Newcastle Local has closed the year in a much stronger position having gained new members, new contacts and developed a new direction for the Local. We’ve been involved in 3 successful workplace battles - one of which being the Santander conflict in Spain, that was in support of a sacked member of our Spanish sister union, the CNT; another being a week of international action against a company our German union, the FAU, were in conflict with; and closer to home a local pay theft case in North Tyneside, which won a four figured settlement. http://www.solfed.org.uk/newcastle/another-win-for-solfed-this-month
Throughout the year we have answered a steady trickle of queries regarding workplace law and problems, something that we hope will be better catered for with the creation of our new campaign website.
Newcastle Local have carried out solidarity actions in support of our sister unions in the International Workers Association, including numerous pickets on the streets of Newcastle outside HSBC (in support of oil workers in Argentina) and Santander. As part of what proved to be the final international day of action against Santander, we joined our friends in Middlesbrough, the Teesside Solidarity Movement, as part of an action that produced a victorious settlement. http://www.iwa-ait.org/content/anarcho-syndicalist-actions-13-countries-...
As well as pickets, we have also joined other IWA Sections in communication blockades of numerous companies that, as an international organisation, our Sections have been in conflict with. One of these blockades - the Heinrich Boll Foundation - saw their phones switched off, until they capitulated. Along with solidarity actions in support of IWA Sections - namely FAU (Germany), FORA (Argentina), CNT (Spain), ZSP (Poland) and USI (Italy) - we also participated in a massive publicity project by the IWA in Asia. Via video link, members of Newcastle Local delivered a presentation and participated in a discussion with people in Hong Kong. http://iwa-ait.org/content/international-presentations-asia
May saw us participating in the annual May Day march through Newcastle. That evening we put on a successful and well attended social event with a discussion celebrating the 20th anniversary of SolFed and several bands. As a Local within SolFed, we have been very active in the internal business of SF - attending conferences in Bristol and Belfast. We have also attended many events and actions as a Local or as individual SolFed members - including the Sheffield Anarchist Book Fair, where a delegate participated in a discussion around combatting wage theft; marches - including our annual presence at the Durham Miners Gala; anti-fascist work and combatting bedroom tax evictions.
In June, we put on our first ever workplace organiser training event at the Star and Shadow - something that we are keen to continue with as the SF training program develops
We still remain a small Local within SolFed and are keen to expand our membership and our influence. The launch of our campaign website - www.stuffyourboss.org.uk - is part of a new focus and direction for Newcastle Local. We aim to build on the success of 2014 with a drive to establish a name based on direct action whilst building our small general workers union. We do not expect new members to be hardened anarchosyndicalists - we don’t even care if they know nothing about politics; as long as people understand that we use direct action to fight back and defend our interests, we use direct action to make our decisions and that we are a working class, revolutionary federation - then the rest we can work out along the way (see http://www.solfed.org.uk/introduction-to-solfed as good place to start). 2014 has been a good year - but as ever, keeping up the momentum requires new members. We urge everyone who is interested in what SolFed is doing throughout the country to get in touch!