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Labour and Climate Activists Protest Against Anti-union Laws

By staff - Free Our Unions, October 12, 2022

Around 80 activists from a range of campaign groups and unions protested outside the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 10 October, as part of an action called by Free Our Unions and Earth Strike UK’s Empower the Unions initiative. As far as we know, this is the first piece of direct action called specifically to protest the Truss government’s plans for new anti-union laws since Truss revealed the policy.

BEIS was chosen because it will likely be central to developing the legislation for new restrictions on strikes, and because it is a key department in terms of climate policy. Free Our Unions has sought active coordination with activists from the climate movement, and Earth Strike UK’s Empower the Unions initiative seeks to highlight the specific ways in which anti-union laws constrain workers’ ability to take action in defence of the climate.

Speakers at the protest included Mark Boothroyd (A&E nurse and Unite activist); Sab (Earth Strike UK activist and Industrial Workers of the World organier); Ruth Cashman (Lambeth Unison); Jared Wood (RMT London Transport Regional Organiser); Ria Patel (Green Party Equality and Diversity spokesperson); EC (PCS rep); Andy Warren (firefighter and local rep for the FBU); Hamish (Exctinction Rebellion Trade Unionists); and Benedict Flexen (Earth Strike UK: Empower the Unions).

Speeches were punctuated by chanting, accompanied by drumming from the Extinction Rebellion samba band.

Following the protest, an assembly took place in a venue nearby, discussing various aspects of the politics of anti-union laws, and proposals for campaigning on the issue forward in our workplaces and unions.

London IWW Statement of Solidarity with UK Rail Workers

By branch - London IWW, August 1, 2022

The London Branch of the IWW stands with the rail workers in their ongoing dispute. They are fighting not just for themselves, but for us all: as well as their livelihoods, the safety standards of the British rail network are under threat. The government-backed rail operators are attempting to reduce staffing levels on platforms, trains, and tracks in order to drive down wages, which they see simply as an overhead cost. Further, they intend to rehire many workers on zero-hours agency contracts in order to circumnavigate labour rights such as paid leave for holiday, sickness, and parenthood as well as allowing them to dismiss workers without notice or redundancy pay.

The transport industry is one of the few remaining industries in Britain with high union membership. This attempt to break it up by dividing the workforce is a direct attempt to weaken the unions, and the labour movement as a whole.

On top of it all, comes a slap in the face: during this period of exaggerated cost of living, and while the shareholders take home millions in profit, they are offering the workers that they aren’t trying to sack a real-terms pay cut.

However, the workers are standing strong: in the face of an endless torrent of vitriol from the British government and press, they are taking every opportunity to expose the inequalities and injustice that they face. Members of our branch have been proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with these workers on the picket lines, and we will continue to offer our support until the dispute is won. As long as we continue to stand together, we can tip the balance in the favour of workers around the world.

Mutual aid is the currency of solidarity; direct support for the striking worker is crucial to their success. As such, the IWW London branch are setting a budget to allow members to donate food and drinks to workers on the picket lines, and we encourage any members or supporters with the means to make a donation to the strike funds.

The momentum of the union movement is growing once again in Britain after half a century of targeted assault. Public support is on the rise, and workers in unions across the country are balloting to take action and stand up for their rights and their dignity. The doubling-down on anti-union rhetoric by the government and press is evidence that they are aware of the power that a unionised workforce wields, and that they are threatened by it.

The IWW welcomes any and all workers both in and out of employment and of any nation, race, gender, or creed. Together we stand for a fairer world.

Solidarity forever.

Defend The Land: End Toxic Gold Mining

By staff - Ireland IWW, July 22, 2022

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has condemned the recent issuing of gold and diamond licences to international prospecting companies by the North of Ireland, Department for Economy. It is estimated that a number of exploration licences have been granted to several companies seeking to prospect in counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.

News came as the Industrial Workers of the World Ireland Branch held its Annual General Conference. Representatives of the IWW Ireland Branch, which brought forward a motion of solidarity to its members, reiterated it's 'opposition to any toxic gold mining in the Sperrins' mountain range stating; 'This motion extends its continued solidarity with the communities in resistance in the Sperrin Mountains in Co. Tyrone, and the continued opposition to Toxic Gold Mining in the region by Canadian multinational Dalradian Gold. In turn the union will continue to campaign and highlight the impact of toxic gold mining.'

An IWW spokesperson said that "The motion was overshadowed by media reports of a number companies (Flintridge Resources, Karelian Diamond Resources and Mount Castle) recently granted prospecting licences. This will undoubtedly see increased prospecting in other counties Fermanagh and Tyrone, an act that the vast majority of local communities would overwhelmingly object to.

"The membership of our union past a motion of our continued support with local communities fighting toxic gold mining in the Sperrins and our opposition to the environmental destruction of our land and that of our communities."

Commenting on the issuing of further prospecting licences by the Department of the Economy, a spokesperson responded stating "We have no doubt the those in power believe that it's open season for welcoming big businesses when it comes to mining in the North West. It's clear that for some, the priorities of profit comes first over the lives of workers and working class communities as well as the destruction of our environment.

"For those who still support or gain financially from those multinational companies profiting from toxic gold mining, yet still turn a blind eye to the impact it will have on all our lives, what more can be said. With the information now gathered and widely available on the devastation toxic mining will cause, our union calls for all mining licences to be immediately withdrawn. Nothing more than the immediate end to toxic mining will be acceptable to our union and that of the local communities who continue to resist and defend the land or environment."

Workplace Heat: Guidance for Language School Workers

By Ryan - TEFL Workers Union, July 14, 2022

Heatwaves are becoming increasingly common in the UK. Language schools are rarely purpose-built and, sadly, few employers are willing to spend the money to do anything beyond basic repairs. We’ve all experienced leaky roofs, drafty and/or stuffy staff rooms, and windows painted shut. With temperatures set to regularly hit the mid-30s, it’s important workers know their rights when it comes to workplace temperatures.

What’s the law?

UK law does not set an upper limit for the temperature in the workplace. Instead, health and safety legislation requires that workplace temperatures be “reasonable”. The World Health Organisation recommends a limit of 24C for indoor workplaces.

Workplace temperature is covered under an employer’s general duty of care towards their staff. Employers are required to ensure workplaces are safe for all those within them.

What should my employer do?

All employers are required to undertake a risk assessment once a risk – such as high heat – has been identified.

Risk assessments must be undertaken by a competent person and employees should be consulted in any assessment. The results of the assessment should be available to staff.

With any workplace risk, employers should implement the “hierarchy of controls” to manage the risk.

Climate Justice and Class Struggle: Online Screening Event

By staff - IWW Ireland, May 18, 2022

Climate Justice and Class Struggle: Scheduled Screening to take place HERE on

Tuesday May 24, 2022 @ 1800 hours GMT

Global May Day is a project for grassroots labour unions and initiatives supporting labour struggles to make our work more visible and support each other across borders.

This year we chose to draw attention to the ecological crisis we all face and tilted a series of events around Climate Justice and Class Struggle.

A crisis brought about by the endless search for profit margins by capitalist interests. A crisis which will see wars raging worldwide, making the poorest of us suffer the earliest and most.

The global ecological crisis is an issue for the working class worldwide and already there are many of us engaged in fighting against its impacts in our local areas.

This coming Tuesday May 24, 2022 we will host and online screening of a number on important environmental struggles currently taking place around the world. It is vital that each of these campaigns be highlighted and supported.

To take part in this online screening event as part of the Global May Day events, please tune in online HERE on Tuesday May 24, 2022 at the following time @ 1800hours GMT

To find out more about Global May Day 2022 reports, you can click on the following link HERE

#1World1Struggle

#globalmayday2022

We reproduce below a speech that was given by a FW at an anti-war demo in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, Russian anti-war protestors, and victims of imperialism globally

By ClydesideIWW - IWW Scotland, March 15, 2022

We organised this event so we could come together and categorically denounce the invasion of Ukraine by Russian imperialism and show our solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Today, we woke up to some promising news about a limited ceasefire, but this is not enough what is needed is a total ceasefire and for Russia to withdraw its troops immediately.

As someone who grew up in Lebanon, I know what it’s like to live in a country smack in the middle of two competing imperial powers. I’m familiar with the sounds of warplanes raining bombs. With hiding in hallways away from Windows just in case a bullet or rocket finds its way through them. I know what it’s like watching entire neighbourhoods bombed to ashes, with families trying to pull the mangled bodies of their relatives in the aftermath. These are experiences no one should have to go through and speak to the universal horrors of war.

Unfortunately, some reporters and politicians have resorted to racist comments to drum up more support for the Ukrainian people. They tell us we should care about Ukrainians because they are civilized, European, closer to home, or more like us. As if some lives are more valuable than others, or that war is natural and ok in certain parts of the world. But we care about the Ukrainian people not because we see them as closer to us, but because we oppose war no matter where it happens and no matter who is leading it.

We care about the Ukrainian people the same way we care about those in Russia bravely protesting against this war as they get beat and imprisoned. It’s the Russian worker who will feel the sting of our sanctions more than any oligarch or politician will. Because it’s always workers who suffer the most in war. They are the ones who cannot escape, who are sent to kill and die for their rulers. It’s them who are disposed of like pawns while being sold nationalist lies to enrich a few.

We should take our cue from those brave anti-war protestors in Russia and understand that the best way to fight against war is by fighting against it here at home. In the last week, we’ve heard our politicians talk a lot about sovereignty, democracy, and international law. But when have they really cared about that?

COP26: We Only Want the Earth

By IWW Ireland - IWW UK, November 7, 2021

World leaders gathering in Glasgow for COP26 are more concerned with the theatrics of playing to the media than the climate catastrophe.

The vocal pledges and emotive speeches hold little weight against the refusal to hold large corporations to account. Despite a planet which is slowly eating itself alive, world leaders repeatedly hold back when it comes to holding their profit driven capitalist projects to account. Instead, they are opting for wishful thinking as exemplified by the Trevi fountain stunt.

As members of the Industrial Workers of the World gather to protest in support of our earth, we do so knowingly that what is actually called for is the immediate end of capitalism and that of the power structures which keep it intact. Nothing short of the complete destruction of global capitalism, here and now, will prevent us from free-falling into an irreversible environmental catastrophe for the world and all its inhabitants.

Due to the unjust structures in our world, it is those at the lower ends of capitalist hierarchies that are most affected by climate distress. Those in lower-profit countries, people of colour, women, the trans community, those who are disabled and the working class have an increased chance of experiencing the negative impact of climate change.

Simultaneously, it is those least affected who cause the most damage to our planet. During the first lockdown, when everyone stopped, carbon emissions only decreased by 3%. 71% of global emissions are produced by 100 companies including Amazon and the US Military.

For ourselves, as revolutionary syndicalists, it is our belief that the working class ultimately has the power and strength to end this nightmare for all. From the outset as a revolutionary union, our principles and vision refuses to compromise.

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

“Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organise as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”

COP26 is a piece of theatre. As members mobilise on the streets of Glasgow, in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, and across the world, we do so without hesitation at the importance of the challenges that lay ahead of our earth. There must be no ceasefire in the class war as our mission remains as important as it was back in 1905. Only organising industrially, within the workplace, within our communities, our streets and home can begin to form the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.

You can play your part by joining the IWW today where you work or live and encourage others to do likewise.

From the words of James Connolly, founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World, we echo today, “Our demands are most moderate, We only want the earth!

Solidarity with NHS workers from Earth Strike UK

By Staff - Earth Strike UK, July 30, 2021

Earth Strike is a grassroots movement for workers, youth, and community organisers to challenge the root causes of the climate crisis. Our mission is to disrupt the capitalist system that is causing the climate crisis and to fight for a better future for the global working class.

We extend our solidarity to, and practical support in, your struggle for pay rises of at least 15%. We will support you on any potential picket lines. Workers fighting for decent pay and to protect the standards of our healthcare system should be able to take direct action in pursuit of these demands at a time and in a manner of their own choosing. We therefore oppose all legal restrictions on the right to strike.

We are environmentalists supporting and seeking to mobilise for your struggle, and we want to see other environmentalists do the same. Our struggles are much closer than many might imagine. Healthcare jobs are climate jobs, and the refusal to fund and support healthcare properly is a damning indictment of this system’s response to climate breakdown. As air pollution chokes children in the streets of London, disproportionately in working-class and black and brown communities, the hospitals which should mitigate the damage are underfunded, with workers in them underpaid and overworked. As the effects of climate breakdown worsen, it will be healthcare systems having to deal with the impact. Meanwhile, we do not forget the vast wealth inequalities that exist between this country and others, particularly where climate destruction is already felt hardest.

As climate activists, we particularly oppose the ban on strikes over so-called “political” issues, and the ban on strikes in solidarity with other workers. Those laws prevent workers from striking directly to demand radical action on climate change, to oppose NHS privatisation and cuts, and to directly support your demands – as miners, postal workers, dockers, print workers, and others did in the 1980s. Our new “Empower the Unions” initiative aims to highlight the injustice of these restrictive laws, and mobilise both climate and trade union activists against them.

So we say: all power to the NHS workers! Your fight for 15% is a key part of the wider struggle for a genuinely socialised healthcare system, free at the point of use and run by workers and service users, which in turn is part of the struggle for a different kind of society – one in which human and environmental need, rather than the needs of profit, comes first.

An injury to one is an injury to all – solidarity!

Bristol Earth Strike: Action for Earth Day

By Earth Strike UK - Bristol Earth Strike, April 21, 2021

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day was started on 22nd April 1970 and has continued annually since then. Each year, on 22nd April, a wide range of events take place globally with the aims of enacting transformative changes to tackle environmental crises and build a sustainable future.

Why is this important?

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned us that we must cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, and reach carbon neutrality by 2050, or we risk the planet heating beyond 1.5 degrees. If we fail to curb our carbon emissions and the average global temperature continues to increase, we risk triggering a climate breakdown that we will have no hope of stopping, causing global devastation.

Despite this stark warning by the scientific community, many governments and employers continue to act as if there were no crisis at all.

To bring about the change needed will require holding all sectors of the global economy accountable for their role in the environmental crisis and calling for bold, creative, and impactful solutions. This will require action at all levels, and we as workers have a part to play in ensuring a global just transition, the sustainability of our workplaces, and the compliance of our industries with scientific climate targets.

Regardless of how important you feel the Climate and Ecological emergency is, changes to the economy to address these issues are already happening. We feel it is important that Workers are fully involved in how these changes happen so that they can secure the rights and livelihoods of themselves and future generations.

IWW WISERA Statement of Support for 20th September Earth Strike

By Administration - IWW WISERA, August 2019

Note: this resolution was passed specifically by the IWW WISERA (UK).

The IWW supports the call for Earth Strike on September 20th 2019 and the international dimensions of the action. The IWW will mobilise its members to take action on the day and will support its members in taking strike action.

The IWW sees Earth Strike as an important contribution to the engagement of unions in the climate crisis and in particular it highlights the need for workers action to confront and destroy capitalism to avoid extinction.

To further these aims the IWW has voted to establish an Environmental Committee to develop the union's policy and educate, agitate and organise for a mass worker-led ecological movement.

A long standing aim of the IWW has been to abolish wage slavery and create a new world where we can live in harmony with the earth. With the climate crisis revolution is now more necessary than ever before. System Change not Climate Change!

In Solidarity
Russ Spring, IWW Secretary (WISE-RA)

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