On Monday January 26th, members of Manchester SF picketed outside Manpower's office in Manchester city centre in solidarity with Amazon workers (many of them hired by Manpower) in Poland. A week of action has been called by the ZSP, Polish section of the International Workers Association, who are organising among these workers. For details of the dispute see below.
Manchester SolFed is the local of the Solidarity Federation covering Greater Manchester.
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
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.
The Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair takes place on December 1st at the People's History Museum. Members of Manchester SolFed and Liverpool SolFed, as well as comrades from other northern locals, will be there to represent and promote the anarcho-syndicalist tendency. Stop by for a chat if you're planning to attend! Click here for more info on the stalls and talks confirmed so far.
Manchester Solidarity Federation, aided and abetted by comrades from West Yorkshire Solidarity Federation as well as Anarchist Federation and other libertarian comrades from the Manchester area, picketed a Domino’s branch in the university area of the city on Saturday September 15th.
This was part of the international day of action called by the General Transport Workers Association whose members, pizza delivery drivers in Brisbane Australia, have had their wages slashed by 19%
On the day, our presence and the information leaflet we were handing out soon got up the nose of the manager who arrogantly thought he could order us off the public pavement outside the premises. No such joy for him, and after a brief argument, we told him in no uncertain terms that if he was so upset by us standing there he should call the cops. He did.
We had hoped to support the CNT and the general strike in Spain only to find that the Spanish Consulate has been closed. On the 30th, we leafleted the Holland and Barret shop we were going to picket the following day and had a chat with the workers in the shop. We leafleted then went on to leaflet the shops close by again talking to workers. We then went on to leaflet shops round the centre of Manchester.
On 31 we picketed a Holland and Barret shop in the centre of Manchester. We gave out several hundred leaflets. The picket followed the usual routine: manager came out, asked us to leave, we refused. She then called police a bit of a heated exchange and so on. One person who had just finished a Warkfare programme stopped to have a go at the police and went into the shop to have a go at the manager.
The Manchester SF local organised a picket of the Adecco office in the centre of Manchester on 6/3/12. Management seemed prepared for the picket and issued a statement arguing they had no say as to what happened in Spain. We distributed several hundred leaflets and a number of people took leaflets to pin up in their workplaces.
Public Meeting: Saturday July 16th, 1:00pm at Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester
The aim of this meeting is bring together activists fighting the government’s cuts to discuss views of ‘direct action’ and how to apply it to the current struggle. There will be a number of speakers, including one from SF who will present an anarcho-syndicalist viewpoint:
There has been a lot of talk in the anti-cuts movement about the importance of ‘winning the argument’. This strategy holds that the best way to go about fighting attacks on wages, living conditions and services is to point out the flaws in the pro-cuts arguments and suggest alternative policies which would avoid the need for cuts.
Some even seem to think that if the argument is won, the government will see the error of its ways, stop the planned cuts and everyone can go home happy.
After the last UCU pensions strike in March, several rank & file union members, upset at the lack of inter-union unity, set up the Manchester University Staff Against the Cuts group (MUSAC). The group has been meeting regularly and consists of members of Unite, Unison and UCU. Members of Manchester EWN are also involved.
It has been good to meet with people whose criticisms of the existing unions match our own in many ways. The group has held a weekly stall in the University, giving out leaflets in support of various anti-cut campaigns.
July 1st is Action Mesothelioma Day, an annual event in which awareness is raised about the continuing suffering caused by asbestos-related cancer. Here a member of Manchester Solidarity Federation and the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victim Support Group talks about the destructive effect asbestos has had on the lives of thousands of workers.
Manchester SF picketted Office Angels on New Market, Manchester city centre on Thursday May 12 as part of SF’s national week of action against the Office Angels agency in a dispute over unpaid wages. Although management were unavailable for discussion, there was a pre-prepared OA statement branding our campaign of “direct action” as lies and, of course, painting themselves purer than pure when it comes to treatment of temporary workers. As elsewhere, we had comments from passers-by, some of whom have had dealings with OA and other temping agencies. We will be back during the upcoming international week of action against OA – for further details, please get in touch.
On 8 February Labour-run Manchester City Council was the first to announce its budget cuts - £109 million worth. Among community amenities being axed were several libraries, some advice centres and half a dozen fitness and leisure centres. The south Manchester neighbourhood of Levenshulme – ethnically and economically mixed with some pockets of severe deprivation was the worst affected – facing the loss of its leisure centre, Sure Start scheme and its historic swimming pools.
The baths were a contentious choice to cut by the council, which had spent more than £200,000 in 2010 upgrading the facilities but was insisting full refurbishment was too expensive at more than £300,000 and the only viable option was to close it.