Thursday, September 11, 2008

Last August 21 IWW member and cinema worker at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield UK was fired from his job for his union organizing activities. The British IWW is planning both an actual picket on September 12 and and phone-in and email campaign in solidarity with this worker. If you live in the UK you may want to participate in the phone campaign. If you live elsewhere in the world you might like to send a protest email tomorrow. For more information contact the IWW UK website or the main IWW website. Here are the details of the call to action.
Call out of the E-picket in support of sacked worker Chris Lockwood:
On the 21st August Chris Lockwood, union organiser and member of the Industrial Workers of the World was fired from his bar job at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield (UK). This has been part of a long campaign by management of picking off and isolating workers who have voiced objections to recent changes that have worsened the conditions of all who work there. The Showroom cinema is a registered charity and claims to be an "investor in people", yet has consistently attacked workers pay and conditions with the sole aim of greater profits. We believe that every worker (no matter what the industry) is entitled to respect and should be organised to defend themselves in the work place. Chris’ firing represents a direct and illegal attack against union organising. Management have refused our request to review his dismissal so on the 12th of September members of the Industrial Workers of the World will be picketing the Showroom cinema to demand the immediate reinstatement of Chris Lockwood.
To happen alongside the actual picket on the 12th September from 10am til 1am on the 13th we are calling for an email and phone blockade on the showroom cinema.
Either telephone (+44) 0114 276 3534 and ask to speak to Julie Simpson (or a member of the senior management team) about the dismissal of Chris Lockwood.
If you can, call througout the day, and raise new points each time, maybe:
- Irregularity of his dismissal
- Disrespect towards legitimate trade union organising and requests from the Union to discuss things
- the contradiction of an ethical business being so unethical
- That you are willing to raise this issue with their sponsors and supporters in the Independent Cinema Network and will continue to do so until you feel it is resolved.
Mock conversation 1
Cinema: Hello showroom cinema?
Supporter: Hello, my name is [xxxxxx] and i'd like to make a complaint. Could I speak to Julie Simpson please?
C: She's not in right now, how can I help you?
S: Could I speak to a member of the senior management team?
Manager: Hello?
S: Hello, my name is [xxxx] and I'd like to make a complaint.
M: I'm sorry to hear that, regarding what?
S: I'd like to make an offical complaint about the sacking of Chris Lockwood in August, and the anti-union practices going on at The Showroom. I think the nature of his dismissal was false, and that he was sacked for being a member of a union. Prejudice against a union is a serious indictment of a workplace - unions are there to help workers, especially low paid workers like those at showroom. They do things like make sure safety is upheld and that employment law is being followed. So if you are trying to prevent unions from being in your business it suggests to me that their must be some bad practice going on.
M: that's really not the case, Chris was sacked for [they make some defence]
S: Obviously there are two sides to the story and I'm just going by what i've read in the papers. But until you come to some kind of agreement with the union I'm afraid I cannot patronise your business and will continue to raise this issue with your sponsor and fellow members of the Independent Cinema Network.
M: OK, we have made a record of your complaint.
S: Thanks for your time - I'll continue to follow this dispute and I'm sure you'll resolve it responsibly soon.
Mock conversation 2
Cinema: Hello showroom cinema?
Supporter: Hello, could I speak to Julie Simpson please?
C: She's not in right now, how can i help you?
S: Could I speak to a member of the senior management team regarding their ethical policy? My name is [xxxx].
Manager: Hello?
S: Hello I was wondering if you could describe your ethical policy? Are you 'fair trade'?
M: [whatever]
S: Well, I'd like to ask how that square with the dismissal of Chris Lockwood who you sacked in August. Is it true you sacked him for being a member of a union?
[from this point you'll be in some form of debate/argument, just be polite and remember to say you'll be following the situation from this point on]
If all supporters ring in to complain at this time, it will increase the volume of calls to the point of a perfectly legal blockade. This is not a phone directory, all it takes is a few people to call repeatedly from 13.25 onwards. Obviously it will be engaged cos others are ringing, so call back and back until you get through.
Its best to start emailing now, so that they have a backlog at 10.00, but the 13.25 options is there as well. Don't title all your emails the same, perhaps title them 'showings' or 'employment'.
copy and paste the following email and send to,, and
Template email:
To whom it may concern,
I am contacting you today to register my protest against the illegal dismissal of Chris Lockwood. Chris is a union organiser and member of the Industrial Workers of the World and has been discriminated against on this basis. A member of senior management has stated in conversation to a union delegate that you believe Chris’ dismissal to be fair because he was only a “casual” labourer. This may be how you chose to label those who work just above minimum wage in your bar and cinema. I, however, believe that workers are entitled to respect in their workplace and the right to organise. The clearly trumped up charges (and failure to follow statutory procedure) represents an illegal move by your management team against union organising. I will not support or patronise your business and will do everything in my power to publicise and protest your actions until the complete reinstatement of Chris Lockwood.
Yours Faithfully,

No comments: