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.
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.