‘Flamme Rouge’: Reflections on the Industrial Workers of the World (UK) Couriers Network – Pete Davies

New Syndicalist

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Couriers Network was formed in January 2018 to support precarious workers in the gig economy. The thinking behind the network was that it would be a loose structure that could unite couriers as workers without them having to formally join the IWW and pay union dues. As these workers were classed as “self-employed” and would not get the normal benefits of union membership – such as individual representation or legal support to defend employment rights – this seemed to us to be quite reasonable.

Obviously any courier was free to become a dues paying member should they choose but this was not a precondition for them to be involved. We did however encourage the leading rider-organisers to join the IWW which would enable them to build relationships with experienced organisers beyond the Couriers Network, take up training opportunities, claim back their organising expenses…

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