Wednesday, August 03, 2011

IWW Cleaners Win London Wage Battle

Cleaners at London's Guildhall refused to work until they were paid
Cleaners at London's prestigious Guildhall - "the City powerhouse since the twelfth century" according to its website" - have successfully forced their employers to hand over the wages they are entitled to.

In the new edition of The Commune newspaper, cleaner Alberto Durango explains how the Industrial Workers of the World  (IWW) organised a successful action after what legally amounted to a lockout. 

Durango has long been persecuted for his militant assertion of workers' interests, stretching back to his time in Columbia, but he remains defiant::
"The best thing about this protest was the determination and unity of the workers. Despite the intimidation from the managers they always remained solid. This is just the beginning of this struggle. The workers are determined to fight for the living wage. Thanks to all who supported us, both at the protest and with the solidarity messages. Victoria, compañeros – venceremos! (Victory, comrades: we shall triumph!)"
The IWW is a horizontally-organised union, which is free of bureaucratic control. Now over a hundred years old, it once had a membership of one hundred thousand. As workers increasingly come into confrontation with the corporate union bosses, horizontal organisation will inevitably come to be seen as the way forward. Whether or not that will take place within the IWW, their history is well worth studying,
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