One local Wobbly describes how …………….

………. It began on a winter Sunday afternoon on the banks of the Tyne. In a bracing wind, the Secretary of the IWW British Isles Regional Organising Committee, two Wobs (yours truly being one of them) and a potential recruit met in Gateshead to talk about the future. By the end of the meeting, we were three willing members of the embyonic Tyne and Wear General Members Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World.

The BIROC Secretary had taken the wise step of inflating a red and black IWW balloon and walking with it in front of him so that we others would know who he was. These were people who had not actually met each other as a group. In fact, I’d never met any of them. As we gathered around the balloon, the ‘blinking eye’ bridge actually blinked – which this particular Wob found very auspicious, as I’d just walked over it (the bridge, not the balloon) seconds before.

From then on it was plain sailing. We crossed the bridge to Newcastle and found a quiet back room in a quayside pub. The potential recruit was actually recruited (zero arm twisting), and the Secretary gave advice on setting up a GMB. Since then we’ve met a few times, got the forms to fill in, printed leaflets and recruited other members. Just like that. So here’s to the One Big Union, Tyne and Wear Branch – cheers!