on-the-job action

Workers' resistance and the demise of East Germany - Jeffrey Kopstein

1953 East German strike

Jeffrey Kopstein argues how the everyday resistance of East German workers could wear down a despotic state over four decades until it was eventually overthrown.

I. Intellectuals and Workers

Techy Wage increase attempt at Convergys in Gurgaon

An account of an unsuccessful attempt of call centre workers in Gurgaon, India, to inflate their wages by forging positive feedback.

Already older news item (August 2005) from major call centre service provider Covergys in Gurgaon.

1889: The Glasgow dockers' go-slow

London dockers demonstrate, 1889

A brief history of the strike of Glasgow dockers in 1889 which was proving fruitless, until they returned to work and began a go-slow or "working ca'canny".

The stopwatch and the wooden shoe: Scientific management and the Industrial Workers of the World

Mike Davis on the introduction of Taylorist management techniques to break up workers solidarity, and the response of the revolutionary Industrial Workers of the World union.


Philips Semiconductors weekend shift contract dispute, 2006

An account and interviews with workers involved in a dispute on working hours and weekend working at Philips Semiconductors in Hamburg in 2006.

“On Saturdays the company belongs to Daddy”1 – weekend-shifts and collective contract conflict at Philips Semiconductors (PSH) in Hamburg, Germany

  • 1. Pun in German: In the mid-80s the headline of a poster for the union's campaign for shorter working-time said “On Saturdays Daddy is all mine”, headlining the picture of a young child.

Washing machines factory in Berlin closing down, 2005

As a large washing machine factory in Berlin closes down, Wildcat examine the history of the plant, and the manufacturing of household appliances in Germany as a whole.

“...the only thing they can expect from us...”

Interview with Polish Tesco worker, 2005

Tesco depot

An interview with a Polish agency worker who attempted to organise a reduction of workloads in a Tesco distribution centre in Ireland.

This interview, done by Jasoslaw Urbanski, was published in July 2005 in the Polish monthly Nowy Robotnik and in Wildcat no.74, summer 2005.
“We are picking 800 - No more!”

How did you get to Ireland?

Strike and police brutality at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, 2005

Indian auto workers in Gurgaon strike

Prol-Position on the violent, month-long strike/lockout of HMSI workers in India in 2005, which ended with the employers giving into many of the workers' demands.

The following summary relies entirely on media reports - we couldn’t get hold of any first hand reports from comrades.

Fighting an increase in production quota

Paul Krehbiel tells how he and his co-workers carried out a slowdown in a Buffalo glass factory in 1968; they succeeded in preventing management from raising their production quota. The author has used some literary license for dramatic purposes and has changed some names to protect co-workers' privacy.

I heard rumbling in the distance that sounded like military jeeps on a cobblestone street. The heavy door swung open in front of me and loud crashing and banging noises assaulted my ears. Dragon-like machines spit fire. Black and green pipes and hoses crisscrossed everywhere, hissing like coiled cobras.

Edinburgh Workers stand up to council cuts

Rubbish piles up as a work to rule bites

Manual workers employed by City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) are approaching the sixth month of a dispute over the implementation of its equal pay adjustment.

Among the hardest hit by the settlement would be the refuse and street cleansing workers, some of whom face a wage cut of up to £4000-5000. In response, they have declared an overtime ban and strict adherence to the Council's health & safety manual.