Bristol IWW tweeted:
https://t.co/ZOWOAdpPdn Direct action gets the goods! Wobblies from across the South West came together yesterday to take back unpaid wages for one of our members. We won!
— Bristol IWW 🌍🛠️ (@BristolIWW) June 16, 2023
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The picket was attended by IWW members from Bristol, Devon, Cornwall and Plymouth.
The union decided to take action after the managers of the Kickin’ Caribou didn’t respond to a grievance letter.
Workers lined up outside the restaurant, waved union flags, and chanted:
Caribou, shame on you! Pay your workers what they’re due!
The picket went on for nearly an hour, receiving a good deal of attention from customers and passers-by. IWW representatives negotiated with the manager while the picket was underway.
By the end of the protest, the union had been able to secure almost £400 of unpaid wages.
‘Solidarity gets the goods’
The Canary contacted the owner of the Kickin’ Caribou for a comment. They said that a deduction had been made from the worker’s wages because of the worker quitting mid-shift. However, when faced with a noisy picket, the Kickin’ Caribou quickly agreed to pay back nearly the full reduction in wages.
Sab, who was acting as a union rep for the IWW, said in a statement:
At first the managers weren’t even there but when they found out what was happening we called them to come and meet with us, we would wait. By turning up outside the restaurant we showed that we were serious and that we wouldn’t leave with our member empty handed. We would walk the manager to a nearby cashpoint if needed.
Grey, the worker who had brought the grievance against the Kickin’ Caribou, made the following statement:
My union rep spoke with the owner on my behalf and we were able to settle on a pretty good agreement.
We settled on splitting the deductions in half so rather than the £414 owed it would be £370! Hopefully it showed the other staff that if you come together you can overcome!
I’m so grateful for today, felt very empowering and it was an incredible show of solidarity!
Grey told the Canary that the experience had impressed on them how important it was to be in a union. They said:
‘Hospitality employers think they can take the piss’
Max, the secretary of Bristol IWW, was also pleased with how the day went. They said:
It felt really great to come out to support our fellow worker in their dispute and to share a sense of togetherness with the other wobblies [IWW members]. So many hospitality employers think they can take the piss with their employees, but today really showed that solidarity is strength and that we can fight back.
The IWW concluded their statement by calling on other workers not to tolerate similar behaviour from their bosses:
Never tolerate wage theft in any form, no matter where you work. Solidarity gets the goods!
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- Attend this IWW online event on organising in your workplace on 27 June.
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