Wage theft defeated by solidarity in Sydney

Date:

An Irish anarchist reports from recent victory in Sydney against wage theft in the hospitality industry. The Sydney Solidarity Network was formed a number of years ago along the lines of the Seattle Solidarity Network.

The Back Story

SydSol and the Anarchist Syndicalist Federation–IWA were contacted by Melinda, Sheila, Suko and Ulya, working holiday makers from Indonesia who worked at a factory in May and June in Sydney and still had not been paid. They had collectively worked 34 days and were owed over $4,000, but despite promises from the boss they had not seen a cent.

Time for action

With SSN support, on 26 August the workers protested at a restaurant in Auburn in Western Sydney partially owned by the same person as the factory they had worked at. They gave out leaflets, chanted, talked to people passing by and made the situation known.

Despite some level of intimidation, and thanks to SydSol and ASF-IWA supporters as well as public support from the community, the workers were finally paid a few days later on the 29th August. This example demonstrates that collective action based on direct action and solidarity can be very powerful.

The hospitality industry, which includes workplaces like pubs, restaurants, hotels, canteens, etc is well known for abuses and exploitation whether in Sydney or Ireland. SSN's aim is to get workers of the sector together to fight back against abuses and for better conditions.

SSN says: "As workers we should defend ourselves collectively and spread a culture of solidarity among workplaces – because problems at work are collective, not individual."

"We are not solicitors, legal advisors or union officials, nor we are trying to be. We are a group of workers helping each other as equals. With this campaign we’ll attempt to organise and get the skills to face our workplace issues collectively."

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If you would like to find out more about Sydney solidarity network please see their webpage at https://sydsol.net/

For more info on building a solidarity network in your area please see https://libcom.org/library/you-say-you-want-build-solidarity-network.

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