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Forum on casual and migrant labour saturday 20th jan

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ftony
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Jan 11 2007 10:33
Forum on casual and migrant labour saturday 20th jan

Hi all

after the starbucks picket, all are warmly weclomed to the first of a series of discussion forums organised by the wonderful folks of london IWW. cue some background spiel:

*Organising the Unorganisable? Casual and Migrant Workers in London and Beyond*

Throughout its life, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has prided itself on organising the workers other unions did not dare to organise. It was the first union in the USA to organise amongst women, unskilled workers and immigrant communities, and is nowadays organising in coffee shops, 'illegal' immigrant workplaces, and other places where mainstream unions do not.

The forces of economics are pushing more and more people into casual work, with virtually none of the rights and security of permanent employment. As a result, wages and employment conditions have fallen, hitting the most vulnerable people hardest. Even jobs that were traditionally secure, such as teaching or medicine, have become increasingly casualised, resulting in falling quality of life for the workers and increasing profits for bosses.

In many cases, it is migrant workers who suffer the most from casual labour, and are also regularly victimised by the media. In the run-up to the Olympic Games, we only need to glance at the newspaper headlines expressing fears over an ‘invasion’ of Eastern European workers to see this in action. On the other hand, we can look back to the Athens Olympic site where 20 workers died during its construction, to see the harsh reality of casual labour.

Casualisation has serious effects on all workers, not just migrants. Because migrant workers are so easily exploited, their exploitation in the form of low wages and minimal rights is undercutting other workers and leaving everyone worse off. Increasingly the right wing has used this to justify their twisted racism, but this isn’t a race issue: its roots lie in the very structure of capitalism itself. Unlike other unions, the IWW sees all workers or all nationalities and all industries as entangled in the same struggle – of trying to live life despite capitalism and hopefully one day to abolish it altogether. This forum will go to the front lines of this struggle, where security, safety and legal protection at work come head-to-head with the rawest excesses of capital.

This, the first of a series of workshops and forums hosted by the London IWW branch, will encourage people to share experiences, discuss the causes and crossovers between migrant and casual labour, and how radical workers might work together towards common aims. Members of the IWW and the No Borders network (a radical immigrant and detainee support group) will give brief introductions on the background to the issues, before an open discussion takes place on experiences and practical organising ideas around these incredibly important issues.

The workshop will be made from what people bring to it, so please do come along and participate in what promises to be an interesting, inspiring and challenging evening.

[end spiel]

the meeting will be held at the Marchmont Community Centre,
62 Marchmont Street
London
WC1N 1AB

the time of the meeting is not yet finalised but it will either be 3-5pm or 4-6pm. i will confirm here when i know.

afterwards, everyone is welcome to come for a drink too cool

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Steven.
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Jan 11 2007 12:33

Right I'm going to try to come to this... shit my first political meeting in a long time. A year? Maybe more...

Anyway I will bring up my public sector temps christmas pay thing I mentioned here.

Will you be there ftony? be good to meet you at last. If I can't make it would you be able to bring up that pay thing? cheers.

ftony
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Jan 11 2007 13:33

cool, hope to see you there!

Quote:
Anyway I will bring up my public sector temps christmas pay thing I mentioned here.

yes, good plan.

i'll post the exact times up here as soon as i know for certain.

ftony
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Jan 15 2007 15:17

YO THE TIME FOR THE MEETING IS 3-5PM. BE THERE OR BE, ERM, SOMEWHERE ELSE. red n black star

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Jacques Roux
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Jan 15 2007 15:19

Where is Marchmont street?

ftony
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Jan 15 2007 15:19

[crikey, i didn't mean to post that in capitals!]

marchmont street is near king's cross.

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Steven.
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Jan 15 2007 15:28
ftony wrote:
[crikey, i didn't mean to post that in capitals!]

marchmont street is near king's cross.

er, isn't the nearest tube russell square? that's where the AF used to have meetings.

ftony
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Jan 15 2007 15:30

yeah, i just realised that after checking out trusty google maps. it's right behind russell square.

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Tacks
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Jan 16 2007 15:18

come out of russel sq, cross the street, go right and take your first left after the tesco metro. Go down the street for 3 - 5 mins and it will be on your right hand side of the road, near a bookshop.

Kings cross would take about 10 - 20 mins reckon.

ftony
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Jan 18 2007 13:33

bumperoonio!

Jason Cortez
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Jan 18 2007 13:39

snap

ftony
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Jan 18 2007 17:31

crackle

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Steven.
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Jan 19 2007 00:38

pooooooooooop. Should def be able to make this. So guess I'll see you then!

ftony
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Jan 19 2007 09:08

rock n roll cool

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Steven.
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Jan 22 2007 12:22

Right well I'll be honest, I was disappointed with this. And if it's ok I'll offer my 2c on how things could be improved for the future.

1. have a facilitator/chair, you can't have a productive meeting without one
2. have some structure to the meeting, an agenda or something. This was lacking here, there was no time set aside for any practical discussion, for example, and nothing practical came out of it.
3. set (short) time limits for talks (and tbh though I like G his talk at the beginning went on way too long [nearly an hour] and was all very basic and quite tangential to the actual topic. This only left about 40-50 minutes for actual discussion about casual labour

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Tacks
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Jan 22 2007 12:26
John. wrote:
1. have a facilitator/chair, you can't have a productive meeting without one
2. have some structure to the meeting, an agenda or something. This was lacking here, there was no time set aside for any practical discussion, for example, and nothing practical came out of it.
3. set (short) time limits for talks (and tbh though I like G his talk at the beginning went on way too long [nearly an hour] and was all very basic and quite tangential to the actual topic. This only left about 40-50 minutes for actual discussion about casual labour

Sounds like sounds advice.

Frighteningly obvious sound advice...

posi
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Jan 22 2007 12:37

Not sure G's talk was quite an hour... but yeah, you're right in general. I think the first thing to decide is why you're having the meeting, what you want to get out of it.

I think, as the 'solidarity collective' experiment made clear, the big practical question to be decided is how groups like SolFed, IWW practically relate to mainstream unions...

Also, migrant and non-migrant casual labour are such different issues, it's probably worth separating discussion of them.

ftony
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Jan 22 2007 13:14
Quote:
migrant and non-migrant casual labour are such different issues, it's probably worth separating discussion of them.

true.

Quote:
I was disappointed

i think that's a little unfair. for what it's worth, i think it was quite good for an initial get-together (i've been to much much worse in my time), but i do regret that there was no-one taking notes.

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the button
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Jan 22 2007 13:37

No chair and no minutes, eh?

Seriously, mate, that's the best way to have the same meeting over and over again, until everyone loses the will to live & stops coming.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 22 2007 13:49

you pair of lazy worthless fucks roll eyes

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the button
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Jan 22 2007 13:52
Joseph K. wrote:
you pair of lazy worthless fucks roll eyes

grin grin grin

ftony
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Jan 22 2007 14:02
Quote:
No chair and no minutes, eh?

no - useless chair, and no minutes. god, get it right roll eyes

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the button
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Jan 22 2007 14:11
ftony wrote:
Quote:
No chair and no minutes, eh?

no - useless chair, and no minutes. god, get it right roll eyes

That's alright then. smile

wink

ftony
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Jan 22 2007 14:22
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That's alright then. smile

smile

but anyway, if i'm going to be honest, it's not just up to me to run the whole thing single-handedly. i'm not trying to shirk responsibility, but if someone (and i'm not just aiming this at libcom people, IWW folks and others were very passive throughout) had said 'right, let's have an agenda' that would have been nice. i was too busy worrying that the three people who said they'd be there with a modicum of experience in the issues (particularly migration) weren't there on time and everyone else was getting impatient.

posi
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Jan 22 2007 14:43

Sure - I think you did well to have the initiative to call a meeting on such an important issue; something which others haven't managed to do, and get a decent turn out.

IMHO it's worth sorting an agenda beforehand, rather than just the pass a piece of paper round at the beginning method. It's about clarifying what you want to achieve.

ftony
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Jan 22 2007 14:48
Quote:
it's worth sorting an agenda beforehand, rather than just the pass a piece of paper round at the beginning method. It's about clarifying what you want to achieve.

that's true, but i think we didn't want to look like we were trying to dominate the proceedings. in the end, that didn't quite work out so well.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 22 2007 22:20

Erm... well i did ask you if you chairing and i said that we needed an agenda, to which you replied something like not needing one as this was more informal thing at which point i gave up. I am not having a go at you personally, just that it is pretty cruical to have a chair, agenda and minutes' I hope you have seen the value of this now. You became de-facto chair, which i felt was unfair on you. Plus the biggest problem was the speakers turning up so late which basically disrupted the meeting. This combine with the very late annoucement of the actual time it would run from led to a bit of a shambolic meeting over all. Having had a good moan i hope we can now more to arranging another more focussed meeting so this last one won't be an wasted effort. I did found a lot of stuff interesting, but the topic is vast, so a bit of a narrowing down to specific issues might be in order. The potential for linking up diffient struggles/groups/approaches is difinantly there.

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Steven.
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Jan 23 2007 00:20

Yeah, I'm sorry I was a bit late, I didn't realise my train line was shut for the weekend.

posi wrote:
but yeah, you're right in general. I think the first thing to decide is why you're having the meeting, what you want to get out of it.

Yeah this is the key. And then structure discussion into this.

For example - 1. Discussion of what are the issues, 2. discussion of people's experiences, 3. what can we do to move forwards (including at least one practical thing such as how to keep in contact in future/next meeting, etc.)?

I didn't suggest getting an agenda or something because until very late on I assumed there was one.