IWW ScotlandThe IWW is the one big union for all! We have branches throughout Scotland, so whether you are looking for a union to join or are just sick of your current reformist union lacking the backbone to take on a fight, we can help in the fight to win!
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By joining the IWW ,the Wobblies, an individual worker is making a statement. They are saying I identify with a revolutionary union, in the syndicalist, bottom-up tradition. Many who join have busy lives, partly dictated by work, which may involve more than one ‘part-time’ job, young families or care for relatives and friends. Therefore, participation in the workings of a local General member branch (GMB) of the IWW may be occasional & restricted.
However, many who are joining, especially online, have little contact with active branches, whether local, or ‘industrial union’ networks. It is a world of social media: facebook, google+, twitter, many avoid email & face-to-face contact with ‘strangers’. By joining the IWW you become a ‘fellow worker’, one strengthened by a community of solidarity, at least in theory. All theory has to be put into practice, if it is to avoid becoming abstract & detached from social reality.
Scotland wide, and in city based branches, the Union needs to offer more in the way of explanation how we operate. There is no “top down” leadership. Our union depends on a level of participation and understanding. Induction meetings, perhaps extending to some ‘mentoring’ for new members (if they wish) will be organised in the near future. ‘101 Training’ is another means to boost the confidence & expertise of new members, equipping them with skills to organise in the workplace.
In Scotland we have an annual Assembly, usually in November, we have email lists, this wordpress page, facebook pages. Funds can be devolved, such as to members in the Highlands to promote local activity. A network (SEWN) in education has been established, and others – Health & Care; Call-centre; Bar & Restaurant, other ‘precarious’ worker networks are possible, with greater participation & understanding of IWW objectives.
We need a more social and supportive side to our union, and in so doing instill the Wobbly ethos, ‘we are all organisers': reducing passivity and uncertainty about how new members can contribute.
Keith | email@example.com
In Edinburgh claimants and lowpaid workers are organising through Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty to support each other and take action to resist workfare, benefit cuts and austerity attacks.
Occupations and blockades have hit companies and charities exploiting claimants through the governments compulsory “work-for-your-dole” schemes. Recent actions targetting Learndirect, provider for the new workfare scheme, Community Work Placements, included a disruptive hour-long occupation of their offices at shiny Conference House, on 12th June. Demonstrators have invaded Leith Job Centre protesting against benefits sanctions.
Protestors have besieged ATOS, responsible for the notorious Work Capability Assessments which deny many ill people their rightful sickness benefits. Now ECAP members have initiated the Disability Solidarity Network, to take forward the fight .
Weekly drop-in solidarity sessions at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh are the basis for every day mutual aid to support individuals facing a punitive benefits system, debt, housing issues and other poverty-related problems. “Never face them alone” say ECAP, as activists accompany claimants to the dole, ATOS, fraud interviews, council housing appointments and the like – and, vitally, encourage people to attend such appointments with their own friends.
If “official channels” don’t get the desired result the ECAP Solidarity Network phone tree can launch action. Late last year a claimant was sent on Mandatory Work Activity at the Salvation Army charity shop on Leith Walk. By “co-incidence” his reporting for (unpaid) duty co-incided with the shop’s invasion by a dozen anti workfare demonstrators, parading placards and banners down the aisles of second-hand clothes!
ECAP is keen to make links, recent solidarity visits ranging from Dundee to Milan! ECAP activity is not a single issue, but part of the wider fight to assert human need over profit, and to challenge and ultimately overthrow capitalism. As our banner cries: “It’s our world – let’s claim it back!”.
Fellow education workers!
The next meeting of the Scottish Education Workers Network will be on Tuesday, 24 June, at 7 pm at the Electron Club space of CCA in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.
I hope you will be able to attend this meeting. And please invite other education sector workers and supporters to come along.
The first issue of the IWW Scottish news-sheet was distributed mostly around May Day events. It was good to get something out, articulating some of the activities IWW branches & members are up to. However it could be improved, and cover more workplace issues and portray (by interviews or short experiences of job situations) the appeal of the Wobblies today.
I meant to get this notice out a bit earlier, though branches should have circulated various deadlines. The next issue needs to be printed by about July 10th, using our sympathetic printers in Glasgow.
So if you could put a short piece together could you let me know within the next 7-10 days (by 23rd) and have the final copy to me in 14-16 days.30th is FINAL date. A short deadline but sometimes best to focus thinking. In addition if you have notes about an issue but don’t feel confident about writing it in a news-sheet friendly format, send them to me and I’ll try and draft something in harmony with your intentions.