Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Jarrow March: Council levies £2500 on unemployed protest

Urgent press release, for immediate use - ‘Jarrow March’ council want to charge young, unemployed people £2,500 to re-enact march 75 years on
Paul Callanan, Youth Fight for Jobs, National Organiser says: “This is an outrage. South Tyneside council, which has the original Jarrow March banner and petition on proud display is demanding that young, mainly unemployed people, pay £2,500 to re-enact the march. What the council is essentially trying to do is put a price on democracy. YFJ has organised many protests and demonstrations and this is the first time a council has demanded money for road closure.
This comes just over a month after the inner cities were rocked by a wave of youth riots. You would think that the council would take a more sympathetic stance towards young people wanting to peacefully march for a future. How are young people, many of whom are on the dole or are students being forced to pay sky high fees, supposed to pay this extortionate fee?
This is a threat to right to protest for all working class and young people. I have been told that I need to pay £2,500 for road closures in Jarrow on the opening day. I am personally liable for this fee. If South Tyneside council get away with this today what happens to trade unionists, students, youth and anti-cuts campaigners who want to protest against vicious ConDem austerity. Whatever happens Youth Fight for Jobs  will be marching from Jarrow this Saturday, with huge support from local people and trade unions. We will campaign against any attempt to charge us for doing so ”

We urge people to register their complaints with the council at customerhelp@southtyneside.gov.uk or see the councils complaints page http://www.southtyneside.info/applications/2/corporatefeedback/default.aspx?formtype=complaint or phone 0845 1450 100

Youth Fight for Jobs was launched in 2009 in response to sky high youth unemployment. We now have the backing of the PCS, RMT, Unite, UCU, CWU, Bectu, TSSA trade unioon.

For more info contact www.youthfightforjobs@gmail.com
Log on www.youthfightforjobs.com or jarrowmarch11.com

Trader looks forward to new recession

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Daily Mirror shows support for Jarrow March 2011

Kevin Maguire, columnist with the Daily Mirror, has praised the organisers of Youth Fight For Jobs the Jarrow March 2011, which is setting off on 1st October and should arrive in London on the 5th November, to raise awareness about soaring unemployment and the Conservative-Liberal complicity in axing jobs, services and opportunities for young workers and students. This follows previous positive coverage in the Sunday Mirror.

Walking in the footsteps of the Jarrow marchersby Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror 21/09/2011
Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/columnists/maguire/2011/09/21/walking-in-the-footsteps-of-the-jarrow-marchers-115875-23434822/#ixzz1YcCPqmTS

THE Jarrow Crusade, 75 years old next month, is an inspirational chapter in our country’s history.
In the Great Depression, 200 hungry and desperate jobless men went on a 300-mile walk for work to London. Tories and Liberals on Tyneside and along the route backed the 1936 protest which, unfashionable as it remains to say, was an utter failure. PM Stanley Baldwin refused to see them and ironically it was Hitler who saved the shipbuilding town, war requiring warships.
I wish the best of luck to the plucky young people who, a week on Saturday, begin walking in the footsteps of the Jarrow men. Nearly one in five young people are on the scrapheap. But this trek doesn’t have the support of the Cons. Cameron’s Big Society only has room for the successful and well-to-do.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

PCS president questions Ed Miliband over pension cuts

From a PCS press release, 13.9.11

Janice Godrich, PCS national president, has quizzed Labour leader Ed Miliband from the floor of TUC congress over his refusal to support public sector workers taking action over cuts to their pensions.

Asking him what he would do to defend the pensions deal his party made with the unions in 2006 when in government, and if he would support public sector workers taking industrial action in the autumn to defend the deal, she offered Miliband the "opportunity to stand up for hundreds of thousands of public sector workers whose livelihoods are under attack".

To huge cheers she said his former cabinet colleague Alan Johnson had described the deal as "fair and reasonable" and the National Audit Office had recently said the changes meant public sector pensions were affordable and sustainable.

Miliband refused to offer his support to trade unionists forced to take industrial action against being made to pay more pension contributions to pay for the deficit caused by the banks, and to work longer for less pension.

Answering PCS's question he said the "best thing that can be done is avoid industrial action by the government being prepared to negotiate", ignoring the fact that the government is refusing to negotiate on the key issues.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Germany: Solidarity with hospital workers

Support the striking workers of the Charité Facility Management company (CFM) in Berlin!

By Anna Shadrova, SAV, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany), Berlin

98.6 % of the unionised Charité Facility Management (CFM) workers in Germany’s capital Berlin have voted in an official ballot for a strike, with the main demand of winning a collective bargaining agreement, which will start on Monday, September 12.

The CFM is an outsourced and half-privatised, profit-oriented company at Europe’s largest university hospital, the Charité in Berlin. The Charité has been outsourcing next to all services that are not of a primary nursing or medical character into the CFM since 2006, including maintenance, sterilisation, call centre, security, kitchen and cleaning staff. Scandalously this policy was carried out by the so-called “red-red”, SPD-Left party, run Berlin city government which owns the hospital and which faces regional elections on September 17.

Workers there have no collective bargaining agreement. The trade union ver.di has been demanding such an agreement for years now but this has not been concluded up to now. For many of the roughly 2,600 workers this means wages of around 7 euro an hour leaving them with about 900 euro a month for a full-time job. The CFM-workers went on strike along with the Charité nurses in May this year. Their two-week-strike forced management to start collective bargaining negotiations but after three months of talks and a ridiculous offer by the CFM-bosses that did not include all groups of workers and for most did not mean any improvement, an overwhelming majority of workers have now voted for strike.

Since the main demand is a collective bargaining agreement with adequate wages, this struggle is a very important step in the fight against the advance of precarious working conditions and also the profit margins that lie in the privatisation of health care services. Already, the CFM is used as a role-model for privatisation in the sector.

Trade unionists from the Charité clinic along with other workers, SAV (Sozialistische Alternative – CWI in Germany) members and supporters of other organisations have organised a solidarity committee which actively supports the strikers wherever possible.

The struggling workers need all the solidarity they can get. Please send messages to cfm_solikomitee@yahoo.de and mail@cfm-charite.de


NSSN calls on TUC to open the floodgates of mass action

By Kevin Parslow, Assistant Secretary, NSSN

11 September 2011 was the day the role of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) in the labour movement gained further recognition.

700 trade unionists from all over the country came to put pressure on the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to take action to defend our living standards.

They heard trade union leaders like Bob Crow and Mark Serwotka, amongst the most militant of union leaders, make fighting speeches.

Our rally in Friends Meeting House, Euston, was opened by PCS president Janice Godrich in the chair. Recognising the events on the same day marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11, she saluted all those fighting for equality and justice around the world, including in this year's revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa.

She also saluted the victims of the "other 9/11", those workers and youth slaughtered by the Chilean army in Pinochet's coup of 1973....

Read full article here: 

Monday, 5 September 2011

Report on Southmead Social Care demo

By Frankie Langeland, South Bristol Socialist Party

'Thank you, you are bloody marvellous.'  ended Bob Taylors emotional speech at a Bristol rally last Saturday against the selling off of homecare in the city.
Mr Taylors wife, Pat, had previously been given 2 years to live but as he put it 'they (the doctors) must have underestimated Homecare.'
Mr Taylor told the carers at the rally that they were the blue ribbon of Bristol care, praising the service that wasn't driven by profit saying that 'Profit and care are incompatible.'

The rally was held after a short march starting at the greenway community centre in Southmead, where a by election has been called. 

250 came out to show they are against the proposed privatisation, and a city poll showed that 97% of people are against the proposals overall.

Privatising Homecare would put 1000 vulnerable adults care at risk as well as 250 jobs. The Lib Dem led council say that in house care is costing the council twice as much compared to a privatised service, However Bristol has seen this year in the Winterborne scandal that private care comes with a much higher cost!

The Rally itself was a mixed bag, including a statement read out from the Bishop of Bristol!
Disgracefully Tory MP for Bristol North West, Charlotte Leslie was given a gushing introduction by a UNITE steward, but the crowd didn't give her such a warm welcome heckling about the Tory cuts nationwide.
Again Kerry McCarthy Labour MP for Bristol East who attacked the Tories cuts got jeers from the crowd asking her 'What about PFI?' Labour shouldn't assume that we all have short memories!

John McInally, Vice President of the PCS spoke on behalf of the Bristol Anti  Cuts Alliance, saying that we are in an unremitting class war adding 'There is a consensus between the main political parties that there is no alternative to the cuts. Well that is an absolute nonsense' McInally also called for communities and trade unions to unite together against the attacks on us.

Finally film director Ken Loach made a surprise appearance, He remembered when 'Welfare' first became nationalised saying 'Think what we had we had healthcare, we had housing that was built for and paid for for the purpose of housing ordinary people, we owned the mines, we owned the railways, then the steel industry. We don't own it anymore they've ripped it away from us. We need to remember where we were to see how much we have lost.'

Loach also spoke about the problem of political representation saying 'the political cliques all support privatisation.' 

In response to the by election in  Southmead   UNITE launched a 'don't vote Lib Dem' Campaign (the Lib Dems currently being in control of the council)  Loach appeared to pick up on this saying 'I understand the tactic of saying don't vote lib Dem but we're not coned into thinking that if we vote either Tory or Labour they're not going to do the same thing, Because they will and we know they will.'

Loach was also critical of the labour party saying they would never be a party to lead a broad labour movement and that they were a party of privateers which was met by cheers from the crowd.

I spoke to some of the homecare workers after the rally they all spoke about the uncertainty they faced in their jobs and how they had been under attack for a long time.

But with everyone I spoke to they all said 'its about the service users.' This shows the carers that Bob Taylor spoke about, committed to providing the best service they can despite being under attack by their own council and government!

Bristol Homecare workers are just another story in the ConDem's cuts agenda, and like so many others they are fighting back not only for themselves but for the service users they care for, the demo on Saturday showed they are not alone in their fight and have enormous support from the workers of Bristol

The Socialist Party demands and end to the cuts agenda and to re nationalise the services that have been sold off already.
We should be learning from the Winterborne scandal not following in it's foot steps!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Photos of Southmead Demo - No to Cuts & Privatisation of Social Care!

Yesterday there was also a local march through the Southmead area of Bristol, against the cuts and privatisations  to social care provision in the city, as previously advertised here.

There a photographs of the great event available here: 

Workers and youth hold mass protest against racist EDL

Thousands of trade unionists, young workers and students, and anti-racist activists protesters gathered in Whitechapel, East London yesterday to protest against a threatened rally by the far-right English Defence League.

Racists were firmly driven out of this borough in 1993 thanks again to united action, but with poverty and unemployment on the rise, and the Tories whipping up fear and hatred against young people as a cover for their cuts and socially destructive agenda, the EDL felt bold enough to return.

However the protest organised in defence of the community, and in particular the action of the RMT union, have shown that these attempts are hitting the brick wall of working class organisation.

The Guardian reports on the action taken by the RMT, who made clear that they were not going to compromise safety by transporting the EDL on tubes to Liverpool Street as they originally planned. The Guardian also reports today that "staff at King's Cross station closed the entrance to the tube, preventing the majority of the EDL supporters gathered outside from travelling to the demonstration around Aldgate East tube for around half an hour".

The article also quotes Claire Laker-Mansfied, 22, of the campaign group Youth Fight For Jobs, said: "We should have the right to defend our community against racist thugs and their racist lies about jobs and housing."

Bristol Socialist Party is clear that only united mass action - linking up trade unionists, the unemployed, community groups and students - can defeat both the the far-right such as the EDL and BNP, and the equally sociopathic ConDem government.


Friday, 2 September 2011

Philharmonic Protest: As I see it.

The BBC reported today that a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) was disrupted by protestors this evening. Performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the BBC proms, members of the audience began to shout and boo when the orchestra's soloist, Gil Shaham, began to play.

The IPO has been in existence for 75 years, beginning life in 1936 as the Palestine Philharmonic, before changing its name to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1948 when the state of Israel was founded. Historically it was made up of Jewish musicians who were persecuted by Nazism and who were victims of anti-semitism in Europe. Today the orchestra is made by of musicians from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, as well as from Israel.

In the run up to the proms, the Palestine Solidarity Camapaign urged the BBC to cancel the event and called on people to boycott the performance. The call was, and is, part of a broader campaign organised by many radical groups popularly known as BDS- boycott, divestment and sanctions- against Israel. It urges people not to buy products from Israel and shop at "pro-Israel" companies, such as the Jewish owned Marks & Spencers chain of stores.

But, I wonder, do these actions really aid the struggle of Palestinians for self determination?

Many supporters of the boycott liken it to the boycott and disinvestment campaign that was carried out against the apartheid regime in South African a decade and a half ago. But, it was not the boycott campaign that ended apartheid. It was the determined mass struggle of the workers and youth in South Africa, led by Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress.

Campaigning on the basis of freedom and equality for all- irrespective of race and religion- they were able to forge a united mass movement powerful enough to bring down the despised apartheid regime. Today the organisations that claim leadership of the Palestinian struggle- such as Hamas and Fatah- provide no such perspective for achieving a just peace for the Jews, Muslims, Christians an others who live in Israel and the occupied territories.

Whilst Hamas refuses to recognise the Jewish workers as allies, Fatah seeks to make an accomodation with the Israeli ruling class and carve out a niche for itself and its own privileged interests via a bantustan style seperate state.

In response to the boycott campaign the Israeli government has sought to whip up fears of isolation amongst many Jewish workers, and has also fuelled the fire by passing legislation that would allow Israeli's to sue those who call for a boycott of Israeli goods.

The principal enemy of the Palestinian fight for justice is the minority capitalist class that rules Israel. That class is also the enemy of the working class of *all* nationalities and religions, both Jewish and Palestinian. The idea that an international BDS campaign can unite the workers and youth in Israel and Palestine in ending occupation and bringing justice is false. Only a united working class campaign, forged in mutual struggle and respect between both Jewish and Palestinians, can forge a leadership capable of winning a majority and solving the regions problems through a democratic socialist secular state as part of a broader socialist federation of the Middle East.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Southmead rally and day of action - Saturday 3rd September

Please visit: http://www.bristolanticutsalliance.org.uk/

The campaign against Bristol City Council’s plan to privatise care homes and other social care services and cut funding to voluntary sector organisations is now supported by Britain’s three biggest unions, Unite, Unison & GMB.

More details about the campaign here…



UNITE have published three leaflets which can be downloaded from the BADACA website Growing The Economy, Fair Wages & Tax Justice For All,Trade Union & Employment Rights. Also a statement ‘Cuts Are Not the Answer‘ from their National Executive.

The care homes under threat include Bowmead, Brentry, Broomhill, Hayleigh, Maesknoll and St Peter’s, plus Coombe, Rockwell, Wellhay and Greville. Also under threat are day-care services including Lanercost, Lawrence Link, St George, Shire Link, Dover Court, North Bristol Drop In, South Bristol Drop In and New Horizons, as well as other day care services for people with dementia. And of course all the voluntary sector organisations whose funding is threatened – full list of threatened organisations here.

BADACA leaflet about cuts & privatisation of Bristol social care services

“What can I do?”

Sign the e-petition on the council website set up by Steve Preddy of Unite…

Saturday Stalls in August- if you can help out with a BADACA stall one Saturday in August, please email us at admin@bristolanticutsalliance.org.uk

Day of Action – 3rd September – in the week of the Southmead By-election let’s send a message to the LibDem council!!


Mass lobby of Bristol City Council, College Green – 5pm – Tuesday 6th September