Trade unions


Power on the picket line: remembering the Burnsall Strike

8 July 2021 Almost 30 years on, Sarbjit Johal recalls supporting the strike, which consisted of mostly Punjabi women workers

Review – The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain

6 July 2021 Laura Pidcock, former MP for North West Durham, reviews the new book by Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson in the shadow of Brexit and deindustrialisation

What’s at stake for the left in Unite’s General Secretary election? An interview with Steve Turner and Sharon Graham

3 July 2021 As the election of a new General Secretary for Britain's biggest trade union gets underway, Red Pepper speaks to left candidates Steve Turner and Sharon Graham.

A protestor wearing a 'no one is illegal' badge stands with raised first in front of a group of police officers

Direct action and the decrepit British establishment

14 June 2021 Faced with an authoritarian government and decaying left-wing establishment, grassroots movements must turn to direct action, writes Rohan Rice

Not ready for take-off

7 June 2021 The trade unionists of the skies have been saving jobs as their industry taxis on the runway, writes Sean Meleady

The shirkers united will never be defeated

8 December 2020 Nic Murray argues the need for collective solidarity and organising amongst welfare claimants as Covid-19’s economic fallout threatens to render thousands jobless

Frontline workers and Covid-19: support staff and the neoliberal university

24 November 2020 Max O’Donnell-Savage explains how university support staff are forced to risk their lives – while ensuring campuses are 'Covid-19 secure' for students

Review – Why You Should Be A Trade Unionist by Len McCluskey

17 November 2020 Best look elsewhere if you want to truly understand the need for trade unionism in the 21st century, warn a collective of Unite members

Frontline workers and Covid-19: the view from till two

15 November 2020 Retail worker Tillie describes her experiences of the pandemic – and explains why the retail workers’ union is campaigning against abuse

Pints, patriotism and precarity

14 October 2020 Oli Carter-Esdale explores the weaponisation of the pint and asks: where next for the hospitality sector?

Power plays: the rise of game worker unions

6 October 2020 Amid global economic crisis, business is booming in the gaming industry. It's time to step up the fight for worker's rights, Emma Kinema tells Marzena Zukowska

A tribute to Mike Cooley

14 September 2020 Co-creator of the Lucas Plan, Mike showed how the immense talent of workers could be deployed for social use rather than private profit, writes Phil Asquith

The World Transformed is back – and it’s never been needed more

10 August 2020 #TWT20 is officially open for registration. Hope Worsdale writes about why it's returning as a digital-first, month-long festival this September

Swords into ploughshares; planes into ventilator parts

5 June 2020 The speedy switch in from producing airplane wings to ventilator parts at a north Wales factory holds out an example for a transition to a low-carbon economy, writes Hilary Wainwright

Back in action: report on the US labour movement

16 May 2020 After years of decline, the US labour movement is showing signs of life. Sarah Jaffe reports

The politics of Covid-19: a crisis for cleaners

14 May 2020 Cleaners are being ignored in the government’s provision of a safety-net during the pandemic. The current crisis is rooted in a long history of domestic work being made invisible, writes Laura Schwartz

Jeremy Corbyn and front bench holding copies of the 2019 manifesto

Election 2019: An ambitious, agenda-setting and credible manifesto

29 November 2019 The 2017 Labour election manifesto was good but the 2019 version is the document we’ve really been waiting for, argues Mike Phipps

The NHS has become complicit in the exploitation of migrant workers

18 October 2019 As a wave of strikes is planned across London, Petros Elia – an organiser with the United Voices of the World Union, outlines racist outsourcing practices that implicate some of our biggest ‘socially responsible’ employers

Anti-migrant politics weakens the workers’ movement

3 April 2019 On both the left and the right, people pit migrants' rights against workers' rights. That attitude only serves the interests of the powerful, writes Amardeep Dhillon.

Fast food fighters

29 January 2019 The bakers’ union president Ian Hodson spoke to Red Pepper about the new forms of organising that have enabled the union, founded in 1847, to begin to grow again.

There is power in a union

14 January 2019 A fast-growing grassroots union is shaking up the way trade unions organise among the lowest paid and most marginalised workers. Shiri Shalmy reports

The rise of the student worker

10 January 2019 The student population today is unrecognisable from that of a generation or more ago, writes Matt Myers. And it is central to any socialist project for the future.

Welcome to the crowd

17 December 2018 Six Silberman writes on the new horizons of digital platform labour

What can academics learn from the Lucas Plan?

22 November 2018 With the right organising and the right plan, UCU workers can transform universities from within. By David Ridley

Westminster’s democracy is crumbling. Trade unionists must lead the charge to fix it

17 September 2018 Nancy Platts writes that the workers' movement needs to challenge unaccountable power.

Precarious workers and popular forces

5 September 2018 The essential question for a socialist government is: are you willing to defend yourself? By Callum Cant

Why I’m striking for sick pay, pensions and a fair wage for cleaners like me

22 August 2018 Suzete Tinto Avez Gomes was severely injured whilst working at Kensington and Chelsea council, but her employer refuses to grant her adequate support or sick pay.

‘We are the Lions, Mr Vice-Chancellor.’

25 June 2018 David Ridley explores the vital fight for union recognition - from Grunwick factory workers to precarious University contractors.

Tyranny of the Mechanical Turk: The rise and rise of digital platform work

18 June 2018 Menial digital labour is being outsourced to the four corners of the globe. Robbie Warin reports that exploitation flourishes whilst global companies file millions in profit.

New battlegrounds in the class war

8 June 2018 Joe Hayns talks to Kim Moody about how global capital is reshaping the terrain of class struggle - and how workers are adapting.

Why I’m on McStrike: ‘£10 an hour would change our lives’

1 May 2018 Joshua Khan, 18, explains why he's joining today's McStrike and shares his experiences of working at his local branch in Watford

Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!

3 September 2017 McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank

Secrets and spies of Scotland Yard

23 March 2017 A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh

Digital labourers of the city, unite!

17 March 2017 It may seem as though these apps are working for us, but we are also working for the apps, writes Kurt Iveson

LSE cleaners’ strike: Don’t let Women’s History Month become Groundhog Day

15 March 2017 It's over 100 years ago that domestic workers began to organise to demand the same rights as other workers. Yet with LSE cleaners on strike this week, historian Laura Schwartz asks: how much has really changed?

Utopia: Work less play more

18 January 2017 A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

What if the workers were in control?

21 November 2016 Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry

Davey Hopper: union man

8 November 2016 Huw Beynon reflects on the life of his friend and comrade Davey Hopper, the tough and imaginative Durham miners’ leader, who died in July

The battle behind the blacklisting victory

13 May 2016 John Millington writes on how blacklisted workers won – and where the campaign is going next

Biting lions: remembering the Grunwick strike 40 years on

11 April 2016 As the 40th anniversary of the Grunwick strike approaches, Sujata Aurora looks at its legacy and lessons for today

Greek dock workers feel betrayed by Syriza’s broken promises

7 March 2016 Dock workers in Greece are striking against further privatisations as Syriza's popularity tumbles, writes Will Horner

Jeremy Hardy thinks… about Trident

20 February 2016 'Nuclear weapons cannot be seen purely as a source of jobs'

Bang on target: a brief union history of arms conversion

11 September 2015 Whatever follows the Labour elections, some policies must not return to the backburner - the time has come to look at arms conversion again. Phil Asquith starts from the beginning

Beating the blacklist

1 June 2015 Dave Smith spoke to Ewa Jasiewicz about his fight against the corporate blacklists that keep union activists out of a job

Biting the hand that refuses to feed

1 August 2014 Care workers in Doncaster have taken up the cudgels against privatisation in Ed Miliband’s backyard. Dave Honeybone reports

Labourstart Global Solidarity Conference opens this Friday in Berlin

20 May 2014 Trade unionists from across the globe to meet to share ideas and strategies and to build transnational links

Beating the blacklisters

14 November 2013 A police raid exposing the scale of worker surveillance within the construction industry galvanised workers to take action. Ewa Jasiewicz speaks to those organising against the blacklisters.

Persuading the unpersuaded – Frances O’Grady interview

6 September 2013 As Frances O’Grady prepares to give the first speech by a woman TUC general secretary to its annual Congress, Red Pepper spoke to her about the challenges facing the trade union movement today

Winning at Walmart

7 June 2013 The OUR Walmart campaign has been shaking up labour organising in the US. As they prepared for their current strike, Alex Wood spent a month with the people behind a new kind of fightback

The Brighton pay dispute: the union view

11 May 2013 GMB union organiser Rob Macey puts the workers' side of the argument



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