Category Archives: Demo

#LoveOurColleges – lobby/demo/rally

We are seeking help in promoting the #LoveOurColleges campaign against cuts in FE in England.  This will centre around a week of action, beginning on 15th October.  In addition to a media splash on the Monday and local activity on the Tuesday (more info to follow in due course) the week of action will include a demo, parliamentary lobby and rally in Westminster on:

Wednesday 17th October 2018

 #LoveOurColleges is being organised by a campaign coalition, which in addition to UNISON includes UCU, GMB, NUS, NEU, ASCL and the employers body Association of Colleges.

Three key actions we are looking for help with are as follows:

  1. Ensure FE members across all unions know about the event, encourage them to commit to attending and discuss joint travel arrangements with other unions at their colleges.  UCU in particular are laying on coaches.
  2. Intelligence on how many members are attending and from where etc.  This is a joint campaign with the AoC, college principals are being encouraged to allow staff to take time off from work to take part in the event.
  3. Activists should share info about the lobby etc. on social media.  Here are the twitter and facebook event links https://twitter.com/hashtag/loveourcolleges   https://www.facebook.com/events/2220544781546432

The timetable for the day is as follows:

11.30am – 12.30pm: Coaches arrive in London. Drop-off likely to be Waterloo Place (where march will form up). Provision to be made for those who may wish to go directly to Westminster rather than join the march, (venue TBC, likely Methodist Central Hall) with staff on hand to sign in, provide briefings and any other support.

12.30pm – 1.30pm: Union-led march from Waterloo Place to Parliament Square – all welcome. Others to have lunch, or begin holding meetings with MPs.

1.30pm – 2.30pm: Rally in Parliament Square. All encouraged to join.  (UNISON has a speaker slot at this, though as its the day of the NEC the speaker is still tbc)

2.30pm – 5.30pm: Lobby of parliament.

End Capita in Barnet: Lobby the Council on Tuesday 11 December

Barnet council has just released the Grant Thornton review in response to an alleged fraud of £2million. One of its major findings is that: Our view of both contracts has identified a number of significant weaknesses which may have resulted in contractual breaches. We have identified and reported what we believe are fundamental weaknesses in budgetary control and financial accounting”.

John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary declares … 
“I am shocked but not surprised at the content of the GT review of both Capita contracts. Barnet UNISON predicted that service quality would suffer once the services were privatised …. The Council is currently preparing a review of both Capita contracts. It is my view that in light of the GT review, it is untenable that the Council could even consider allowing Capita to run any of their services again.”

John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor says … “The Grant Thornton (GT) review of the two Capita contracts in Barnet provides yet more evidence of the folly of privatisation of public services …  I fully support your campaign to #KickOutCapita from Barnet and bring services back in-house.”

Mr Reasonable writes … “Is this the end of Capita in Barnet? Grant Thornton’s report is a devastating critique of Capita’s dismal performance.”

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “This is incompetence of scandalous proportions, and looks like a breach of contract. Barnet Council must act to terminate these two contracts and take back control of Capita-run services.”

For more detailed information … 
Read Barnet Unison’s statement here and Mr Reasonable’s detailed examination of the Grant Thornton review here.

National unity demonstration against fascism and racism

  • Saturday 17 November, Central London
  • Share and invite to the facebook event here

We are experiencing the biggest rise in support for fascism, the far right, racism, Islamophobia and Antisemitism since the 1930s. In Britain fascists and racists are mobilising on a scale not seen for decades. We must unite against this threat, which is why we are calling a national demonstration against fascism and racism on Saturday 17 November in London.

The demonstration is initiated by Stand Up To Racism, co-sponsored by Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism, and is supported by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell amongst others.  More details will follow.

The recent rise in attacks by the far right has created a real thirst for a mass anti-racist mobilisation in the spirit of the Anti Nazi League. Now is the time to take to the streets.
There is an urgent need to build a movement against racism and fascism. Help us mobilise for 17 November by joining Stand Up to Racism.

Show your solidarity to TUC Bookmarks bookshop after fascist attack

Far right attack TUC Bookmarks bookshop just days after Tommy Robinson release…
Time to build a mass movement against the racist and fascist right
The last few days have proved just how important it is to build a mass movement against racism and fascism in Britain.
The attack on Saturday by far right extremists on the TUC’s bookshop Bookmarks in Central London shows that these people are gaining in confidence in the wake of Tommy Robinson’s release on bail.
Ex leader of the violent and racist English Defence League and former BNP member Robinson has become a rallying point for the whole of racist right, with money flooding in from the US Alt-right to back him.
Across the spectrum Nazi groups, Alt-right figures, the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) and UKIP believe they can build a racist movement in Britain just like their friends in the US and Europe have done.
The ‘free Tommy’ campaign was marked by a rising levels of violence as anti-racists and trade unionists have been attacked by his supporters. Stand Up To Racism has launched an important statement opposing the Robinson and the growth of the far right signed by MP’s, trade unionists, campaigners and faith leaders. You can add your name here please share it widely for others to sign.
Now in true Nazi style they’ve turned on a bookshop! The images of book burnings in Germany from the 1930’s show where all this can end up. TUC General secretary Francis O’Grady said; “This is another sinister reminder of the grwoing confidence of the far right”.
Stand Up To Racism needs your help to beat the far right back. Here’s what you can do:
  • Join Saturday’s solidarity event at Bookmarks this Saturday at 2pm, 1 Bloomsbury Street, WC1B 3QE more event details here Rush messages of support to Bookmarks info@bookmarksbookshop.co.uk and Dave@bookmarksbookshop.co.uk or message on twitter @Bookmarks_books or to their facbook page here 
  • Make a donation to stand Up To Racism to help us organise the fightback against the racist and fascist right – donate here
  • Join Stand Up To Racism here

Save Barnet Libraries Protest on Monday the 23rd

“We were a group of adults and kids chanting outside the minister’s department, holding up our signs and singing through the megaphone. There were also kids who climbed up onto the stone wall and waved their signs and took turns with the megaphone, chanting.”  — Raphael Marshall-Strang, age 9, describing the protest.

Children from Barnet with their parents and grandparents delivered an invitation to the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to the new Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright QC, to come on a tour of Barnet Libraries in September 2018. It was handed over to DCMS representatives Simon Richardson, head of libraries, who has been handling the Save Barnet Libraries’ complaint and his colleague Sheila Bennett, head of libraries strategy and delivery and head of the libraries task force team.

Erini Rodis of SBL, who attended the protest with her two children says:

“The protest went very well and we hope the new Culture Secretary will accept the children’s invitation to be shown around Barnet libraries. I think it would really help him to understand what it’s like when pin codes replace staff and children and many other vulnerable users have very little access to the library. We need the staff back”.

Rob Strang, who helped to draft the SBL complaint and attended the protest with his children says:

“We spoke to officials from the department who work on the libraries team, who assured us that they are taking our complaint seriously and treating it with care. But there is little evidence of those assurances in the actions of their political leaders. It has been 19 months since we made our complaint. The Council is in breach of its obligation to provide a comprehensive library service. The Secretary of State has a statutory duty to enforce that obligation. When will the Ministers observe the law and take up their legal duties?”

Emily Burnham of SBL who attended with two of her children says:

“We have submitted substantial evidence to DCMS and it’s time for an answer! We hope that the new Culture Secretary will realise that access to staffed libraries is a crucial issue. We know that library use has dropped drastically over the past year. Last year’s summer reading challenge failed – there were only 1500 entries compared to 4000 the year before the services were cut. Hugh Vivian, the head teacher of Hollickwood Primary in N10 wrote to DCMS saying that he had to send families to the libraries in nearby Haringey because of the lack of provision in Barnet! Of the 187000 library card holders in the borough, only about 18000 have applied for a pin code to use the unstaffed libraries– that really shows how off-putting the new system is.”

Emmanuel Amevor who attended the protest with his grandson says:
“My grandson was a regular user of our local library on Golders Green Road, before we were locked out. We were very happy to be part of the noise making on this protest. We hope the powers that be will take notice”.

Umeyma Sahal age 16, who has just finished at the Archer Academy, couldn’t attend the protest but is keen to show her support:
“In the house it’s quite noisy so the library would be the perfect place to study. I tried to use it but with the new pin code system I needed to get permission from the school and my parents before I could get in. I had enough to think about with studying for my exams and I ended up using the school classroom to do my GCSE revision instead.”

Children who attended the protest say:
“Before the demonstration all the children signed an invitation to ministers, inviting them to take a tour of Barnet libraries. We took it to the demonstration and gave it to the minister’s office.” Alma Marshall Strang age 11 from East Finchley.

“I hope the Culture Secretary comes down to visit us so we can show him around. I am about to go to secondary school but I still can’t get in to my library most of the time” Jake Moss, 11 years old, East Finchley

“Are we going to come and shout at the government every year? It’s not fair to be locked out of the library just because my mum forgot her card. My friend has a library card but his mum doesn’t go because she works so they can’t go into the library” Gabriel Rodis, age 6 pupil at Martin Primary School.

“I can walk home alone from school but I’m not allowed into the library on my own? Really? That’s so stupid!” Tommy Gubbins age 9 pupil at Martin Primary School.

“I’ve recently got back my GCSE options – now I need to put in hard work. I was hoping I could do it at the library but I’m under age and I can’t get in most of the time. And they’ve got rid of the study space too.” Sahr Kamanda age 14 pupil at The Compton School.

“My brothers and I used to do Kumon at the library every week and take out books too. Now Kumon doesn’t happen there anymore and I go to the library a lot less. It just isn’t the same as it was before. My mum ends up buying me more books but I can’t try them out first like I used to.” Siah Kamanda age 8 pupil at Martin Primary School.

“Libraries help kids to learn about the world and their imagination” Isaiah Akuffo, age 8, pupil at Wessex Gardens Primary School.

“Why is the library always closed? I hope they listen to us” Lottie Pearson age 7 Martin Primary School.

National Demonstration Against Trump

The Together Against Trump national demonstration has now been called for Friday 13th July, the day Trump visits Britain, starting at 2pm at the BBC in Portland Place and marching to Central London.

Given the worldwide outrage at Donald Trump’s aggressive, chauvinistic and belligerent policies, this is a crucial demonstration. We are urging all our supporters to take half a day off work to make sure they come to the demonstration. Please promote the demo as widely as possible. We are asking our groups and supporters across the country to organise transport to the national demonstration.

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