Interview Series: Workers’ Power during the Lockdown

Dear friends,

‘Let’s get rooted’ invites you to take part in a series of interviews about the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the situation at work and how the current movements against police violence reverberate where we work.

Interviews are at the centre of getting organised to struggle for better conditions. We think we have a lot to learn from other workers and we think being interviewed and taking part in detailed conversations can also help us to look at our own workplace from new perspectives.

Like in any crisis, the normal power relations between workers and bosses is shaken up. With the interviews we want to understand what conflicts have emerged since the lockdown; to what extent workers have had to take over more control in order to make work safe or possible at all; how the economic crisis has changed things at work; if the bosses can use the crisis to squeeze us more or pay us less; and of course, if new possibilities for collective organising have emerged.

We think that in the coming months there will be a massive build up of tension around wages. The lockdown has revealed to many low paid workers in the ‘essential sectors’ that they have social power. They may come out of the lockdown more confident. At the same time, unemployment is increasing and the bosses will try to use this to put pressure on wages from above. We don’t want campaigns and quick answers, rather we want to understand the actual balance of power at work.

We therefore plan to interview workers from various sectors: from delivery drivers, factory and office workers to teachers, tube drivers, social workers, NHS staff, charity volunteers and school students. We will highlight differences and commonalities within our class.

We hope to gather and edit the interviews and publish them on our blog and perhaps publish them as a pamphlet. The interviews will be anonymous and we’ll take care not to publish information that could put people at risk. Feel free to use the questionaire below to write up a report yourself or to ask us to interview you, which can be easier and more fruitful. Feel free to circulate this proposal to other co-workers and friends.

In solidarity

Comrades from
‘Let’s get rooted’

letsgetrooted.wordpress.com
letsgetrooted@protonmail.com

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Where do you work? What does your work and workplace look like?

What happened when the Covid-19 pandemic started becoming public knowledge? How did your co-workers talk about it? What did management do, health and safety or otherwise? Where people happy with that?

What happened after the official lockdown?

What happened with the amount of work and the number of workers during the lockdown? Did you have more work to do? Did you have new tasks to do? Did management have a plan for this or did you have to improvise?

What happened to the general conditions during the lockdown: wages, working times, shifts etc.?

Did relations between co-workers change during that time? The relationship with management? The relationship with customers, patients, other members of ‘the public’? If so, how?

Did many people went off sick? If so, how did management react? How was work done with less staff?

What were the main conflicts during the lockdown? How were they solved or not?

Did the union play a role?

What was better at work during the lockdown? What worse?

Has the source of income of your household changed? Benefits? Other jobs? Other ways to make money?

How did your household cope with childcare during the school closure? Did family relations change?

Did you take part in or used mutual aid groups or other charities during lockdown? What about your workmates?

Has management announced that certain changes will stay in place? What are they? How do workers think about this?

Have there been job cuts or have new people been hired?

What do people discuss about the Covid-19 crisis? How do they see the government and the lockdown? What do they think about the future?

Was there any discussion about ‘what is essential work’ and its position in society?

Do you think workers at your workplace come out of this stronger or weaker? As a group?

Have you heard about strikes in the UK or in other countries against the lack of health and safety or other crisis related reasons?

Have you discussed the uprising in the US against police violence at work? What do people think?

Do you think the uprising has relevance for the situation in the UK? At your workplace?

What do you think of this interview?

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