TRADE unions are “coming together” to organise precarious workplaces “without getting worried about each other pinching our members,” union leader Ronnie Draper has said.
In an interview with the Morning Star, Mr Draper — the head of bakers’ union BFAWU — said his campaign for bumped-up pay and enhanced conditions for fast food workers could inspire struggles across smaller workplaces.
“If you think about it, fast food workers are probably the most disadvantaged in the workplace,” he said. “If you imagine how many hundreds of thousands are employed in it.”
He likened BFAWU’s attempts to organise such workplaces with recent efforts in cinemas, hotels and retail warehouses including those operated by Asos and Sports Direct.
Mr Draper said these employers were “exploiting young people in particular.”
He warned that widespread low pay could lead to systemic problems in the British economy in decades to come.
“I believe what we’re sowing now, we will reap in 20 or 30 years,” adding that “the whole system of welfare is going to break down.”
But on a more positive note Mr Draper also said that unions are now banding together to fight against attacks on workers.
“We’ve got unions coming together on campaigns to support each other, without getting worried about each other pinching our members.
“You can double the size of your team that’s out organising.”
As well as the recent success in organising large workplaces, Mr Draper suggested that a similar model of trade unionism would also work in smaller businesses such as “shoe shops” and “bootmakers” who are also “getting away with poverty wages.”