Westside Action

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

Archive for migrant

meeting madness?

despair1

This weekend and and the last has seen a car crash of national organising meetings, for both climate action (Climate Camp National Gathering, Workers Climate Action) and migrant solidarity (No Borders).

While all-weekend meetings sound like a nightmare (ok, they occasionally are) it is very hard to find a alternative way of getting activists across the country who are fighting on the same issue(s) together. Fortunately( or unfortunately!), the evidence that squandering our weekends in this way does pay off.

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The long list of activities that different No Borders groups had engaged with since the last gathering in Manchester earlier this year, was wide and undoubtedly aided by the feeling of being part of a network, that stretched beyond our respective city limits. Coordinated action against immigration snatch squads being the notable success of the network, while failures were also acknowledged.

The gathering (8/9th Nov) was brilliantly hosted by the Newcastle lot with groups from Bristol & South Wales as well as London, Oxford, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow. A interesting discussion about whom are allies are in the fight against repression, and a more prosaic but just as important one took place about how we best get our message across. The next gathering will be in Bristol in February. www.noborders.org.uk.

The same weekend saw the climate camp gathering in Bradford, but I haven’t had any feed back as yet. Watch this space.

http://www.climatecamp.org.uk

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The weekend just gone (15/16th) saw the 1st Workers Climate Gathering. This came out of the Climate Camp process, and is made up of (so far) of those who have most recently been involved in “environmental” direct action and trade unionists. In part, it is a counter to those within the climate movement like Monbiot and Lynas who seek to sideline social justice and dismiss the idea that we could do without government and corporations, and a redistribution of resources. Within the group there are certainly differing opinions on the role of government, but (I think) a shared view that any major social change (or revolution) which did not involve and further the interests of the global working class would be disastrous, and obviously inequitable.

We looked at a couple of inspiring examples of worker-led social struggles which had eco/enviro-mental elements to them, neither i have to confess, that I was previously aware of.

“In the 1970s workers at the Lucas Aerospace Company in Britain set out to defeat the bosses plans to axe jobs. They Produced their own alternative “Corporate Plan” for the company’s future. In doing so they attacked some of the underlying priorities of capitalism, Their proposals were radical, arguing for an end to the wasteful production of military goods and for peoples’ needs to be put before the owner’s profits.” http://struggle.ws/ws88_89/ws29_lucas_struggle.html

Meanwhile in Australia, at around the same time the Builders Labourers Federation became quickly transformed from a weak, corrupt organisation to dictating its own terms and conditions to the ruling class. “The Green Bans movement, as it came to be known, was perhaps the most radical example of working class environmentalism ever seen in the world. At its peak it held up billions of dollars worth of undesirable development and it saved large areas of the city of Sydney – streets, old buildings, parks and whole suburbs – from demolition.” Big business and Government, and corrupt Union leadership were for a brief time on the backfoot. http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article94

Whether we can get something that significant off the ground today is up to us.

http://workersclimateaction.co.uk/


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