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Anti-Union bookshop comes to Glasgow

January 29, 1999

From the Scottish Socialist Voice, #5

Borders Bookshop and Cafe - which opened recently amidst huge hype in Buchanan Street, Glasgow - is owned by one of America's most vicious anti-union companies.

For over two years, Borders has been in open warfare with trade unionists. It has tried to smash unions, sacked union activists and threatened to close stores if their workers joined unions.

It has even banned the famous campaigning Michael Moore from one of its stores because of his pro-trade union sympathies.

The US-based management of the company has produced a document entitled Union Awareness Training for Borders Managers. Under one heading Recognising Early Signs of Union Activity, Borders lists 15 tell tale signs which managers should look out for:

They include:

  • Employees gathering in small groups of twos or threes and halting their conversation when managers approach.
  • Employees talking in areas that are off the beaten path.
  • Employees who are not normally seen talking to one another begin associating more regularly.
  • The tone of discussion becomes more argumentative with frequent references to the "company".
  • Employees start spending more than their normal or allotted time on break and are late getting back to work.
  • Employees start having regular meetings or bar nights without inviting managers, back office staff, trainers or lead clerks.
  • Group complaints start to surface. Employees approach management in groups or via petitions.

In America, the Boycott Borders campaign claimed the celebrated academic Noam Chomsky as a supporter, and in September, Billy Bragg appeared on stage in Los Angeles at a massive Boycott Borders concert.

Borders workers need your help. No class conscious person should use Borders or its subsidiaries so long as their union busting activities continue.

Please let Borders know you won't shop at their stores until they respect workers rights to organise.

Border War - October 17, 1999

From the Scottish Socialist Voice, #17

Borders, the United States-owned bookshop chain, which recently opened a new store in Glasgow is at the centre of a major row over workers rights.

When the Glasgow bookstore first opened, the Voice reported that in the United States, the company has a notorious reputation for employing all sorts of dirty tricks in order to thwart trade union activity.

Now five cafeteria workers in Glasgow have been sacked after being secretly filmed eating food without permission.

Now the Scottish Trade Union Congress and USDAW, the shopworkers union, are starting a recruitment campaign to ensure staff have better representation.

Borders has also come under fire for barring Big Issue vendors from the store. The homeless charity, Shelter, has accused the company of "shameful discrimination".

Trade unions are urging customers to boycott the chain because of its anti-union activities there.