Workers Can Win
A Guide to Organising at Work
A nuts-and-bolts guide to organising your workplace
The Covid, climate and cost of living crises all hang heavy in the air. It's more obvious than ever that we need radical social and political change. But in the vacuum left by defeated labour movements, where should we begin? For longtime workplace activist Ian Allinson, the answer is clear: organising at work is essential to rebuild working-class power.
The premise is simple: organising builds confidence, capacity and collective power - and with power we can win change. Workers Can Win is an essential, practical guide for rank-and-file workers and union activists. Drawing on more than 20 years of organising experience, Allinson combines practical techniques with an analysis of the theory and politics of organising and unions.
The book offers insight into tried and tested methods for effective organising. It deals with tactics and strategies, and addresses some of the roots of conflict, common problems with unions and the resistance of management to worker organising. As a 101 guide to workplace organising with politically radical horizons, Workers Can Win is destined to become an essential tool for workplace struggles in the years to come.
Ian Allinson has been a workplace activist since 1991, working for a private sector employer which didn’t recognise a union for most workers, and where he led a number of strikes including the first national strike in the IT industry. He served ten years on the national Executive Committees of Amicus and Unite, and was a candidate for Unite General Secretary in 2017. He is currently industrial action coordinator on the executive committee of Manchester TUC, where he was previously President.
Colin Revolting’s cartoons have been published by New Musical Express and the Ramblers Association. Colin has twice been dismissed for organising at work – once in a large public institution and later in a small charity. He is still trying to organise at work, hence the pseudonym.
'Just at the time when workers are mobilising to tackle the economic and climate crises we all face, this invaluable handbook comes along to provide an essential guide to winning'- John McDonnell MP
'Drawing on years of experience, Unite activist Ian Allinson has written an organising handbook that will be invaluable for rank and file organisers and trade union professionals alike. He offers timely, concrete analysis and advice that will be an aid to activists across the trade union movement'- Kim Moody, author and founder of 'Labor Notes'
'In the age of climate breakdown, militant worker organising is as urgent as ever. Workers and environmentalists share a common enemy in the capitalist class and Allinson gives us all a powerful guide of how to effectively organise for social change from our workplaces'- Chris Saltmarsh, co-founder of Labour for a Green New Deal and author of 'Burnt: Fighting for Climate Justice'
‘A must read for every trade union activist‘- Lyn-Marie O’Hara, Glasgow equal pay striker
‘Workplaces are key sites of struggle against the hostile environment for migrants, and so to tackle these injustices against migrants we need strong unions. ‘Workers Can Win’ is a readable, practical guide for organising at work and building the power we need to fight back against oppression’- Ida Jarsve, co-founder, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
‘A vital resource for anyone serious about taking part in trade union work at any level, and also extremely useful for anyone working for positive change in their community‘- Brendan Montague, editor of ‘The Ecologist’
‘Workers have needed a practical, positive, accessible guide to organising in Britain for a long time and Ian, using his vast experience in the area has created just that. It will be a valuable resource for union representatives and organisers wanting to grow their branch and union!‘- Sarah Woolley, General Secretary, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union
'This book is just brilliant. It is not only packed full of invaluable advice and practical tips for anybody organising in the workplace, but it is also hopeful. Crucially, it offers an accessible political analysis of why it is so important for working class people to build power in the workplace and beyond, demystifying the process as it goes'- Laura Pidcock, National Secretary of The People's Assembly
2. Why organise at work?
3. Starting out
4. Servicing, advocacy, mobilising and organising
5. Choosing and communicating about issues
6. How to organise
7. Using your rights
8. Planning action
9. Industrial and direct action
10. Management mischief
11. Dealing with your union
12. Overcoming difficulties and limitations
eBook ISBN: 9780745347837
140mm x 216mm