Young and precarious workers across Britain and Ireland are standing up and saying, ‘enough is enough’. Small but successful campaigns, such as the McStrike and the #BetterThanZero initiative, have rebuilt confidence and have proved that, by joining a union and actively organising, we can win. Northern Ireland has not been left behind in this international rise in trade union consciousness. Workers here too, are organising. Following a successful launch of the Unite Hospitality NI campaign, young people from a wide range of workplaces are getting together and planning how they are going to fight for a better life and a better future.
In a show of cross-community, working-class unity, leisure centre workers from the Shankill Road and Falls Road, trade unionists and people from across Belfast came together to protest the declining working conditions and plans which threaten forty-nine jobs that have arisen since the takeover of Belfast’s leisure centres by Greenwich Leisure Limited.
Young and precarious workers across Britain and Ireland are getting organised. Small but successful campaigns – such as the McDonald’s strike, #Betterthanzero in Scotland and Unite the Union’s Fair Hospitality initiative – have begun to rebuild a fighting trade union consciousness among young people which had been lost by decades of inaction by the majority of union leaderships.
A friend in hospitality argued that I’d be better off in McDonald’s as they’d just won a pay-rise and it was due to the collective action taken by workers with the help and guidance of a union. I thought we at Boojum could take similar action and contacted the union. Since Unite and Boojum workers started our campaign, the number of active members has grown and we’re slowly gaining concessions. We used to feel powerless, but now we feel empowered
The ongoing threat of outsourcing of work at Bombardier and the current redundancies, linked to outsourcing, are a huge challenge to the workforce. However, having led the battle to save jobs and skills, Bombardier workers have shown what they are capable of when united and mobilised and are now in a stronger position to deal with future threats, whether political or from the company.