Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Uk Report on Starbucks ' protest
UK action against Starbucks
IWW organizing expands throughout UK, Europe.
By Diane Krauthamer
On August 18, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and No Sweat held a successful National Day of Action against Starbucks, with demonstrations in ten cities throughout the UK, including Glasgow, Leeds, Edinburgh, Leicester and London.
Keywords: Starbucks Union, National, Human Rights, Labor, Corporations,
Despite Starbucks’ international union-busting attempts, workers and their supporters are telling the company that they are not backing down. Increased organizing and support is growing like wildfire throughout Europe and the U.S., and this past weekend proved once again that the struggle is far from over.
On August 18, 2007, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and No Sweat held a successful National Day of Action against Starbucks, with demonstrations in ten cities across the UK, including Glasgow, Leeds, Edinburgh, Leicester and London.
Although the company has more than 500 stores with over 5,000 workers and continues to expand in the UK, management is growing nervous as negative publicity surrounding their unfair labor practices increases regionally.
In London, small groups spent the morning distributing informational leaflets to baristas at both Starbucks and Caffé Nero, another major UK coffee chain with working conditions that parallel those of Starbucks. Starbucks baristas are paid just above the minimum wage and are subject to excessive working hours and unpaid overtime. Additionally, baristas must work at a relentless pace, resulting in repetitive strain injuries.
By 2 PM, the groups convened in front of the New Oxford Street Starbucks, a busy shopping district in the central city. More than 30 people spent the windy Saturday afternoon protesting and distributing information to customers, workers and onlookers. In addition to the dozens of protesters, undercover police officers and regional management also made a presence at the event. Two police officers were spotted across the street from the demo, illegally taking photos of individuals from the IWW and No Sweat.
One of the managers, wearing a beige sweater as a feeble attempt to conceal his company t-shirt, sat inside the store “reading a newspaper” while keeping the protest under surveillance. When I asked him if he was there to protest, he said he just wanted to make sure that nothing would “get out of hand.” He admitted that the company had already known about the protest beforehand, despite the fact that the protest location was only communicated over email, and not made public.
The manager asked if we were planning any other demonstrations, and when everyone packed up to go home, he followed the group down the street.
As Starbucks' headquarters in Seattle is advising regional management in the UK to embark on campaigns of surveillance and intimidation—as they have done in the U.S., France and Germany—workers are not backing down. Many baristas showed interest in joining the union, and many potential customers turned away from the store when they received information about the company’s practices. Continued harassment is evidence that the company who sets the world's coffee industry standard feels threatened by the power of radical unionizing and solidarity that continues to expand across international borders
By Diane Krauthamer firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.iww.org
Posted by UNITY at 05:18