Domino’s Pizza and Global Solidarity

Back in April, Domino’s Pizza delivery drivers in Australia had their wages slashed by 19% — overnight. The driver’s union — the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee’s Union (SDA), a yellow union which with 230,000 members is also Australia’s largest and functions as a sinecure for a small clique of right-wing Labor Party officials — agreed in May to accept this decision. The wages cut was then formally accepted at an industrial hearing at FWA in July, and further discussions between Domino’s and the union deferred until some point in the future. In effect, by not applying to have an earlier, outdated agreement rescinded, the SDA chose to actively support measures which prevented drivers from obtaining a national minimum award of $19 per hour.

While all this was going on and undeterred by the SDA, a group of Domino’s workers — members of the Brisbane branch of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation — decided to organise themselves to take action, eventually forming the ‘General Transport Workers’ Association’. After several months of rallies (May/June/July) at a number of Domino’s Pizza restaurants in Australia, last month the GTWA appealed for support from its international allies. On September 15, 2012, a Global Day of Action in solidarity with the GTWA and Domino’s drivers took place.

Below are very brief accounts of some of the events and actions organised in support; a fuller account is published on the International Workers Association / Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores (IWA-AIT) blog.

Аustralia: Pickets and solidarity meetings in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Brazil: The Brazilian Workers Confederation (COB) organized solidarity actions in Porto Alegre and São Paulo.
England: The Solidarity Federation organised protests in front of restaurants in Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, London, Manchester and elsewhere; the IWW held a picket in Sheffield.
Germany: Members of the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) picketed Domino’s restaurants in Bonn, Cologne and Langenfeld.
Spain. Solidarity actions organised by members of the CNT took place in Barcelona, Gijon, Salamanca and elsewhere.

Other actions and events took place in Auckland and Wellington (Aotearoa/New Zealand); Vancouver (Canada); Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Paris and Toulouse (France); Amsterdam (Netherlands); Oslo (Norway); Warsaw (Poland); Moscow (Russia); Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Berkeley, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Minneapolis/St.Pauli, Providence, San Francisco and Tampa (United States).

Below is the text of a leaflet by a Domino’s driver in Brisbane, distributed at events in Australia:

To all fellow Domino’s drivers, those I know already & those across Brisbane I don’t – it’s great to hear you standing up for yourselves, making yourselves heard.

I’ve seen you working & I know when April came along you didn’t slacken off by 19%. You don’t deserve this. Your labour isn’t cheap but the bosses move was. Do you remember in training those flashy videos & an excited rep telling you how your wages were industry leading? Wages they were paying while making massive profits.

I bet they didn’t tell you even then they were fighting to cut it. No flashy video for your loss huh, just a photocopied memo left out for you on short notice. And for the worst of reasons – they thought you’d lie down & just take it.

Because you’re teenagers, because you’re foreign students, because for those reasons or others just as good you knew you’d need to keep the job. Because you weren’t organized and others were speaking in your place, hanging you out to dry.

I see their game, sucking all the dough to the top & letting the rest of us fight for the crumbs. Stuff that. We’re rough enough to deal with all kinds of attitude good & bad from customers, we’re rough enough to give it back to the boss.

I say if anything we deserve a damn raise. How many years have gone by without one? Still think you could get fuel for 70c/L like when we last had one? Think everything else you pay for hasn’t gone up in that time?

Together we’re undefeatable, together we’ll find the bosses pushovers. Next time you go out on a run have a chat with another driver in the carpark, see if they’ll tell you it ain’t so.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2015 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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6 Responses to Domino’s Pizza and Global Solidarity

  1. Grumpy Cat says:

    “While all this was going on and undeterred by the SDA, a group of Domino’s workers — members of the Brisbane branch of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation — decided to organise themselves to take action, eventually forming the ‘General Transport Workers’ Association’.”
    Is this true? I thought the ASF formed the GTWA and then tried to recruit workers to it.
    From what I hear (all second hand and hearsay) there is little evidence of workers actually participating beyond the most passive of roles in this campaign. Now that might not be a problem if this is part of a plan to build a union there in the long term, but I find the misrepresentation of what is going on increasingly hard to stomach. I hope I am wrong.
    cheers
    Dave

  2. @ndy says:

    As far as I’m aware, yes: some Domino’s workers were members of the ASF-B, the wages cut was introduced in April, the ASF decided to contest it, and they then formed the GTWA — which openly declares its intention to recruit members.
    That’s my understanding anyway: I hope someone directly involved will comment.

  3. Grumpy Cat says:

    I guess it depends on what you consider a group to be! 2? 3? I would be surprised if the ASF had more than, what, 20 or 30 members nationally? If they did they would certainly win the much coveted prize of ‘biggest Anarcho-Syndicalist group in Australia since 1980′ – what a fluke that then 10% of their membership happened to work in the same place mere months after they formed in Brisbane!
    Snarky tone aside, I have emailed the ASF and I do think they need to clarify what is going on and the actual level of self-organisation of drivers in this campaign. I think there is a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes going on here.
    cheers
    Dave

  4. @ndy says:

    My rule of thumb is 3.
    Total membership is prolly something like 20 or 30 but I dunno.
    (Dunno about sit of ASF in Brisbane either.)
    I’ve invited comment.

  5. Grumpy Cat says:

    Sweet.
    I have heard a number of different stories.
    There is the promoted version which sees the GTWA arising out of the self-activity of the workers themselves and these are the people driving the campaign.
    There is what I have been told by a comrade in the ASF which acknowledges that there are different levels of activity and passivity in the campaign but is generally positive about it all.
    There is what I have been told by comrades in the BSN which says that it is non-driver comrades in the ASF that are the real force in this campaign and whilst some drivers may support these efforts they are very passive.
    There are the photos of the pickets in Brisbane which (apart from the 1st one) seem to be made up of two people (and a third holding a camera).
    cheers
    Dave

  6. @ndy says:

    The following is a full list of places where stuff happened. The WSA has published an acct of actions in the US here.

    AUSTRALASIA (6)

    Auckland, NZ: Auckland Anarchists, Auckland Action Against Poverty

    Brisbane, Queensland: ASF

    Melbourne, Victoria: ASF

    Perth, WA: IWW

    Sydney, NSW: ASF, IWW

    Wellington, NZ: AWSM

    EUROPE (33)

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands: ASB, Anarchist Group Amsterdam

    Besonne, France: CNTF

    Bratislava, Slovakia: Priama Akcia

    Brighton, England: SolFed

    Bristol, England: SolFed

    Bonn, Germany: FAU

    Caen, France: CNTF

    Clermont, France: CNTF

    Cologne, Germany: FAU

    Elche, Spain: CNT

    Enghien-les-Bains, France: CNTF

    Gijon, Spain: CNT

    Leeds, England: IWW, AF

    Lagenfeld, Germany: FAU

    Madrid, Spain: CNT

    Malaga, Spain: CNT

    Manchester, England: SolFed, AF

    Mataro, Spain: CNT

    Moscow, Russia: KRAS

    Nanterre, France: CNTF

    Oslo, Norway: NSF

    Paris, France: SUD

    Pau, France: CNTF

    Premia de Mar, Spain: CNT

    Sabadell, Spain: CNT

    Salamanca, Spain: CNT

    Sartrouville, France: CNTF

    Sheffield, England: IWW

    Southampton, England: SolFed

    South London, England: SolFed

    Toulouse, France: CNTF

    Vigo, Spain: CNT

    Warsaw, Poland: ZSP

    NORTH AMERICA (8)

    Berkeley, California: IWW, WSA

    Lansing, Michigan: Lansing Workers Centre

    Long Beach, California: IWW, WSA

    Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota: IWW

    Missoula, Montana: WSA, Zootown Solidarity Network

    Nanaimo, British Columbia: IWW

    Providence, Rhode Island: IWW, WSA

    Tampa, Florida: IWW

    SOUTH AMERICA (3)

    Porto Alegre, Brazil: COB

    Rosario, Argentina: FORA

    Sao Paolo, Brazil: COB

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