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.

55,000 March for the NHS outside the Tory conference

The title of this year’s Tory conference is ‘For Hard Working People’ which seems like an attempt at irony coming from such avid fans of both tax evasion and inherited wealth. Meanwhile outside the Manchester GMEX Centre over 55,000 hard working people demonstrated their disgust at the privatisation of the NHS. The protest called by the TUC was most heavily supported by members of UNISON which was unsurprising given their status as the biggest union in NHS. There were also large turnouts from the PCS, UNITE and GMB.

Photos by Guy Smallman

 

 

Tower Hamlets remains EDL free but police arrest over 280 anti fascists

On Saturday Sept 7th the racist English Defence League (EDL) had promised to bring thousands of its intellectually challenged supporters to the multi-faith East London borough of Tower Hamlets. Their previous attempt to march past the East London Mosque in 2011 had ended in failure with the EDL being kept out of the area, harassed by anti fascists around Liverpool street and one of their coaches being trashed. This time they announced that they would rally in Altab Ali park, a community space named after a Bangladeshi textile worker whom was killed in a racist attack in 1978.

A broad range of organisations including East End United, London Anti Fascists and Unite Against fascism vowed to stop them entering Tower Hamlets supported by the TUC, RMT, CWU, UNITE and various other trade unions and faith groups. By 11am thousands of people were in the park while the EDL (who numbered between 5 & 700) gathered south of London bridge. The racist mobilisation was far smaller than the recent gathering of the EDL in Birmingham despite the murder of Lee Rigby in South East London and the date having no domestic football fixtures, which would have boosted the EDL’s hooligan contingent.

The previous attempt by EDL leaders to enter Tower Hamlets had ended in humiliation with their self-styled leader Tommy Robinson getting arrested while crying to the police after being smacked by an anti fascist. This time the EDL were prevented by the police from entering the borough after seeing the size of the opposition to their presence. Robinson (aka former BNP organiser Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was arrested again, this time for breaching his bail conditions and incitement.

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A determined group of militant anti fascists attempt to confront the EDL as they crossed Tower bridge but were detained by a massive police operation. Meanwhile anti racist groups and local people left Altab Ali park and blocked the main route through Whitechapel to ensure the EDL’s non attendance. They then marched to East London Mosque after the EDL had been escorted back across the river in defeat. By this stage it was clear that anti fascists were outnumbering the EDL by at least 3-1.

Meanwhile the police detained everyone who had left the designated protest area in two ‘kettles’ for several hours. They then systematically arrested all the detainees and put them onto buses that had been clearly prepared for the occasion. They had employed similar tactics back in June when the UAF and South London Antifascists had ruined their plans to facilitate a march by the fascist BNP from parliament to Whitehall.

In the end over 280 antifascists were arrested. Most of them released after a few hours with bail conditions that prevent them from going near racist and fascist organisations.

More worryingly the police also arrested Legal Observers from Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG) treating them with the same measures as the demonstrators. In the past the police have not exactly be pleased to see the volunteers from LDMG but have allowed them to do their job and recognised their role as observers rather than participants.

The behaviour of the police towards the detained protestors and legal observers raises several questions about civil liberties. If no charges against the detained are pressed or they are found not guilty then legal action against the police is very likely. It is possible that the European Convention on Human Rights was violated in several areas including article 10 (freedom of expression) and article 11 (freedom of assembly). Meanwhile the confiscation (and no doubt copying) the legal observers notes is in contravention to article 6 (right to a fair trial).

The arrest of five clearly identifiable legal observers in the Mansell street kettle has resulted in an angry statement from LDMG with more expected to follow. Tony Martin one of the coordinators said “The arrest of five Legal Observers is outrageous. Although we have had individual Legal Observers arrested before, this is a very rare occurrence. What is different on this occasion is that the decision was taken at a very senior level of the Metropolitan Police.

Photos by Guy Smallman

 

Blacklisting on Crossrail – The Proof

To mark the British mainstream media finally exposing the illegal practice of blacklisting on primetime TV (Panorama, 10/06/13), We present the first in a new series of regional reports from around the UK on blacklisting.

Number 1: South East

Crossrail are blacklisting trade unionists – and here’s the proof. Testimonies from people with direct experience of blacklisting by Crossrail at Westbourne Park in London, and Chatham docks in Kent. Plus: the extent of blacklisting from Chatham to Basingstoke and Southampton – and the growing resistance.

Nationwide strike rocks the BBC

Today saw a nationwide walk out by NUJ members at the BBC over compulsory job losses. The union has long argued that the cuts are unnecessary. Rolling coverage of the strike suggests that it is being well supported by members. Meanwhile news programmes are showing far more prepared features than usual suggesting that they will struggle to cover any breaking stories today.

While visiting the the picket line at Broadcasting House NUJ National Executive Member David Crouch said: “At a time when Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is on the ropes over the hacking scandal, the government is pushing ahead with his demands to slash the BBC. NUJ members are absolutely right to insist on funding for quality journalism, and to fight to defend every job.”

Photos by Guy Smallman

TUC march dominated by calls for a general strike

London, 20.10.12: over 150,000 march against austerity. Many if them were demanding a general strike, a call echoed at the rally by the general secretaries of PCS, RMT and the biggest union in Britain, UNITE. Now we just need to make it happen.
November 14th will see a coordinated European general strike against austerity, the first such strike in history. At the very least we need protests and demonstrations in Britain – if we could get walkouts too that would be a great start to building the resistance.

 

Our Present is Your Future: How to destroy public health services

We will be publishing one film every Sunday, and added to our playlist. Check our Facebook page to vote which one you want to see next. Get the DVD or become a Reel News Supporter!

Update: See full series ‘Our Present Is Your Future

Out of 131 hospitals, as many as 50 will be closed. Patients already have to pay at the door when going to see a doctor. Procedures will have to be paid up front, and if you don’t have the money you will be sent home. “People will die.” “The cruelty is unbelieveable.” “This is a nightmare.”

Also see: Health Workers Strike video & photo slideshow, Making Patients Pay, Our Present is Your Future.

 

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Let us know if you want the DVDs

 

CRISIS — Don’t Believe The Lies!

We will be publishing one film every Friday, and added to our playlist. Check our Facebook page to vote which one you want to see next. Get the DVD or become a Reel News Supporter!

Update: See full series ‘Our Present Is Your Future

We try to explain the Greek crisis, how it relates to the rest of Europe and who is actually being bailed out. Features clips from the documentary Debtocracy, and an interview with the film maker, as well as the financial editor of one of Greeks biggest newspapers, which has been on strike for months.

Additional footage courtesy of: Debtocracy & Catastroika, Ojo Obrero, Peristeri News, Mihbaf, Narvideos


Support Reel News – get a subscription!

If you like what we’re doing, become a Reel News Supporter to help keep things going! If you donate £3 or more each month, you will get the bi-monthly DVD delivered right to you doorstep!

Let us know if you want the DVDs

 

That’s Our Power – Rank and File Organising

We will be publishing one film every Friday, and added to our playlist. Check our Facebook page to vote which one you want to see next. Get the DVD or become a Reel News Supporter!

Update: See full series ‘Our Present Is Your Future

The growth of rank and file committees, featuring the three longest all out strikes ever in Greece (steel factory, national newspaper & TV station), plus hospital occupations.

Also see photo slideshows from Eleftherotypia, Alter TV, Halivourgia and Health Worker Strikes.

Additional footage by Alter TV employees, Mind The Cam, Peristeri News, Mihbaf, Narvideos

 

Support Reel News – get a subscription!

If you like what we’re doing, become a Reel News Supporter to help keep things going! If you donate £3 or more each month, you will get the bi-monthly DVD delivered right to you doorstep!

Let us know if you want the DVDs

 

GREECE: “Our Present Is Your Future” DVD and UK tour

Our 2 hour special on Greece is out now – for your copy, order here.

Our UK tour starts on June 22nd – come and see the front line of the social war that’s engulfing Europe, and join in the discussions on how to deliver practical solidarity and build a Europe wide movement against austerity.

We are very pleased to announce that Georgia Mylonaki, Eleftherotypia striker will be joining the tour up to July 2nd. Eleftherotypia is a national newspaper where the workers have been on all out strike now for 5 months – one of the longest strikes ever in Greece. We will also have Taiana Andreou, striking public sector worker speaking at the Hackney screening.

If we’re not coming to your area and you want to arrange a screening, please get in touch.

Tour Dates:

Friday June 22nd 7pm HACKNEY Halkevi Centre 31 – 33 Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF  (with Hackney Trades Council; part of Turkish Kurdish International Labor Film Festival)

Sunday June 24th 7pm STROUD Transition monthly film screening @ The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud GL5 1DF (selection of Reel News films and Debtocracy)

Wednesday June 27th 7:30pm LANCASTER The Gregson Centre, 33 Moorgate, Moor Lane,LA1 3PY

Thursday June 28th 6pm GLASGOW  The Albany Learning and      Conference Centre, 44 Ashley Street G3 6DS (with Camcorder Guerillas and Woodlands Community Garden)

Also Thursday June 28th: 7:30pm HARINGEY Chestnut Community & Community Arts Centre, 280 St. Ann’s Road, N15 5BN (with UNISON North London Mental Health & Community branch)

Saturday June 3oth 8pm LONDON Ideas for Freedom 2012, Highgate Newtown Community Centre, Bertram Street, Archway, London N19 5DQ

Tuesday July 10th BRISTOL Kebele Co-op, 14 Robertson Road,Easton, BS5 6JY

Thursday July 12th BRIDPORT 7:30pm (day before Tolpuddle festival starts) St John’s ambulance hall, Rax Lane DT6 3JJ (with Autonomy Films)

Friday July 20th – Sunday July 22nd GLOBALISE RESISTANCE FESTIVAL Tapeley Park, Devon

Wednesday July 25th NEWCASTLE 7:30pm The Star and Shadow cinema, Stepney Bank (opp. Tanners Pub)

Friday August 3rd 7:30pm BRIGHTON The Cowley Club 12 London Road
BN1 4JA

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