton’s busy London Road shopping area. Pitching up at 10.30, we welcomed considerable interest from passing public as well as calling into businesses and workplaces, promoting the benefits of worker’s self-organisation and solidarity in response to issues such as low pay, poor conditions, lack of holiday and maternity entitlement and management harassment.
With workers facing across-the-board cutbacks, members of Brighton SolFed today hit the streets to talk to retail staff about their rights. After the UKUncut protests have shifted attention to the multi-million pound tax dodging of several high street names, we went to talk to retail workers, encouraging them to get organised to prevent bosses cutting costs by cutting their conditions. We’ll be back again in a couple of weeks to keep the issue topical, and keep local bosses on notice that attacks on workers’ conditions won’t go unnoticed!
You can download a copy of SolFed’s basic workplace rights leaflet, 'the Stuff Your Boss doesn’t want you to know' here.
Tescos are the biggest retailers in the UK, turning billions of profits a year. £1 in every £8 spent in shops in the UK is spent in Tescos. But anyone who thinks that all this money and profit means Tescos can afford to be reasonable to their workers is in cloud cuckoo land. It is quite the opposite - massive individual wealth like this only happens when massive exploitation is their agenda.
After a 13 year battle an unemployed ex-employee of Tesco is likely to lose her house and find herself being made homeless after she lost her claim for £ 100,000 for injuries sustained during the period when she worked for the company. Tesco are poised to take court action against Mima Rac, aged 58, from Falkirk to claim expenses in the region of £23.000 against her.
Unfortunately, management apparently haven't realised yet that people can.t be bullied into being well.
Despite the headline in the last Catalyst, Tesco carries on oppressing its workers regardless! The recent moves by Tesco to axe sick pay heralds the beginning of yet another attack on workers. rights. Tesco makes £4.4 million profit every day, yet the bosses have decided this isn't enough, and they are axing sick pay in some stores, and testing other schemes to stamp out the ‘sickie' once and for all. Where Britain's biggest retailer leads, others are expected to follow, and worse still, the shopworkers union, USDAW, which represents about half of Tesco's 220,000 workers, is co-operating with the plan.