Welcome to the IWW student workers’ page! Here, you will find links to other parts of the IWW union’s website that are useful for student workers, as well as information specific to working students like yourself.
This page is written and contributed to by student workers and apprentices, working and studying in a range of industries.
Why join a union at all?
We students work pretty hard, pulling pints, working in supermarkets, shops, call centres, student unions, warehouses, and do these jobs on top of studies. Student workers contribute a massive amount to the economy, and put our studies on the line to support our pitifully small student loans. But what do we get for all this effort?
Student workers work for pitifully low wages, often in unsafe conditions. Bosses think they can push us around, and hire and fire us at will. They don’t respect us. And you know why? Because we let them get away with it. Why do we let them get away with it? Because we think of ourselves as students first, and workers second.
At work we make profits for our boss. This means that they are dependent on us. This gives us a lot of power to make our lives better, and we have even more power if we join together with co-workers.
How? By joining and participating in a union.
Workers in unionised workplaces on average enjoy higher wages, better health and safety regs, and more power to have their voices heard on the job.
As a union we can look after ourselves and each other. As a union we are able to ensure that no-one gets forgotten or trodden on. It’s quite simple really: as a union we can make our lives an awful lot better…
What is the IWW?
The IWW is a union with a difference. It is run and controlled by its members, which means that the union is what you make of it, and you always have a democratic say in how the union is run. We welcome workers in any job, because we know that all workers need a union. We also don’t pretend that you have anything to gain from cosying up to employers. The only way to make your conditions better is if you and your co-workers stand up to your boss.
The IWW doesn’t bother with a fancy all-singing-all-dancing website that talks down to students, we just offer solid support and advice, and help you take the opportunity to make life better for yourselves and your workmates.
We work towards a future where workers are calling the shots and we can do away with bosses altogether. But in the here-and-now, the IWW can help with all sorts of problems, such as claiming unpaid wages, forming a union branch where you work, and dealing with aggressive managers. If you run into trouble at work, one of our trained reps can help you. You can also get trained as a rep yourself. And it costs as little as a quid a month to join!
Basic tips and advice for student workers
Advice for apprentices – coming soon!
Your legal rights as a worker
Some useful tips on organising at work
Some basic principles of organising
Clever forms of direct action at work (be sure to get IWW advice before you try these!)
How and why the IWW is divided into industries