Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/382/4314
Young Workers: Fight for your rights at work
"ARE YOU a young worker fed up with low pay, bullying bosses, long hours and unsafe working conditions?" asks the socialist youth organisation International Socialist Resistance (ISR).
ISR has produced a campaign pack for young workers which is essential for anyone who wants to do anything about low pay and bad working conditions.
This feature explains what's in the pack and gives some examples where successful campaigns have already been launched.
TRADE UNION membership is particularly low amongst young workers. But there is a real chance now to rebuild an active trade union movement.
Julian Wilson, Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union
Disputes like the firefighters - and now the real possibility that over one million public sector workers may take strike action to defend their pensions - has raised the profile of trade unions. This is combined with less job security and falling living standards for some workers.
Fight for Your Rights at Work will make the work of trade union activists easier.
Most factories, farms and warehouses in Britain increasingly use casualised labour to supplement or replace a permanent workforce. The growing service sector employs many young people who are unaware of their rights.
After 25 years of Thatcher and Blair, Britain is rapidly racing back towards Victorian conditions in the workplace. So the pack explains the legal rights of all workers - like a minimum wage, though still at poverty-pay levels, the rights to regular breaks and health and safety issues.
The pack goes beyond this to make the case for joining a union. It deals with the theory behind why union membership is the only way a worker can protect himself or herself under capitalism from ever more rapacious management and investors. It lists the benefits that unionised workplaces have over non-unionised ones - higher average pay, longer holidays, less chance of injury.
In my own experience, a unionised workplace also has less discrimination on grounds of gender, sexuality, disability and against those working part time.
The pack explains what the purpose of strike action is, and how to organise one when the workforce is forced into it. I've found that one or two people can organise support for a strike and a picket line, even in a hitherto less than militant workplace.
Valuation Office South East Whitley Rep, Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) acting office rep, personal capacity.
In The Socialist 26 February 2005: