Tech workers organised by Unite have been on strike since 22 February, taking action against attacks on wages and conditions.
In October, London-based letting platform Goodlord announced that its employees would be offered new contracts to replace their current temporary ones. On average, workers were hit with a 20% pay reduction, on top of other cuts to maternity, holiday, and sick pay.
Goodlord bosses attempted to justify this by claiming that since these workers are now working from home, they are no longer required to live in London – and therefore don’t require a London wage!
Workers at Goodlord saw this excuse as a blatant attempt by the bosses to cover their own backs.
In an interview with Socialist Appeal activists on the picket line, striking worker Scott explained: “They said move out of London or just find another job. That is not acceptable to us.”
Strike and struggle
This ‘fire-and-rehire’ tactic has become increasingly popular amongst bosses everywherein recent months, as the capitalist class scrambles to ensure greater profits. This example is just one of many cases that offer a glimpse of the struggles to come, as the crisis of capitalism intensifies.
For the last eight weeks, striking workers have been holding demonstrations and regular pickets outside of the offices of Goodlord’s clients, alongside running a social media campaign to put pressure on the bosses.
Campaigners are also looking to organise a student boycott of the online services that Goodlord provides to various estate agents.
From talking to different strikers on the picket line, it is clear that a majority of the Goodlord workers had never been on strike before; nor had they previously joined a union, until the dispute.
The militant action from these young workers – in an industry ill-famed for its low union membership – shows the speed at which events can develop, even in non-unionised workplaces, in this turbulent epoch.
Solidarity and support
Despite a lack of response from management, morale amongst strikers is still high. One striker said: “We are at a standstill with management…but we’re going to keep being out here. We’ll keep picketing until they give us a living wage.”
The strike was initially planned to last two weeks. But it quickly escalated into an indefinite action. And organisers are already planning to re-ballot in June.
As the crisis deepens, new layers of young workers are going to be thrown into struggles just like that faced by workers at Goodlord.
The trade unions must support workers as they take militant action and fight back against the bosses. Only through this organisation, support, and solidarity can workers ensure victory.