We wanted to show our opposition to their owner’s cowardly & selfish decision to lay a trap for their own workers, rather than risk a fine. By joining in with the UK wide campaign we aim to hurt Byron Burgers economically and show our solidarity with ALL workers – regardless of where they are from.
The demonstration certainly had an impact, the entire time we were present (7pm-9pm on a Saturday night!) only one group of people went into the chain, and there were only a handful of deliveries. Whilst it was a ‘little’ empty inside, the entire front of the shop was taken up with protesters, who were spilling out either side in front of the neighboring (closed) shops. The response from passers by was largely positive, many reminded of the news story and talking about it as they went past after seeing us. We handed out hundreds of leaflets, only stopping near the end when we simply ran out. Meanwhile, the trouble makers down in Wessex Solidarity handled the long range action, and some anarchists traveled from as far afield as Swindon!
To ensure the workers in Bristol’s Byron branch didn’t think we were targeting them, one demonstrator went to speak with them. They were offered some cash from a whip round outside (to replace money lost due to no one being present to tip them) an idea they supported enthusiastically. However when we returned with a hat full of money the manager decided to speak for them, “actually” she insisted “as members of the Byron family, the staff are happy to loose out on money in support of the company”. Reach your own conclusions, but it sounds like bullshit to us! On the request of one of the workers, we’ll instead donate the money to a homelessness charity, likely BHN.
No direct action or demonstration is a discreet one off event. It’s important to view this small but effective action not just as part of a wider campaign against Byron, but as part of a culture of solidarity amongst all workers. It’s about standing against racism, combating the divide and rule tactics of the bosses, politicians and media barons, and showing corporate types used to getting their own way that ordinary people can still put up resistance to their attacks.
You can Download a copy of our Byron leaflet here, and while you do that we’ll let this placard have the last word…