“Management mocked us but we had the last laugh” – Wetherspoons strike leader speaks out
It’s hard to imagine that only two months ago we made history by going out on strike.
It’s even harder to imagine that our workplace is now leagues better as a result. We fought for a real living wage, an abolition of youth rates and union recognition. It’s incredible to say our pay rise was brought forwards, we are now on a higher rate of pay in Brighton and the 18-20 pay band has been abolished. Internal rota and management issues have also been resolved.
Nobody believed the pub sector could be organised into unions and we proved otherwise.
For weeks, our announcement of union-balloted strike action was mocked by management but we pressed on. We knew we had the chance to improve conditions at work. We did.
The midnight walkout was dreamlike. Months and years of built up frustration within all of us being mistreated and undervalued was finally unleashed. We welcomed our co-workers out of each pub to rapturous applause and support from the public, Labour party, and countless media. It’s impossible to explain how surreal the atmosphere was, as words don’t cover it.
Now our day of strike action had officially begun, it was easy to get lost in the moment. We were being addressed by our local MPs, trade union officials, activist groups and the like out of pure solidarity. All the while being interviewed, photographed and cheered. It was overwhelming but it felt amazing to finally see we did have support. It was nationwide, with solidarity rallies in major towns and cities. It justified all the sacrifices we made.
Looking forward, the future is exciting. We managed to achieve so much when in reality only two pubs went on strike. Imagine what we can achieve industry-wide as our movement grows?
You don’t have to put up with zero hour contracts, poverty pay, bullying, or victimisation just because that’s ‘how the industry is’. As a collective, we get to determine how our industry is. Worker’s rights are never handed to you, they have to be fought for from the grassroots up. It is only in a union that your voice may be heard.
Join our battle for better conditions in the industry. Readers can get in touch on Twitter @SpoonStrike, Facebook /SpoonStrike and email email@example.com
* Like this story? Please support our work here.