Various sources are reporting that either six or eight people were arrested at yesterday’s United Voices of the World demo against Harrods keeping staff tips, and then slapped with harsh bail conditions banning them from going near the place. Petros Elia, general secretary of the UVW union and one of the arrestees, said:
Firstly, thank you everyone for your amazing messages of support and solidarity over the past 24 hours and especially thank you to those that came to the police station.
I was kept in a cell for around 17 hours at Belgarvia Police Station and released without charge yesterday afternoon, along with other UVW members and other protesters.
Needless to say that the allegation against me is 100% false, not that the police were interested in evidence at the point of arrest. They seldom are when it comes to protesters or trade unionists whom they always arrest with alacrity.
Despite there being not a shred of evidence against me I have been released on bail and prohibited from going within 50 metres of Harrods. The police have therefore temporarily banned me from representing members of UVW at Harrods or from protesting outside their store. This has all sorts of human rights implications.
The police would appear to be, once again, politically policing, and perhaps even acting, in this case, on behalf of the Qatar Royal Family, who owns Harrods and apparently even more of London than the Crown Estate, to stamp out United Vocies of the World’s unionisation of Harrods workers, most of whom are on poverty or very low wages, and get up to 75% of their tips stolen in the case of the 500 restaurant staff.
On a side note, the demo was fantastic and we will now be escalating the campaign with a run of demonstrations and other actions at Harrods until 100% of tips go to staff.