For the last few months the Solidarity Federation (SF) has been involved in supporting a victimised former Office Angels temporary worker. The person involved had worked for Office Angels last December but was still owed wages by the company. The SF had organised a number of pickets in an attempt to force Office Angels to pay the money they owed. As part of the campaign against Office Angels the SF organized a week of action in Britain to be followed by an IWA week of action at the end of May.
The week of action went ahead from Monday 9 May till Sunday 15 May and was a tremendous success with pickets of Office Angels offices being organised across the UK. By the Wednesday of the week of action Office Angels were forced to issue a public statement claiming that they had not received time sheets from the worker involved and that was the reason he had not been paid. By the Friday they had had enough and began to inform pickets that they were now willing to pay all the outstanding wages owed to the person involved.
This is a great victory. Office Angels is a British subsidiary of the giant Adecco Company, the largest temp agency in the world with over 5,500 branches in more than 60 countries, employing some 700,000 temporary workers each day. The fact that such a massive company was forced to pay the wages they owed demonstrates yet again the power of direct action.
But for the Solidarity Federation this victory is just a small start. There are currently more than one million temporary workers in the UK and they represent one of the most exploited sections of the British working class. The reformist unions in Britain with their corporatist approach based on social partnership have totally failed to defend temporary workers. Through our methods of direct action the Solidarity Federation in the future aims to begin to offer temporary workers an alternative to the miserable efforts of the reformist trade unions.
We would like to finish by thanking the IWA for all their support during the Office Angels dispute which has shown again that through solidarity and direct action the workers can win against even the most powerful of companies.
Long live the IWA!!
IS of Solidarity Federation-IWA