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Issue #1872      June 12, 2019

A year of strike victories

BRITAIN: Almost 200 delegates from the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) have gathered in Southport last week for their 101st conference to reflect on a year of successful strikes.

The union is known for its ability to organise precarious workers in sectors that traditionally have not been organised.

In the last 12 months the union has seen a series of strikes secure landmark pay rises from food industry titans.

General secretary Ronnie Draper told the Morning Star about the challenges his activists face in this industry.

“Others have tried, failed and walked away. It’s a long slog,” he said. “We’re a campaigning union, we spend the money we get to try and improve the lives of anyone in precarious work, who are predominately young people.

“Everybody deserves rights to decent pay and should not be subsidising multinational companies on the back of zero-hours contracts.

“We are taking on McDonald’s, Wetherspoon and KFC,” he added.

Pub giant Wetherspoon had adopted a combative approach to trade unions, led by its chairman Tim Martin. “I have written to Tim Martin requesting recognition rights and talks and he has refused it,” Draper said.

Despite the challenges, he praised the Wetherspoon workers in Brighton whose strike ballot saw the company bring forward a pay rise by six months.

And he highlighted BFAWU’s agreement for its workers at Greggs, which Draper said resulted in members receiving “the best rise this year for a long time.”

The high-street pasty chain recognises the role played by workers in helping the firm boost profits, Draper noted.

Morning Star

Next article – Clothing and super-exploitation

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