Recent blog posts
Workers' Inquiry in the Logistics and Warehouse Sector in London Planning London September 26
Meeting on Workers' Inquiry in the Logistics and Warehouse Sector in London
We are planning a militant worker inquiry in the distribution networks around West-London. The initial plan is to continue to research and discuss the situation in the global and local logistics and warehouse sector, to get jobs in strategically interesting places and to potentially make some interventions. Of course all this would be decided by those who choose to join.
The global dispersion of production has succeeded in limiting the power of the working class in the US and Western Europe. This dispersion of the production process was only possible through a massive expansion of transport and logistics, which in turn has led to the re-concentration of workers in supply-chains and warehouses. In London this has resulted in tens of thousands of people, mostly immigrant, female, and minimal waged, being employed at the eastern and western boundaries of London, both around the 'London Gateway' port and in Park Royal and other industrial areas attached to Heathrow airport.
This mobile and 'multi-skilled' workforce reflect a broader condition of labour, namely that of a large 'low wage sector' in Europe enforced through minimum wages, wage freezes, changes to work contracts, benefits and workfare programs. This has resulted in the re-emergence of a condition in which many working class households have little to no money left towards the end of the month.
But these logistics and warehouse workers are specially located both in their importance for production and in their multiple connections to other workers. Current strikes in huge Walmart warehouses and ports in California and migrant workers strikes around Ikea's biggest distribution centre in Italy are indicators for an emerging collective confidence and these struggles happen in a very global dimension.
These workers are in a situation of potential power to break the chain. And given that they are not a ‘professional’ group, that they are mobile and that their workplace is connected to supermarkets and retail stores, struggles in these distribution centres could also disseminate a general class anger towards the low wage existence in London.
Please come to a discussion about the logistics and warehouse sector, the practice of the workers inquiry and our project in particular. Everyone welcome. And if you want to pick up some free copies of the new issue of AWW (see link), just pop by.