Here’s some things we did in 2015:
2015 was mostly about getting the branch set up to grow. We began sending a monthly bulletin to existing members and we produced a newsletter in the summer that was viewed over 2,000 times via social media. We began to make it easier for workers who had migrated to Bristol to be involved in the IWW. We translated content on our website into Italian, Spanish, and (coming soon) French.
As well as sorting out admin and making it easier to communicate online, 2015 also saw the IWW return to where the real action is – on the streets! At the start of the year we got the old folding table out, made a leaflet and a kickass banner, and got out and about.
Spring and Summer had a focus on “rep work” – representing members who were facing problems where they worked. We tied up a victory (and a £1,100 cheque!) for a Fellow Worker who had been owed wages and holiday pay that we’d started fighting in 2014. We helped a Fellow Worker (FW) raise a grievance with her bully boss in the Third Sector, defended another FW who works in retail, and gave informal advice to many other FW’s and non-members who were unsure of their rights at work.
The biggest victory for the IWW in 2015 was our first victory as a union in an Employment Tribunal, deftly handled by FW Wolverine who helped a FW get a formal apology and compensation from her employer who had accused her publicly of a whole load of made-up nonsense. A fantastic win, made all the sweeter by the rare sight of FW Wolverine in a suit and tie!
We ended the year on the street again, this time outside Cafe Amore, winning owed wages for one Fellow Worker, and supporting Bristol SolNet in securing a win for one of their members who had worked at the same place. The story of our campaign went viral in Bristol, in part thanks to an attempted ‘hatchet job’ by Bristol 24/7 that backfired when we explained the facts of the matter, backed up by an ever-increasing number of ex-staff reporting the same kind of treatment. Thanks to all of you who added your voices of support on news websites and social media, to ensure that direct action got the goods!
Finally, we looked to broaden our Wobbly horizons outside Bristol. A Fellow Worker put the hours in to create a new Group in Gloucestershire – they’ll be holding their second meeting in the new year, check their Facebook page for more info.
Here’s what we’ve got lined up so far:
Next Branch meeting: Thursday January 7th, 7.30pm at Hydra Books. All Welcome!
Reps & Organiser Training for members in January and February
“Your Rights at Work” Drop-Ins at a central cafe
Bar and Hospitality Workers Campaign: Building on the success at Cafe Amore in 2015, we will carry on organising workers in bars, hotels and restaurants
Third Sector Organising Campaign for workers in the charity, not-for-profit, or social enterprise sector
IWW UK National Conference in Bristol: Summer 2016!