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Workplace advice, help, solidarity drop in sessions

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JDMF
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Jan 19 2007 10:28
Workplace advice, help, solidarity drop in sessions

I just wanted to know peoples opinions about an initiative which is being planned by Manchester Solidarity Federation.

We are planning to start regular workplace advice, help and solidarity drop in sessions at The Basement every third tuesday of the month, 7.30 - 8.30pm.

As always, it is very difficult to know if there will be need for such service, but we wont know before trying it. Some social centres like Cowley Club in brighton have been running this kind of service succesfully, and there are many other places who have done the same.

The idea is to rely on the collective knowledge and experience and share that with people. The aim is to try to find collective solutions to problems people have and of course give advice from the anarcho syndicalist angle. Some legal adviuce can be given, but mostly this kind of questions would be directed elsewhere.

You reckon there would be demand for this kind of session? Would you benefit from it? Any other thoughts?

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the button
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Jan 19 2007 10:40

The Red & Black Club used to run these in South London, in the days when there was a social centre in Deptford. This is slightly before my time in London, so hopefully Jason C or Martin will be along shortly.

IIRC, the problem they faced was that workers would come along seeking individual solutions to what they saw as their individual problem. Often after they'd been through official union channels, and using the drop-in as a last resort.

This said, I still think it's (very) worthwhile, because you never know who's going to walk in the door. Perhaps one way of trying to make it better is to publicise these things in conjunction with the good old Stuff Your Boss leaflet -- i.e. if you're interested in doing something around what's in this leaflet, or if you've got a problem with any of the stuff in there, why not come along to.....?

It's also worthwhile for whoever's involved in delivering these sessions, since the way you learn about this stuff is by doing it.

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JDMF
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Jan 19 2007 10:51

thanks for the commments mate.

yeah we decided to run them for four sessions - and we also decided to have some alternative things to discuss amongst ourselves if there are no-one coming (have to be realistic!). We also think that the large(ish) activist and radical scene who frequents basement also mostly work and face the usual problems and might be interested in grassroots anarchist/syndicalist alternatives to solving these issues, rather than legalistic routes, but lets see. Too often radicals are very concerned about sweatshops far away, even if they are exploited royally in your local ASDA.

ftony
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Jan 19 2007 11:23

i think Brighton IWW had quite a successful drop-in thing like this too, a few years back. definitely worth doing if you've got the time and know-how. best of luck with it y'all.

jack white
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Jan 19 2007 11:26

HI JDMF, could you post something here on how it goes? The IWU in Dublin are starting to do this too. I think they'll combine it with some admin work - again just in case no-one turns up.
How are ye advertising it?

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JDMF
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Jan 19 2007 11:49

Thanks comrade ftony!

jack white wrote:
HI JDMF, could you post something here on how it goes? The IWU in Dublin are starting to do this too. I think they'll combine it with some admin work - again just in case no-one turns up.
How are ye advertising it?

yeah, me or some other manc solfed could post about how it goes, might be couple of months though before we will know.

We are going to advertise it through our contacts, email lists and leaflets. The leaflets are probably the most important. Stuff Your Boss campaign does stalls in the Manc city centre once in a while and distributes info. Quite often people come and ask advice at the stall, and thats a good opportunity to advertise the drop in as well (the basement where the sessions are going to be held is a central manchester location).

syndicalist
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Jan 19 2007 13:31

If I may, often times this is how workers centers developed here in the US. If it becomes widely known, consistant and provide useful information (and back-up when need be) can't see why it wouldn't get a good going. Anyway, didn't Manchester do this in the past?

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JDMF
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Jan 19 2007 14:40
syndicalist wrote:
Anyway, didn't Manchester do this in the past?

i dont know about drop in sessions, but Manchester SolFed folk have been doing advice, help and things like accompanying workers in grievance procedures and stuff like that for a while already. This is more about bringing new folk in and seeing if this kind of approach will work.

The thing that has changed is The basement, its a high profile established social centre right in the center of manchester - makes things like this much easier to organise!

syndicalist
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Jan 19 2007 22:21

cool,good luck!