NEW pamphlet from Past Tense: Report and reflections on the UK Ford-Visteon dispute 2009 – a post-Fordist struggle. Also available in print, published June 2009,…
Workplace Strategy of the Anarchist Federation
This was adopted at the AF’s annual conference in April 2009. Drawing on the experiences of AF members at the workplace, it aims to lay out the possibilities for anarchists in the here and now and open debate in the movement on workplace organisation.
A series of three articles from the Anarchist Federation’s Organise! magazine, nos. 46, 47 & 48 (published 1997-98).
“BRITISH JOBS FOR BRITISH WORKERS” is a slogan that’s become very familiar in the past few months. Energy sector workers across the country have staged wildcat strikes and demonstrations to protest at the fact that workers have been brought in from outside the UK while local people go jobless. Now the protests are spreading to the construction industry. The union Unite is planning pickets and unofficial action at construction sites where foreign workers are employed, and the Olympic site in East London is being highlighted as a high-profile potential target for the campaign.
Scottish Unite official Bobby Buirds’ comments that the current strike are “not against foreign workers, it’s against foreign companies discriminating against British labour” confirms that the strike is against bosses, not fellow (foreign) workers. The foreign workers are just doing what any of us would do if we were desperate for work, but the media have turned this into some “foreigners go home” trip again. Foreign workers regularly suffer appalling living and working conditions, along with low wages and little in the way of representation. Given that the contract was awarded to the lowest-bidding tender, it is likely that these are the same conditions being faced by the Italian workers on Humberside.
I work for a contracted company in charge of the maintenance of a oil refinery in south Wales. The start of the strike occurred due to an Italian company being contracted to increase refinery capacity at the Lindsey refinery. The strikes quickly spread across the rest of the refineries sporting the slogan “British Jobs for British workers”.
Over 600,000 local authority workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland struck for two days in July. Further thousands struck for a day in Scotland during August. These were against the government’s attempt to impose pay rises below the rate of inflation.