Workers Can Win! A Guide to Organising At Work

Cartoon: we are in it to win it... But we also fight because we know things will get worse if we don't fight
Cartoon: Colin Revolting

This site accompanies Workers Can Win! A Guide to Organising at Work by Ian Allinson, with illustrations by Colin Revolting, published by Pluto Press (how to buy).

Drawing on more than 20 years of organising experience, the book combines practical techniques with an analysis of the theory and politics of organising and unions. It offers insight into tried and tested methods for effective organising. It deals with tactics and strategies, and addresses some of the roots of conflict, common problems with unions and the resistance of management to worker organising.

Image of the book: Workers Can Win! A Guide to Organising At Work. Ian Allinson. Pluto Press.

You can read more about the book or about this website, and read Chapter 1: Introduction. You can subscribe to updates related to the book by email or WhatsApp. Any changes to links included in the book are available via the Further Reading page.

There have been lots of events around the book throughout Britain. Check for any future events near you or get in touch to arrange one. I worked with others to run a 5-session online training course, based on the book, in May 2023 and we are updating the materials so that you could run it in your workplace or union branch. Make sure you subscribe to updates if you are interested. I’m also posting updates to the book here, in response to both changes in the terrain we organise on (e.g. legal changes) and to reader feedback. Please send in your comments, ideas and experiences applying the ideas in the book.

Latest posts

  • Detriment for taking industrial action
    An update following a Supreme Court ruling over detriment (disadvantage) short of dismissal for taking part in industrial action.
  • GDPR – a barrier to organising?
    Ian Allinson and data protection lawyer Lois C explore how we can avoid GDPR being a barrier to effective organising.
  • Resisting the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act
    Ian Allinson discusses the potential impact of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act and how we can resist it.
  • Review: Left Horizons
    “a really useful guide for new and budding trade union activists. It addresses the gap left by the official trade unions and their education departments.”
  • What is the potential for rank-and-file organisation today?
    The strike wave means more workers actively engaging with their unions. Many are frustrated by their leaders calling insufficient action to win, recommending rotten deals, or undermining democratic decisions. This is sparking a renewed interest in rank-and-file organisation, but there is confusion about what this means and what is possible. Ian Allinson explores the issues.
  • Review: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
    “Allinson’s work expertly facilitates the much-needed opportunity for workers to think through how to approach their own liberation”
‘Just at the time when workers are mobilising to tackle the economic and climate crises we all face, this invaluable handbook comes along to provide an essential guide to winning.’ John McDonnell MP.
‘A must read for every trade union activist.‘ Lyn-Marie O’Hara, Glasgow equal pay striker.
‘Workers have needed a practical, positive, accessible guide to organising in Britain for a long time and Ian, using his vast experience in the area has created just that! It will be a valuable resource for union representatives and organisers wanting to grow their branch and union!’ Sarah Woolley, General Secretary, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union.
‘In the age of climate breakdown, militant worker organising is as urgent as ever. Workers and environmentalists share a common enemy in the capitalist class and Allinson gives us all a powerful guide of how to effectively organise for social change from our workplaces. If you’re wondering what you can do in the fight for climate justice then read Workers Can Win!, join your union, and get organising.‘ Chris Saltmarsh, co-founder of Labour for a Green New Deal and author of Burnt: Fighting for Climate Justice
‘Drawing on years of experience, Unite activist Ian Allinson has written an organizing handbook that will be invaluable for rank and file organizers and trade union professionals alike. Allinson offers timely, concrete analysis and advice that will be an aid to activists across the trade union movement in today’s difficult work environment.’ Kim Moody, a founder of Labor Notes in the US, author of several books on trade unions and politics and currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Westminster.
‘Workplaces are key sites of struggle against the hostile environment for migrants, and so to tackle these injustices against migrants we need strong unions. Workers Can Win is a readable, practical guide for organising at work and building the power we need to fight back against oppression.‘ Ida Jarsve, co-founder, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.
‘This book is just brilliant. It is not only packed full of invaluable advice and practical tips for anybody organising in the workplace, it is hopeful. Crucially it offers an accessible political analysis of why it is so important for working class people to build power in the workplace and beyond, demystifying the process as it goes. What a resource!‘ Laura Pidcock, National Secretary, The People’s Assembly.
WCW endorsement slide John McDonnell
WCW endorsement slide Lyn-Marie O’Hara
WCW endorsement slide Sarah Woolley
WCW endorsement slide Chris Saltmarsh
WCW endorsement slide Kim Moody
WCW endorsement slide Ida Jarsve
WCW endorsement slide Laura Pidcock
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