A quick overview of ongoing workplace disputes, social struggles, and other relevant events:
The cleaners’ and porters’ dispute at the Royal Opera House is still ongoing, with the nightly protests set to continue from Tuesday 3rd April onwards. People can also help keep up the pressure on the Royal Opera House and Kier by emailing them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org respectively to urge them to reinstate the sacked workers.
The recycling/waste collection sector seems to be seeing a bit of a mini-wave of militancy at the moment, as up in Hull, Wilmington waste recycling staff employed by FCC Environment have gone out on a two-week strike in a dispute over hazardous conditions and the company’s refusal to provide sick pay. Apparently two workers have been suspended after returning to work from a previous round of strike action. If anyone can get down to Wilmington at the weekend, local trade unionists are organising a festival of music and solidarity to liven up the picket lines on April 7th. An online strike fund has also been set up for the FCC workers here. And down in Thurrock, waste collection workers are also set to walk out for a series of strikes starting on Thursday 12th April, in response to a variety of horrible management policies including a proposal to install surveillance cameras on all refuse lorries. The reliably sound South Essex Stirrer folks have more coverage of the issue, so get in touch with them if you’re in the area.
Elsewhere, Bromley library staff have gone out on an indefinite strike over pay, Aberdeen bus drivers have also been out on strike and are threatening “all-out indefinite” action in response to management’s attempt to introduce a two-tier system that would leave new staff on worse pay, and the long-running Fujitsu dispute against the victimisation of some workers continues, with the current round of strike action lasting up until Friday 6th.
The Bristol Care Workers’ Network is pretty active at present, having produced a statement urging healthcare workers to reject the latest NHS pay offer, and another looking at Unison’s shameful decision to accept a below-inflation pay offer in local government, even after the membership voted to reject it.
Upcoming dates for workplace-related action include Friday the 13th, when German couriers will be holding a day of action against Deliveroo and the IWW are calling for solidarity actions here, Friday 20th, when the BFAWU are holding a fundraiser for their organising campaign at McDonald’s, and Wednesday 25th, when the RMT are calling for a national protest in London to mark the two-year anniversary of the driver-only operation dispute, while cleaners, porters, receptionists and other outsourced workers at the University of London, organising through the IWGB, will also be holding a big strike on that date to demand that they be brought in-house and given equal terms and conditions with other staff.
In other news, it’s been a busy few weeks for the spycops inquiry – the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance have a round-up of some of the many recent developments, including the police finally admitting that they spied on construction workers to collect information that they then passed on to bosses for blacklisting purposes, Freedom News being given core participant status after it was established that an undercover wrote for them for a while, and sleazy spycop-turned-tory-councillor Andy Coles admitting his spycop past but denying the relationship that he groomed a teenage girl into. If you’re based in or near Peterborough, the next demo against this scumbag will be on Wednesday 18th April.
Looking at other ongoing social struggles, Salford’s seeing a big campaign against the closure of five nurseries that’s forced the council to put back the closure plans for a year, although local parents are understandably keen to continue the fight until the nurseries are saved for good. The Salford Star reports that the council is now launching a consultation, with questions such as “would you be interested in running one or all of the LA nurseries?”. The Star’s coverage of this issue has been great, especially when it comes to highlighting the contradictory role played by the local Labour Party, with headlines such as “Salford Councillors to Lobby Themselves over Nursery Closures”.
A few other upcoming dates of interest: on April 14th, London Antifascists will be taking on Generation Identity, the latest re-branding effort from the far right – see here for more background on who Generation Identity are. On the 18th, Disabled People Against Cuts are calling for a rescheduled day of action against Universal Credit, with local events confirmed for Sheffield, Birmingham, Brighton, Ceredigion, Manchester, Norwich and London so far.
Further ahead, April 28th is the International Workers’ Memorial Day, in remembrance of all those killed by unsafe conditions at their jobs – see here for a listing of local events across the country. And immediately after that, of course, is May Day, when there should also be events happening across the country – a few interesting-sounding ones that have been announced so far include Brighton, where they’ll be holding the second annual “Physical Resistance” antifascist martial arts festival, Bradford, where the 1 in 12 Club will be hosting a mayday march and punks’ picnic, and Barnsley (all the Bs – I’m sure Brighton will be doing summat as well), which will be hosting a festival of solidarity, including a Marxist magician.
Further ahead still, the annual With Banners Held High festival, which started out as a miners’ strike commemoration event, will be held in Wakefield on Sunday 20th May, and Manchester’s antifascist 0161 Festival will be happening in mid-June.
Finally, a few international notes: in the USA, Kentucky teachers have gone out on a mass wildcat, while Oklahoma teachers and other public sector workers are set to join them. Meanwhile, the defence campaign for the remaining Inauguration Day J20 defendants is calling for a day of solidarity on April 10th, if you feel up to showing some support then.
Over in Russia, Crimethinc have produced an article explaining the current wave of repression and torture against anarchists and antifascists, along with some posters to help draw attention to the issue.