Taking control of labour and land: Housing and workers’ rights campaigners join forces

Caitlin Logan

Living Rent and Better Than Zero collaboration launched to make connections between unstable work and housing

A PROGRAMME OF events in Glasgow and Edinburgh this March aims to raise awareness and develop strategies for taking control of labour, land and housing in response to the trend of “precarious living that is wearing down a generation”.

Organised by the Scottish Trade Unions Congress (STUC) Young Workers’ Committee, tenants’ union Living Rent, workers’ rights campaign Better Than Zero, and others, the programme aims to make connections between efforts to addressing unfair practices by employers and landlords.

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The programme kicks off with an event hosted by Community Land Scotland on the benefits and barriers to community land ownership in urban areas on Tuesday 6 March.

On the same day, Living Rent will host a Q&A and screening in Edinburgh of The Organizer, a new film about Wade Rathke, the founder of Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now (ACORN), a community organisation which inspires Living Rent.

Craig Paterson of Living Rent told CommonSpace: “The collaboration between ourselves and Better Than Zero has come about because all too often precarious work and precarious living go hand in hand.

“Both organisations are doing great work and have a slight crossover in members and activists – what better way to highlight the issues than to work together by combining or resources on a number of events and actions?

“Living Rent and Better Than Zero have been winning cases and exposing bad landlords and bosses, we are natural allies and we look forward to working together to end precarious living, in work and at home.”

Following the unveiling of the statue of renowned tenants’ rights campaigner Mary Barbour in Govan on Thursday, Living Rent will hold a street stall and action at Govan Cross on Saturday 10 March.

READ MORE: Long-awaited statue of Scots rent strikes legend Mary Barbour to be unveiled on International Women’s Day

Better Than Zero will host an information and social night at the STUC in Glasgow on 12 March for those interested in getting involved, and on 13 March the group will host a shop-floor organising meeting at Unite the Union in Edinburgh for workers who are not active in a trade union, followed by targeted direct action and a social event.

Jack O’Neill of Better Than Zero commented: “The two main areas of people’s lives are their work and their homes. Increasingly these areas are becoming less stable and more precarious.

“Living Rent and Better Than Zero have been tackling the precarity people face with engaging and activist led campaigns that have both used direct action to achieve their aims.

“We’ve really pushed for the two groups to work together so we can improve the whole life of the working class in Scotland and share our tactics, activists, training and experience to make this difference.”

On 14 March, Living Rent will present four films on tenant power at the Flying Duck in Glasgow: This is Parkdale (2015), Tin Town (2009), Squatters (1970), Out of the Rubble (2015).

More events are expected to follow as the collaboration continues.

Picture courtesy of Better Than Zero

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