The Government in Britain has introduced a programme of savage welfare cuts. The cuts are part of a broad government offensive on worker’s living conditions with attacks on a whole range of benefits. The government’s programme of cuts is not just about reducing the amount the state spends on welfare, the aims is also to force the unemployed into taking jobs paying lower and lower wages which in turn drags down the wages of all workers.
As part of the cuts programme the Government introduced the so called “Workfare” scheme under which the unemployed are forced to work for free for up to 6 months or face having their benefits stopped with no guarantee of a permanent job at the end. Needles to say companies were quick to take advantage of what amounted to free labour and began taking on an increasing numbers of people under the Workfare scheme.
The government claimed that the Workfare would help unemployed find permanent jobs but as the number of people driven into working for nothing increased, it soon become clear that this was not happening. Workers taken on under workfare were not made permanent; rather, once their time under the scheme was finished,companies simply got rid of them and recruited a new set of workers from Workfare. After all why pay workers when you can get them for free!!!
When the syndicalist international, IWMA (now IWA) held its founding congress at the turn of the years 1922-1923, it was against a background of great upheavals. World War I had ended a few years earlier, a war which was immediately followed by widespread revolutionary movements in a number of countries, setting lasting trends in the development of the world.
During the war the social democratic international collapsed, and its affiliated parties threw their internationalism overboard. Under the leadership of especially their Belgian chairman Emilie Vandervelde, they gave active support to the war in the name of their respective countries. The reformist trade union international collapsed at about the same time.
After the end of the war, attempts began to re-build the international organizations. The Communist international was organized at a congress in Moscow i 1919, as a continuation of the so-called Zimmerwald international which has been etstablished already during the war. The trade union international was re-established the same year at a congress in Amsterdam. The social democratic international was formed in 1921 at a congress in Vienna, with the Austrian Friedrich Adler as its prime mover. This organization merged with the social democratic international in 1923.
On communist initiativ a congress in Moscow in 1921 founded the so-called Red trade union international. This organization made great efforts to get the syndicalists as members, but the syndicalist organizations refused, being unwilling to be involved in a union international led by a political movement, in this case the communists.
Members of ASF Brisbane who are Domino's Pizza drivers had their wages cut by 19% earlier this year. Since then the drivers have been fighting not only Domino's, but the right wing hierarchy of the SDA Union that encompassed Domino's employees, to have their wages reinstated.
The drivers themselves have formed the GTWA (General Transport Workers Association, affiliated with the ASF) as a response to the inaction of the SDA union and are actively coordinating nationally to reinstate their wages.
The union for Domino's employees in Australia is also one of the largest unions, the SDA (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association) with a membership of around 230,000 workers. The SDA is 'managed' by a right wing catholic hierarchy led by Joe De Bruyn that is not adverse to using the union to push Christian views.
About the Dispute at Dominos Pizza
The workers of ASF Brisbane have been in an industrial dispute since 9th of April with Domino's Pizza Enterprises (DPE), after ASF members that are employees of the DPE raised the issue of their wages being
The “first” International Workingmen´s Association was founded in 1864 through the initiative of workers themselves but also with some participation of “politicians”. Organizationally, it was built as an association of workers´ unions. According to the Statutes, there was no centralism. The workers of the same profession or area formed a section, all sections of any country formed a federation, and every country federation sent delegates to the General Council. This Council was purely a coordinating body - it could not issue any decrees, instructions, etc.
The International Workers' Association (IWA) is an anarchosyndicalist federation founded in 1922. It seeks to organize workers into combative syndicalist organizations engaged in workplace struggles and grassroots organization, without union bureaucrats, parties or the state, to defend the rights and new conquests of the working class, towards a social revolution.
Campaigners are claiming a major scalp in the fight against workfare after retailer Holland & Barrett announced they were pulling out of the scheme. On hearing the news, Brighton Solidarity Federation tweeted "we've won an important battle against workfare, but the war is far from over." The announcement came just 24 hours before a planned national week of action against workfare organised by the Boycott Workfare Network.
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