Disabled People Against Cuts protest in Birmingham over the thousands of people killed by the Government through cuts, using direct action along the way to highlight the many accessibility problems disabled people face every day, and finishing the protest with an inspiring call to arms.
Today victimised RMT rep Mark Harding was found not guilty of what was a serious (if absurd) charge under the Industrial Relations Act. He has endured 3 months of uncertainty not least because a guilty verdict could have resulted in 6 months jail and/or serious implications for his career.
The charge arose from the highly successful RMT/TSSA dispute of London Underground in February. Mark was accused of intimidation after verbally appealing to a scab not to cross his picket line at Hammersmith. He was arrested after a spurious complaint was made and then held for an astonishing 13 hours before being given bail conditions that effectively banned him from Trade Union activity. The RMTs legal team got the conditions overturned but the charges remained. Todays verdict was clearly a massive relief for all involved.
Steve Hedley RMT assistant General Secretary said outside the court: “This is an important victory not just for us but for all trade unionists. We believe that the ongoing threat of industrial action by our staff caused the state to bring this case. We have successfully defended our right to peacefully picket.”
Mark was vindicated but sadly so were the authorities. The magistrate went out of her way to exonerate the cops in what was an outrageous, vindictive and utterly blatant case of political policing.
96% yes vote for an all out indefinite strike against cuts to sick pay and holidays, and increased hours – so Lambeth college’s management run to the courts to get an injunction to stop them. This was already a local issue of national importance, with other colleges threatening similar attacks. Now Lambeth college principal Mark Silverman has turned it into an issue for the entire trade union movement by denying his employees their democratic right to protest.
The changes to contracts will mean an extra 5 weeks work a year with no extra pay, and a cut in sick pay from 6 months on full pay and 6 months on half pay, to 4 months on full pay and 2 months on half pay. The only figure management can come up with for how much this will save the college is £20,000 for the cut in sick pay – a facility only used by workers in extremely difficult circumstances, for example cancer. So management are saying they are no longer prepared to support staff in such difficulties – but they are happy to spend £35,000 refurbishing an office for Silverman that he only uses for a maximum of one day a week. Meanwhile many lecturers report having to go to the stationers themselves to buy pens and paper for the students out of their own money.
This is all happening against a backdrop of management plans to shut down the 100 year old Brixton centre of the college, which is being sold off to make way for the Trinity Academy free school – a school run by people who are openly looking to attract children from the influx of rich white newcomers to Brixton.
Lecturers in the University and College Union (UCU) are now reballoting for all out indefinite strike action, and support workers in UNISON are doing the same.
Footage from the strike on Mayday, culminating in Lambeth college strikers marching with Brixton Ritzy strikers fighting for the London living wage. As resentment grows against the rapid gentrification of Lambeth and the fastest rising house prices in Britain, more and more locals are drawing a line in the sand and saying: Enough is enough.
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.
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.
Here at REEL NEWS we’ve never really understood why people celebrate November 5th? This is after all the date that Mr Fawkes and his comrades saw their mission fail. It is like having an annual night of celebration for still not finding a cure for cancer. However we love fireworks and setting stuff alight so we went to have a look at the London arm of the worldwide Anonymous Million Mask March.
Attempts by the Police to keep protesters out of the road when they arrived at Parliament Square failed miserably as hundreds of people poured into the area around Parliament and set up several sound systems. A number of vehicles including a bus were trapped in the crowd so the TSG were deployed to rescue them. This resulted in scuffles but without any violence. More protesters came to join the party from Westminster Bridge where the Peoples Assembly had been holding a rally and blockade.
The sound systems were complimented by the performances of hip hop artists and also a fire breather. A large part of the crowd then went for a walk towards Buckingham Palace before heading into the West End with outnumbered police trying to keep up. There were further scuffles at a McDonalds and a firework was shot at Buckingham Palace.
Today thousands of Fire and Rescue Service workers came from across Britain to protest at the government’s plans for their workplaces. The national demo was called by the Fire Brigades Union and exceeded the expected numbers despite the torrential rain.
Their main grievances are the raising of fire fighters working age to 60 which many see as ridiculous given the very physical nature of the work. The closure of fire stations in city areas which many believe will increase response times and therefore cost lives. Also the attack on members pensions is seen as a cynical move by a government prepared to spend billions bailing out banks.
As the protest passed through Whitehall hundreds of Firefighters broke from the route and mobbed around Downing Street. Seven very nervous police stood between them and the gates though the protest remained peaceful and good humored if extremely loud. Recent protests by Fire Fighters in Belgium have reminded many of the potential that they have to humiliate the state and its agents.