A disciplinary hearing in the middle of a pandemic: reinstate Percy!

From the United Voices of the World union, and via the South Essex Heckler:

 

SOLIDARITY CALL OUT FOR PERCY

Percy is a cleaner at King’s college with 5 years on the job, and a UVW executive committee member, who’s just been sacked after a disciplinary hearing he refused to attend due to observing the government’s social distancing guidelines but which King’s College proceed with anyway in his absence without even letting him know or inviting him to attend via phone.

The hearing would have had 8 people cramped together in a small room in complete disregard of the government’s instructions about social distancing.

Percy has explained the reasons for not attending and asked for the decision to be overturned and the hearing to be reconvened via phone or in person after lockdown.

However, King’s have scandalously refused this request and have insisted on upholding his dismissal which now leaves Percy out of work and out of pocket in the middle of a pandemic!

He will formally appeal but it could take months to hear and deliver an outcome. We will also take King’s to tribunal but that could take over a year.

This is utterly shameless conduct by King’s HR team, led by Nigel Smith, the Head of People Services.

They need to be held to account.

Everyone deserves the right to a fair hearing and should not have that right denied them for respecting the government’s public health guidelines about social distancing.

Please repost this and write to Nigel Smith at the following address telling him to reinstate Percy: Nigel.smith@kcl.ac.uk

Posted in Unions, Work | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

FreeThemAll4PublicHealth – Week of Online Action

From the Community Action on Prison Expansion campaign:

As #COVID-19 spreads, and emergency preparations are made to mitigate the impact of the pandemic – CAPE are calling on the government, and @MoJGovUK, to act in the interest of public health and immediately release all people in prison and detention. #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth
We stand alongside and credit the vital work of @FreeThemAll2020, and all NY abolitionist organisers, in making the call – #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth – loud and clear. #nomoredeaths #abolitionNOW
Today we launch 7 days of online action – starting March 26th – to demand the release of all those incarcerated and detained in the UK. Join us! Call. Email. Tweet. #ReleaseThemNow
Let @MoJGovUK know that the lives of people in prison are not disposable.
Every morning for the next 7 working days – we will choose a new target to demand the release of all people in prison. Check CAPE’s social media every morning for the day’s actions. #nomoredeaths #emptyallcages
Prisons are – by their very nature – unsafe and unhealthy spaces, with access to healthcare already severely limited. We know that incarcerated people already face systematic medical neglect and abuse, daily.
And we know from @Health_Affairs – and countless public health publications – that prisons push people directly into the paths of epidemics. Incarcerated people are members of the public, in the midst of this public health crisis, the gov must act, urgently and effectively.
Join us tomorrow [the 26th] for the first day of action! All instructions and full guidance will be provided across CAPE’s social media! Love and Rage!

You can find the fb event here.

Their first call has now been published:

Today – Thursday March 26th – we are targeting The Ministry of (In)Justice ‬

‪The MoJ have the power to free everyone and save thousands of lives.‬

Join us! ‪Call 📞 Email 💻 Tweet 🐤
Demand that the MOJ #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth‬!

Full instructions can be found here:‬ https://cape-campaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CAPE-ACTION-26-MARCH-2020.pdf

 

Posted in Health, Repression | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming online events and new base union support groups: Russian anarchists, the poll tax and more

A few online events that you can sort-of-join-in-with while you’re self-isolating/social distancing/recovering from another day at work if you work at a really vital institution that can’t be closed down, like the NHS or Wetherspoons:

On Saturday 21st March, Russian anarchist political prisoner Azat Miftakhov will be celebrating his birthday in prison after being convicted of breaking a window at an office of Putin’s United Russia party, so to mark the occasion his friends and supporters are asking that people take photos of themselves with signs demanding his release and post them with the hashtag #freeazat. For more prison-related news closer to home, see this update from London ABC, who are setting up a hotline for people to report virus outbreaks and any other serious incidents in prisons.

On March 26th, to commemorate the upcoming 30th anniversary of the great Poll Tax riot, there’s going to be a livestreamed talk that you can listen to here. (Thinking about it, that’ll also be the 9th anniversary of the one relatively decent anti-cuts protest from the early 2010s.) The Angry Workers book tour for their upcoming book obviously won’t be happening as planned, but they’ll be doing a livestreamed presentation on the 27th, and then a Zoom online meeting on the 31st.

Other than that, hopefully everyone’s involved in their local neighbourhood groups by now, but for anyone involved with the UVW union, they’ve created a group so that members and supporters of UVW can ask questions to one another, offer advice and solidarity where possible, and discuss ways in which we can get organised to protect our health, jobs, homes and incomes in the months ahead. The IWGB have also set up an online form for people who can volunteer to help their members through the crisis.

That’s all for now, more updates about how you can not leave your house to follow soon.

Posted in Anarchists, Unions | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Mutual aid, isolation and the crisis: a few links

Image

(by the Autonomous Design Group, for Living Rent)

A few links that might be useful for anyone else trying to get their heads around the fast-changing situation. To start off with, commentary from a few libertarian/anarchist perspectives:

Discussing the Covid-19 regime from a revolutionary working class perspective in seven steps (Angry Workers)

Coronavirus and the Ill Health of Capitalism (Anarchist Communist Group)

No Security in Times of Crisis (Plan C)

Covidnomics: Facing the Contradictions, Imagining New Worlds (Plan C)

Pandemic Demands and Mutual Aid (Plan C)

Lifting the Mask of Capitalist Disaster: The Coronavirus Response (Black Rose)

When Every Community is Ground Zero: Pulling Each Other Through a Pandemic (Mutual Aid Disaster Relief)

Against the Coronavirus and the Opportunism of the State: Anarchists in Italy Report on the Spread of the Virus and the Quarantine (Crimethinc)

Surviving the Virus: An Anarchist Guide: Capitalism in Crisis—Rising Totalitarianism—Strategies of Resistance (Crimethinc)

On Rent Strike against Gentrification and the Pandemic: An Interview with Residents of Station 40 in San Francisco (Crimethinc)

Freedom has also been doing a good job of covering the situation and the growth of local groups.

For general resources for local mutual aid groups, see Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK and the excellent guides from Queercare Network.

While the lockdown continues, and traditional forms of physical gatherings and so on are inadvisable, phone zap/email blast-type actions are likely to be one of the main ways we can act sort-of collectively. The IWW’s TEFL workers union has called for a coronavirus week of action, targeting institutions like the British council, Wetherspoons staff have been asking for support with their demand for sick pay, Parkdale Organize have called for a phone/email zap in support of tenants facing landlord intimidation and eviction threats, and given the terrible health conditions that exist in jails generally, there’s likely to be a steady stream of zaps like the ones that have been called for Santa Rita jail and Macomb CI in Michigan – keep up with the Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee or Fight Toxic Prisons to hear more about those.

Stay safe out there and take care of each other.

Posted in Anarchists, Health, Housing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

COVID-19 UK Mutual Aid groups: a list

A full, regularly updated list can be found here – currently at over 190 groups and likely to keep growing.

Republished from Freedom:

 

As the global COVID-19 pandemic is upon us, a number of mutual aid groups have started forming across the country.  The groups aim at providing community support to those who are more at risk from the virus: be it help with running errands or cooking.

COVID-19 is a novel virus most affecting peoples respiratory systems. While in around 8o% cases the symptoms will be mild, it can lead to death. It is estimated that 2-3 people out of a hundred will die. This can easily mean hundreds of thousands of deaths in UK only.

We must do everything we can to prevent this from happening.

The virus, while very unlikely to kill us all, already proved to be pretty lethal to, even more developed, healthcare systems. It fills hospitals within days and uses-up resources, making it very difficult for healthcare workers to provide all needed help. This, in turn, increases the death toll.

The Tory government is apparently more concerned with making sure the economy won’t collapse rather than with saving peoples lives. So, here is some advice for folk:

People who are at higher risk of COVID-19 related death or life-changing illness: that is, those of us who are older, have pre-existing health conditions, or their immune system is compromised otherwise: please stay home if you can. If you live in the area covered by the Mutual Aid groups listed below, get in touch with them if you need help. None of the listed below groups will ask you for money or other form of payment.

HIV positive folk: please have a look at this link.

People who are at lower risk: remember that you need to do everything you can to stay healthy. This is not exactly to protect your own life, as you already have more than fair chance of survival. It is, however, essential to protect others, and it is your responsibility to your community to do all you can to achieve it.

This means washing your hands and generally sticking to high hygiene standards of both yourself and your surroundings. It means you stay in if you are sick: even if you strongly believe you are not a COVID-19 carrier, it is the risk you should not take right now. If you can, stay in even if you are healthy. There is no need to take unnecessary risks.

It also means that you must cancel that gig you wanted to go to, or that holiday trip you were looking forward to. You must do this to protect the more than vulnerable members of your immediate community and beyond. You also must ensure you don’t put an unnecessary pressure on the NHS, so that they can get on with their life-saving work.

Remember: that old lady you see on your grocery shopping, and that comrade you know is suffering from a long-term illness: it is your job to protect them as much as you can.

Additionally let’s not forget about the homeless people, and others who can not self-isolate easily. If you can, share your resources with them. 

(zb)

UK COVID-19 Mutual Aid Groups:

We have done our best to include all already existing mutual aid groups below. If your group is not listed, or you set one up after this text’s publication, please get in touch and we will fix it. You can reach us either via our Facebook page, or send an email to editor@freedompress.org.uk.

London:
Bristol:
Loughborogh:
Lincoln:
Newcastle upon Tyne:
Cambridgeshire:
Birmingham:
Southampton:
Liverpool:
Sheffield:
Molesey, Surrey:
Oxford:
Essex:
Poole:
Brighton:
Edinburgh:
Holtspur:
Hertfordshire:
Crowland, Lincolnshire:
Coventry:
Manchester:
Durham:
North Tyneside:
Dartford:
Dundee:
Derby:
Highworth:
Swindon:
Nationwide:
  • Queercare provides assistance for immunocompromised, astmatic or otherwise at additional risk from COVID-19. You can also access useful resources and advice via their page. Queercare has volunteers nationally and is working on organising folk into more local groups and providing advice.A sign-up form is available here.
  • A nationwide coordination page was set up: Covid-19 Mutual Aid – UK. Please follow them.

Additionally:

For international perspectives, see Autonomous Groups Are Mobilizing Mutual Aid Initiatives to Combat the Coronavirus from It’s Going Down, and Against the Coronavirus and the Opportunism of the State from Crimethinc.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Class struggle news and events round-up for early March

Another round-up of recent news and upcoming events:

In some good news for renters, two different women have won out-of-court settlements from “No DSS” letting agents – there’s no specific ban on the practice, but it seems that letting agents are unable to actually defend it, so if you’re on benefits and looking to move then keep an eye out for adverts that use the language and maybe you could also get a few grand out of it.

In more workplace-related news, the RMT have won a substantial pay rise for low-paid cleaners on Network Rail, and have also announced that they’re balloting all tube staff over pay, which could have a pretty massive impact if they move to a strike, and the CWU is gearing up to reballot after their last massive strike vote was thrown out by the courts in December. Meanwhile, the Harrods dispute has officially ended after staff voted to accept an improved pay offer, and the Anarchist Communist Group have produced a new small bulletin aimed at education workers, looking at how to escalate and win the current UCU strikes – more on those below. The Branch Solidarity Network also have a great set of useful strike resources.

Drug and alcohol rehab workers have been out on strike in Wigan over management’s refusal to pay them the same rates as NHS staff doing the same job, and they have a petition you can sign if you do that. And workers at a petrochemical plant in Fife staged a wildcat strike over their working conditions in February.

There’s a few reps and workplace activists facing victimisation at the moment – apparently Moe Muhsin Manir, a London bus driver and safety rep, has now won reinstatement, but Peter Moorhead, a Unison convenor at care work company AFG, Clive Walder, a Unite rep at National Express, and Paul Williams, a PCS rep at the Department for Transport, are all currently facing threats to their jobs.

In international repression news, antifascists in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina are both facing hassle from the law, so please donate a bit towards their legal costs if you’re able. And just to mention once again that US anarchist prisoners Eric King and Michael Kimble also both have important fundraisers for legal costs running at the moment.

Upcoming events:

Along with the UCU strikes running into the middle of the month, baggage handlers at Heathrow will be striking over pay throughout much of March – it’s not looking like a great time for international travel anyway, but even more so at Heathrow, where baggage handlers are out from the 2nd-9th, 14th-21st, and then from the 26th-April 2nd. They’ll be joined by baggage handlers at another company also based at Heathrow for some of those dates over a separate dispute.

On Wednesday 4th, there’s a protest in London in solidarity with the Ealing tax office workers fighting to save their jobs, a demo in Peterborough against sleazy spycop/tory councillor Andy Coles, and Brighton folk are holding a night in solidarity with Russian antifascists facing state harassment. On Thursday 5th, there’ll be a “reclaiming pride” presentation and discussion in Bournemouth, and there’s a solidarity social/fundraiser for the ongoing UCU strikes in Manchester.

On Saturday 7th, Notes from Below are running the first in a series of workshops on workers’ inquiry, there’s a social for Deliveroo riders in Islington, and there’s a free showing of the blacklisting film Solidarity at a foodbank fundraiser in London.

On the 8th, it’s International Women’s Day so there’ll be loads of stuff going on, including women’s strike stuff happening at various locations across the country, as well as a showing of the Solidarity film in Edinburgh. On the 9th, the Women’s Strike Assembly have put out a call for “feminists to the pickets” in the UCU strike, Tower Hamlets bin workers will be going out on a weeklong strike over unpaid arrears, Solidarity will have another showing in Edinburgh, and there’s a UCU strike fundraiser in Brighton. That day’s also Kevan Thakrar’s birthday, so if you’re around in London and free during the day you can join in with IWOC’s protest commemorating his tenth year being held in the brutal conditions of the Close Supervision Center system, and either way you might want to send him a quick card at Kevan Thakrar A4907AE, Close Supervision Centre, HMP Full Sutton, Stamford Bridge, York, YO41 1PS.

On Wednesday 11th, Rail Gourmet workers at Paddington depot will be striking over working conditions and health and safety, and there’ll be another UCU strike fundraiser gig in Manchester. On the 12th, there’s talk of a potential national student demo in support of the strikes in Liverpool, the Solidarity film is showing in Nottingham with a talk including someone from the IWGB, and Greene King workers will be walking out for a 48-hour strike over pay. The next youth climate strike thing should be happening on Friday 13th.

The weekend of the 14th will see a demo to shut down Morton Hall detention centre in Lincolnshire, with transport from Sheffield and Leeds available, Brighton SolFed running a training session about organising for care workers, and the first Dundee Anarchist Bookfair.

Further ahead, outsourced cleaners working at HMRC offices will be going out on strike for a living wage on March 16th, for two days in Birmingham and two weeks in Bootle and Liverpool. On the 19th, Leicester Anarchist Communist Group are holding a meeting about land justice issues, the Welsh IWW are having a party in Cardiff on the 21st, and the Angry Workers book tour starts off in London from the 26th onwards.

Looking ahead into April, the Barnsley Freedom Riders will be holding a 6th anniversary rally on Thursday April 2nd outside Sheffield railway station, and Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair will be happening on the 18th.

Posted in Anarchists, Climate Change, Gender, Housing, Repression, Strikes, Students, Unions, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Class power on zero hours: new Angry Workers book and tour

If you’re interested in working-class organising efforts, you may well have encountered  West London’s dedicated crew, Angry Workers of the World. They’ve compiled the experiences of the last six years of living, working and fighting into a new book coming out in March, Class Power on Zero Hours, which looks like essential reading for anyone who shares their commitment to working-class self-organisation.

“AngryWorkers, a small political collective, have spent six years organising in London’s industrial backyard, mainly in the food manufacturing and logistics sector. This book is about their experiences as they try and find new ways of building class power in tough times. It is essential reading for anyone who is grappling with the question: ‘what next for working class politics and revolutionary strategy?’

From the introduction:
“In January 2014 some AngryWorkers chose to move to a working class neighbourhood on the fringes of west London. We felt an urgent need to break out of the cosmopolitan bubble and root our politics in working class jobs and lives. We wanted to pay more than just lip service to the classic slogan, ‘the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves.’ Over the next six years, comrades joined us and we worked in a dozen different warehouses and factories. We organised slowdowns on shop floors, rocked up on bosses’ and landlords’ doors with our solidarity network, and banged our heads against brick walls as shop stewards in the bigger unions. We wrote up all our experiences in our newspaper, WorkersWildWest, which we gave out to 2,000 local workers at warehouse gates at dawn. We tried to rebuild class power and create a small cell of a revolutionary organisation. This book documents our experiences. It is material for getting rooted. It is a call for an independent working class organisation.”

If you’d like to know more, you can read the full intro to the book here. If you’d like to talk things over with them in person, you may well be in luck, as they’ve got a big tour coming up – current dates are:

*** March 2020

Thursday, 26th March
6:30pm
Bookmarks, 1 Bloomsbury Street, London. WC1B 3QE https://www.facebook.com/events/217147816112001/

Friday, 27th March
6:00pm
MayDay Rooms
88 Fleet St, London. EC4Y 1DH

*** April 2020

Thursday, 2nd April
7.30pm
Cowley Club, Brighton
London Road. BN1 4JA.

Friday, 3rd April
7.30pm
The Four Horsemen Pub, Bournemouth. BH2 5RT
https://www.facebook.com/events/2672442809535477/

Saturday, 4th April
2:00pm to 5:00pm
17-25 Jamaica Street, Stokes Croft, Bristol. BS2 8JP
https://prsc.org.uk/event/class-power-on-zero-hours-book-presentation-by-angryworkers/

Monday, 6th April
Plymouth
Venue TBC

Saturday, 11th April
Liverpool
Venue TBC

Wednesday, 15th April
7pm
Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Holme St, Hebden Bridge. HX7 8EE

Thursday, 16th April
Tangram Communal Rooms
Harehills, Leeds. LS8 5AD
https://www.facebook.com/events/188670762234774/

Saturday, 18th April
Sheffield
Venue TBC

Sunday, 19th April
Birmingham
Venue TBC

Tuesday, 21st April
Belfast
Venue TBC

Friday, 24th April
Dublin
Venue TBC

Wednesday, 29th April
Glasgow Autonomous Space
53 Kilbirnie St. Glasgow. G5 8JD

*** May 2020

Saturday, 2nd May
Aberdeen
Venue TBC

4th/5th May
Edinburgh
Venue TBC

Wednesday, 6th May
7.30pm
Leicester Secular Hall
75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester. LE1 1WB
https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2019/11/01/forthcoming-leicester-acg-meetings/

If your area isn’t on that list, and you’d like it to be, get in touch with them at angryworkersworld@gmail.com and start making plans.

Posted in Work | Tagged | 1 Comment