Join Birkenhead Remploy Workers Protest On Monday
There is just one week left until the first wave of Remploy factory closures begin
If the Tories and Remploy management get their way, a number of the 27 factories earmarked for closure will have shut by next Friday 17th August and by Christmas, 1,700 mainly disabled workers will be on the dole.
Many Remploy workers are angry that Unite and GMB national officials called off the strike that was due to take place on Monday.
They realise that more needs to be done to build on the momentum from the strikes: more workers and supporters need to be involved if there is to be the kind of effective action that can halt the Tories’ plans.
Work needs to be done to ensure the biggest possible turnout from the trade union movement and activists on Merseyside to ensure that disabled workers are not left to fight alone.
SAVE REMPLOY FACTORIES Demonstration Monday 13th August from 4.30pm
Atlantic House,18-22 Hamilton Street, Birkenhead, CH41 1AL
Countdown To The Atos Games – 17 days To Go
A week of protests against Atos spearheaded by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) to co-incide with the Paralympic Games is gathering support and much-deserved media attention.
Both Channel 4’s Dispatches and BBC’s Panorama programmes shown last week,both exposed the brutal reality of the Tories Work Capability assessments and how these tests carried out by French IT company Atos are incredibly flawed but are still driving disabled people onto the breadline and worse.
Last week, many newspapers reported that 32 people have died whilst appealing against the Tories and Atos’ hated tests.
So, the Tories decision to award Atos £400 million of new contracts to assess people currently claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) has enraged disability campaigners at least as much as the decision to reward Atos with the status of official Olympic sponsor.
The Atos Games promises to put one of the Tories favourite benefit-slashing but public expenditure-swallowing parasitical companies under severe pressure whilst their senior executives hoped to reap even greater profits from the Olympic and Paralympic adverts.
For more details of the Atos Games and how you can get involved go to the DPAC site.
Show Solidarity With DWP Contact Centre Workers Strike On Monday
Members of the PCS union at DWP contact centres around the country will strike on Monday 13 August in a long-running dispute over job numbers, privatisation and bullying management.
The 6,000 workers are based in 32 contact centres around the country. The one-day strike will be followed by an overtime ban, and possibly further strike days.
The PCS is demanding urgent recruitment of new staff to ease the pressure on contact centre workers and enable them to provide a proper customer service, and end to provatisation of contact centre work and an end to what the workers say is an ‘oppressive management approach’.
Send messages of support to the PCS.
First Workfare – Now Prisonfare – The Scandal of 40p An Hour Prisoners Replacing Workers.
Protestors today took part in action against ‘Prisonfare’ in Cardiff.
Right to Work activists took action against Becoming Green, a company based in Cardiff which has been using almost-free prison labour to staff its call centres.
Activists are angered and shocked by a story that appeared in the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday.
Over 20 prisoners have been bussed into the Cardiff call-centre from HMP Prescoed, whilst 17 call-centre workers have been sacked since Christmas by Becoming Green.
Joe, a youth worker, said “It’s an absolute outrage that while over 1 million people are unemployed in Britain, prisoners are being exploited to undercut wages and boost company profits. If they are fit for the job they should be paid the same as the ordinary workers”
Local anti-workfare activists are planning another protest action outside Becoming Green’s office in Eastgate House, Cardiff.
They will be demanding that Becoming Green stops taking part in the scheme with immediate effect.
Workfare Is Lawful But Benefits Have Been Stolen Rules High Court Judge
In a decision that will make ministers breathe a huge sigh of relief and leaves campaigners against workfare raging with fury, High Court judge Justice Foskett ruled on Monday that forcing the unemployed to work for free is lawful.
However, Justice Foskett did rule that stripping claimants of their benefits for refusing compulsory unpaid work was unlawful.
Cait Reilly, from Birmingham and Jamieson Wilson from Nottingham had both made claims that forcing them to work unpaid on workfare schemes had violated their rights under Article IV of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits slavery and forced labour.
Tessa Gregory of Public Interest Lawyers who represented Reilly and Wilson stated:
“As of January 2012, over 22,000 people have been stripped of their benefits for failing to participate in the Work Programme alone. That figure must now have doubled.
Today’s decision should mean that many of those that have been subjected to benefit sanctions will be entitled to re-imbursement by the Department of Work and Pensions. Its truly extraordinary that the Government should find itself in this position for failing to provide basic information to those affected.
We welcome the Court’s ruling on this issue but we continue to maintain that the Regulations themselves are unlawful and ought to be quashed. We are seeking permission to appeal the Court’s findings in this regard.”
More Tube Cleaners Strikes And Protests Hit The Olympics
Cleaners on London Underground, members of transport union RMT struck solidly for another two days in their battle for a living wage, an Olympic bonus, free travel, sick pay and pension rights.
A fortnight ago, they began their campaign of strike action and vocal and vibrant protests at Stratford station from where tens of thousands made their way to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
On Thursday and today they returned to protest at Stratford station to expose the contrast between the rich corporate sponsors that are making a killing from the Olympics whilst those that clean up after the corporate party-goers struggle to get by on little more than £6 per hour.
Mayor Boris Johnson came under fire from the protesters. He had reneged on his promise that cleaning contractors ISS and Initial would have to pay cleaners at least the recommended London Living Wage of £8.30 per hour.
RMT Assistant General Secretary, Steve Hedley said that 95% of RMT cleaners affected had answered the strike call but ISS and Initial had “flooded the tube with agency cleaners” to break the strike.
Many local RMT activists in the cleaning grades had reported an increase in membership since the dispute began and this will no doubt strengthen RMT cleaners’s resolve to win their campaign.
Rank-and-File Construction Workers Meet Tomorrow To “Keep Up The Pressure”
Rank and file construction workers have called a meeting to discuss the way forward for trade unionists in the building trade on Saturday 11 August.
The meeting comes at a time when many rank-and-file activists in construction are concerned that major firms, smarting from the bloody nose that workers gave them recently are planning another assault on their pay and conditions.
A number of firms such as Balfour Beatty last year tried to impose a package of new terms and conditions,that included pay cuts of 35% and de-skilling under a new “agreement”called Besna. Electricians and other rank-and-file construction workers organised mass protests, occupations, unofficial walk-out and pushed officials for action, and this forced bosses to dump the Besna.
Activists will discuss the latest offensive as well as the campaign against blacklisting in the construction industry. Victimised workers have launched a £600m mass legal action against contractor Sir Robert McAlpine.
Jason Poulter, victimised sparks rep at Ratcliffe power station and other trade unionists victimised at the Olympics site will be speaking.
Unite rank and file construction workers’ meeting Sat 11 August
2pm to 5pm, Saturday 11 August
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
All construction workers and supporters welcome
Cut Fares Not Jobs National Day Of Action On Tuesday
Action for Rail, the Fair Fares Now campaign, Bring Back British Rail and Climate Rush will joining together on a demo and national day of action to protest against massive hikes in rail fares and cuts to railway staff and services.
On 14 August, the RPI inflation figure for July will be announced, which will be used to set the rise in regulated train fares for next year. The government has indicated that regulated fares will be increased by 3% above RPI in January 2013 and again in January 2014. With the “flex” allowed to individual rail companies, this could mean some passengers paying 11% more from next year.
At the same time, the government’s Rail Command Paper sets the agenda for train operating companies to shed thousands of station staff, guards, catering staff and booking offices in order to slash costs.
Passengers are being asked to pay more to get less.
So far there are details of protests in Scotland, North-West, Midlands and London and the South East.
These include Edinburgh Waverley: 07:00 – 09:00, Glasgow Central: 07:00 – 09:00, Liverpool Lime Street 16:30 – 18:00,Manchester Piccadilly 07:00 – 09:00, Birmingham New Street and Snow Hill, 7.30am -9.30am and 4-6pm, Liverpool and Euston and Kings Cross and from 7.30am and Waterloo from 8.30am
Scottish Sparks To Confront Balfour Beatty Blacklisters
The Blacklist Support Group and Unite Scottish Sparks rank and file group have called a protest against Balfour Beatty’s blacklist.
It takes place on Friday 24 August, 10am, at Balfour Beatty’s engineering services headquarters, Lumina Building, 40 Ainslie Road, Hillington Park, Glasgow G52 4RU.
My apologies for some errors in last week’s bulletin. Thanks to Linda from DPAC who pointed out that in the article Fitness For Work Tests Come Under Fire, the word people was omitted after disabled in relation to the two disabled people that have won their right to fight for a Judicial review of the Work Capability Assessments and that the three contracts won by Atos and Capita were not for Work Capability Tests but were in fact for the new Personal Independent Payments tests.
Unite The Resistance Conference
The Fight Against Austerity
Saturday 17th November
This conference has been called to bring activists together to discuss and plan the way forward after the October 20 TUC demonstration.
A future that Works
New TUC website for the march on 20th October
Affiliate to Right to Work