Unofficial walkout beats bullying bosses
Refuse workers employed by Urbaser at Welwyn Garden City have shown the way to deal with bullying bosses. They staged a successful wildcat strike on 10 May after a manager accused of bullying, racism and sexism towards workers was allowed to return to work. On returning to work the following day, the striking workers announced that the depot was now “bully free”.
Management bullying is a common complaint across the industry, with Cardiff bin workers recently threatening strike action over a “widespread culture of bullying”. Combined with pay nowhere near close enough to covering the cost of living, workers in the sector are increasingly angry and raising demands. The response of too many managers is to fall back on bullying and coercion to keep them in line and squeeze more work out of staff.
Sharon Graham’s new organising drive amongst bin workers has also no doubt increased the confidence of the workers involved too. This is a step forward that the rank and file can build on. Once such militancy has been let out of the bag, it is hard to get it back in again.
But because Tory anti-union laws outlaw such action, never repealed by Labour, mean a union could be taken through the courts and heavily fined for supporting such illegal action, most officials refuse to do so. But if the union defied the laws in the name of fighting racism, sexism and bullying, it would gain huge public support.
Welwyn City workers have shown that such decisive action can win.Workers should not have to put up with such conditions for one second, and when confronted with it should follow their lead of the in downing tools immediately.