Two actions from Disabled People Against Cuts’ week of action: first at the Department of Transport with the RMT, where they are kept waiting in trying to hand over a petition to keep guards on trains, then at ATOS headquarters to protest the inhumane PIP assessments that have lead to thousands of disabled people dying – even the DWP say 4,000 have died. DPAC are now calling for a boycott of all companies linked to ATOS (such as Santander, Vodaphone and EDF) in order to take the contract away from them once and for all.
John McDonnell pledged full support from the Labour party to striking mixed fleet cabin crew, as a number of Labour MPs joined them in front of Parliament to demand a decent living wage from British Airways. Dennis Skinner in particular was given a big cheer by the striking crew when he called airports “the mines of the future” in terms of militancy and solidarity in the trade union movement. Please donate to the hardship fund (details at the end of the video) to help this epic strike land a significant blow against corporate greed.
Over a quarter of a million people attended a very moving and emotional 133rd Big Meeting in Durham to remember Davey Hopper, who died a week after last year’s Gala. Davey was the General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association for 30 years, and was the driving force behind the ongoing success of the Gala. On the march were British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew, in the middle of a 16 day strike for a living wage – and the biggest cheers were for the Durham Teaching Assistants, who explained why they are rejecting a terrible deal “negotiated” by UNISON which would leave nearly a quarter of them losing up to £4,000 immediately, and everyone else worse off eventually. UNISON should hang their heads in shame at trying to sell the Durham Lions out like this – now it’s down to all of us to give them the support they need to get a proper settlement.
After rejecting the latest pay deal from British Airways, British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew are taking 16 consecutive days of strike action – with another two weeks following on quickly, making a total of 30 strike days in 32 days. More and more crew are joining the union, UNITE, to come out on strike in disgust at a deal which would have imposed sanctions on staff who’d taken strike action previously – withdrawal of staff travel discounts and, most importantly, withdrawal of bonuses which may well take the staff below a living wage. This is blacklisting – an illegal activity. And now, BA are “wetleasing” planes and crew from Qatar Airways to cover the planes grounded by the rapidly strengthening strike – a company and a country with an appalling record on workers rights and human rights. Compare that disgusting behaviour with the pride shown by striking cabin crew at the Durham Miners’ Gala and London Pride in this film.
Management at Ritzy cinema have SACKED three BECTU reps, and suspended another, in the long-running battle for a living wage at Picturehouse cinemas. Shadow chancellor John Mc Donnell was among the supporters on the picket line on July 1st, as he urged the entire labour movement to get behind the cinema workers. Picturehouse workers are calling on everyone to boycott ALL Picturehouse cinemas until their demands are met and all Ritzy reps are reinstated – which means don’t go and see films there, and don’t eat and drink in their cafes. The Human Rights film festival have already promised to move their festival to other cinemas if the dispute isn’t resolved – you can follow their example by going to watch films in cinemas that do pay their staff a living wage.
The BBC are refusing to allow people to say how many dead there might be in the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, so let’s say what everyone’s thinking – we are probably looking at around 200 bodies. Last night there was a very angry and emotional march from the Home Office, via 10 Downing St and the BBC, all the way to Grenfell Tower, with passers-by and drivers cheering and clapping the marchers all the way, where they joined a vigil of local residents. An amazing show of solidarity by thousands at very short notice. Today (Saturday) there is another demonstration at Kensington & Chelsea town hall at Midday – and then we have to keep doing this. We need justice, we need this disgusting “government” out and we need tory ministers in jail – and that’s just for starters.
The National Pensioners Convention delivered a defiant manifesto at their annual Pensioners Parliament in Blackpool this week. Condemning the Tories plans for the dementia tax, means tested winter fuel payments and removal of the triple lock pension, they called for social care free at the point of need, a state pension at a level of 70% of the living wage, and maintenance of universal benefits – and, alongside Disabled People Against Cuts, vowed to take to the streets to fight for them, whatever the Government.
The movement to save the NHS is beginning to look unstoppable. One of the key campaigns is in the Tory heartland of Lincolnshire – and the epicentre is Thatcher’s birthplace, Grantham. A few days before the election, 100 campaigners on motorbikes deliver mountains of biscuits to A&E staff across the county to thank them for their hard work – and in the process point out the nightmare situation developing in their hospitals, proving beyond doubt that the Tories are planning to privatise the entire NHS.
Latest track from the inimitable Jenny Cash and The Sons of Sue – “Please Buy This Record”, featuring a second half preachin’ against privatisation …
Cleaners at the LSE are striking for equality. The outsourced workers, members of the UVW,: have now taken seven days of strike action in support of their demand for the same sick pay, maternity and paternity pay and pensions as workers directy employed by LSE, making this the longest running cleaners dispute in the UK ever. Next protest: Monday June 19, Midday – 5pm.