This morning electricians and supporters gathered outside the entrance of the Shard site. The Rank and File Committee deciding to try and keep the momentum of previous months and take the fight to the agencies, (targeting big companies like Mace in particular) who rob workers pay packets week in week out. Agency workers on sites are often ununionised, work far longer shifts and have far less access to proper training than those in direct employment.
As part of Boycott Workfare's National day of action against the government,s divisive workfare program, members of NLSF met up In Islington to show their opposition. McDonalds on Chaple Market was our first port of call. Loads of leaflet were handed and some good conversations were struck up, mostly in support of our presence outside these exploitative and unscrupulous shops. Although couple of the market stallholders gave us a bit of verbal and the McDonald's manager couldn't understand why his shop was being targeted as "they had nothing to do with the program", Chaple Market was undeniably supportive. Moving on to Upper St, the manager at Holland & Barrett just didn't want us there at all. We didn't plan staying there too long as some wanted to go to the main event in central London.
Join North London SolFed for a presentation on the new agency workers regulations.
This free presentation is open to all. Bring friends, workmates, or anyone who's suffered through an agency contract.
WHEN: March 10th | 4-6pm
WHERE: London Action Resource Centre, Whitechapel www.londonarc.org
CONTACT: North London Solfed | nelsf (a) solfed.org.uk | 07811 017 091
Please see attached for flier.
Over the last week, the companies in the BESNA agreement pulled out one by one. Unite are still in negotiations so the long term outlook is unclear, but in the short term the BESNA agreement* has collapsed.
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.
On Wednesday evening (15 Feb) a large, vibrant and noisy protest was held by electricians and their supporters outside the Grosvenor hotel on Park Lane. The protest was part of the ongoing struggle that electricians and other JIB trades find themselves in.
Their fight is with the 7 major construction companies (known as the BESNA 7) who to increase their profits want to massively reduce the wages of the workers.
Under The Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) electricians, plumbers, welders & pipe fitters stand to loose up to £240 per week if they sign these new contracts.
Today saw members of North and South London SolFed join a picket in solidarity with Sheffield Pizza Hut workers. Organised by the IWW and targeting the busy Pizza Hut at the Strand, twenty picketers gave out leaflets to prospective customers and members of the public. The workers in Sheffield, who've organised with the Industrial Workers of the World, have been in a year-long dispute with the company over wage rates and holiday pay.
Despite the cold weather, the picketers were in high spirits and gave out hundreds of leaflets over the course of the afternoon. The picket was part of a national day of action against the pizza chain, with shops all around the country being picketed at the same time.
Topping off a successful week that included an all day picket of the union-busting employment agency ADECCO, yesterday the North London local of the Solidarity Federation held our 2012 annual general meeting. Attended by about two-thirds of our membership, the meeting included a mix of long-term members (including one who was in Direct Action Movement before it became the Solidarity Federation) and others who've only joined in the past few months.
In solidarity with the sacked workers of EULEN-ABB in Spain, London locals of SolFed like our comrades in Brighton, took the streets today with a picket in front of Adecco’s London Bridge office. After a strike going on since last November, the Spanish employment agency EULEN fired all of the workers in the local strike committee, for the benefit of its contractor ABB. A global agency firm Adecco, a majority owner of numerous other brands in the industry, moved in supplying temp workers to scab the site -An attack against workers rights and an initiation rite for ABBs new program of union busting and a contract with Adecco’s local branch, EUROCEN.
Today saw two members of the North London Solidarity Federation join striking gallery assistants and members of the public at a picket line rally at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. The strike, over budget cuts and staffing levels, was scheduled to last only two hours and was planned to cause disruption during the Gallery's busiest time.
SolFed members in particular made an effort to flier potential patrons, explain the issues behind the strike, and request they refrain from entering the museum for the duration of the strike. After spending some time at the Gallery itself, the strikers led a short march to the to the Da Vinci exhibition which was taking place next door.
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.
After sitting in the files for two years this hour-long talk in Manchester by a member of the Spanish Confederación Nacional del Trabajo has only just been formatted and uploaded to the web. In it, the formative years of what would become the largest anarchist organisation in history are described in detail, from 1840 when socialist ideas first started to penetrate into the Iberian Penninsula, up to its establishment as one of the biggest players in 20th century Spanish politics, one which would influence the world in unexpected and far-reaching ways.
Cleaners at the Guildhall have been holding a sit in and stopping work since the 22nd of December because of mistreatment and intimidation. Early this morning management called the police, who came and intimidated and threatened the cleaners. The cleaners protested that they were holding a completely peaceful sit-in. They finally left due to police threats to drag them out physically.
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.
Today saw SolFed members join a number of activists in the swanky Mayfair area of London to protest against the state killings of striking oil workers in Kazakhstan.
The demonstration took place outside the premises of the Kazakh-British Chamber of Commerce, a target that was chosen to highlight the role of British capital and the British state in the exploiting the workers in Kazakhstan’s oil communities.
More information can be found here:
You can get in touch with us via the contact form on this site.
Stuff Your Boss - North London
A re-written version of SolFed's national Stuff Your Boss leaflet. Include North London's contact details. (pdf)
Education Struggle are Our Struggles
Generic leaflet that can be given out to education workers, students, parents, or members of the public. (pdf)
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Three SolFed posters: Just saying Barcode At Work (pdf), (pdf), (pdf)
Workplace Organiser Training Leaflet
Leaflet and generic invitation for the Solidarity Federation workplace organiser training (pdf)
Don't Cross Picket Lines!
Short, generic double-sided A5 leaflet meant to be given out on picket lines or in the run-up to a strike. (pdf)
Office Angels Leaflet
"Office Devils" leaflet handed out at picket lines in support of a cheated agency worker. (pdf)
North London leaflet for March 26th
Obviously, this is a bit late, but the content of the leaflet still holds true. Please feel free to plagiarise if you think it will be useful. (pdf)