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(en) anarchist trade union network

From "rover 21" <rover21@excite.co.uk> (Web Site: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/2522)
Date Wed, 27 Oct 1999 05:58:33 -0400

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

To: a-infos@lists.tao.ca

Rank and File

anarchist TRADE UNION NETWORK newsletter November 1999 issue 5

in this issue:










Anarchist Bookfair Report

Thanks to everyone who made the effort to come along to the network's 
meeting at October's Bookfair. Despite the early start and the fact 
that I booked the meeting too late to get on the programme (never 
trust a trade union official to do anything!) around thirty people
turned up, some subscribers, many not. The hour was spent discussing 
the role of anarchists in reformist trade unions - there is a 
separate article on the issues raised during the discussion in 
this newsletter. New subscribers joined and lots of material 
was distributed. We have decided that rather than organise a 
separate conference next year we will try to develop something 
within the May Day 2000 event (see below), probably a 
combination of debate and action. Watch this space for 
further details.

Ikea give staff takings - but just for one day

Last month furniture retailer Ikea decided to give their 
40,000 employees their world wide takings for a day. All 
the money taken was divided equally amongst the staff, with 
some receiving as much in a day as they normally earn in a 
month! One member of staff said that he would now be able 
to get his wife "a decent Christmas present", another called 
it "brilliant". Now, of course, Ikea's motives weren't 
entirely altruistic: they hoped that the incentive would 
increase sales, but we wonder whether they have really 
thought this through. Now all of their workers have suddenly 
realised how much money they could really get if they got a 
fair share of the company's profits. Maybe now they'll start 
to think about getting rid of the bosses and shareholders who 
cream off the bulk of the company's profits altogether!

Sacked for Knocking On A Door!

Nick of Counter Information reports that two Unison stewards 
in Glasgow City Council have been sacked for chapping 
(knocking) on a door (see September's newsletter for 
background story). Twenty seven other members have been 
given final written warnings despite being given permission 
to use their own time to show support to Social Work Convenor 
Roddy Slorach at his disciplinary hearing. Ruling class 
puppets Unison have blocked any strike action in support 
espite a successful ballot. Meanwhile Unison have suspended 
Slorach from his post as Convenor. If only Unison could fight 
the ruling classes with the enthusiasm they have to attack 
activists!n Counter Information: 17 W.Montgomery Place, 
dinburgh, EH7 5HA, send a donation.

Strikes hit all-time low, but work's still crap

In 1998 there were 166 work stoppages - the lowest number 
since records began in 1891. Now you might reasonably have 
expected the boss's union, the CBI, to herald this news, 
but who was it popping up on TV and the radio but none 
other than John Monks, head of the TUC (Totally Useless 
Crap?) Monks claims that the figures show that a "partnership 
mood" has over taken the workplace. We here at the Anarchist 
Trade Union Network are, of course, delighted that the class 
war is over, however we are a little bit worried that the 
bosses might have won it. Here are some reports about work 
we lifted out of that well known journal of anarchist 
propaganda The Guardian last month:

&#8226; According to ICM Research "workers are being driven 
to drink and illness by overwork, tougher targets and 
deadlines" Almost half of those in work work 12 or more h
ours a day.

&#8226; The Royal College of Psychiatrists report that 
stress and pressure of work is helping to tip a third 
of all employees into depression or other forms of mental 
illness each year,

&#8226; The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found "health, 
family relationships and the long-term future of the 
economy are all at risk as staff are forced to work harder 
and fear that they will pay the price of the constant 
search to improve competitiveness"

Doesn't sound much like a mood of partnership sweeping 
Britain's workplaces to us - more like old fashioned 
exploitation. The workers work longer hours. The bosses 
get more profits. Tesco workers have found what 
partnership really means. The partnership deal that 
was signed there resulted in an end of Sunday premium 
rates. If this is partnership we reckon it's time to 
separate and start divorce proceedings!

Partnerships Comes Unstuck In Ireland

The biggest strike ever in the history of the Irish 
Republic saw 27,000 nurses begin indefinite industrial 
action in the middle of October. The Partnership 2000 
agreement stitched up by unions, employers and the Irish 
government was set to deliver more wage restraint for 
Irish workers, despite the economy growing by 7.5% and 
the government having a large budget surplus. Nursing 
unions, though, rejected the government's pay offer. 
One of nursing union's leaders said "we've been too 
reasonable for too long" The Irish partnership agreement 
has long been heralded by the British TUC as a model for 
the UK to follow, but shows what partnership really means 
- low wages and large profits.

November 30, 'Let Our Resistance Be As Transitional As Capital'

Following the successful J18 Day of Action against 
Capitalism activists from diverse groups and movements 
around the world are discussing, networking and organising 
for an international day of action on November 30, the day 
on which officials from 150 governments will meet in Seattle 
for the third conference of the World Trade Organisation 
(WTO) which will decide on new policies to further escalate 
the exploitation of the planet and its inhabitants. The 
People's Global Action and International Workers of the 
World are planning actions against the WTO around the 
world. Calls are also going out for autonomous actions 
and protests in the streets, neighbourhoods, fields, 
factories, offices, commercial centres and financial 
centres. Actions could include: street parties, strikes, 
flyers, street theatre, pickets, occupations, building 
gardens, speeches........If you have any activist networks 
locally get in touch and find out what's going on. n Contact 
for November 30 seems to be la!
rgely by e-mail and web sites: 
http://go.to/n30 & http://n30.listbot.com 
(discussion list for updates and news).

The second People's Global Action conference took place in 
Bangalore, India in August. A firm commitment was made to 
"a strong and powerful day of action and global strike on 
1 May 2000. n Contact: www.agp.org


Global Women's Strike 8 March 2000

A global women's strike is being called for 8 March next 
year for a millennium which values all women's work and 
all women's lives. In most industrial countries including 
Britain women only earn a fraction of what men do. World 
wide in Africa women grow 80% of food consumed, in Asia 
many women spend up to five hours every day gathering 
fire wood. In Latin America 25% of the population have no 
access to clean drinking water. The campaign is calling for, 
amongst other things, pay equity, affordable and accessible 
housing and transportation, wages for caring work, paid 
maternity leave, breast-feeding and other benefits "that 
recognise women's biological work rather than penalise us 
for being women"n Contact: International Wages for House 
Work Campaign, Crossroads Women's Centre, PO Box 287, 
London, NW6 5QU , Tel: 0171 482 2496 
email: crossroadswomencentre@compuserve.com. 


The Black Women's Rape Action Project and Women Against 
Rape are seeking union support for their campaign against 
New Labour's racist Asylum Bill. The new Bill will make it 
harder for all immigrants to enter this country including 
rape victims. The campaign has worked with women from Cote 
D'Ivoire, Kenya, Lithuania, Turkey, Uganda and other 
countries who have been raped, often by police and soldiers 
in gangs. Many women are too traumatised on arrival in this 
country to give details of the rape and torture they have 
suffered. Many of these women's claims have been treated as 
'bogus' by the Home Office. A number of national unions are 
supporting the campaign including ASLEF, MSF and the TGWU, 
along with a large number of local union branches and other 
organisations. If your union has not signed up raise it, as 
a matter of priority, at your next branch meeting. n Informa
tion and support to: Crossroads Women's Centre, 230A Kentish 
Town Road, London, NW5 2AB, Tel: 0171 482 2496 ema!
il: bwrap@dircon.co.uk The campaign against the deportation 
of immigrants can be contacted at: National Coalition of 
Anti-deportation Campaigns, 101 Villa Road, Birmingham, B19 1NH.


&#8226; Do or Die 8 - The direct action environmental movement, 
or at least the Earth First! bit of it, seems to be much more 
open to anarchism as an alternative to capitalism and this is 
reflected in the latest issue of DoD, the first article of 
which is called Confronting Capital and Smashing the State! 
Lots of reports and analysis of June 18 including the ACF's 
and Northern Anarchist Network's 'visit' to the TUC. There's 
a long piece about globalisation that makes the important point 
that capitalism has always been global (for example the slave 
trade) and a really good piece about pirates! DoD is 344 pages 
long and about an inch thick but costs just £3.60 (so how come 
Anarchist Studies is so dear then?!) n Available from: 6 Tilbury 
Place, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 2GY. Send them £5 to cover 

&#8226; Black Flag 216 - Blimey BF's gone all posh! New type 
face and design and an interview with Nick Cohen. Still a 
good read though, although not much on work place issues 
this time. More reports and analysis of J18, a piece on 
racism in Dover and the Southall Black Sisters. One of 
the good things about BF is their international coverage 
and this issue has bits on the Bologna squatted anarchist 
centre, Iraq, the Indonesian Front Anti Facist and the 
Brazilain Anarchist Uprising of 1918. All this and that 
Nick Cohen interview for just £1.50 from: Black Flag, 
BM Hurrican, London, WC1N 3XX .

&#8226; Class War - It's a while since I have looked at 
CW, but their rather good London Bulletin (London Calling) 
encouraged me to pick up a copy at the Book Fair. Pretty 
much business as usual it would seem, which is no bad 
thing it must be said: Page 3 hospitalised cop, an Anti 
BNP donor card (great idea), a whole page on work place 
issues (including a plug for the network), more stuff on 
J18 and lots more for a mere quid. n Contact: CWF, PO Box 
467, London, E8 3QX (you can get London Calling from this 
address too)

Fighting Tube Privatisation - The three unions representing 
workers on the London Underground (ASLEF, RMT and TSSA) 
have joined forces to fight the plans to privatise the 
tube system. They are also working alongside the Campaign 
gainst Tube Privatisation a broader coalition which includes 
Unison and Reclaim the Streets. Three quarters of Londoners 
want to see the Underground stay in public ownership n 
Contact: Campaign Against Tube Privatisation, Tel: 0181 981 
8065 email: publictube@aol.com

J18 Legal Defence - Sixty people have now been arrested 
in connection with J18, two squats have been raided and 
the cops have published 72 photos on the Internet 
(www.cityoflondon.gov.uk). If you know anyone whose picture 
has been published get in touch with them in a safe way (ie., 
not by 'phone or email). We would like to point out that 
Schnews' suggestion that people shop their bosses and 
managers from a public call box is very naughty and should 
under no circumstances be done! If you have any information 
that could help defendants or if you can help out with the 
Legal Defence and Monitoring Group who are pretty stretched 
and skint at present get in touch (LDMG, BM Haven, London, 
WC1N 3XX). n Onofrio Loverso an Italian is doing nine months 
for violent disorder following J18 and would appreciate 
letters (especially in Italian)and support. Contact him at: 
TC3014, HMYOI, Bedfont Road, Feltham, Middlesex, TW13 4ND.

Wildcat Strikes! - Much respect to Scottish postal workers 
and workers at Ford Dagenhams who both took unofficial 
action during October. In the case of the Scottish posties 
their successful action was in defence of a sacked union 
convenor. Maybe it is a bit too early, then, to consign 
wildcat strikes to the Museum of Labour History!

&#8226; Diary dates: 

November 10th International Day of Action Against Shell 
n 26th International Buy Nothing Day.n On June 2000 the 
Movement Against the Monarchy is planning a mass public 
mooning (no really!) outside Buckingham Palace. Contact: 
MAM PO Box 14672, London, E9 5UQ they need 2,000 bare butts! 

&#8226; Anarchist Trade Union Network Unemployed Subscribers 

Subscriber Mike Smith is keen to set up an unemployed network 
within aTUN If you are interested contact Mike at: 91 
Manchester Road, Ardenshaw, Manchester, M34 5PZ


May Day 2000

A four day festival of anarchist ideas and action is being 
planned for the weekend around next May Day in London 
(although there may well be regional events and actions 
as well). Events include a Bookfair, film festival, 
footie tournament, speakers, work shops and actions. 
This promises to be a major event (further details are 
included in a leaflet distributed with this issue of the 
newsletter). aTUN is proposing as part of MayDay 2000 to 
organise a discussion on anarchism and trade unionism and 
to organise some form of action. If you have any ideas/suggestions 
let us know. This will be an excellent opportunity to develop 
discussion and debate about the future of British trade unionism 
and to take some positive action.



Contributions Wanted!

aTUN subscribers work in a range of occupations: teaching, 
journalism, on the railways, in the motor industry, for the 
NHS, for local authorities, for MI5 (well you never know!) 
Many of you are active in your union as stewards or branch 
secretaries. We would really like to hear from as many of 
you as possible about your experiences of work and your 
union to publish in future issues of the newsletter. Send 
all contributions to the Derby address or email. 

How to win friends and influence people

Work can be an invigorating place of contact with like-minded 
comrades, a place where organisation is made easier by the 
acute nature of class conflict, the obvious exploitation and 
oppression between capital and labour - the bullying of 
workers by managers. It can also be isolating and alienating 
for the lone anarchist, amongst work mates seemingly accepting 
of the authoritarian status quo.

To move from isolation to organisation has to be the main goal 
of trade unionism. For anarchists in the workplace it is 
essential if our desires are to be anything more than a pipe 
dream. So how do we go about it in real life?

It depends on your circumstances, of course, but here is 
one possibility: I think the first thing to say is that 
it is all right to be a bit sneaky. I mean if you are happy 
with the notion of a 'by any means necessary' approach to 
achieving equality and freedom then being economical with 
the truth is OK. So the best thing to do is to become 
accepted as the ordinary work colleague that you are. 
It's not necessary and probably counter-productive to 
confront everyone on day one with your anarchist label 
and all out hostility to authority. That can come later. 
Much better to put principles to one side and take the role 
of workplace rep' for the union which no-one else wants. 
>From there it is easy to become respected as a good rep who 
always takes the side of his/her work mates. Once accepted 
as a trustworthy thorn in management's side, it can and will 
come out that you are an anarchist/ultra leftist. By this 
stage the majority of your colleagues will see this as 
either just a mino!
r eccentricity of your obviously all round good character 
or alternatively as a sign that you will maintain your 
uncompromising attitude towards management and therefore 
as a positive label. The boss will by now already be wary 
of your ability to slow down his/her arbitrary wielding of 
power. Once management find out that they've got an anarcho 
in a tricky to sack union position they'll shit their pants!

So what's the point of all this winning friends and 
influencing people? Well...it's good fun for a start 
and has to be better than having no influence in your 
life. Equally important it's a way of normalising 
anarchist ideas to a large number of people. In other 
words if we're just in the business of making grand 
statements about bringing about a future revolution and 
removing the forces of oppression we need to get anarchist 
ideas accepted by large numbers of the oppressed groups who 
would stand to benefit and therefore actually need to take 
action. If workers don't already trust us on a personal 
level what hope have we got of winning them over through 

*Bill Godwin (thanks to those at the Book fair meeting 
who all seemed to be well into winning friends and 
influencing people)



Listed below are all those British anarchist groups and 
publications which are particularly concerned with workplace 
issues. If you are not on this list and want to be get in 

SolFed: PO Box 29, South West PDO, Manchester, M15 5HW, 
email: da@directa.force9.co.uk, 
tel (hotline): (44) 1603 611072 n 
Industrial Workers of the World: Secular Hall, 
75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester, LE1 1WB, tel 
(hotline): (44) 116 266 1835 n 
Anarchist Federation: 84b Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX, 
email: acf@burn.ucsd.edun 
Class War Federation: PO Box 467, London E8 3QX, tel(hotline): (44) 1582 750601 n
 Black Flag magazine: BM Hurrican, London, WC1N 3XXn
 Organise: PO Box 505, Belfast, BT12 6BQ n

 Workers' Solidarity Movement: PO Box 1528, 
Dublin 8 (email: wsm_ireland@geocities.com) n 
Earth First! Action Update: (nb-new address): PO Box ITA, 
Newcastle, NE99 1TAn 
Schnews: PO Box 2600, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 2DX n 
Counter Information: 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburg, EH7 5HAn 
Anarchist Information Network (quarterly newsletter 
for non aligned anarchists): Box EMAB, 88 Abbey Street, Derby, DE22 3SQ n 
Solidarity: (non anarchist anti partnership mag' price £1.40) !
from 333 Welcombe Avenue, Park North, Swindon, SN3 2PF .........
remember when writing for free newsletters to include a donation 
to cover costs if you can afford to!

 aTUN: Box EMAB (ATU), 88 Abbey Street, Derby, DE22 3SQ 
e-mail: williamgodwin7@hotmail.com

Web Site: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/2522/







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