Open letter to IWW comrades regarding Amazon

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Autumnal greetings comrades!


We have known some of you for a while, and met some more of you recently on our film screening ‘tour’ earlier this year. It was great to make some new friends and have some good discussions about what we’re all up to. We thought we’d get in touch with you about some proposals for joint work in the coming year, let us know if you’re interested!

1. We want to start an Amazon workers newsletter

We have lots of translated material of interviews with Amazon workers in Germany, Poland and India, as well as knowing comrades who work in, and have direct contact with, Amazon workers. We could turn this into an (irregular) 2-sided newsletter for Amazon workers in the UK. Polish comrades have set up a small section of the Workers Initiative (IP) syndicalist union inside the warehouse in Poznan, which is now the site of Europe’s biggest Amazon warehouse. It was built to undermine workers at struggling Amazon warehouses across Germany. Workers from Germany and Poland recently had a meeting together to discuss coordinating their efforts:

http://libcom.org/news/cross-border-amazon-workers-meeting-30092015#

And at the the recent meeting about transnational strikes in Poznan earlier this month we heard about the idea of Amazon workers organising a bus caravan through Europe.


As of yet, we have no contact with Amazon workers/militants in England who could participate in international meetings or coordinations like these ones. We think this newsletter would be a good step towards this. It would also let workers know what is happening at other Amazon warehouses, which may encourage their own activity e.g. other workers’ experiences of union struggles such as those being led by the ver.di union in Germany; how workers there don’t have a ‘countdown’ on their scanner/watch, which has relieved some of their work pressure; or the overtime slow-down strike in Poznan in support of the workers on strike in Germany (they had been ordered by management to work overtime as they supply for the German market, so essentially the workers in Poland were refusing to be scabs).

Would any of you be interested in working on this together? Essentially this would mean co-writing and/or distributing the paper outside Amazon warehouses when shifts start and/or finish. Because we are based in London, we are not immediately near any Amazon warehouses but could also come from time to time to help out. You could build on these links in whatever ways you had the capacity for within your local. At the moment it just seems a shame that we have all these materials and contacts that would make a great newsletter and they’re not being put to use!

We made a list of Amazon warehouse locations below [1] so if your local has the time, capacity, energy and will to focus on these workers, or at least start something and then see how things go, get in touch and we can discuss in more detail.

If you’re worried that your local not having the longer-term resources to support workers if the newsletter does prove to be a catalyst for workers wanting to organise, then let’s discuss how this could be overcome.

2. We’d like to build up a wider network of warehouse/logistics/food production workers to share experiences and struggles across the UK

As you may know, we are working in warehouses in west-London and have written some articles about our experiences in our paper, WorkersWildWest e.g. the slow-down strike that took place in the Sainsbury’s warehouse. In this article we tried to talk in detail about what we tried to do with our co-workers, the various steps in escalation, what happened, what the limits were that we couldn’t overcome. This might be useful information for other Sainsbury’s warehouse workers, and other warehouse workers who are in a similar position (e.g. zero-hours temp workers in a segregated workforce). Perhaps some of you work in warehouses and want to distribute this article to your workmates? Or maybe there is a Sainsbury’s or other supermarket distribution centre nearby where you could distribute the article? If you get to know some warehouse workers, or you are one already, maybe you could send us reports or articles about their/your experiences for the paper? Or if you have some other ideas about how we could work together on the warehouse front, we’d love to hear them…

3. IWW reports

In general as time goes on, it would be good to have some more in-depth reports from what IWW members are involved in, what strategic questions you are facing, both organisationally and within particular workplace disputes. We think the New Syndicalist website is a great resource and we look forward to future debates.

4. Class struggle newspaper

We put forward a proposal at the Plan C Fast Forward Festival in September to set up a bi-annual UK-wide newspaper focused on class struggle. A paper that isn’t so much about proclaiming victories or defending particular organisations but one based on more detailed struggle experiences that other workers could learn from.

The production of the paper would allow comrades from across the UK to develop a regular debate about struggles around us, but at the same time also produce something that can be useful when visiting occupations, pickets or meeting interested workers.

As far as we are aware, at the moment there isn’t a paper that fulfils such a function of independent working class reflection of what is going down, in the here and now. Here are some rather random examples of reports which we find useful. We have consciously chosen a report relating to a workplace dispute, a report about a housing occupation and an analysis of a wider ‘mobilisation’, in order to cover different forms of class struggle.

https://libcom.org/history/strike-trw-auto-supplier-germany-2007

https://libcom.org/library/cologne-occupation-of-the-barmer-block-housing-estate-2006-wildcat

https://libcom.org/library/movement-against-pensions-reform-draw-lucid-balance-mouvement-communiste

It would entail certain requirements and commitments: a common basic political framework: starting from anti-statist and anti-institution proletarian self-organisation; looking at how struggles can overcome hierarchical divisions and challenge the powers; going out of your way a bit to places where things are happening, in order to have face-to-face conversations; being open for debating the reports; a commitment to circulate the paper not only at the usual demonstrations or conferences, but at concrete sites of struggle.

Hopefully the paper could help to create an independent network of comrades of various organisations within the non-statist left and interested working class militants who have become disillusioned with party politics. We know IWW has its own publication but if any of you are interested in participating, individually or as part of IWW, drop us a mail…

In solidarity,


Some AngryWorkers in west-London

[1]

Abingdon, Oxford (Regional hub)

Barden, Leicestershire (Regional hub) (Interlink Business Park, Bardon Hill, Coalville. LE67 1PE)

Birmingham (Regional hub)

Bromley-by-Bow (Regional hub)

Croydon (Regional hub) (4-8 Queensway, Croydon. CR0 4BD)

Doncaster (Unit 1, FirstPoint Business Park, Balby Carr Bank, Doncaster. South Yorkshire. DN4 5JS)

Dunfermline (Amazon Way, Dunfermline, Fife. Scotland. KY11 8ST)

Dunstable (Prologis Park, Boscombe Road. LU5 4SB)

Glasgow (Regional hub)

Gourock (2 Cloch Rd, Faulds Park, Gourock. Inverclyde. PA19 1BQ)

Hemel Hempstead (Boundary Way. Hertfordshire. HP2 7LF)

Leeds (Regional hub)

Manchester (Regional hub)

Milton Keynes (Marston Gate Distribution Centre, Ridgmont, Bedfordshire. MK43 0ZA)

Nottingham (Regional hub)

Peterborough (Phase Two, Kingston Park Flaxley Road. Cambridgeshire. PE2 9EN)

Rugeley (Towers Business Park, Power Station Road, Rugeley. WS15 1LX)

Southall (Regional hub)

Southampton (Regional hub) (Hedge End, Southampton, SO30 2QT)

Sunderland (Regional hub) Cherry Blossom Way, Washington. Tyne and Wear SR5)

Swansea Bay (Ffordd Amazo, Crymlyn Burrows, Jersey Marine, Swansea. SA1 8QX)

Wednesbury, West MIdlands (Regional hub) (Black Country New Road, Wednesbury WS10 7NY)

Weybridge, Surrey (Regional hub) Brooklands Industrial Estate

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