Help Bristol Care Workers Network!

Hello comrades!

We are Bristol Care Workers Network. We an autonomous collective of healthcare and social care workers. We are contacting other organisations in Bristol to ask for help.

The charity Mencap have gone to court to demand that the government overturns it’s recent ruling on sleeping shifts counting as work for the purposes of calculating workers’ entitlement to the minimum wage. Because of Mencap, millions of low-paid workers will now be denied the minimum wage for their sleep shifts.

This has come at a time when non-payment of the minimum wage is at it’s worst ever level. The care sector is already one of the worst affected. Even for workers who are paid legally, studies have shown that it is almost impossible to make a living on the minimum wage. And now, Mencap want to make it even harder for workers to get the minimum wage.

The social care sector is a precarious sector where workers are routinely denied their rights and where union presence is very low. Although the situation for care workers is dire, this makes it an ideal sector for grassroots organising. We’ve found our campaigns around home care workers pay to be very successful and popular, and we’ve generated a lot of support by fighting this issue.

Precarious workers in other sectors are getting organised in an unprecedented way recently but at the moment the care sector has not caught up with what’s been happening among couriers, hospitality workers and other precarious sectors of the economy. The law around home care is changing rapidly and the TUC unions can’t keep up, so there is a real need for grassroots and DIY organising in the care sector. The home care sector is reaching crisis point due to austerity and Brexit will make this worse, so now is the time to start focusing on this sector. This is also an intersectional issue, as home care workers are overwhelmingly women, and a high proportion of care workers are people of colour and/or migrants, so as well as being an issue of class struggle, this is also a feminist issue and an anti-racist issue. This is why we think it’s important to start fighitng this.

We are a small organisation with limited capacity and influence, so we need other organisations to help make this event a success. You can help us by attending on the day, bringing your banners, and making a lot of noise, and/or publicising and sharing our event on your social media.

Thanks,

BCWN

Useful links:

BCWN website: bristolcareworkersnetwork.org

Stand up to Mencap event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1974568829267337/

BCWN’s critique of Unison and the TUC, and our arguments for grassroots organising in the care sector: https://bristolcareworkersnetwork.org/2018/08/26/unison-social-care-seminar-report-and-actions-the-workers-respond/

Background info on the Mencap court case: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2018/07/sleep-shifts-judgment-huge-mistake/

Article about non-payment of NMW: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45608993

Update: Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 2018

From Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 2018 has had to cancel the booking with our venue. As a result the full-scale bookfair has been postponed, and a smaller event will run on the same day at the Black Swan.

The primary reason for this is that it has been brought to our attention that the Academy Trust who manage City Academy have a sponsorship deal with arms-selling dickheads Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce do very big business with the Turkish military, who are currently blasting the Kurdish region of Afrin, in northern Syria, to pieces. They also blew up the convoy that resulted in the recent tragic death of the Kurdish womens army (YPJ) British volunteer Anna Campbell, along with many Kurdish revolutionaries. We had a chat, and decided there was no way we were comfortable going ahead with the Bookfair in that venue. We’re a small collective running at reduced capacity, at this difficult time for Bristol’s anarchist community, and the loss of our venue means our only realistic option has been to radically downsize the event. We did have a last minute search for alternative venues available on the day, but there were none free that would allow us to run the full bookfair extravaganza we had planned.

But don’t be too downhearted, as the committed and the anarcho-curious amongst you will be able to get a flavour of Bookfair on the 12th. Our afterparty venue the Black Swan (at 438 Stapleton Road in Easton) has stepped into the breach and during the day we’ll be cramming the venue with as many book, zine and campaign stalls as we can and hosting a tasty vegan bbq in the garden! Plus 30 seconds up the road at BASE (formerly Kebele social centre) we’ll be choosing some of our favourite workshops for you to get involved with and along with all this there’ll be a kids space. We have our party all set to be a banger long into the night in the same space and we hope to see you there.

In the evening the Black Swan will play host to a bookfair after party of epic proportions taking us all the way through till 6am,  and raising money for anti-arms trade campaigning.

Outside the bookfair, of course, the weekend before, the Bristol Radical History Festival takes place on Sunday 6th May. You may also be interested in attending  radical/anarchist bookfairs around the UK throughout 2018

Massive apologies to stallholders, workshop hosts and anyone else that has been inconvenienced by this – we could have spotted this earlier, but it passed us by. If you have contacted us regarding a stall or a workshop, we will be in touch separately.

The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair will return in all its glory – and if you want to get involved in making sure that that happens, please contact bristolanarchistbookfair[at]riseup.net!

Useful links:
1. City Academy is managed by an Academy Trust known as Cabot Learning Federation, sponsored by Rolls Royce.
2. Rolls Royce and the Arms Trade, – see as mapped by the Campaign Against The Arms Trade.
3. Rolls Royce interview in Defence Turkey magazine.
4. Anna Campbell killed by the British armed Turkish military
5. Bristol anarchist bookfair 2018