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9781839767104

Troublemaking Why You Should Organize Your Workplace

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9781839767104

  • ISBN10:

    1839767103

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-04-25
  • Publisher: Verso

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Summary

There are no unorganisable workers, only workers yet to be organised.

There has been an explosion of organising among workers many assumed to be unorganisable, from delivery drivers in London to tech workers in Silicon Valley.
 
The culmination of years of conversations on picket lines, in community centres, and in union offices, with workers in Britain, the US, India, Argentina, South Africa, Brazil, and across Europe, Troublemaking brings together lessons from around the world. Precarious workers waste collectors in Mumbai show that no worker is “unorganisable,” cleaner organising at LSE and St Mary’s hospital in London and Sans-papier workers in France indicate that demanding more at work can lead to big wins. Struggles like The Water Wars in Cochabamba, Bolivia show how we can use our power beyond the workplace.
 
From these movements, Lydia Hughes and Jamie Woodcock draw a number of lessons about why organising at work is the first step in building another world. They put forward three principles for organising. First, the need for action.
 
Struggles can change the world, but they also change people who go through them. Rather than using action as a last resort, we need action to build a movement. Second, the need to build the rank-and-file of unions. Power comes from organising at work, not in trusting others to do it on our behalf. Third, democracy matters in organising. This is not only about winning, but also developing the confidence to build another kind of world. This is not a “how to” guide, but a set of principles for the politics of organising.

Author Biography

Lydia Hughes was involved in the cleaners’ struggle at the London School of Economics (LSE). From there she began working for the sister union of the LSE cleaners, the IWGB. The union has since grown to over 6,000 members, recruiting migrant and precarious workers from other sectors. Lydia was the Head of Organising until 2021. Lydia has been involved in organising with foster care workers, food delivery couriers, Uber drivers, cycling instructors, cleaners, security guards, and game workers. She remains active as a member recruiting people in the shop where she works. She is an editor of Notes From Below.

 
Jamie Woodcock organised against casualised contracts as a UCU (University and College Union) member. He has been on strike with UCU many times since. Jamie became involved with the IWGB during the first strike of Deliveroo riders in London. He then became the secretary of the Universities of London branch. Following that, he was elected as the Branch Support Officer of the union, running the General Members branch and helping with new worker organising projects. He is the author of Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres. He is an editor of Notes From Below and Historical Materialism.

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