"I would have quit this job months ago, but I'd be sanctioned by the Jobcentre". That's what one friend told me after working unpaid overtime every evening that week, on low pay that barely covered bills and rent. It's a dilemma faced by everyone working in unsafe or illegal conditions. If you are fired then you have to get by for 5 weeks with no income while you wait for Universal Credit. If you quit, you risk being sanctioned and left for months with no money coming in at all. This is a system designed to punish workers for leaving, designed to keep us quiet and accept unfair or even illegal demands at work, while the rich rake in the profits. If we want to make better lives for ourselves then we should all make a stand against the benefits system, or it will undermine every attempt to organise our workmates.
Members of the Solidarity Federation are active in Plymouth.
SolFed is a union based on the idea that through solidarity and direct action ordinary people have the power to improve their lives. We are not a state-registered trade union or political party. Nor are we a service provider – we can’t solve your problems for you. What we are is fellow workers who are sick of being screwed around ourselves and want to do something about it. If that’s how you feel too – join us! We are stronger when we stand together.