I don’t particularly have much to offer in the way of thoughtful analysis of last year, but there’s a few moments I think deserve to be remembered. There have been various end-of-year round-ups, I’ll try to collect a few decent ones at the end of this, but this one is mine.
“What happened on 21st March was an outpouring of rage against the violence of the police. The crowd fought back after police officers attacked the crowd with batons and riot shields. Pepper spray was used indiscriminately, people were charged with police horses. The protesters fought back, seizing police riot shields, helmets and batons to defend themselves. By the end of the evening several police vehicles had been set on fire.
We are writing this statement to make clear that we support those who have been sentenced today, and that we are proud of them for fighting back. We need to be ready to defend ourselves against the police, and stand with those facing repression and criminalisation.”
Please write to the Kill the Bill Prisoners this Christmas! 🔥❤️🏴You have no idea how much difference every single card makes in terms of making people feeling supported and able to keep going. These folks have all been sentenced (except two who are on remand) for their role in the Kill the Bill demonstration this March in Bristol.
We all love sharing pictures of burning vans on social media but once the riot porn fades, people are serving years behind bars for a night of defiance. They took action to defend themselves against the cops, resisting the state and its legislation set to expand police powers and incarceration across the board. Show them they are not alone!!!!!! Get a card in the post ❤️💌🖤💌
These prisoners welcome letters of support. Please share widely. You can also use emailaprisoner.com. Check the Bristol ABC website regularly in case their addresses change – www.bristolabc.wordpress.com
Ryan Dwyer A4276AT Kane Adamson A1103ER Kain Simmonds A9381EQ Brandon Lloyd A0806EE Shaun Davies A4075ER HMP Portland, 104 the Grove, Easton, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1DL
Ryan Roberts A5155EM, Benjamin Rankin A1261AY HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge Road, BS7 8PS
“On Sunday 28 November at 12 noon, Sheffield food delivery couriers from the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are protesting outside of Sheffield Town Hall to demand that Stuart delivery cancels a planned pay cut of nearly 25%. Having previously been promised a postponement to the cuts in October 2021, couriers are set to strike from 6 December after the corporation that delivers for JustEat decided to push ahead with the cuts next month.
Stuart is slashing pay on most deliveries from £4.50 to £3.40 from 6 December 2021 as part of a new pay structure that will force couriers who already have to pay their own vehicle costs to work even harder and longer to make the same money.
The upcoming protest and strike, backed by Sheffield Labour MP Olivia Blake, follows a protest organised by IWGB in October 2021 when the pay cuts were first proposed. At Sunday’s rally, couriers will stage a motorcade leaving from Queen Street at 11am, arriving at Sheffield Town Hall at 12 noon where speeches will be given by Olivia Blake MP, members of the council, and workers.
Despite undertaking high-risk key work through the pandemic, Stuart’s couriers still live on poverty pay, are denied basic worker rights such as sick pay, and are forced to cover their own vehicle and insurance costs. With rising costs of living and fuel spikes, pay cuts will push these key workers further into poverty.”
“Facebook’s London cleaners are to step up their campaign against excessive workloads and to be brought in house with a major protest on Friday November 26th.
The protest, labelled ‘Cancel Facebook’, is scheduled for 4pm at 10 Brock Street, NW1 3FG. The event will feature samba music, street performers, and a variety of speakers including former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell, ADCU General Secretary James Farrar, and Glenroy Watson of the RMTs Black Solidarity Committee’s Secretary.
The cleaners have been campaigning since June about increased workloads which are making them exhausted and ill. Their employer, Churchill Cleaning, which took over the Facebook contract in January, has added eight extra floors to the six that used to make up the cleaners’ schedule. Churchill has failed to provide any extra resources to meet the increased workload.
Facebook itself has consistently refused to intervene on behalf of its cleaners. The Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union, has approached the company on multiple occasions, but it has consistently refused to get involved beyond vague expressions of concern about the wellbeing of its service providers and its intent to foster a respectful and safe working environment. Beyond that, it simply repeats the mantra that these are matters for Churchill and for its facilities management contractor JLL. Despite repeated enquiries from CAIWU, Facebook has declined to comment on the cleaners’ request to be brought in house.
In the absence of any positive progress, the prospect of industrial action grows increasingly likely. CAIWU has already served Churchill with notice of its members’ intention to vote about the possibility of strike action, and Christmas Eve has been identified as a probable date for the first of what is likely to be a series of one-day strikes. CAIWU organiser Bruce Coker says that striking is very much a last resort, but that the cleaners feel they’ve been left with no other choice. ‘The campaign has been going on for months now,’ said Coker. ‘Our members are getting ill from overwork, but Churchill refuses to acknowledge that there’s a problem. The cleaners have reached the point where going on strike seems like the only way to make Churchill, JLL and Facebook listen.’ Asked the reason behind the ‘Cancel Facebook’ label for the protest, Coker explained, ‘As a society we are becoming very quick to judge and cancel individuals for minor misdemeanours, and platforms like Facebook actively encourage this behaviour by rewarding outrage and engagement. We want to make some noise about the actual harm these companies are causing, not just to members of the public but often to their own workers.’
One former cleaner who won’t be taking part in any strike is Guillermo Camacho, the supervisor dismissed last month for allegedly poor performance of his duties. Both CAIWU and Camacho, whose reinstatement case was rejected by the employment tribunal last week, continue to insist that the real reason behind his dismissal was his trade union activities, of which he made no secret. Camacho’s unfair dismissal case is scheduled to be heard by the tribunal in the new year, by when his former colleagues are hoping their campaign will have resulted in a return to tolerable workloads at Brock Street.
Protest: Friday November 26th, 4pm | 10 Brock Street, London NW1 3FG”
Anarchist prisoner Toby Shone was sentenced to 3 years 9 months in prison for 8 drugs charges after all political charges against him related to the website http://325.nostate.net under the Terrorism Act were dropped on 1st October 2021 due to lack of evidence. Toby Shone is currently held at HMP Bristol pending transfer. Please send letters of support and birthday cards (20th October) to: Toby Shone A7645EP HMP Bristol 19 Cambridge Road Bristol BS7 8PS UK
Recent weeks have seen transport workers taking or threatening action for pay demands in a number of areas. These disputes have been broken up among two different unions, and seem to be mostly conducted as solely local disputes with little attempt to coordinate at a national scale. Trying to put these pieces together may give us a clearer picture of what the potential for a strike wave this winter could be, and what the limitations might be.
Bus drivers organised in both RMT and Unite are currently suspending action while voting on a new offer in similar disputes in the Midlands, where bus staff in Mansfield and Chesterfield had been due to take action.