Upcoming events: benefits, the NHS, Deliveroo, Britain First and more…

Just a quick reminder of a few upcoming events over the next few days:

On Thursday 30th, there’s the national day of action against benefit sanctions – see here for a full (if slightly untidy) list of planned events.

On Saturday 1st, there’s a Yorkshire march for the NHS in Leeds, following which both Leeds and Brighton will see co-ordinated mass bike rides as part of the ongoing struggle at Deliveroo. Meanwhile, over in the capital, there’s a protest against the planned scrapping of housing benefits for 18-21 year olds, and Britain First plan to be out making April Fools of themselves – London Antifascists will be opposing them, although the meeting point’s not been publicly announced yet.

As a side note, there’s been quite a lot written about the recent wave of grassroots union struggles, largely among casualised workers and the “gig economy”:

There’s a Telegraph report on the IWGB’s tribunal win against Excel Couriers, a Guardian article from Jason Moyer-Lee of the IWGB, a New Statesman write-up on the gig economy, an article on the LSE cleaners’ strike, a Novara report from the LSE picket lines, a statement of solidarity with Lisa McKenzie who was arrested on dodgy charges during the strike, an overview of the Deliveroo struggle from the Transnational Social Strike Platform, and a broader look at the situation from Jacobin.

Posted in Housing, Protests, Racism, Strikes, Unemployment/claimants and welfare, Unions, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Irish Water struggle: stand with the Jobstown defendants!

Over the course of 2014, the Republic of Ireland saw a mass struggle against the imposition of water charges, with one of the most dramatic moments coming on 15 November 2014, when a car carrying the Tánaiste (Deputy PM) was held up for two and a half hours by a community protest. The state’s now trying to take its revenge – one 17-year-old has already been found guilty of “false imprisonment”, and starting in April, 18 adults will face trials for the same incident, looking at charges which carry a potential life sentence.

For anyone in Dublin, or the surrounding area, the Jobstown Not Guilty campaign will be holding a rally on 1 April; for the rest of us, it’s worth keeping an eye on the Jobstown Not Guily facebook page or main site to see what help might be needed. At the moment, they’re suggesting that people email minister@justice.ie something along these lines:

Dear Tánaiste and Minister Fitzgerald,

I have become aware of the conviction of a 17 year school student for false imprisonment of former Tanaiste Joan Burton TD. I believe that this conviction and the fact that a further 18 people face trial related to protesting against water charges in the Jobstown community in Tallaght, Dublin is a disgraceful miscarriage of justice.

Sit down protests that delay politicians are a part of the fabric of democratic rights that people have won over many years. It is a very serious infringement of the right to protest that the Irish State and judicial system are pursuing these case, ‘a recipe for totalitarianism’ as the school student’s barrister called it and a criminalisation of protest and working class communities.

That people could face long prison sentences and that a democratically elected parliamentarian could be removed from parliament is outrageous. I demand that the conviction of the 17 year old be overturned and that the charges against the 18 adults are dropped immediately.

Posted in Protests, Repression | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Beating back victimisation at Leeds Deliveroo: two sacked workers and 100 hours reinstated

In a quick update from the Leeds Deliveroo struggle, the local IWW branch have pointed out how much they’ve won back in their fight against the victimisation of the Leeds 7:

– 2 Reinstated contracts
– Over 100 weekly hours reinstated, with all 7 receiving scheduled hours
– 1 boss sacked

This struggle is far from over. Deliveroo continue to over recruit, whilst their Riders endure a lack of basic workers’ rights – no Sick Pay, Holiday Pay and NI contributions.

We will renew our demand for a recruitment freeze with a second mass bike ride on April 1st, this time as part of a national day of action against Deliveroo by the IWW and IWGB (event to follow).”

In the meantime, there’s also a slightly more indepth report looking at the situation in Leeds and Brighton up on the Transnational Social Strike website here.

Posted in Stuff that I think is pretty awesome, Unions, Work | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Support for the Allegheny County Jail strike

On 18th March, about 80 prisoners at Allegheny County Jail launched a 24-hour strike, with the following demands:

1. Permit the [Allegheny County] Justice Project to have immediate access to the ACJ as volunteer interns, with designated areas within the jail to conduct inmate interviews and generate reports.
2. Expand unit management staff to include more case workers or assistants to better manage the affairs of inmates.
3. Change the method in which medical services are provided to inmates and ensure adequate meds are dispensed.
4. Provide inmates to a legitimate grievance procedure.
5. Require the DOC and Prison Board to ensure that all administrative rules and DOC policies are accessible to inmates.

While the strike has now ended for the moment, there’s still an active request for supporters to join in and help pressure the administration to meet their demands and prevent retaliation. Please pass this message – which can be as simple as “Hi, I’m contacting you in support of the prisoners who held a sit-in protest recently. Please meet all their demands and refrain from any retaliation against them” – to these contacts:

Orlando Harper, ACJ Warden
Phone: 412-350-2000
Email via this form: http://www.alleghenycounty.us/jail/contact/contact.aspx

Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive
Phone: 412-350-6500
Fax: 412-350-6512
Email: executive@alleghenycounty.us

Elsewhere, in Ohio, Siddique Hasan and Jason Robb are still on hunger strike in protest at a communication restriction intended to prevent them from talking to the media.

You can contact the administration to demand they negotiate a safe end to the hunger strike and meet their demands at:

Phone: 330-743-0700
Fax: 330-743-0841
Email: drc.osp@odrc.state.oh.us
Address: 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road Youngstown, OH 44505

To send support to Jason and Siddique directly, you can contact them at:

Jason Robb 308-919/Siddique Abdullah Hasan R130-559
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road
Youngstown, OH 44505
USA

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US prisoner news: help Jalil Muntaqim and Robert Seth Hayes

A quick reminder about Jalil Muntaqim and Robert Seth Hayes, two prisoners who are still imprisoned as a result of the conflict between the Black Liberation Army and the US state in the early 1970s:

Robert Seth Hayes is still waiting for an insulin pump and monitor, and is in serious danger as a result of his diabetes while he waits for them.

Please pass the following message on:

“Hello, I am contacting you to demand that, as a matter of medical urgency, inmate Robert Seth Hayes #74A2280 needs to be provided with:
1. Immediate provision of an Insulin Pump/Sugar Monitor
2. A Diabetic Diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables and all the current recommendations for diabetics.

These are urgent medical neccessities, and the DOCCS will be failing in its duty of care if these things are not provided.”

To the following people:

Carl J. Koenigsmann M.D.
Deputy Commissioner/Chief Medical Officer
NYS DOCCS Division of Health Services
Harriman State Campus, Building #2
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Phone: 518-457-7073
Fax: 518-445-6157
Email: Carl.Koenigsmann@doccs.ny.gov

Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci
NYS Department of Corrections
and Community Supervision
Harriman State Campus, Building 2
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Phone: 518-457-8134
Fax: 518-453-8477
Email: Anthony.Annucci@doccs.ny.gov

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Phone: 518-474-8390
Fax: 518-474-1513
Email: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

Jalil Muntaqim has been held in solitary confinement since December as a result of a black history course he taught. More broadly, he’s been incarcerated for 44 years and consistently denied parole as a result of political pressure from the police, so his current strategy revolves around putting counter-pressure on the governor of New York state to commute his sentence to time served, via regular twitter storms on alternate Wednesdays, with the next one planned for Wendesday 22nd.

Tweet the following message to Governor Cuomo:
@NYGovCuomo

I add my voice to demand: Commutation of sentence for Anthony Jalil Bottom #77A4283 NOW! #clemency4jalil

Ask your friends, family, co-workers, church members, classmates or union members, to support this campaign! United our voices can make freedom happen!

If you don’t tweet, call the governor at: 1-518-474-8390
or write the governor at:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

cc this office:
New York State DOCCS
Executive Clemency Bureau
The Harriman State Campus – Building 2
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12226-2050
PardonsAndCommutations@doccs.ny.gov

Posted in Repression | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Call for action against overcrowding in Southwark, and reports from pickets, bike rides, and antifascist success stories

Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth are calling for people to help them pressure the council into rehousing 5 families living in seriously overcrowded accommodation:

 

“5 HASL families who are statutorily overcrowded have faced huge delays and refusals by Southwark council to give them the priority on the council waiting list that they qualify for.

Southwark council have been aware of one family’s case since May 2016 and for the other 4 families, since July 2016, however, the families are still stuck in the severely overcrowded and unsuitable housing. The parents are particularly worried about the impact on their children of these overcrowded and unsuitable housing conditions.

The council’s allocations policy is clear enough – households who are statutorily overcrowded who have not caused the overcrowding by a ‘deliberate act’ qualify for priority on the housing register. However the council have insisted the families caused the overcrowding deliberately, despite being given evidence from the families that this is not the case. The families have been deeply hurt and insulted by the idea that they caused these situations on purpose. The council have also acted very slowly on dealing with these families urgent cases, with emails not being replied to for months.

Please email Southwark’s councillor for housing Stephanie Cryan stephanie.cryan[at]southwark.gov.uk  to express your support for these families and concern at the treatment they have faced from Southwark council (cc us in too on haslemail[at]gmail.com!). Please demand that they are given the band 1 priority that they qualify for and that victims of the housing crisis are not blamed for this crisis.

A sample email you can send:

“Dear Stephanie,

As a supporter of Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth, I’m really concerned to hear about the treatment of 5 overcrowded families by the council. Why are the council not following their own allocations policy which is supposed to provide help for those in high housing need? These cases seem pretty simple to deal with, the allocations policy is clear enough too. Why are the council insisting the families have caused the overcrowding deliberately? No one would put their families in this position. It shows a gross lack of understanding of the housing crisis we face. And the families have provided the council with evidence to show they did not cause their overcrowding. Finally, why have they faced such long delays in their correspondence with the council?

I hope that these cases can be fully resolved as quickly as possible so that the families have their rightful place on the housing register. I hope to hear that there are positive developments concerning these cases.

Yours sincerely,”

 

In other news, the first day of the cleaners’ strike at the LSE looks to have had a really great picket line:

If you’re in the area, there will be events happening at the LSE picket lines all day on the 16th, and wherever you are, donations to the cleaners’ strike fund will be gratefully received.

Down in Brighton, the first Deliveroo Ride With Us event sounds like it was a success, and they’re already planning the next one for April 1st.

In other news, the Shutdown LD50 campaign are reporting that Hackney’s racist cultural centre seems to have been successfully shut down, and the next few days will see a number of birthdays of longstanding US political prisoners, including Andrew Henry, who will be spending his 33rd birthday on March 21st behind bars as a result of his participation in the Ferguson uprising, in case anyone feels like sending him a card.

Posted in Housing, Protests, Racism, Strikes, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome, Unions, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Solidarity wildcat on Merseyrail, Deliveroo update, and upcoming events

In case you missed it, the huge railway strike yesterday saw a great bit of solidarity on Merseyrail, as drivers affiliated to ASLEF – who weren’t officially striking – refused to cross the picket lines of their coworkers who were.

There’s a great video of the head of Merseyrail apologising for his workforce’s refusal to scab:

The Plan C website has an update on the Leeds Deliveroo struggle, including this latest statement from the riders involved:

“Friday was a great display of solidarity, with riders from Deliveroo and fellow members of the labour movement out in equally impressive numbers.

Several of the Leeds 7 received significant increases in hours after the protest on Friday night – we are hopeful the second of the terminated riders will have their contract reinstated by Monday.

This has proved to us that with continued pressure on the company, and solidarity from all those opposed to exploitative and precarious working conditions, we can win this fight.

This is a feeling spreading amongst the Deliveroo fleet in Leeds – a great number of Deliveroo workers asked for membership forms on Friday night, and even more spoke of their surprise and pleasure at the events success.

We are growing and we are winning.”

They (Plan C, not Leeds IWW Deliveroo workers) also have a collection of a few reports from the women’s strike on the 8th.

Looking ahead, the 15th and 16th will see outsourced cleaners organised through the UVW striking for equal conditions at the London School of Economics, and it looks like they’ve got two days of very busy picketlines planned:

You can also donate to their strike funds here.

And as a reminder of a few more upcoming events:

Monday 20th is the next planned date when Equality Commission staff will be striking for the reinstatement of their sacked colleagues, with offices in Manchester, London, Birmingham and Glasgow expected to take part. On Saturday 25th, Leeds Hands Off Our Homes will be hosting a regional housing summit, County Durham Teaching Assistants are calling on people to join them for a day of solidarity with their dispute, and the evening will also see an Orgreave justice fundraiser at the South Kirkby Miners’ Welfare Club.

Further ahead, the 30th will be a day of action against benefit sanctions, with events now planned for central London, Kilburn, Barnet, Luton, Cambridge, Sheffield, Leeds, Middlesborough, Truro, Bridgwater, Bristol, Rhyl, Dumferline and Portadown.

Posted in Gender, Housing, Protests, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome, Unemployment/claimants and welfare, Unions, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments