updates about Reel News

Just Transition: A low carbon economy that benefits workers and communities

***FULL 26 MIN VERSION*** The COP 23 climate talks in Bonn last month were dominated by the concept of just transition, both inside the conference and outside in the actions and meetings of climate activists. But what does just transition mean? How can we move to a low carbon economy in a way that isn’t to the detriment of workers who work in the fossil fuel industry and the communities that have been ruined under capitalism? Trade unionists and environmentalists from all over the world outline a number of visionary projects and ideas. Featuring Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, Scot E3, the battle against coal in the Phillippines, just transition in North Dakota and Jackson, just recovery in Puerto Rico and Texas, and the astonishing Ende Gelände action which shut down the lignite coalfield in the Rheinland.

13 minute version …

And the BiFab occupation as a stand alone video.

Cressingham Gardens Residents Demand a Ballot

Residents of the Cressingham Gardens estate in Lambeth, South London have fought an inspiring battle for five years now, delaying attempts by the right-wing Labour council to demolish and renovate their estate against the wishes of 86% of the residents. Now that official Labour party policy is to ballot residents on any demolition plans, the residents are demanding that their ferociously anti-Corbyn councillors follow their own party policy and give the residents a binding ballot. In this demonstration in Brixton they are joined by housing campaigners from Southwark and Haringey facing similar social cleansing projects.

Blacklisting Day of Action Roundup

Blacklist Support Group (including 4 UNITE EC members) occupying London offices of Skanska was just one of the highlights of the UNITE Day of Action against Blacklisting which included protests against blacklisting firms across the UK and ended in lobbies of parliament in Westminster and Holyrood.

Balfour Beatty’s site on Sussex University near Brighton, where they are building student accommodation, was shut down for two hours as activists blockaded the entrance during the Blacklisting Day of Action – one of many actions throughout the country. Students joined blacklisted construction workers and trade unionists from UNITE in demanding Balfour Beatty allow the union onto the job as stipulated in national agreements. The notorious blacklisting company’s refusal to recognise the union shows that these human rights violations continue in the industry – and the university site can expect further direct action and protests until the union is allowed on site to inspect the conditions.

Blacklisting Day of Action in Scotland:

and in London at Parliament:


Every parliamentarian who attended the events at Westminster & Holyrood, including John McDonnell, Richard Leonard, Jack Dromey, Chris Stephens, Neil Findlay, Laura Piddock, Rebecca Long Bailey, Angela Rayner, Louise Haig, Jon Ashworth, Chuka Umunna and many others publicly called for 3 key demands:

  • Full public inquiry into blacklisting
  • Blacklisting to be made a criminal offence
  • No publicly funded contracts for firms involved in blacklisting

Great contributions from Tony Sweeney, Paul Filby and Shrewsbury campaigners to keep the MPs and unions on their toes. As acknowledged by Gail Cartmail, UNITE AGS, nothing will ever be achieved unless the rank and file keep pushing for it.

Grenfell: Silent Walk November 14

2,000 people walked in silence to remember those who died in the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower on June 14 – the largest so far of the walks that happen on the 14th day of every month. They were joined by firefighters in uniform, and by people from all over London. Next month will mark six months since the fire, and the struggle for justice continues. Please help them make December 14th’s silent walk double – or even triple – the numbers.

Orgreave: Death of Justice Halloween March

On the anniversary of Amber Rudd’s decision not to grant a public enquiry into Orgreave, hundreds of campaigners turn into ghouls, monsters and ghosts on Halloween in a Death of Justice march through the centre of Sheffield, joined by striking jobcentre workers and fracking campaigners to demand the decision is overturned. See what you can do at the end of the video.

Catalonia – The Streets Will Always Be Ours!

Version in English

Version in Spanish

The full 38 minute film of the extraordinary struggle in Catalonia against the oppression and violence of the Spanish state and for the right to vote, and the key role played by the radical left at the heart of the movement – from the student general strike that started things off, through the hundreds of thousands of people taking direct action and civil disobedience to ensure the referendum happened, to the 2 million strong general strike two days later against the police violence – with activists from across the radical left explaining the issues and how they organised around them. Versions in Spanish and Catalan coming soon  on this channel. Hopefully this will help to debunk some of the myths and misunderstandings circulating about the Catalan independence struggle so that we can concentrate on building international solidarity for the right to democracy without fear of violence and imprisonment.

Grantham: NHS Uprising!

1,000 people marched through the centre of Grantham in Lincolnshire on October 14th in the latest NHS Uprising: an initiative started in Louth in September to get people on the streets in numbers to defend the NHS. By the end of the winter, the NHS could be gone – Accountable Care Organisations are coming soon, which will turn the NHS into an US style insurance based model where you’ll have to pay for anything more than very basic services. The stories told in this film will be very similar to what’s happening in your area – time for an uprising to save the NHS.

Brummie Binmen: BETRAYED by Labour Council

The binstrike in Birmingham is back on, after the Labour council reneged on a deal agreed with ACAS and ratified at a full council meeting. The binmen stand to lose £3.5K – £5K a year in the dispute, which will only save the council £400,000 a year – while the dispute is costing the council £312,000 a week. Demonstration: Sunday September 17th at 11am, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1DB.

Read Squawkbox article on the dispute

And another one on the scapegoating of council leader John Clancy

McStrike!

The first ever McDonalds strike in the UK was a huge success as workers in Crayford and Cambridge walked out to join thousands of other fast wood workers protesting around the globe in co-ordinated action. They and their union, the Bakers Union (BFAWU), are now calling on all supporters to help them get more  restaurants out on strike, inspired by successful campaigns in the U.S. and New Zealand. More info and to get involved: https://fastfoodrights.wordpress.com/

Big Ben Blacklisting Scandal

Ahead of a Parliamentary debate on blacklisting, the Blacklist Support Group demanded answers over the awarding of the Big Ben contract to notorious blacklisters Sir Robert McAlpine.

The Speaker of the House of Commons and the Sir Robert McAlpine chief executive both joined the war of words about the £29m contract to refurbish Big Ben being awarded to the blacklist company. On Tuesday 5th September during a Westminster Hall debate on blacklisting MPs including Labour and SNP frontbenchers Jack Dromey and Chris Stephens joined Chuka Ummuna in calling for the company that was at the very heart of The Consulting Association human rights scandal to be stripped of the Big Ben contract.

 
The former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna went further on Thursday 7th by raising a ‘point of order’ on the floor of the House of Commons asking the Speaker, his “views and advice with regard to the matter of Big Ben” adding, “what message do you think it sends to the victims of this gross injustice for this House to award a contract to a firm that not only funded the Consulting Association, but provided its first chair and another chair?”
 
John Bercow replied: that the question was “perfectly legitimately and reasonable” adding that although the company had been awarded the initial contract to provide scaffolding, the full contract had not yet been officially awarded to McAlpine. The Speaker of the House of Commons summed up by confirming “It is important. We are sensitive to it and we will be conscious in the days ahead of the reputational importance” and told MPs that he would make enquiries and make a further statement.
Stung by the ongoing criticism, the chief executive of Sir Robert McAlpine Limited, Paul Hamer wrote a letter to a number of newspapers claiming that “blacklisting “has no place now or in the future” at his firm and that the contractor was committed fully to “a zero-tolerance policy towards blacklisting, illegal or unfair recruitment practices”.  Adding that “I am pleased to confirm that Sir Robert McAlpine complies fully with all legislation to prevent blacklisting and is committed to fair and transparent recruitment.”
 
Roy Bentham, blacklisted carpenter from Liverpool and Blacklist Support Group, joint secretary responded to the McAlpine statement:
 
“Paul Hamer might be the CEO but Cullum McAlpine owns the company and I sat behind Cullum McAlpine when he gave evidence to the select committee investigation. Upon advice from his lawyer who was sitting next to him throughout, the blacklister in chief smugly refused to answer questions put to him by MPs. 
 
The select committee report stated that they were ‘far from certain that all of our witnesses have told us ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’, despite many of them being under oath’. Blacklisted workers completely agree with that assessment by MPs”.
 
30 years ago Sir Robert McAlpine Limited denied blacklisting people as part of the Economic League, 10 years ago they denied blacklisting people as part of The Consulting Association. And now they assure us that they’ve given up blacklisting completely. Given the company’s previous honesty on blacklisting, how could anybody possibly not believe them now?”
 
Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail said workers were “continuing to have their lives ruined simply for being a member of a union”.
 
In May last year, Sir Robert McAlpine Limited was one of eight multi-national contractors (the others were Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke,  Skanska and Vinci) that made a public apology alongside a record breaking multi-million pound compensation payout in order to avoid prosecution at the High Court. 
Eight contractors – Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska and Vinci.