Ritzy cinema workers strike for a living wage

Britain’s most successful arthouse cinema is shut down for the day as Ritzy cinema workers in Brixton, South London, strike for a living wage – and plan to do so again over the Easter weekend. The Ritzy workers are at the forefront of a growing movement across London to unionise cinemas, get the London living wage for cinema workers, and, they hope, inspire other low wage workers to do the same.


Reel News regular North London night starts April 10

ReelNews April poster for web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve finally found a venue to host a regular film night in North London – and hopefully reclaim a bit of Stoke Newington from the horrendous gentrification that’s happened in Church Street over the past twenty years. Come and join us every second Thursday of the month for films, discussion, music and drinks – FREE!

THIS MONTH: 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR, PLUS TEACHERS STRIKE

2014 sees the 75th anniversary of the end of the Spanish civil war, when a fragile democracy was allowed to be overturned by the combined forces of European Fascist regimes. Much has been written about the atoricities committed as General Franco took power, but very little about the social movements that rose up in the 60s and 70s that brought an end to the fascist state.

MASSACRE IN VITORIA (36:00)
Tonight, we’ll be showing a new Reel News film telling the story of one of the greatest rank and file movements ever seen – an all out indefinite strike in 1976 of factory workers in Vitoria in the Basque Country, which culminated in a general strike of the entire city. The Spanish state, petrified by what seemed to be a soviet developing, ordered the police to open fire on a peaceful strikers’ assembly, murdering 5 workers and wounding over 100.

No-one has ever been brought to justice for this atrocity, as with many other atrocities from the late Franco era and the period of transition to “democracy”. Watch the full incredible story and then join in the discussion on how we can mark the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War by providing some international solidarity with the people of Vitoria’s struggle for justice.

PLUS: TEACHERS STRIKE (10:28)

As the campaign against Gove’s attempt to destroy education as we know it gets serious, we’ll be showing a video of the recent NUT strike and having a discussion with local teachers and parents about how to escalate the action and what form that should take.


NUT strike: March 26 2014

11,000 angry teachers march in London as the NUT take national strike action against Michael Gove’s attacks on education, with calls to escalate the action dominating the day. Teachers are now working an average 60 hours a week and are expected to continue teaching untl the age of 68, children are being tested from the age of 5, the new curriculum will be all about filling children’s heads with “facts” rather than encouraging a love of learning, and the ultimate aim is to privatise the whole system and make money out of it. The next steps in the campaign will be decided at NUT conference at Easter.


SOAS Outsourced Workers strike

A solid two day strike as outsourced workers at the University of SOAS in London demand to be brought back in house. If the bosses are still not prepared to give the workers the same terms and conditions as the directly employed workers, the strike action will get really serious….


Bob Crow 1961 – 2014

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the sudden death of RMT General Secretary Bob Crow at the age of just 52. He was a trade union leader like no other constantly fighting and winning for his members.

Bob came from a humble background leaving school at 16 to work on the railways. He progressed through the forerunners of the RMT becoming a national officer and then General Secretary of the RMT in 2002. For ten years he led the union never giving an inch to the bosses. From the tunnels of the London Underground to the oil rigs of the North Sea, workers represented by Bob had enormous respect for his methods as they saw their pay and conditions improve under his leadership.

Aside from his Trade Union work Bob was passionate about international issues and local social justice. He supoorted the Tomlinson family after Ian (a fellow supporter of his beloved Millwall) was killed by the Police at the G20 protests in London. He was also an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause and a vociferous critic of the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

RMT organiser Mac McKenna who spoke at our last REEL NEWS monthly event said: “They hated him; the chancers and the spivs, the privatisers and the bullies, the toffs and the Tories, they all despised him, cos he wouldn’t be ‘reasonable’, he wouldn’t be ‘modern’, he wouldn’t accept that ‘the market’ was best. Instead, he led a trade union that tried, very successfully at times, to defend its members interests, save jobs, push up pay and improve conditions. At a time of stagnating or declining trade union membership, the RMT grew; and it grew because workers could see the RMT was prepared to fight. Proper fight. Not just words and resolutions, but strike action, and Bob would go on TV and defend his members for taking strike action and lay the blame firmly on the bosses. When a Circle line train driver was sacked for playing squash while off sick, Bob turned up at his press conference and presented the driver with a new squash racquet. It was that sort of ‘fuck you’ that made it worth being in the RMT. So long Bob, it was a privilege to be a part of the fight with you.”

Bob leaves behind a proud legacy. Although his life was cut painfully short, his last great battle to save jobs and ticket offices on London Underground saw massive public support and tory mayor Boris Johnson humiliated. His example will be the toughest of acts to follow. Our thoughts are with his family and comrades.


Massacre in Vitoria – Trailer

On March 3 1976, police attacked a peaceful assembly of strikers during a general strike, murdering 5 workers and seriously injuring over 100 in a desperate attempt to stop one of the greatest rank and file movements ever seen.

Every year on March 3 in Vitoria there is a march to remember the dead and continue the fight for justice. If you’re reading this today, the march is not until 7pm – messages of international solidarity would really help.

Please send solidarity messages to: info@3demarzo.org, and watch out for the full Reel News film later this week – the whole incredible story, told by striking workers themselves.

justicia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will be the latest in a series of films being produced by Reel News to help build international solidarity with the “Querella Argentina”: where Franco’s fascist regime is being put on trial in Argentina for the crimes it committed, and to get justice and reparations for the victims.

Although there has been a lot of information published about the atrocities committed by Franco’s fascist regime during and immediately after the Spanish civil war, little has been said about the intensification of repression by Franco’s regime in the 60s and 70s against the social movements that grew, demanding liberty and basic human rights and ultimately defeating fascism.

The atrocities, continued during the period of transition to “democracy” from 1975-1981. Many of the culprits are still alive and holding positions in the police, the army, the civil service and the judiciary – and for this reason we’re concentrating on this period. Not only do these people need bringing to justice, but they need to be purged from the Spanish state if another world is to be truly possible.

We will need to make trips to other parts of Spain in order to help in this crucial struggle for justice – but we need money to do it. Obviously there is no funding for a project of this sort in Spain, and with the brutal austerity measures, our fellow film makers in Madrid have no money either. If you can help, please click the donate button below.

 


Blacklisted workers serve arrest warrant on Cullum McAlpine

Today the Blacklist Support Group marked five years of inaction by the police by attempting to uphold the law themselves. Dave Smith, Helen Steele and a group of supporters visited the London offices of construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine Limited to make a citizens arrest. This weekend is the 5th anniversary of the raid by the Information
Commissioner’s Office that discovered the illegal building industry blacklist.
The target for arrest today by the protesters was millionaire construction boss Cullum McAlpine. When giving evidence to a Select Committee investigation into blacklisting Cullum McAlpine was forced to admit that he was the first chairman of the Consulting Association conspiracy (a post he held for 3 years) and that the first meetings of the shady organisation were actually held in his office at the Sir Robert McAlpine Limited offices in Grosvenor Crescent, Victoria.
It has to be said that staff at the aforementioned offices were not exactly thrilled by the arrival of Dave and his supporters. The only woman present amongst the Blacklist Supporters group, was assaulted by office staff for filming the proceedings on a mobile. The  same staff expressed far less interest in stopping two male journalists from filming and photographing the proceedings. They called the Police who arrived in what can only be described as serious numbers in six vehicles. Though they expressed little interest in the illegal activities that had been plotted in this very building.
The illegal blacklist database compiled in these offices held secret files on 3213 individuals which included information such as name, address, national insurance number, phone numbers, car registration and particularly recorded trade union membership and incidents where workers had complained about health & safety on building sites. Those workers that appeared on the blacklist suffered years of unemployment, repeated dismissals and financial hardship. Dave Smith was one such individual who was victimised and blacklisted for his activities as a trade union health and safety rep.
During the building of the Olympics Stadium in 2008-9, Sir Robert McAlpine was invoiced in excess of £28,000 for blacklisting name checks – which equates to 65 name checks a day, 7 days a week for the period. So the irony of finding an original framed, signed newspaper cartoon on the wall of the office depicting the Olympic project was not lost on the activists present.
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The Independent Police Complaints Commission is presently investigating police involvement in blacklisting and has already confirmed that Special Branch “routinely provided information about prospective employees”. This perhaps explains how hundreds of environmental protesters with little or no involvement in the construction industry have ended up on the list.
Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group said: “Blacklisted workers have lost their houses and our kids were on free school meals while Cullum McApline is the lord of the Manor in his £4.5million Grade 1 Listed Mansion in Cold Ashton. In any civilized society, McAlpine and his co-conspirators would be behind bars .We visited the birthplace of the Consulting Association to carry out a citizens arrest. We were pleased when the Met Police arrived and assisted in our search for Cullum McAlpine. It shows how seriously the authorities are taking corporate crime.”
Blacklisted activist Helen Steele said, “It has been 5 years since this conspiracy between big business and the police was discovered. Trade unionists and environmental activists have had their human rights violated. But 5 years later, no one has been brought to justice for the crimes they have committed. Its about time Cullum McAlpine was in the dock” Sir Robert McAlpine and seven other major construction firms involved in blacklisting are joint defendants in the High Court conspiracy case – next
court date April. The other companies in the High Court action are: Skanska, Costains, Laing O’Rourke, Kier, Vinci, Carillion and Balfour Beatty.

Underground strike is solid as RMT & TSSA walk out over cuts.

The strike by RMT and TSSA station staff on London underground is looking solid as it goes into its second day. The only line working appears to be the Northern Line, which is running a very limited service relying on ASLEF drivers and members who are not part of the dispute.

Last night a strike rally was held outside Euston station just before the dispute began. RMT Deputy General Secretary Steve Hedley told the assembled crowd that Transport For London had refused to negotiate and made the strike inevitable. He also commented on the hypocrisy of the media who had hailed station staff as heroes when they had rescued people trapped in tunnels during the 7/7 bombings but were now saying they were surplus to requirements.

This morning commuters were walking across central London bridges in their droves to get to work. Many more were waiting for a very long time for overcrowded buses. There were also chaotic scenes at many major stations.

The mainstream media have steadfastly refused to report on the real issues surrounding the dispute. Instead papers like the Mail and Sun have run irrelevant and childish stories about the holiday and living arrangements of RMT leader Bob Crow. Also complaining about his “fat cat salary”. Rank hypocrisy coming from news outlets whose owners earn billions while avoiding their taxes.

The strike centres around a plan by London Mayor Boris Johnson to close London Underground ticket offices losing nearly 1,000 jobs. This is against his own election pledge when he stood for mayor. Many campaigners fear that this will make public transport less accessible to the elderly, disabled and also foreign visitors on whom the London economy is so reliant. This morning Boris evaded many of the key questions being put to him by the media at London Bridge station while talking up the idea of a fully automated underground system.

The strike is due to run until 9.30 pm on Thursday with more action planned for next week.


EDL outnumbered in Slough and looking a bit terminal…

The EDL managed to attract just 150 hate-filled racists to Slough for their “National Demo” on Saturday. Their smallest national turnout ever. One of their coaches had just 8 people on it and their organisers were heard begging their supporters for cash at their rally in the town centre. Splits and internal rows have clearly taken their toll. If calling this protest was an attempt a energizing an organisation that is in rapid decline, it seriously backfired. Many of them were complaining about the low turnout and poor organisation on twitter before the event even started.

Will no pubs open to get tanked up in before the march began. Bored EDL supporters were contained by the police at the station for nearly 3 hours. Nearby anti fascists jeered and heckled as half empty mini buses rolled in with the dregs of what is left of their active base. A group of local Asian men got as close as the police would allow to the racists and unfurled two unions jacks chanting: “St George was an Arab” at them.

When the march eventually started, what should have been a ten minute walk, took over an hour as antifascists blocked the route. A counter protest called by Slough Trades Council & local UAF attracted well over 100 people. The same numbers were mobilised by the Anti Fascist Network and at least a further 100 local youths turned out and joined the antifascists leaving the EDL massively outnumbered and in need of heavy police protection.

The police did disappoint charging into the counter protest on the high street with shields and horses. This to clear the route for the EDL, who threw glass bottles into the midst of the contained anti fascists injuring at least one person. Having pushed the counter protest back towards the shopping centre the police were then met by a mixture of anti fascists and local youth further down the road. The stand off  was eventually broken when the police charged again with batons dogs and horses also scattering terrified locals out shopping with their children. Many local people were furious finding themselves banned from their own high street or imprisoned in shops until the EDL rally had finished.

Despite locking down the entire town centre the police found getting the EDL back to the station just as difficult. Many anti fascists had regrouped and continued to heckle the racists and block their way home. As usual the ‘master race’ challenged everyone to a fight from the safety of their mobile kettle behind their riot cop protectors. The locals laughed and jeered at them telling them to come back without their security guards.  More dogs and horses were deployed to clear anti fascists blocking the road near the station.

Slough can now add its name to the proud role call of places that are no go areas for the shrinking remnants of the EDL. Anyone interested in witnessing the agonising death of this loathsome phenomenon in person should head to Brighton for their next grand humiliation on April 27th.

More on this: (1) (2) (3)