Liverpool Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW) have called a demonstration outside Bulky Bob’s on London Road, for a week on Saturday. This comes after a tip-off from an anonymous insider at the household item recycling company, who told Liverpool IWW that:
“[…] there is one paid manager in the store (who used to work for the company that is now LearnDirect which is one of the major ‘providers’) and the rest of the staff are on workfare or ‘volunteers’. Likewise, the connected company FRC (Furniture Resource Centre) has a warehouse on Brunswick Dock which runs on workfare, as do its vans which collect and deliver to Bulky Bobs.”
There are many workfare exploiters in the city, and our union has already targeted some of them, with more to follow. But what makes the case of Bulky Bob’s so explosive is the fact that the ‘social enterprise’ operates…
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Members of the NBHU today joined the TUC march to support more than one million striking workers from across society, including firefighters, teachers, cleaners, civil servants, transport workers, housing officers, public sector workers and many more. It was fantastic to see such an impressive display of solidarity between workers and there were some inspirational speeches, with most speakers criticising the devastating austerity measures imposed upon the poorest in society. Some campaigns were particularly notable, for instance the striking Ritzy cinema workers, who have been encouraging customers to boycott their employer, Picturehouse (which also runs Cinema City in Norwich), in protest of their refusal to pay their workers a living wage. Although we share common ground with workers from all professions, the struggle of workers in service industry roles, such as those at the Ritzy, resonate particularly with those of us in bar and hospitality work. The campaign to secure the living wage is an incredibly important one – all workers should be able to afford to live on the wage they earn. You can support the striking Ritzy workers here.
Solidarity with all those striking today!
The NBHU will be at the May Day celebrations organised by the Norwich and District Trades Union Council in Chapelfield Gardens on Sunday the 4th May. Make sure you come along to have a chat, sign up, hear more about how we can help you in your work, or pick up a T-shirt or some information.
We’re hoping to be there all day, from 11am to 5pm, so please do come and get involved!
You can get more info about the day here. See you there!
The NBHU has recently been involved in the Norfolk Peoples’ Assembly (NPA) organising around unionisation. We were present in Haymarket last Saturday, handing out leaflets and trying to galvanise support amongst the local community.
On Tuesday, members attended a public meeting about the importance of Trades Unions, featuring speakers from the NUT, Unite Community branch, PCS and student organisers.
It highlighted what many people in the Trade Union movement know already – unions are essential to show solidarity against the sustained campaign of cuts made by the Coalition government (and indeed, all governments) which undermine the rights of the working class, to the extent that more and more are turning to drastic measures such as food banks for basic survival.
However, as Pilgrim Tucker of Unite community union said, it is those that are not already in the union movement that are important to talk to – it is those who are isolated and outside. Bar and hospitality work can be incredibly alienating, and employers often use divisive tactics to undermine collective solidarity. We must resist such tactics, and fight together for improvements to our jobs, contracts, and workplaces.
It’s essential that we organise our sector to minimise the stress and strain of making ends meet, and instead focus on improving our ability to work to a high professional standard, and to take pride in what we do.