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Workplace Organising - info, and little tips for starting up

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Steven.
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Jun 23 2005 11:17
Workplace Organising - info, and little tips for starting up

Hey all,

Just done some massive updates to the libcom Workplace Organising section, please check it out:

www.libcom.org/organise/workplace

In addition to this, we want to collate little accounts of small (or big) things people have done in their workplace (ideally collectively, but individually too). Y'know to help other people get ideas for stuff to organise around.

Little things that I've been involved in at work (always with almost no overt level of struggle). They have all used the Dual Power "tactic"

* As smokers are allowed 5-min breaks whenever, getting non-smokers the same right, just by the smokers saying so to the non-smokers and presenting it as a done deal to the boss (he didn't even question it, cos it would have caused big problems with office morale/mood!)

* For PC users got wrist rests, and decent chairs/back supports (anyone can get these generally, you just have to ask)

* You can start listening to music at work, either on headphones or out loud depending on your work setting. If you just start the boss can find it hard stopping you

* Organise weekly staff social get-togethers, during work time

Er that's all I can think of for now, I'm sure there were a few more things. Let's hear everyone else's ideas!

kalabine
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Jun 23 2005 11:47

that section looks excellent, nice pictures as well, who did them?

one question - have any of you lot got a copy of the UPS management guide mentioned? it would be good to scan it on to the net if possible

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Steven.
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Jun 23 2005 11:50
kalabine wrote:
that section looks excellent, nice pictures as well, who did them?

one question - have any of you lot got a copy of the UPS management guide mentioned? it would be good to scan it on to the net if possible

www.juliangibson.com

Nah I not got a copy, some IWW might cos they wrote about it

the button's picture
the button
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Jun 23 2005 12:06

http://www.libcom.org/organise/workplace/

Phwoar!

embarrassed

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the button
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Jun 23 2005 12:16

..... now I've got that out of my system.....

It's fucking hot at the moment, as you may have noticed, which can lead to all kinds of health & safety inspired fun & games.

H&S is one of the few ways you can legally walk off a job without getting in the shit. And who wouldn't want a bit of time off when it's nice & sunny/too fucking hot to do anything other than lounge about.

My bit of practical advice would be, use your imagination & try & make your workplace grievances look like health & safety issues. I've already mentioned my glorious & heroic "ice-lollies for the workers" victory on these boards, so I won't mention it again. wink

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jun 23 2005 12:52

apparently that thing about being allowed out of work if your office/factory excedes 30 c is bollocks, you can onlly legally leave if it drops to a certain temperature, there is no temperature which is too high to work in, is this true cus it must be about 30.1c in here at the mo

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the button
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Jun 23 2005 12:58
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
apparently that thing about being allowed out of work if your office/factory excedes 30 c is bollocks, you can onlly legally leave if it drops to a certain temperature, there is no temperature which is too high to work in, is this true cus it must be about 30.1c in here at the mo

While it's true that the maximum temperature isn't legislated in the same way as the minimum temperature in British law, there is still EU legislation on (for instance) the maximum temperature at which it's safe to work with IT equipment (which is what a lot of us must be doing if we're posting from work wink ).

Also, if it's too hot, it's too hot. It's an unsafe working environment. It helps if you have pregnant colleagues at this point. Not that I'm suggesting you nip off to the stationary cupboard with one of your co-workers just to get some time off work in a couple of months. tongue

Edited to add: -

http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/temperature.htm

Quote:
The HSE guidance publication, Thermal Comfort in the Workplace, seeks to define thermal comfort, and states:

'An acceptable zone of thermal comfort for most people in the UK lies roughly between 13°C (56°F) and 30°C (86°F), with acceptable temperatures for more strenuous work activities concentrated towards the bottom end of the range, and more sedentary activities towards the higher end.'

BB
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Jun 23 2005 13:00

Nice one John!!!

I've not had a chance to go thru it all yet, have you mentioned the DTI's freebies? As you can get plenty of info/pamphlets from them if you approach them as a boss. They even send you a list of invoiced items on backorder, if somethings out of stock:) Basically they tell you what your employees can get away with under the law in, where as funnily enough, in the employee leaflets they don't!

Worker = A4 folded leaflet. (might be 2 pages if you're lucky, depends on the subject)

Boss = A5 pamphlet.

Edit. www. dti.gov.uk/er/regs.htm notice the broken link

BB
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Jun 23 2005 13:20

I've got a work colleague who's pregnant, an it's feckin hot in this office, no aircon, we've got fans though. I could find the reference to temperatures on the hse website, but not for pregnancy or what should be provided, any help anyone?

Edit. i've found it, www. hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg373.pdf

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the button
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Jun 23 2005 13:27

I don't think there's any specific mention of pregnancy in the temperature guidelines, but it's handy if there's a pregnant woman on hand, since even the most hardfaced employer would be less likely to say "Tough shit" to her if she's too hot. Not in front of everybody, anyway.

Then if you really want to take the piss, you can invoke the spirit of The Life of Brian, and say that, if she's allowed to take a break, so should you be, 'cause it's not your fault you haven't got a womb. tongue

On the subject of pregnancy & workplace rights, if a woman finds herself unable to carry out her normal duties due to pregnancy, the employer is legally obliged to find her alternative duties, with no loss of pay or worsening of conditions.

BB
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Jun 23 2005 13:38

Here's one for you, on the subject of pregnant workers being sacked. A member of brighton gmb IWW, helped a local worker win her case of illegal dismission to the tune of £7500, we got a £500 donation out of it. wink

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the button
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Jun 23 2005 13:40
Brighton Bomber wrote:
Here's one for you, on the subject of pregnant workers being sacked. A member of brighton gmb IWW, helped a local worker win her case of illegal dismission to the tune of £7500, we got a £500 donation out of it. ;)

Nice one.

Dumfries
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Jun 23 2005 13:50

Great information. I hate the picture though.

Mike Harman
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Jun 23 2005 14:58

http://www.libcom.org/organise/workplace/articles/organising-at-work-the-basics.php

has the amazing word industrikes in it, which I love, but I'm sure it was supposed to be industries.

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Jun 23 2005 15:01
Joe Roe wrote:
Great information. I hate the picture though.

It said you were a wanker'n'all

wink

Bomber - you guys write anything about that? About how you helped her?

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the button
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Jun 23 2005 15:16

I know I've posted this before, but I reckon this

http://www.iww.org/PDF/IWW_organizing_manual.PDF

is one of the best "how-to-do-it" guides going.

It has a very 'human' feel to it. We're not all superheroes (apart from bomber wink ), and when it comes down it, you're doing no-one any good by getting fired. Good practical stuff.

Mitch
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Jun 23 2005 15:26
the button wrote:
I know I've posted this before, but I reckon this

http://www.iww.org/PDF/IWW_organizing_manual.PDF

is one of the best "how-to-do-it" guides going.

It has a very 'human' feel to it. We're not all superheroes (apart from bomber wink ), and when it comes down it, you're doing no-one any good by getting fired. Good practical stuff.

I agree, also the info the IWW send you when you join is really accessible, with simple ideas on how to set up your own branch - doesn't bombard you with jargon, or give you some complicated bureaucratic blueprint, it gives you local flexibility and I think this is important with the changing nature of work now.

This sort of approach will connect and make sense to atypical/casual workers, and younger workers not familiar with or having any experience of militant unionism in the past. It's friendly approach to starting small, you only need 6 to start a branch, makes sense to me as a homeworker. The IWW have a web forum as well, which I've yet to hook into.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jun 23 2005 15:34
Quote:
you're doing no-one any good by getting fired

true but sometimes its the only caourse of action and if your temping getting fired/leaving without notice can feel quite liberating......until you realise your skint

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the button
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Jun 23 2005 15:39
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
Quote:
you're doing no-one any good by getting fired

true but sometimes its the only caourse of action and if your temping getting fired/leaving without notice can feel quite liberating......until you realise your skint

Fair point. I think it's a case of, "there speaks the man with a mortgage." wink

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Jun 23 2005 16:04
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
true but sometimes its the only caourse of action and if your temping getting fired/leaving without notice can feel quite liberating......until you realise your skint

yeah i agree with this, i temp all the time and some of my best highs have arose that way, an unexpected afternoon in the pub, fuckin glorious

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Jun 23 2005 22:02

Hi

Absolutely. I gave up work a little while ago, and I'm just looking for temp jobs now, and I am much happier. I expect I'll have to sign on in a while though, there doesn't seem to be too many jobs for people who don't really need 'em.

Peace and Love etc

Chris

BB
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Jun 24 2005 13:15
John. wrote:
Joe Roe wrote:
Great information. I hate the picture though.

It said you were a wanker'n'all

wink

Bomber - you guys write anything about that? About how you helped her?

Not yet... if ever, it wasn't me who did the case, i'll ask though. I think it was all straight forward, if my memories serves me right the boss in question didn't turn up to the hearing, an i'm not joking when i say most small business bosses are ego fucka's, the courts don't look on it to lightly, they don't turn up, you win. Although I might have got it mixed up with another, anyroad more wins than losses, in fact i don't think the fw in question ever lost a case.

Officially headed union notepaper does the trick, now an again! wink

Although we haven't always got donations out of folk's, folks just seem to see the advice drop in's as a service, free service, yeh, we're a fuckin charity. Anyroad i wrote a leaflet about who we are, an it's supposed to get handed out to all the folks who come in looking for advice. Another story.

BB
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Jun 24 2005 13:26
the button wrote:
We're not all superheroes (apart from bomber wink )

That'll be the spandex, i thought that mask covered my identity, well at least my modesty, maybe?

'shudders at the thought'

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oisleep
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Jun 24 2005 13:47
Lazy Riser wrote:
there doesn't seem to be too many jobs for people who don't really need 'em.

what's your secret then chief - bank job, inheritance, lotto win ????????

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Jun 25 2005 09:50

Hi oisleep

oisleep wrote:
what's your secret then chief - bank job, inheritance, lotto win ????????

I can’t claim to be an expert, but I had a little luck on the stock market, plus I’m mean with money. With no liabilities and two years’ living expenses in the bank, my heart went out of working for The Man. I’m operating freelance now, and it feels better than what had become a pretty boring job for me.

This raises some interesting questions of socio-economic class. The self-employed, when they’re not slaves to their overdrafts, have a different relationship to market for labour than the conventional Marxian proletariat. I’m sort of into Proudhon, Castoriadis, Brinton etc.

http://anarchism.perthimc.asn.au/secG2.html

Lots of love

Chris

lucy82
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Jun 27 2005 00:14

riiight, so you've made your capital from the stock market. and now you live cheaply and you've done well enough out of your money interests to live for two years out of what you have in the bank with no liabilities nice. i've never had more than enough money in the bank to live for more than one fucking month, sometimes one week, shit. i should have played the stock market.

but hey, now not working for "The Man" and being freelance and less bored has interested you in questions of socio-economic class. lovely.

Quote:

The self-employed, when they’re not slaves to their overdrafts, have a different relationship to market for labour than the conventional Marxian proletariat.

yeah, well we're all slaves to our overdrafts and the loansharks and our liaiblities if we haven't got the capital to play the fucking game in the first place. and who exactly do you define as the conventional Marxian proles?

Quote:

I’m sort of into Proudhon, Castoriadis, Brinton etc.

well i'm glad you've got time to read

Quote:

I expect I'll have to sign on in a while though, there doesn't seem to be too many jobs for people who don't really need 'em.

well life can be hard when two years of profit from the stockmarket is only just keeping you solvent. i'd explore new political philosphies if i were you. i feel your pain.

i'm reserving judgement on whether you are just another libcom windup, i think you are personally but if you're not, you're almost funny.

lots of love, solidarity and hugs

Lucy xx

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Jun 27 2005 01:12

Hi lucy82

I'm not a wind up, honest. You'll have to take my word for it that I'm from a working class background too, sorry if I pissed you off.

Cheers

Chris