Disgusted by what you are seeing on TV about Amazon? Read this

Disgusted by what you are seeing on TV about Amazon? Read this

Tax dodging corporations profit from casualization

Amazon

Amazon

The following article was published in ‘The Socialist’ newspaper at the start of October. It is highly relevant given the Panorama programme currently showing on BBC1. If you agree with what we are saying fill in the form at the end of the article to help us build a movement that will fight for a society that puts people before profit, a socialist society.

Only trade unions can defend workers’ rights

By Ronnie Job

The Swansea Amazon warehouse location, next to the former Linamar/Visteon/Ford site, is a graphic illustration of how casualised, low-paid work has replaced unionised, skilled manufacturing.

The local press has hailed Amazon for announcing it will employ 1,500 extra workers in the run-up to Christmas.

However, an agency worker who was at Amazon last Christmas told me about their experience.

“At the end of the first day’s warehouse tour, the guide pointed out ‘your rep’s office’. One new worker asked if they meant union rep, but was told it was the agency rep’s office and they didn’t have unions. Don’t think the person asking the question lasted long!

“The first wage packet was a lot smaller than anybody expected, with compulsory deductions for a locker deposit (although I wasn’t assigned a locker as there weren’t enough), CRB check and drugs test.

“Despite supposedly being employed for 25 hours a week plus overtime, workers were frequently sent home, often not having earned enough to pay for their bus fare or petrol.

“Some days, agency workers were sent home while work was given to unpaid jobseekers on the workfare scheme.”

Amazon pays next to no tax in the UK but is at liberty to take advantage of government schemes that provide free labour!

Points mean P45s

“It is not easy to get to the site by public transport, especially around Christmas, but anybody turning up late would be assigned penalty points. These were accumulated and led to dismissals.

“Other ‘offences’ attracting points included ‘errors’, like not putting the right amount of brown paper in a box or forgetting to put in the advertisements. All absences (all unpaid of course) were treated the same, even certificated sickness or attending a job interview.

“The site had a real gulag feel. Everybody was subject to security scans whenever they left the floor, and random scans while working, with a handheld scanner.

“CCTV cameras are everywhere and you’re told that you can face a drug or alcohol test at any time, have your locker searched or your drinking water tested.

“Everybody was fearful when scanning their security card to gain entry to the site; finding your card had been deactivated was a common way of discovering you had been dismissed. This happened to people on Christmas Eve. Others were dismissed and escorted off the floor part way through a shift.”

Unionisation of sites like Amazon in Swansea is essential to halt the race to the bottom on workers’ rights.

The determination of the BFAWU members at Hovis (see the Socialist issue 781, Bakers rise against Hovis: Victory shows zero-hours can be beaten) shows how militant trade unionism can beat casualisation.

Report and pictures from university strike action at Coventry and Warwick

Report and pictures from university strike action at Coventry and Warwick 

Picket at University of Warwick

Picket at University of Warwick

Today industrial took place at Higher Education institutions across the country involving members of UCU, Unison and Unite. There were pickets at both Coventry University and the University of Warwick. Members of the Socialist Party visited the picket lines to show support, whilst Socialist Student groups at both universities, together with Socialist Party youth members worked hard to build links between students and university workers on the day and beforehand.

Report from University of Warwick

By M Best

Socialist Students at Warwick build support

Socialist Students at Warwick build support

The mood was clear at the picket at Warwick today, there is a drastic need to take action to defend peoples jobs. The issue of a pay cut was just as important for lecturers and staff becoming increasingly unsure of whether they will get enough work during the quiet periods such as the summer. The issue of people on zero hour contracts and increased casualisation were also mentioned. The idea of a general strike, getting everyone out together, to face the attacks which are the same in every industry struck a chord with the workers.

One picketer told me
“It’s sad that the university can’t support its staff the way the staff supports it. People say if you can’t pay for the best then you won’t get the best, so we can’t be the best. If an employer said to you would you take a job that in 4 years we’ll pay you 14% less you wouldn’t take it. A lot of people can’t afford these cuts. There are people having to choose between heating and eating. And we’re having staff at a top university have to make that decision. Its those lowest paid workers at the bottom who can’t afford the pay cuts.”

Report from Coventry University

Picket near the Alan Berry Building at Coventry University

Picket near the Alan Berry Building at Coventry University

There were a number of pickets across the campus of Coventry University, as union members gave out leaflets to students explaining why there were going on strike. Members of Unison from the Coventry District (council) branch attended to show support. Socialist Students members joined the picket to bring solidarity from students.

Members of Socialist Students / SP youth members

Members of Socialist Students / SP youth members

The question of unions from different sectors co-ordinating their many disputes came up time and time again. The need for co-ordination action is not just a good idea, it is a burning necessity which would raise the collective confidence of all workers in the fight against capitalist austerity measures.

One of the leaflets that was distributed

One of the leaflets that was distributed

Socialist Party members in the education unions, together with Socialist Students across the campuses, will continue to argue for worker – student solidarity. This is not just a fight for terms and conditions, but a battle to defend education.

If you want to help us, or to join / get more info about the fight for socialism, fill in the form below and we will contact you

 

 

Coventry and Warwick Socialist Students call for support for Higher Education Strike

Socialist Students call for support for Higher Education Strike

UCU, Unite and Unison will be taking action

UCU, Unite and Unison will be taking action

The following article was written by a member of Socialist Students, who are active at both Coventry University and Warwick University.

On Thursday 31st of October workers at universities up and down the country are out on strike. Members of UCU, Unison and Unite are taking action together to end the pay freeze which has meant incomes have not kept up with rising prices. This amounts to a real terms cut of 14% since 2009!

While ordinary staff members have been bearing the brunt of the government’s attacks, Warwick Vice Chancellor Nigel Thrift awarded himself a whopping £40,000 payrise last year!

Its one rule for those at the top while the rest of us have to suffer.

Although the dispute is officially about pay, workers all over are facing issues of increased workloads, zero hour contracts and bullying and discrimination. It isn’t just education the government is dedicated to selling off or destroying, postal workers, council workers, NHS workers, etc are all being punished by the Con-Dems for a crisis they didn’t cause.

Students need to support staff on this day. This strike action should be seen as part of the battle for a decent education system. This is the government that tripled fees and are looking for more ways to get students in debt with the sell-off of the student loan book. This strike is an important step in the fightback to save our education system.

Students should:

-Join lecturers and other staff on the picket lines to show solidarity.

-Don’t use university services or go to any lectures.

-Help Socialist Students build support for the strike – sign our message of support.

Socialist Students will be on campus on the days running up to the strike and supporting picket lines on the day. You can sign one of our petitions, or fill in the form at the end of this article to send a message of support, we will pass it on to the unions.

Email us at Warwicksocialiststudents@gmail.com for Warwick, and coventrysocialists@googlemail.com for Coventry to get involved!

Please click here to read an article on the Socialist Students website by NUS NEC member Edmund Schluessel (personal capacity)

Fill in the form to send a message of support!