Mid-August round-up: direct action and strikes in London, Brighton, Barnsley and Doncaster

The action against unpaid wages at a temp agency in London this week was a success, with the organisers reporting that “They saw that we were talking to other people who had come to register with the agency, that there was a gang of us, that we could argue back with them, that we weren’t going to leave without getting this sorted, and that we had placards and wouldn’t be afraid to use them! Another manager bloke then stepped in and managed to sort things out there and then, surprisingly easily considering that they hadn’t managed to sort this out in the 6 weeks before. We left some flyers so that other workers know that they can contact us for support if the same thing happens to them.”

Meanwhile, Brighton Hospitality Workers have achieved their fifth victory in a row, and have made a video documenting their latest campaign. Both examples show the power of well-focused direct action based around winnable aims.

Up north, another campaign of direct action is still going strong: the Freedom Riders, a group of pensioners and disabled people fighting travel cuts in South Yorkshire, have secured another meeting with Northern Rail to discuss their demands. Unlike many top-down struggles, they’re not letting the promise of negotiations demobilise them until they’ve got everything they want, and so further freedom rides are planned for Tuesday 19th and Thursday 21st August, and then every day of the week starting on the 25th. At a time when there’s little visible resistance to austerity, the determination of the Freedom Riders is a huge inspiration.

Care UK strikers showing their solidarity with sacked Tesco delivery drivers

Not far away in Doncaster, striking Care UK staff have voted to continue their campaign: having already taken 48 days of strike action, they’ve now voted to strike for another three weeks. This kind of militancy is practically unheard of in contemporary union disputes. Disappointingly, while the Trot left have provided consistent coverage of the dispute, there seems to have been very little discussion of it in libertarian class struggle circles. There’s a lot we can do to support this fight, even if you don’t live close enough to be able to visit their picket lines: public collections help to both raise awareness of the dispute and to raise much-needed money for the strike fund, or you could put on a fundraising gig or club night. Equally, you could leaflet other Care UK offices or Bridgepoint outlets in your area to try and spread the dispute, and I’m sure they’d be happy to send speakers for any events that want to host them – organising a meeting about the dispute could be a good way to start conversations about how care workers in your area can start organising towards a similar level of militancy and confidence. Cheques for the strike fund should be made payable to Doncaster Unison 20511, and posted to Unison, Jenkinson House, WhiteRose Way, Doncaster DN4 5GJ; to get in touch with the union branch, whether to send a simple message of solidarity or to make more detailed plans, you can email admin@unison-dab.org.uk. Of course, having all contact going through the union hierarchy isn’t ideal, and it’d be better to make links with rank-and-file workers directly; but it’s only possible to do that when you’re already involved in supporting the dispute.
Finally, it’s good to see that the Police Spies Out Of Lives case seems to be going well, having forced the Met to back down and confirm that Bob Lambert/Robinson and Andrew James Boyling/Jim Sutton were indeed involved in sexual relationships while acting as undercover policemen. They still refuse to confirm the identities of John Barker/Dines and Mark Cassidy/Jenner, but with their defence falling apart it’s difficult to see how they could continue trying to hide the truth for much longer.

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About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
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