Sabotage in the workplace

Sabotage in the workplace

Sabotage is the generic term for a whole host of tricks, deviltry, and assorted nastiness that can remind the boss how much he needs his workers (and how little the workers need them). Here are some examples

The term "sabotage" derives from French factory workers throwing their wooden shoes ("sabots") into machinery to jam them and stop production. Sabotage refers to all activities which workers can undertake to reduce production or rate of work.

These can be minor activities such as making personal phone calls on work time to major destruction of property or information.

While most severe monkey-wrenching tactics are non-violent, most of them are major social no-nos. They should be used only in the most heated of battles, where it is open wholesale class warfare between the workers and the bosses. Listed below are some examples of more major sabotage.

Disrupting magnetically-stored information (such as cassette tapes, floppy discs and poorly-shielded hard drives) can be done by exposing them to a strong magnetic field. Of course, it would be just as simple to "misplace" the discs and tapes that contain such vital information. Restaurant workers can buy a bunch of live crickets or mice at the local pet shop, and liberate them in a convenient place. For bigger laughs, give the Board of Health an anonymous tip.

One thing that always haunts a strike call is the question of scabs and strike breakers. In a railway strike in 1886, the scab problem was solved by strikers who took "souvenirs" from work home with them. Oddly enough, the trains wouldn't run without these small, crucial pieces, and the scabs found themselves with nothing to do.

Of course, nowadays, it may be safer for workers to simply hide these pieces in a secure place at the jobsite, rather than trying to smuggle them out of the plant. In a more modern setting, some IT engineers can make sure software they write only works with their consent.

Use the boss's letterhead to order a ton of unwanted office supplies and have it delivered to the office. If your company has a toll-free number, have all your friends jam the phone lines with angry calls about the current situation, or a Freepost address can be bombarded with heavy mail. Be creative with your use of superglue. The possibilities are endless.

There are many examples of workplace sabotage outlined in our library: http://libcom.org/tags/sabotage
Edited by libcom from an article by the Industrial Workers of the World