Tuesday 26th is shaping up to be a busy day for self-organised workers’ struggles: in Manchester, Deliveroo riders will be striking again, while in London, outsourced workers organised through the UVW and IWGB independent unions, along with some branches of the PCS and RMT, will be taking co-ordinated strike action at two government departments and the University of London, and are calling for a mass “clean up outsourcing” demo. A UVW member also scored a notable tribunal victory recently, as the tribunal accepted that she’d been unlawfully dismissed for her organising at TopShop. Tuesday 26th will also see a lobby of Birmingham council in support of the ongoing disputes by bin workers and care workers there.
On Wednesday the 27th, Goldsmiths Housing Action and others are calling for a “cut the rent” demo, and the following day Goldsmiths will also see another demonstration by outsourced staff.
Over in Birmingham, things have been heating up, with bin workers and care workers both taking action – the bin strike is due to run for two days a week for the next five weeks. Unite have created a short video explaining the issues that led to the bin strike. You can keep up with the care workers’ dispute through their fb page and donate to their hardship fund here. The strikes seem to be causing a bit of chaos in the council chambers, with 23 councillors from the ruling Labour group objecting to the council’s handling of the dispute.
The “keep the guard on the train” RMT dispute on South-Western trains now seems to have come to an end with South-Western following Northern’s lead by guaranteeing a guard on every train. An even more impressive win took place in Glasgow, as the council have finally agreed an equal pay deal to end the dispute that led to last year’s amazing “women’s strike”. In less impressive news, the UCU ballot over pay and conditions saw a clear majority voting for strike action, but failed to get past the 50% participation required by industrial relations law, perhaps reflecting disillusionment in the wake of last year’s strikes.
Looking ahead into March, Glasgow hosts an autonomous bookfair on the 2nd, on March 6th there’s a national day of action around the student housing crisis, while the Blacklist Support Group will be holding an event to mark ten years of their fight for justice, with the promise that new information will be revealed at the meeting. On March 8th there’s a call for a women’s strike to commemorate international women’s day, with a particular emphasis on a “sex/work strike for decriminalisation”. Cleaners at HSBC organising through grassroots union CAIWU will also be striking on the 8th against understaffing and lack of sick pay.
On March 9th, there’s the annual Davey Jones and Joe Green memorial in Barnsley, and a benefit for the Goldsmiths’ workers campaign in Deptford. That day is also the birthday of Kevan Thackrar, a wrongfully-convicted prisoner and IWW member, if anyone fancies sending him a card. The IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee is also calling for a day of action in solidarity with Kevan and against solitary confinement on the 13th, while the Empty Cages Collective suggest making all of March a month of action against prisons and the state. And the Outlive Them network of Jewish antifascists have put out an international call to action for March 16th – I’m not sure what other antifascist events are coming up in the next few weeks, although Brighton Antifascists will definitely still be running their weekly “cantifa” fundraisers every Wednesday at the Cowley Club.
Further ahead still, the Angry Workers of the World will be running a class struggle reading group on the 2nd of May. Speaking of political organisations, the Anarchist Communist Group have been busy of late, putting out a new episode of their podcast talking about the abolition of work, welcoming a West Yorkshire group into their organisation, and publishing new pamphlets, a new issue of their paper Jackdaw, and being involved with a new issue of London’s anarchist paper, the Rebel City. If you think any of that sounds interesting or worthwhile, you might want to chuck the Jackdaw fund a few quid here.