After a few years’ absence, SolFed is back in Liverpool. During recent months, we have been meeting with comrades in Manchester, supporting their activities and trying to find out how to restart things here. Now a few of us have decided to take the step to start the process of becoming a SolFed Local.
I worked a trial shift at the Ginger Dog pub. I was told that it would last for a 'couple' of hours. After three hours of working, I was told that it was going really well and that I had the job. In my experience, bosses in the hospitality sector will say this just to get people to work longer for free. I was asked to stay on and agreed to work for an extra three hours, meaning that I worked for six hours in total. I decided after this to not take the job and I contacted them the next day to tell them. I also requested payment for the full six hours worked. They did not respond to my email. I sent them another email and received no response again. I emailed them again and told them that if they didn't pay me, I would take action via Brighton SolFed, and I sent them some links to articles about previous cases.
Manchester Solidarity Federation carried out a successful picket outside Laibaz restaurant in Bolton on Saturday 24th September. The picket was part of the campaign Manchester SF is organising against the owner of the restaurant who owes ex-employees thousands of pounds in unpaid wages. The picket was a real success with a number of people who had planned to eat at the restaurant refusing to cross the picket line. Throughout the picket we had people stopping to offer support with several people sharing their experiences of being mistreated at work. We also collected details of one person who wanted to get involved in the campaign. The local newspaper took pictures of the picket and interviewed one of the ex-employees. Several members of Manchester IWW joined the picket to add their support to the campaign.
Starting a new life in the UK can be intimidating. Many things are different to how they were at home. Most things are expensive, and some things are just plain difficult. There might be a new language or a new culture to contend with. Dealing with all this whilst struggling to find a job or accommodation can feel impossible. With this in mind, Manchester Solidarity Federation have put together a short guide to the city. We've tried to cover all the basics about living and working here, and where to go for help and what resources are available.
Over the last few weeks the Manchester Solidarity Federation has been escalating the campaign against Laibaz restaurant in Bolton. As well as further phone blockades, we have leafleted in Bolton, organised a poster campaign and held a stall outside of the restaurant. The support we have received from groups and individuals has been tremendous and we would urge people to continue with their support for the campaign.
I've not got much experience of organising, and I work in an industry where it's rare for people to be unionised (IT). But I did win some small victories at my last workplace (mostly thanks to SolFed's workplace organiser training) and like they say, the best way to learn is by trying! This is a report on two of those victories - blocking an attempt to give us unpaid overtime, and improving health and safety. Things were easier because we were all on permanent contracts and couldn't be replaced quickly, but harder because no-one else had much knowledge of unions or organising and because we worked in a small open-plan office where it was hard to talk without the boss overhearing.
The Anti-Fascist Network will be hosting a Southern Regional Conference in Reading on the 10th September. There will be workshops, talks, films, stalls with merch and books, a creche and a benefit gig/after party. More information, including a full workshop timetable, to be announced - check the AFN website for updates.
The conference will be in central Reading (location to be announced nearer the time), and doors will be at midday. There will also be an antifascist benefit gig in the evening. If you need help with travel advice and accessability please contact your closest AFN group or berksantifa[AT]riseup[DOT]net.
Manchester Solidarity Federation has been in dispute with Laibaz restaurant in Bolton since the beginning of July over wage theft, below minimum wage pay rates and other matters - see earlier post below.
The campaign has included a number of demand letters backed up with two successful phone blockades aimed at preventing take away orders. In the light of Sunar Alom's refusal so far to enter negotiations to resolve the dispute, Manchester SF has escalated its actions against Laibaz over the weekend of August 20th/21st. A 3rd phone blockade on the evening of the 20th has been followed up with a postering campaign in the vicinity of Laibaz.
We thank people for the fantastic support so far and urge you to continue this to force Sunar Alom to return the wages he has stolen and to prevent him from robbing workers in the future.