Tensions between claimants and jobcentre workers over sanctions have been rising for some time. Now, with the Public and Commercial Services union stifling rank-and-file efforts to initiate a non-cooperation campaign, they threaten to boil over into active hostility. How can we avoid this – and resist sanctions?
Universal Credit is set to replace Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance, income support, housing benefit and tax credits. The single payment will be less than the five separate benefits, making it a welfare cut as well as a significant reform. It is going live with a trial at Ashton-under-Lyne jobcentre from 29 April.
Former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died. The occasion has been the cause of both mourning and jubilation. What follows is a reflection on what this means in the context of the ongoing class struggle.
Today, along with up to 55,000 other workers in HM Revenue & Customs, I was taking part in a half day's strike. It was just before one when literally hundreds of us were gathered outside work for a mass walk-in, and a member of the public ran past excitedly. “Maggie Thatcher's dead!” He yelled.
The Public and Commercial Services Union has responded to threats of legal action by removing one section of its membership from the strike action due to take place on the 5 and 8 April. This shows the limits of legal trade unionism. It also underlines the urgent need for strong rank-and-file movements in the UK.
We’ve been here before. At the end of 2011, Balfour Beatty threatened to get an injunction against Unite the Union to stop the industrial action it had called for its members in construction. Unite responded by instantly capitulating.
Victimisation, by bosses and the state, of those who try to organise in the workplace is nothing new. But recently a spate of high profile cases have focused wider attention on the issue.
Last year, William Hill bookmakers announced plans to extend their Sunday opening hours. As they already have over long shifts, forced overtime and the generally shitty end of the stick when it comes to working conditions1
- 1. Not the least of which seems to be a callous attitude to the mental health of those whose shops get robbed.
Stories about the government threatening a “crack down” on trade union power emerge almost on a loop. Particularly in times of heightened class antagonism. But far from showing the unions as threats to society, such threats are a demand that the unions tighten up their role in policing class conflict.
The latest such story comes from the Independent, the main headline of which is a policy to “make strikes illegal unless at least 50 per cent of union members voted in a ballot.” This ties in with government rhetoric about ballot turnout whenever they attempt to
A number of pieces have been written recently on “unity” amongst the left and the ways we can achieve that. What follows are the reasons I reject left unity as a notion and the kind of real unity that the workers' movement needs – and, to a large extent, already has.
With attacks on claimants and the unemployed escalating, campaigners and trade unions have made numerous calls for “unity” between workers and the unemployed. But too often, this “unity” is a purely theoretical one. How can we go beyond words to build a practical basis for solidarity across our entire class?
One of the most high profile examples of this unity of words is the joint statement signed by the PCS Union, Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle.
On Saturday 2 February, the Civil Service Rank & File (CSRF) Network held its inaugural national conference in Coventry. This is a brief report of the event and analysis of where the group is and should be heading.
The fact that the CSRF was having a conference at all was in itself an exciting development.
An attempt to sketch out my attitude as an anarchist towards the prison system. Why do we oppose them? Why does our solidarity go to the jailed over their jailers? How do we view the role of trade unions such as the Prison Officers Association?
Outsourcing and privatisation is a big part of the government's austerity agenda. Under this banner the drive, going back to the opening of HMP Wolds in 1992, to privatise the prison system in the UK has accelerated.
A look at my recent experiences organising at work, and in particular how they've been undermined by certain branch officials. How can militant workers respond when rank-and-file action is sabotaged by factionalism and personalities?
When talking about the next steps in the development of the Civil Service Rank & File Network, I mentioned particular issues organising locally. In the main, they are due to the utterly horrendous internal politics of PCS Bootle Taxes Branch.