Student Workers Network
The Student Workers Network is a student initiative aiming to provide support, information and practical aid to fellow students in work. It has been launched because of the experiences many students have had whilst employed. The jobs in which students are often employed are low paid, short term and unskilled, and it is workers in these kinds of jobs who are most regularly abused and exploited. Common form of abuse include lack of legally mandated breaks, withheld pay, unpaid overtime and workplace bullying. We have found that clear information about workers’ rights is difficult to find, and that bosses know this and regularly exploit workers’ ignorance. Therefore, the Student Workers’ Network aims to make this information available.
We can also facilitate support for student workers through the York branch of IWW, which will provide workplace representation to workers regardless of membership. The IWW have had successes in helping individuals in York exercise their workplace rights, winning local workers £70,000 in withheld back pay, and having unfairly dismissed staff reinstated after workplace intervention. In this way, we can mediate on site representation and legal aid for student workers who may not have considered approaching a union. Despite its name, the Industrial Workers of the World is not exclusive to those working in the manufacturing industry, but is open to anyone. It works on the principle of grassroots democratic action, and is not affiliated with any political parties.
The Student Workers Network will be running regular stalls on campus in the coming weeks, where advice can be sought on work related problems. We aim to build an approachable and inclusive campus presence, dedicated to improving the working life of York’s students.