New economy, same old union-busting: reinstate Imran!

The UberEATS drivers are calling on people to join them from 8am on Tuesday to demand the reinstatement of Imran, a driver who was sacked for his role in the strike. They also still want the London Living Wage. If you’re around in London, join them from 8-10am on Tuesday at Black Swan Yard, London, SE13, United Kingdom.

#UberEatsSTRIKE | Join Us On The Streets!
Rather than seeking to resolve the issue, Uber-Eats decided to ‘deactivate’ a.k.a. sack Imran Siddiqui, a lead activist in the Living Wage campaign, without any notification or cause.

Join us on the streets to call for Uber-Eats to clean up the mess they have made and pay the London Living Wage to their couriers.

We Say:

UBER-EATS: REINSTATE IMRAN SIDDIQUI IMMEDIATELY AND PAY THE LONDON LIVING WAGE NOW!

Twitter: follow @IWGB_CLB and @UVWunion, tweet #UBEREATSstrike

Following on from that, the UVW union will also be hosting a fundraising barbecue next Saturday, which sounds like it could be quite fun – they’ve not decided which park to go for yet, but you can keep up with it here.

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UBER Eat this! Support the strike

Wildcat strike

From the United Voices of the World:

***BREAKING NEWS***
UberEATS COURIERS STRIKE FOR LONDON LIVING WAGE
>> #UberEATSstrike rally Friday at 14:30 at Black Swan Yard SE1, in South London. <<
(Full details below)

– Couriers strike on Friday to demand London Living Wage of £9.40 per hour plus costs.
– Workers say they cannot live off ‘poverty wages’, and call for an end to considerable disparities in pay for peak and off-peak pay.
– Rates have been cut from £20 per hour in June to £3.30 per delivery or less on a commission-only basis during off-peak hours.
– Drivers will rally on Friday at 14:30 at Black Swan Yard SE1, in South London.

Couriers at the UberEATS food delivery firm have declared an all-day wildcat strike on Friday unless the company reverses pay cuts and implements payment rates equivalent to a living wage of £9.40 per hour, plus costs. UberEATS has drastically reduced couriers’ rates since opening in London in June. The company, which offers no guaranteed minimum income, pays £3.30 per delivery or less during off-peak hours and approximately £6.30 to £7.30 per delivery during peak hours, minus a 25 per cent transaction fee and costs.

Couriers say this pay structure causes vast pay discrepancies between peak and off-peak hours for the same work, and means different drivers are paid unequally for the same hours. Workers who joined UberEATS on the offer of £20 per hour have been dismayed by this rapid drop to insecure piece rates and are demanding a guaranteed pay equal to the London Living Wage, the minimum required to survive above the poverty line in the capital.

Couriers and supporters will assemble for a strike rally at 14:30 on Friday in Black Swan Yard at Bermondsey Street SE1, in South London.

This article on Novara media also asks for people to join a picket at the Uber offices right next to Aldgate East tube station, on Whitechapel High Street any time after 11am on Friday – but particularly from 5-7pm. So it looks like there’s a range of ways for people to support the strike depending on when you’re free and what bits of London it’s easiest for you to get to. Keep an eye on the UVW and IWGB pages for more info as the situation develops.

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US prison rebels in need of support

US-wide prison strike, September 9th 2016

As the struggles inside the US prison system continue to heat up, and the planned nationwide work stoppage on September 9th grows closer, the administrations are increasingly cracking down on those prisoners involved in organising. Outside support is crucial to let those in charge of the prisons know that there’s people watching them, so they can’t just get away with doing whatever they want.

The most dramatic situation is in Wisconsin, where several people have been on hunger strike for months now and are being kept on the verge of death. They’re being denied access to clean bottled water and forced to drink water from the prison, which is polluted with high levels of lead and caused a striker to vomit when he tried to drink it on an empty stomach. They ask for people to make the following requests to the contact details below:

1.Let Cesar DeLeon and LaRon McKinley have bottled water, let them buy as much as they want from the commissary.

2. Put a 1 year limit on Administrative Confinement for all WI prisoners

WCI Warden Brian Foster: 920-324-5571; PO Box351, Waupun WI 53963; brian.foster@wisconsin.gov

DOC secretary Jon Litscher: 608-240-5000, Po Box 7925, Madison, WI 53707; jon.litscher@wisconsin.gov

Solidarity mobilisation with the Wisconsin hunger strike

In Ohio, Siddique Hasan, a long-time prison rebel and organiser involved in the strike movement, is being subjected to victimisation and bogus disciplinary charges, and he and other prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary have launched their own hunger strike as a response. The Free Ohio Movement are asking that people contact the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to demand that the conduct report against Siddique Hasan is dropped and that all restrictions on his communications with the outside world are removed. Looking on the ODRC website, the director’s page manages to tell you how many sodding grandchildren he has, but not what his email address is (but if you feel like calling or writing to him, you can contact him at 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43222 or 614-752-1150). You can contact their office of communications at joellen.smith@odrc.state.oh.us or drc.publicinfo@odrc.state.oh.us.

Another post giving updates on Siddique’s situation has some important information that you might want to include in any communications with the Ohio prisons bureau – most crucially, that he’s having his communications cut off for 30 days even though the relevant rule sets a 12-day limit for this punishment, but also that the wrong staff member’s signature appears on the conduct report and that he’s having phone and email rights revoked even though there’s no suggestion that he’s been abusing them.

Finally, on the first of August a prison riot broke out at Holman prison in Alabama. Following this, several prisoners including anarchist comrade Michael Kimble were thrown into solitary confinement, and as of the 13th they hadn’t been given any explanation for why they were in segregation, which is supposed to happen within 72 hours, and were still being denied access to their personal property, including things like shoes, deodourant and toothbrushes. To support these prisoners, contact the Alabama Department of Corrections by ringing 251-368-8173, writing to Holman 3700, Atmore, AL 36503-3700, or emailing webmaster@doc.alabama.gov, to pass on something along the lines of the following message: 

“Hello, I’m calling to demand that Michael Kimble and other individuals put in segregation on August 1st after alleged rioting be released and have their property returned. They have been held there for over 72 hours without charge or phone call, violating DOC policy.”

The US prison system is seeing some really intense and courageous struggles at the moment, and that’s only going to intensify in the run-up to the national strike. Prison administrations are used to being able to get away with dirty tactics and straightforward brutality because they don’t expect anyone to be watching them; the more outside attention and hassle they get, the less confident they’ll be when victimising organisers. Let’s help our comrades inside keep the heat up.

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UBER Eats: the next Deliveroo?

Uber Eats wildcat strike

An announcement from the United Voices of the World union states that:

“…the UBER Eats drivers… are also going on STRIKE!

Yes, that’s right, UBER Eats drivers are going on strike over their poverty wages! No employee status, no employee obligations: Wildcat strikes all the way!

Big things are happening people. The times are changing. Wake up, keep up and get involved!

There’ll be a mass rally in solidarity with hundreds of brave and inspiring UBER Eats drivers this Friday. Details to follow so stay tuned.”

That seems to be pretty much all the public information for now, so keep an eye on the UVW and IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch social media presences for more info in the next few days. The Telegraph and Bloomberg have both picked up on the story already, although neither of them have that much to add to it. So far, unlike Deliveroo, UBER Eats seems to be just operating in London, but it’s worth noting they plan to expand into Birmingham in the near future, and also plan to recruit in Manchester and Leeds, so people in those cities should keep their eyes peeled for chances to spread workers’ self-organisation there.

Meanwhile, while the Deliveroo struggle may have reached a temporary truce, it’s far from over – the official IWGB write-up notes a number of ongoing issues, and points out that, crucially, the existing pay guarantees will expire on September 14th. So, come the 14th, we should be prepared for things to kick off at Deliveroo again. And, of course, there’s always the possibility of couriers’ self-organisation spreading to places outside London, which would change the balance of forces further. This is a definitely a situation to continue watching, and to think about how we can intervene in.

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“Autonomous, democratic, stateless” public order policing in Rojava

According to reports on Syria Direct, over the last week or so, the Asayish, the cops who maintain order in the self-managed cantons of Rojava, have launched a wave of arrests against people associated with the Kurdish National Council, which is linked to Masoud Barzani’s administration in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Several people have been arrested for holding demonstrations without a permit, and the co-president of Jazira canton’s Internal Affairs Entity, in classic neoliberal reasonablespeak, said that “any gathering or demonstration in any city must be licensed” and that “the appropriate legal measures will be taken” against anyone not abiding by that law.

I share this information in the hope of prompting some discussion among the wider radical left circles who’ve been paying attention to developments in Rojava, and particularly among  those of us who are more or less supportive of the social experiment going on there.

Obviously, the PYD is still a much lesser evil compared to Assad, ISIS, or Jabhat al-Nusra/al-Sham. Just as I’d rather live under a Corbynist social democracy than under the Tories, I’d rather live in Rojava, Asayish and all, than under the rule of any of the main forces that control most of Syria. And opposing the Rojavan proto-state’s repression against political rivals should not stop us from opposing the repression carried out by other states against supporters of Rojava. I’d say that we should still support the de-listing of the PKK, not least because the chilling effect of terror legislation actually makes it harder to have a full critical discussion of Kurdish politics.

But still, this is news that deserves to be properly discussed, especially among supporters of the Rojava project. Do people see these moves as justifiable? (After all, Barzani is undoubtedly a scumbag, and even the most libertarian revolution will have to take some measures to disrupt reactionaries.)

If you don’t see these arrests as justified, how do they change your overall opinion of the PYD and the “democratic self-administration”? If you think the arrests are wrong, but the Rojava experiment as a whole is still worth supporting in some way (which, for what it’s worth, is more or less how I feel), what would it take to make you change your mind – what are your “red lines” that the PYD would have to cross before you felt you couldn’t support it, or its allied forces and projects, at all?

I offer these questions not in the hope of tricking people into giving embarrassing wrong answers, or to demonstrate the correctness of some invariant set of fixed truths, but because I genuinely don’t know the answers for sure. An adequate understanding of the situation in Rojava can only come from open and comradely discussion. But that discussion can’t shy away from addressing the uglier sides of the situation, which is why keeping track of things like Asayish repression of the PYD’s rivals is so important.

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Deliveroo contracts: getting a national picture

The concessions won by the London Deliveroo strike are an important win. But they’re still only concessions: management haven’t backed down on the new payment model altogether, and it’s certainly far short of the workers’ demand for the full London Living Wage and costs.

Importantly, someone commenting on the IWGB facebook page claims that the new contracts have been imposed in Birmingham today. This means that the company will probably be trying to quietly introduce them across the country, bit by bit, until they can portray anyone still on the old system as being an unfair exception. The London strike has shown how powerful collective action can be, now that strength needs to go nationwide.

To restate: Deliveroo have a list of the restaurants they have contracts with and the areas they cover here. They operate in Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, Reading, Guildford, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Southampton, Cheltenham, Leicester, Cardiff, Sheffield, Chester, Glasgow, Bournemouth, Exeter, Harrogate, Bath, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Derby, Coventry, York, Norwich, Portsmouth, Belfast, Durham, Milton Keynes, St Albans, Stoke-on-Trent, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Watford, Leamington Spa, Ellesmere Port, Basingstoke, Windsor, Lytham St Annes, and Hereford.

If you live in one of those places, there are Deliveroo drivers working in your area, and the company may well be trying to twist their arms to sign up to the new contracts now. Now would be a good time to try and get in touch with them – if you don’t know where the drivers hang out near you, check the list of restaurants on the Deliveroo site. Talk to them about the new contracts, find out what the situation in your area is, put them in touch with anyone, like the IWW, who might be able to help them organise, and share whatever you can find out about what management’s plan is. The achievements won by the Deliveroo strikers in London are impressive, so we shouldn’t let management chip away at them by imposing the new contracts across the rest of the country and isolating those drivers who stand up to them.

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Delivering the sweet taste of victory: Deliveroo drivers win!

Deliveroo drivers celebrating their win

From the IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch:

**Breaking News**
— VICTORY TO THE DELIVEROO STRIKE —

The delegation of drivers have just exited the Deliveroo head office, having finished negotiations with Management. They agreed to the following:

– No victimisation
– No new contract
– Even if drivers have signed the new contract already, it no longer has effect and you are not bound to it
– This will be a trial until 14th September when Deliveroo will meet again with workers to assess the month’s pay
– If you don’t want to be on the trial, you WILL have to move zone, but you will be able to move to any zone of YOUR choice and be guaranteed the same hours you are currently on.

Of course, there’ll be more struggle in the days and weeks to come, and there’s a lot more to be said about the last few days of the strike. But for the moment, the drivers are celebrating management’s climb-down over contract imposition as a victory, and we should too. Their determination, solidarity and direct action is a shining example of what it takes to win. Congratulations to the Deliveroo drivers!

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