On the 1st May, a coalition of groups came together in Brighton to hold a ‘Precarious Mayday’ night demonstration to support and develop worker self-organisation in the city. The coalition calling the demonstration was made up of precarious academic staff from the university, supermarket workers and Deliveroo riders (organised in the IWGB base union) alongside students from a rent strike mobilising group, an occupied social centre and two political collectives (Plan C and SolFed).
All the workers in this coalition have been let down by the big unions – either they’ve been sold out, the union works with the bosses, or their sector is considered too difficult to organise. Now we are proving that working together as a self-organised class is a viable alternative. Social movements, too, have shown how making common cause with workers can increase the strength of all our demands.
The demonstration began at 7pm, and about 100 people took over the city centre with pyro and a sound system, despite an usually heavy police presence. The demo also confronted the Ephesus restaurant, which is refusing to pay workers the minimum wage, and demanded fair treatment and a right to self-organisation.
Since the demonstration, the Circus street social centre has been evicted by the police. The state continues to crack down on occupied spaces in the city to prevent us building the infrastructure we need to further develop a movement. However, even with this opposition, victories are being won: Deliveroo riders say that their average wages continue to rise as a result of their organisation.
Vice UK came along and talked to some workers – you can listen to the podcast here.