The Sydney Solidarity Network is an all-volunteer group of workers, students and unemployed people, and we have come together to take a stand against employers and landlords who take advantage of and mistreat us. We want to fight against things like underpayment, stolen wages, landlords who refuse to repair our homes, and other problems that people like us face in our everyday lives. And, importantly, we want to win, and to work together to end these problems and improve our lives.
When someone contacts us with a problem, we’re happy to respond and to have some of our members meet up with them to find out what’s going on. Then we’ll take it to the rest of the group, and decide whether we’re able to help. If there’s a clear injustice that has been committed, and it seems like something we’d be able to make a difference around, then it’s likely that we’ll take the issue on.
The next step is to work out a specific demand that addresses the problem, and to build a campaign to win this demand. Our main tactic is collective action, meaning that we get organised to fight for our goals together, without relying on lawyers or other ‘experts’ to solve our problems for us. To get an idea of what this looks like, have a look at some of the stories on our home page, or watch this excellent short video put together by the Seattle Solidarity Network in the US, which outlines one of their fights against stolen wages at a restaurant.
All of our members are volunteers – ordinary working people just like anyone else. So when someone contacts us for help, we expect them to take an active part in their own struggle, and to help others in future struggles. We want to empower ourselves and others to become more confident in fighting for our rights, and become a stronger and more powerful force to win greater improvements in our lives.
Throughout our lives we have all faced unfair treatment from our employers and landlords. Trying to fight this unfairness alone is often ineffective and even harmful. Together, however, we can be a force to be reckoned with. If you’re getting ripped off, or just want to work with us to make things better for others, then get in touch and let’s fight to win.
It’s great that you are encouraging direct action against employers who are exploiting workers who have been underpaid. Isn’t it critical to also organise those workers still employed so that the systemic problems of worker exploitation can be addressed? When running these campaigns I hope you also talk to those workers currently employed and encourage them to be active in their Union, or join if they’re not already a member.
I’d be interested in some views on this.
Thanks for the comment and sorry for the late reply.
Yes, we think that workers currently employed also can and should fight, with or without us, and more generally self-organise.