Women and the union – A factory in west-London

Angry Workers of the World

UnknownWe wrote this for fellow workers of the IWW New Syndicalist: https://newsyndicalist.org/2018/11/19/tmm3-women-the-factory-and-the-union/

Women make up around 60% of the 800 workers in my factory. They are all migrant women – older women mainly from Gujarat and Sri Lanka, younger women from Eastern Europe. In the 1970s, 58% of all Indian women in the U.K. worked in manufacturing. This huge figure still seems true in my part of west London. They form the lowest rung of the labour market, while at the same time, its backbone. The wages are low, hovering around the minimum wage, the hours long, and the work is tough.

In my workplace, which makes ready meals for all the major supermarkets, the work roles are mostly strictly gendered. Only women work on the assembly line, unless there is a machine that needs to be operated, in which case, a man steps in. This machine usually only requires you…

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