Issue 4: A Month of Revolt in the Service Sector
Oct. 12, 2018

This mini-issue reflects on the month of revolt in the hospitality and platform work sectors. Workers at Uber/UberEats, Deliveroo, Wetherspoons, McDonalds and TGI Fridays have previously been organising, but in October they coordinated to strike on the same day. This is the first time that workers in the so-called “gig economy” have fought together with workers in the more-traditional service and hospitality sectors. For some of these groups of workers there are direct links, for example UberEats delivers food from McDonalds. Others are brought together through the experiences of low paid and precarious work, providing services that workers across the economy use - and increasingly rely upon.

At Notes from Below, we have covered the struggles of platform workers extensively in previous issues, as well as the earlier strikes at TGIFriday and an inquiry into the hospitality sector. For this mini-issue, we have drawn together a series of pieces that reflect upon the recent strikes as part of our move towards more frequent and focused inquiries. Across the five pieces, we present different takes on the day:

Fast Food Shutdown! An October 4th Preview was published before the coordinated strike action of couriers and restaurant workers, and gives an overview of the day including actions in various cities.

In Couriers’ struggle and the IWW: Reflections on October 4th Achille Marotta analyses the two recent London food platform strikes and how worker self-organisation in the sector can be developed over the coming months.

The Fast Food Shutdown involved a lot of different workforces, organised in a lot of different ways. In McNetworks: two current modes of struggle Callum Cant compares the strategies of different workforces involved in service sector revolt.

Platform strikes are hard to keep track of, particularly spread across the city without a central focus.. In The View from the Picket Line Lydia Hughes and Jamie Woodcock have collected local reports from across the UK, with the intention of giving a picket line perspective on a widespread and decentralised day of strike action.

C MacDonald’s In Service of Sweet FA is the first in a series of comics about the experience of working in pubs.

In ‘Uber, Uber you can’t hide! We can see your dirty side!’ Ben Tippet and Lydia Hughes report from the first ever Uber taxi strike.

In Paris hotel workers strike against outsourcing, written by Amandine Cailhol and Gurvan Kristanadjaja and translated by Joe Hayns and Roberto Mozzachiodi, tells the story of an ongoing struggle in Parisian luxury hotels.