Tag Archives: picket

Liverpool IWW Stop Len McCluskey Crossing Picket Line

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Unite’s Len McCluskey – class traitor

Liverpool IWW were due to hold a picket of the FACT yesterday evening, in solidarity with Ritzy cinema workers striking for the London Living Wage, who have called for a boycott of all Picturehouse cinemas. But that morning, one of us received a tip off that Unite general secretary Len McCluskey would be ignoring BECTU’s boycott call, and watching a screening of a documentary about The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists at FACT’s Picturehouse. We decided to rearrange things.

McCluskey was scheduled to be joined by Labour MP Tom Watson, and the documentary’s producer, Daniel Draper at 17:00. The event was arranged by Unite, and tickets were available through an email address associated with the union. However, Unite discovered our plans at the last minute, and tweeted a change of venue to the pier head convention centre. The tweet did not mention why the plans had been changed, and this is no doubt out of embarrassment due to the catastrophic faux pas.

Nothing could better illustrate the emptiness and corruption of the union bureaucracy. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is indeed a book worth celebrating, particularly in Liverpool, where its author Robert Noonan died. However, it would have been an obscenity for a man on £140,000 a year to do so, by crossing a picket line in the name of those living in poverty not too dissimilar to that described by the famous socialist novel.

The union bureaucracy is often talented at talking a good game – indeed, just four days ago, McCluskey called on the government to back the findings of the Living Wage Commission, and raise wages for the poorest employees. However, actions speak louder than words, and that’s why the IWW union – which organises without a bureaucracy – found itself on opposite sides to the Unite big wigs.

We believe that all working class people should unite in One Big Union, control their own struggles, and dump the capitalist lackeys like McCluskey off our backs once and for all.

Liverpool IWW Calls For Boycott of Picturehouse @ FACT

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Liverpool IWW are calling for solidarity with workers at a Picturehouse cinema, who are striking and campaigning for a London Living Wage. The Brixton Ritzy workers are calling for a national boycott of Picturehouse cinemas, until the chain agrees to pay them enough to get by and live decently. However, as Liverpool IWW, we would like this struggle to spread across the country, and we appeal to all staff in FACT and Picturehouse – paid and unpaid – to join our campaign. Currently, almost all Picturehouse staff across the country are living below the poverty line.

The IWW is a union for all workers, no matter what their industry, including the unemployed. FACT – which hosts the Picturehouse in Liverpool – recently made eleven workers redundant, and replaced them with unpaid volunteers. This was a sickening attack on the local working class, and shocked people around the country. Currently, according to FACT’s own figures, out of 125 people working for them, 76 are not being paid for it – 61% of the total. Without ‘volunteers’ – often unemployed young people trying to improve their CVs – FACT simply could not open.

FACT is a so-called ‘charity’ being run in the interests of the people based on the top floor who do the hiring and firing, who make money off the unpaid labour of desperate young people. Picturehouse is a massive corporation, which made £31 million in profits last year, yet claims it can’t afford to keep the people who made them that money out of poverty.

Liverpool IWW aims to organise all workers in poverty into one big union, and that seems to be everyone who keeps the building we are picketing ticking over. We appeal to cinemagoers not to cross the Ritzy workers’ picket line, and refuse to give Picturehouse’s bosses any more money til they make an acceptable offer. And we appeal to workers in the FACT building to join us, and help build resistance here in Liverpool. Email us: liverpool@iww.org.uk, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Liverpool IWW will be holding a picket at FACT on Saturday, 28th June at 6pm.

Wobblies To Picket FACT in May Day Solidarity with Ritzy Strikers

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This International Workers’ Day, Liverpool IWW and Liverpool Class Action are demanding:

– the reinstatement of the sacked FACT staff

– a living wage for the Ritzy cinema staff

– a living wage for all

Liverpool IWW and friends will be picketing FACT in the city centre this Thursday, 1st May, from 5.30 pm. We’re primarily doing this in solidarity with workers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, South London, who are scheduled to be holding a third day of strike action for the London Living Wage of £8.80 per hour. Through the ‘Picturehouse’ brand, The Ritzy shares a parent company with the FACT cinemas in Cineworld. Cineworld made a profit of £30 million last year – all of which was made possible by their workforce – and we’re sure they can afford to ensure their staff a minimum decent standard of living.

The Ritzy staff are not calling for a boycott of the cinema they run, and so we are not calling for a boycott of the FACT cinemas. Instead, we will be echoing the workers’ call for:

  • messages of support to their Facebook group (facebook.com/RitzyLivingWage) and Twitter @RitzyLivingWageSend
  • messages to Cineworld and Picturehouse Cinemas telling them that you support the London Living Wage for their workers:
    lyn.g@picturehouses.co.uk, alastair.o@picturehouses.co.uk
  • Email corporate@cineworld.co.uk and Tweet @picturehouses and @cineworld using the hashtag #WhereIsMooky in reference to the company’s elusive boss, Mooky Greidinger.

As Liverpool working class activists, we do have an issue with FACT’s recent decision to make eleven front of house staff redundant and replace them with unpaid volunteers. Indeed, only a small minority of the FACT’s staff are now paid, and the ones making the most are the ones taking the decisions over the charity’s direction. However, like with the Ritzy, there’s no call for a boycott from FACT staff. So for now please do the following:

  • message executive director Iona Horsburgh (iona.horsburgh@fact.co.uk, @IonaHorsburgh)
  • message visitor services manager Joan Burnett (joan.burnett@fact.co.uk)
  • message head of marketing and communications Jen Chapman (jen.chapman@fact.co.uk, @FACT_Liverpool)
  • let them know you disagree with replacing paid workers with volunteer workers.

The Industrial Workers of the World is a union ran by and for its workers. Join us here, or email liverpool@iww.org.uk for more information.