Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Archive for No Borders

MIGRATION IS NOT A CRIME

Migration is not a crime. It is the conditions which produce forced migration that are criminal.

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Persecuting migrants is nothing new of course, but within the privileged economic zone of the global north, it seems especially in the EU and the US that both legislation and conversation has taken a nasty turn about immigrants of all kinds – whether labelled “economic” or “political”.

Economic crises have been in the past  an opportunity for the extreme right and the authoritarian elements within our supposedly democratic governments.

Restrictions on the type of economic migrant have already been introduced into the UK: with only those who have the “right skills”  granted entry. This in itself is unjust: basically, the native country of the lucky migrant has all its skilled workers taken away, while its least well off no longer have the opportunity of temporarily boosting their meagre incomes.

Of course, what this really means on the ground is that these unskilled workers will still make it to our shores, but once here they will be less likely to be in a position to get a fair deal on wages and other working conditions.

The well-known slogan “Workers of the world unite” means what it says. It does not mean “Only workers with the correct immigration status unite”

This would be obvious to any self-respecting trades unionist you would have thought, but it is only recently that British Trades Unions have started to address this issue, and consider whether immigration controls are just. Of course, that’s not to say that many within the Trade Union movement haven’t been fighting these battles for decades: they have. But the movement as a whole has had a somewhat narrow vision of what its role might be.

Dawn Raids

For example members of UK Trade Unions carry out jobs such as Prison and Immigration Officers, as well as civilian posts within the Police which are contrary to the interests of the working class. Specifically members of the Public and Commercial Service Union (PCS) carry out immigration raids on both refugee families and “illegal” migrants at the workplace. These people clearly should be excluded from the trade union movement.

In reaction to the news that there were protests (blockades) stopping immigration officers carrying out their brutal dawn raids in Scotland, Mark Sewrotka , General Secretary of the PCS had this to say:

“Members’ health and safety is our prime concern in this matter. PCS is committed to ensuring that its members in the Immigration Service, and elsewhere, have a right to a safe and secure working environment, and to be treated with dignity.”

As was commented at the time: “According to the logic of the PCS Executive, Serwotka and Godrich, the main issue in the deportation of Jews from say France during World War II would have been the health and safety of those carrying out the deportations.”

_42708591_protest203Fortunately, not everyone thinks along these lines and there has been resistance to the practice of dawn raids up and down the country. This seemed to have stopped them in Scotland, where the public and political reaction to the practice  was wide scale revulsion. Outrageously, they continue in towns across England, including your own . For reports on resistance see: http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/687906

Meanwhile, employers using the leverage granted to them by the tightening of harsher laws governing the UK migrant work force have sought to lower working conditions and wages at workplaces where migrant workers predominate.

Amey

One example of this is the case of the Amey Plc Cleaners employed at the National Physical Laboratory in London.   Amey, which is owned by Spanish multinational Ferrovia, took over the cleaning contract in May 2007 and found itself faced with a largely Latin American migrant workforce that had recently unionised and was taking steps to gain recognition – something afforded to all other NPL staff. The first came last year, when the company invited workers to a ‘training session’, only to bolt the doors behind them and leave them in the care of the Home Office, which promptly deported three of them, one to Colombia and two to Brazil, for not having official documents.

Since then the number of cleaners has been reduced from thirty-six to fifteen as Amey looks to cut costs as much as possible. The dismissal of the five was a direct result of the remaining workers’ attempts to protest against this trend after they wrote a leaflet to tell other staff at the NPL what was going on in the cleaning department. They were quickly sacked for bringing the company into disrepute.

Amey, which posted a net annual profit of a tidy £75 million, is well versed in these tactics. It is a majority shareholder in Tubelines, which cleans parts of the Underground. Tube cleaners who went on strike for a living wage this summer were faced with a corporate response consisting of paper checks, immigration raids and deportations to Sierra Leone and the Congo. Further background is available from the Campaign Against Immigration Control’s Website: http://caic.org.uk/ or Bristol  No Borders (link on front page).

There have been a number of public demonstrations around the Amey dispute, the most recent of which was when Mel Ewell, Chief Executive of Amey plc arrived at Kingston University on 2 December to be awarded a place on the University’ Wall of Fame’. A protest picket of 80 students and staff turned out in support of the cleaners. Days before, Kingston’s UCU lecturers branch wrote to Ewell urging him to reinstate the cleaners.

On the previous Friday more than twenty protestors entered the offices of Amey Plc in High Holborn on Friday in protest at the sacking of five Colombian cleaners and the rejection of their appeal. The protesters entered the office building to give a petition letter to an Amey representative but were blocked by security in the lobby and were told Amey did not want to see them. After the occupation Julio, one of the sacked cleaners, stayed behind to give the letter but Amey still refused to see him.

There have also been two pickets in Bristol, and a noise demo is happening this Monday (8th December) outside Oxford’s Amey HQ. There is transport from Bristol: e-mail bristolnoborders@riseup.net.

Nothing to do with me, guv ?

If you think its  “foreigners”  alone who will suffer travel restrictions under the general clampdown, try again.

There is legislation being discussed at EU level which will restrict freedom of movement of citizens who have been
convicted of serious crime or for “repeated offences” (which may be”low level”).

These say that: “Only those exercising their rights in the spirit of the Treaty should benefit from freedom of movement.” While
referring to third country nationals the proposals would apply to EU citizens as well and allow Member States to deny entry to those who: “break the law in a sufficiently serious manner by committing serious and repeated offences”

The scope of “repeated offences” is undefined and could apply, for example, to protestors who take part in cross-border demonstrations. Though beyond the specific interest of the political activist, given the increasing proportion of the population who are criminalised it is of unfortunate significance to many other people.

Who’s gonna be next?

For further info:  http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/nov/eu-restrictions-free-movement-conclusions-nov-08.pdf

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Chasing Amey. 22nd October in Bristol

UPDATED 22/10:Along side the picket in London outside the NPL conference at Savoy Place by the Campaign Aginst Immigration Controls, Bristol No Borders staged a Solidarity picket in Bristol. Amey were not present at their registered offices, but there was no escape as we skillfully located their current residence… just up the road . Hundreds of lealets were given out, and interaction with passerbys was mainly positive.

ah...that's where they were hiding!

ah...thats where they are..

Background:

Support the Sacked Amey Workers! Equal Rights Without Borders Five cleaners employed by Amey (who have the contact for rail maintenance in Bristol) were sacked for “damaging the company image” on the 22nd of October.

Assemble (with whistles and banners) October 22nd 11.30am – 1.30pm outside:
Amey Rail Plc,Albert House, 111-117, Victoria St, Bristol. BS1 6AX

Five cleaners employed by Amey (who have the contact for rail maintenance in Bristol) were sacked for “damaging the company image” on the 2nd of October. They are going to appeal.

How were they damaging the company image? By belonging to a Trade Union and telling other staff at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in London where they work what was happening to them.

The text of the offending leaflet:

“TO THE NPL STAFF:

The Amey Cleaning Department are looking for your solidarity, because LAURA JORDAN site manager is discriminating and bullying us, also has violated our employment rights, refusing to follow the grievance procedures and taken decision over the employment regulations Act.”

This is the latest in a series of measures taken against the cleaners since Amey, which is owned by Spanish multinational Ferrovia, took over the cleaning contract in May 2007 and found itself faced with a largely Latin American migrant workforce that had recently unionised and was taking steps to gain recognition. The first came last year, when the company invited workers to a ‘training session’, only to bolt the doors behind them and leave them in the care of the Home Office, which promptly deported three of them, one to Colombia and two to Brazil, for not having official documents.

Since then the number of cleaners has been reduced from thirty-six to fifteen as Amey looks to cut costs as much as possible. The current suspensions are a direct result of the remaining workers’ attempts to protest against this trend. Amey, which posted a net annual profit of a £75 million, is well versed in these tactics. It is a majority shareholder in Tubelines, which cleans parts of the Underground. Tube cleaners who went on strike for a living wage this summer were faced with a corporate response consisting of paper checks, immigration raids and deportations to Sierra Leone and the Congo.

This is the second day of actions supporting the sacked workers, with another demo happening on 22nd October outside an NPL conference in London.

It comes as part of a wider movement, including the Campaign Against Immigration Control and No Borders, demanding that that documents and border controls are dispensed with altogether, or migrant workers be regularised and given the documents they need

remember babi – shut down bmi airlines

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No Borders South Wales activist Babi Badalov was deported on a BMI flight to Azerbaijan, where he has experienced physical abuse and state persecution. Despite hundreds of telephone calls, emails and faxes to BMI raising objections to the removal, BMI chose to ignore this and ensured the deportation took place

Shut down BMI Airlines day! Monday 20th October 2008

This message/call for Action from No Borders South Wales

In 2007 the UK government deported 63,140 migrants. Airline companies are a key link in the deportation industry. Without them it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for the state to implement this aspect of the migration regime and there can be no migration controls without deportations.
People who are being deported are often handcuffed on the flight and there have been a number reports of physical assaults on deportees by the security personnel who escort them.
On 20th September 2008, No Borders South Wales activist Babi Badalov was deported on a BMI flight to Azerbaijan, where he has experienced physical abuse and state persecution. Despite hundreds of telephone calls, emails and faxes to BMI raising objections to the removal, BMI chose to ignore this and ensured the deportation took place.
BMI is the UK’s second largest full service airline with reported profits of £15.5 million in 2007. The airline is responsible for carrying migrants who are being deported from the UK against their will by the British Government.

BMI employees told those ringing on the day that BMI could not refuse to fly Babi and it was out of their control. However, other airlines have refused to fly deportees in the past including XL Airways who announced in 2007 that they would no longer carry failed asylum-seekers who were being forcibly removed from the UK.
BMI must be made aware of the impact of their actions on the lives of the people they deport and how their image and business will be affected if they continue this practice. We need to let them know that they can not take part in such activities without consequences.

No Borders South Wales are calling for a sustained campaign against BMI. We call on BMI to no longer take part in the forced deportation of migrants.

Contact BMI and register your disapproval at their role in deporting people back to places they do not wish to go back to, for whatever the reason this may be. Urge BMI to follow the other airlines who have taken an ethical stance and who refuse to carry out any more deportations.

On Monday the 20th October let’s hit BMI with everything we’ve got! Then let’s do this on the 20th of every month until BMI see sense.

Phone/fax numbers various BMI departments further down

Leave a complaint/concern
BMI Customer Relations: At BMI we are committed to our customers and value your feedback. You can leave a complaint/concern @
http://www.flybmi.com/bmi/en-gb/planning-and-informatio….aspx

Organize a picket of your local BMI check in desk
BMI flights operate from the following UK Airports: Aberdeen, Belfast (City), Birmingham, Bristol, Durham Tees Valley, East, Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, Leeds, Bradford, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle Intl, Norwich.

No Borders South Wales: A collective of people who organise against migration controls and for the freedom of movement for all. We work on a non-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian basis, using consensus decision making.
http://noborderswales.wordpress.com/2008/10/12/shut-dow…ober/

Call-out leaflet for Monday 20th October:
http://noborderswales.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/shutd…1.pdf

BMI Contact Details

Head office: Donington Hall, Castle Donington, Derby. DE74 2SB
http://www.flybmi.com/bmi/en-gb/index.aspx

Nigel Turner, Chief Executive Officer BMI Airways Fax: 01332 854 989

BMI: Customer Relations att BMI we are committed to our customers and value your feedback. You can leave a complaint/concern @
http://www.flybmi.com/bmi/en-gb/planning-and-informatio….aspx

Switchboard
Telephone: 01334 854 000
Open Mon-Fro 8:00am-6:00pm

Customer Relations
Tel: 01332 854 321
Fax: 01332 854 875
Open: Mon-Fri 9:30am-4:30pm

Group Reservations
Tel: 01332 854500
Open: Mon-Fri 9:00am- 5:30pm

Baggage Claims
Tel: 0115 8517 005
Open: Mon-Sun 8:00am- 8:00pm

Highflyers
Tel: 01332 854454
Fax: 01332 854 238

Special Assistance
Tel: 0131 3445600
Textphone: 01332 854015
Open: Mon-Sun 7:00am-9:00pm

Diamond Club
Tel: 01332 854 274
Fax: 01623 724099
Open: Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm

Refunds
Tel: 01332 854 534
Open: Mon-Fri 9:00am-3:30pm

Technical Support
Tel: 01509 686 628
Open: Mon-Sat 8am- 7pm

Charter Dept
Tel: 01332 854 656
Open Mon-Fri 9:00am-pm

BMI Baby Reservations
Tel: 01332 648 181
Mon-Sun 8:00am-8:00pm

Stop Deportations!

End of Bulletin:

Source for this Message:
No Borders South Wales / noborderswales@lists.riseup.net