Week of action against Office Angels

Week of action against Office Angels

This week - the 9th to the 15th - the Solidarity Federation has called for a week of action against Office Angels after they failed to pay a worker for two days he was owed, and a day - Wednesday 11th - to bombard Office Angels with phone calls and e-mails, effectively creating a 'communications blockade'. The response to the call has been excellent, with pickets taking place and planned across the country. This article lays out the background to the dispute, as well as listing the pickets taking place this week.

Since March, the Solidarity Federation (SF) has been involved in supporting a victimised former Office Angels temporary worker. Dan worked for Office Angels in Wimbledon for three days in December of last year. He was assured by the company that the lack of a time-sheet would 'not be a problem'. However, Office Angels are refusing to pay him the wages he is owed - falsely claiming he only worked for one day, despite Dan sitting next to the manager on one of the days for which he is yet to be paid!

The South and North London locals of the Solidarity Federation first held pickets outside Office Angels branches across London, starting with an unannounced picket at the Wimbledon branch where Dan worked. We publically advertised the second picket in advance, but on arrival discovered that they'd decided to close for the day, with "staff training" being offered as an excuse.

In the following week, as well as holding more pickets across London, we issued a call for messages of protest to be sent to the Wimbledon branch, sending emails and phoning Office Angels to complain about Dan's treatment. This acted as an effective "communication blockade" by jamming the methods the Wimbledon Branch office uses to maintain contact with clients and workers. The response to the callout was impressive as numerous International Workers Association sections and other direct action-oriented workers groups in the UK and around the world took part.

At one picket in London there was brief interference from the police who demanded we remove the tape used to stick up our banner on the boarded up construction site where changes to Tottenham Court Road station are being made. They said it was to save us the hassle of tube workers complaining about property damage to their site! However, when the workers from the site, who had been watching us for some time, came up to us, it was to request a leaflet and even take a copy of our newspaper Catalyst. It was also heartening to hear words of support from other workers coming out of the building where the offices are located, even though they did not work for the temping agency, with several people commenting that they knew "who to come to" when they needed support at work.

That morning we heard the news that Office Angels had told Dan they would speak to him about getting him paid the wages he was owed, however once again Office Angels are delaying making the payment of the wages they owe. SF locals around the country were more than glad to offer more support. In Leeds, Northampton and Brighton Solidarity Federation locals held successful pickets in support of Dan and Office Angels staff, with support from the Anarchist Federation and the Industrial Workers’ of the World.

Dan has still not been paid, and so we are continuing to increase the pressure on Office Angels. This week – from the 9th to the 15th of May – we have called a national week of action against Office Angels and the Adecco company to which it is affiliated. On Wednesday 11th we are calling for another ‘communication blockade’ of Office Angels (details below). The response so far has been brilliant; in Brighton and Nottingham pickets have already been held. Further pickets are planned this week in Reading, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Oxford and Bristol, as well as more pickets in Brighton, Northampton and several around London (full details are listed below).

It is not too late to get involved with this campaign; if there’s a picket near you, come down and show solidarity! If there’s not, get together with a few like-minded people and head down to your nearest Office Angels and have your own picket!

We want to hear from any current or previous Office Angels employees that have come into conflict with this company and its culture of disrespect. We know that this is not an isolated incident and the more people get involved, the more pressure we can put on the company to start treating its workers properly.

Temporary workers face similar unacceptable conditions every day. They work without sick pay or maternity leave, are vulnerable to unfair and instant dismissals and have no union support. Rising unemployment and a bleak economic climate will force even more of us to accept these precarious conditions - yet another example of working class people being exploited by an economic system that only benefits the rich.

On top of the pickets that have already taken place this week, the following are still to come:

- Leeds on Wednesday, 16.00pm to 17.30pm
http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=office-angels-picket-0
- London Bridge, London on Wednesday, 10.00am
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=200487546659837
- Croydon, London (Wellesley Road) on Wednesday, 13.00pm
- Oxford Street, London on Wednesday, 12.00pm.
- Reading on Wednesday and Thursday, email tvsf [ @ ] riseup.net for more details.
- Oxford on Thursday, 13.15pm to at least 16.00pm:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=224908627525900
- Bristol on Thursday, 11.00am to 13.00pm
- Liverpool on Friday at 1.30am
- Newcastle on Friday, 15.00pm to 18.00pm
http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=newcastle-picket-of-office-angels
- Brighton Solidarity Federation may be picketing again this Friday
email brightonsolfed [@] googlemail.com to find out more.
- Northampton Solidarity Federation will also be picketing Office Angels again this week

If you can’t make a physical picket, you can still show solidarity! We are calling for people to bombard Office Angels with phone calls and e-mails all day on Wednesday 11th, please show support and take action!

Email sending tool: http://www.priamaakcia.sk/index.php?action=soliMail&soliMail_id=16&lan=en

Phone: 020 8542 6688 (international calls dial +4420 8542 6688)

E-mail addresses to target:

wimbledon@office-angels.com
sophie.rodrigues@office-angels.com
donna.jones@office-angels.com
claire.stradling@office-angels.com
julie.davy@office-angels.com
joan.collins@office-angels.com

Sample e-mail:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Hereby I would like to express my dissatisfaction with the treatment of one of your workers, who has been declined the payout of his wage for two days of work.

I find this behaviour unacceptable and demand that you pay what you owe immediately. Until then I will continue to inform people about your shameful practices.

Posted By

mons
May 10 2011 21:30

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Comments

Chilli Sauce
May 11 2011 20:58

And making a big difference!

888
May 11 2011 21:18

Why haven't those fools given in yet?

Auto
May 11 2011 21:28

I assume it's because Dan is far from an isolated case. If, as suspected, this practice is fairly common throughout the company, then giving in to one person potentially means giving in to a whole lot more. That's obviously a precedent we'd be very keen to set. Them not so much...

Anyway, if they do keep being stubborn then that means all of our international sections will get to join in the fun. smile

Chilli Sauce
May 12 2011 16:27

They are fucking running scared! International week of action it may be...

How did you come across this JC?

Auto
May 12 2011 16:39

The manager at the Oxford branch printed out the same thing and handed it to us. Obviously OA are trying to establish a uniform response to the campaign.

The same manager was also very anxious to find out if anyone else had approached us saying they'd been mistreated by OA. I think they're very worried this might spread...

radicalgraffiti
May 12 2011 17:27
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Office Angels respond:

office-angels.com/aboutus/pressoffice/news/Pages/newsarticle.aspx?NewsID=34

Guess it is probably time we put our own press release out.

needs a www. to work

Django
May 12 2011 21:49
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Office Angels respond:

office-angels.com/aboutus/pressoffice/news/Pages/newsarticle.aspx?NewsID=34

Guess it is probably time we put our own press release out.

They're rattled!

MT
May 13 2011 09:59
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
We've not been offering this to Office Angels employees as they're role in society is fundamentally exploitative if they're working in recruitment, but as modern workers trapped at desks like many of us we would offer you all the support we can. Guess things must be as shit for you as they are for us!

Could you explain what you mean by this? especially the last sentence is confusing as I dont know if by "you" you mean the agency workers or the agency employees/clerks.
thanks.

Yorkie Bar
May 13 2011 12:20

Just at the York Anarchists picket, after just a few seconds a member of staff came out with a public statement from OfficeAngels saying they've caved and are paying Dan in full! Has this been confirmed?

Picket
May 13 2011 12:26

OA updated their press release:

Quote:
However, new information has recently come to light and we have taken this individual at his word and paid all monies outstanding.
Auto
May 13 2011 12:44

YES!

Joseph Kay
May 13 2011 12:44

That statement's on the Office Angels website too, attributed to the Managing Director. It ain't over until the money's in Dan's account, but looks like that could be imminent!

Ed
May 13 2011 12:52

I would be wary of taking OA promise of payment at face value.. it could be just a delaying tactic or a way to get pickets to leave shops early..

IMO until confirmation has come from the worker in question that the money has hit his account, all scheduled actions should continue as normal..

So, til the money hits, international week of action is still on.. twisted

Auto
May 13 2011 13:02

Oh I agree. All actions on till the money is in the account (and that has been the maxim we've been operating under so far).

I wonder if we've actually managed to 'pinch' office angels between us from below and Adecco from above. I can't imagine Addeco as the parent company is all too happy about being dragged into this dispute (and the threat of an international campaign). They could well be putting pressure on OA to end it now.

Edit: also, isn't this offer to pay a lot more risky as a delaying tactic then the last one? The first offer was just made verbally made over the phone. This one has been printed out and delivered (albeit to people on picket lines). Surely that would be construed as an agreement to pay in a court/tribunal?

MT
May 13 2011 13:06

Priama akcia specifically addressed Adecco headquarters in a fax and emails saying that the concrete office in London fucks the guy up. Cos the SF model letter didn't contain this info and I guess if we really think Adecco pays attention and tries to screw the OA office manager in London, then they should be given this info so they can easily find out whom to push at. I mention this so that future actions similar to these contain such info.

And of course, Adecco and OA should work very fast, cos the international week of actions is behind the corner and they should know very well that workers globally can very easily organise against them as they have a branch in so many cities.

Chilli Sauce
May 13 2011 16:01

To be honest, I imagine OA is following this thread. Make sure that money hits Dan's account quick or we ain't gonna let up!

Fuck me, it feels good to win!

akai
May 13 2011 17:40

Good news. Let us know when the bastards have paid up.

flaneur
May 13 2011 17:50

I think it's safe enough to post now everything has been settled. The money's in the bank so just wanted to say a massive thank you to London SF particularly, and everyone else who picketed, emailed and rung. Was actually touched by everyone's support.

888
May 13 2011 18:05

NICE! Congratulations!

Auto
May 13 2011 18:07

Awesome!

Great work, everyone. Feels nice to have a win. grin

Yorkie Bar
May 13 2011 18:23

MAXIMUM ANARCHY GETS THE GOODS

Auto
May 13 2011 18:29

Full translation of the Office Angels statement:

'We are very dissapointed that some have decided to engage in disruptive action against Office Angels, as this means we may have to actually start paying workers. This is very dissatisfactory'.

grin

Steven.
May 13 2011 19:19

Booya!

Steven.
May 13 2011 19:21

The campaign should do a press release about this victory

futility index
May 13 2011 19:29

Drinks on you then Flaneur? wink

Jason Cortez
May 13 2011 19:44

sweet!

Auto
May 13 2011 20:02
futility index wrote:
Drinks on you then Flaneur? ;)

Two days wages divided between the whole of SolFed, the AF, the IWW, Libcom as well as the rest of the IWA?

We'll have him in crippling debt after just one round. tongue

Auto
May 13 2011 20:04

Doublepost.

flaneur
May 13 2011 20:42

As long as you can prove you were at the pickets, ho ho.

robot
May 14 2011 08:09

Could SolFed please tell us how we should proceed now? Continue with the mobilization or stop it for now? We have at least two pickets at German ADECCO outlets in our pipeline for the next two days.