While the headlines have all been about the Panama papers and Cameron’s latest difficulties, there’s also been a whole load of other stuff going on. Here’s a quick round-up of news from a few different fronts:
In workplace news, SolFed are currently in dispute with the Jimmy’s Restaurants chain over unpaid wages and P45s not being provided to former workers. If you’d like to check if there’s a Jimmy’s near you, there’s a handy list of their locations here – it’d probably be worth checking with SolFed before trying to organise anything, but I’m sure they, and the workers involved, would welcome any display of solidarity. Elsewhere, there’s still the upcoming SOAS cleaners demo, and the Topshop cleaners’ organising has led to two workers being victimised – if you’re in London on the 16th, you can join the UVW union in demanding the reinstatement of the Topshop Two and a real living wage for their staff. And construction workers have also been holding protests in Scotland, Wales and Yorkshire to highlight the issue of employers undercutting agreed rates – if you’re anywhere near Fawley, the next action is planned for there on Tuesday 12th from 6.15am. And, of course, the massive doctors’ dispute is still continuing – the next strike days are on the 26th and 27th, but before then there should be a few regional protests in solidarity, like this one in Leeds, and there’s also the call from Plan C for pickets of private healthcare companies to try and spread the dispute – if you live in Manchester, you can meet up with them for a pint on the 19th and discuss how to get involved.
Looking at wider social struggles, tenants on the Butterfields estate are currently fighting against evictions, Johnny Void’s drawn attention to the welfare-to-work industry’s “employability day” on April 15th and suggested using it as a chance to highlight the truth about workfare and sanctions, Feminist Fightback are asking people to join them in taking direct action for reproductive rights on the 16th, Midlands antifascists will be holding a benefit meal in Nottingham that night, the night after that will see the first in a series of No Borders socials in South London, and the Angry Workers of the World have a great new article looking at working-class experiences of the crisis as felt through family and friend relationships. There’s also a couple of bookfairs coming up soon – Sheffield’s is on the 23rd, and Bristol’s is the weekend after. The Radical History Zone down the road from the Bristol bookfair looks especially interesting, particularly the discussion with the Wise Brothers from King Mob.
There’s been a few bits of news from the courts and prison system worth paying attention to – Aiden Aslin’s recent court appearance turned out to be one of those non-events the CPS are so good at, so his bail date’s been postponed to May 17th and there’s no news as to whether or not they’ll actually try and prosecute him on charges of allegedly fighting ISIS. The Blacklist Support Group were back in court on the 7th, and their next appearance will be at a pre-trial review on the 21st, with the full trial being scheduled to start on May 9th and run till the end of July. In the meantime, they’ll be taking a very very close look at the long-lost computer used to help run the blacklist which has just resurfaced. Also, a slightly older story but one I’ve only just seen, the Heathrow 13 case inspired a group of organisers with direct experience of repression from the animal liberation movement to write an interesting set of reflections on repression, prison and struggle – definitely worth a look.
Staying with the prison theme, but turning an eye across the Atlantic, the IWW have been helping prisoners organise strikes in 7 prisons across Texas, and held a national day of action yesterday to raise the profile of the prison strike. They also have very ambitious plans for a nationally co-ordinated prison strike starting on September 9th – keep an eye on that date.
Finally, one other piece of international news that’s worth mentioning, but I don’t really have the time to give the justice it deserves, is the explosive revolt against the new labour law in France – as ever, Dialectical Delinquents is a great source for keeping up with what’s going on there, while Roar Magazine has some very positive coverage looking at the “Nuit Debout” movement as a convergence of struggles, and Rabble has a list of the smashy-smashy highlights, along with a critique of direct democracy based on the experience of the Spanish indignados movement.
So, just to sum up what’s happening next Saturday: in London, apart from the big anti-austerity demo (which will be featuring this No Jobs bloc), feminists will be getting together to confront anti-abortion activists and the religious right and cleaners and their supporters will be taking on TopShop, while people will be marching for the NHS in Leeds and antifascists will be holding a fundraiser in Nottingham. Busy day.