Friday, 25 May 2018

Oxford Forum, Friday 29th June, 7.30pm

Date for your diaries if you can get to Oxford, UK, on June 29th....
Two speakers on economics...
Dr Steven Hail, MMT economist and lecturer at Adelaide University, S. Australia. (Author of just published 'Economics for Sustainable Prosperity'.)
Molly Scott Cato, Member of the European Parliament (UK Greens)
At Oxford Forum, Friday 29th June, 7.30pm
St. Margaret's Institute, Oxford.
Arranged by Oxfordshire Greens.
Chaired by Larry Sanders, who is the Health Spokesperson of the UK Greens.
We expect the meeting will be recorded. Free admission.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Workers at TGI Fridays at the Covent Garden branch, Bedford Street are on strike today.


May 2018
Workers at TGI Fridays at the Covent Garden branch, Bedford Street are on strike today.

This is their first ever strike and they need your support. 

Why are they striking? 
Back in January waiting staff at TGI Fridays were given just two days’ notice before they were stripped of 40 per cent of their card tips – a move that is costing these minimum waged workers £250 a month in lost wages. 

The company is redirecting the tips to boost the low wages of the kitchen teams, instead of giving them a well-deserved pay rise. 

Our members are deeply offended by the company’s attempts to make out that they don’t want to share when the reality is that TGI Fridays don’t want to give kitchen staff a properly funded pay rise.

Our members are facing real hardship, but the company has refused to listen to their concerns or meet with Unite to find a better way forward.

It’s even ignored a collective grievance submitted by workers from over 40 stores. It’s no way to treat loyal staff.

If TGI’s wants to look at how it can reward kitchen staff, then it must work with us on a fair solution – not implement an overnight wage grab where Peter has been robbed to pay Paul.

Support our TGI Fridays members, please sign our letter to the CEO

This is the first in a series of weekly 24 hour strike actions to hit the American dining chain over consecutive Fridays, please go to the website for updates., and follow us Twitter @unitetheunion or Facebook

And remember to tip in cash! 

Thanks for your support.
In solidarity
Dave Turnbull
Unite regional officer

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Academy Threat at the John Roan School and Public meeting; Thursday 17 May

Academy Threat at the John Roan School and Public meeting; Thursday 17 May

Justice for Colombia

E-bulletin May 2018

Dear Supporters,

We hope you are well. If you haven't yet had an opportunity to visit 
our new website, please do so. Follow us regularly for news and information on the peace process, human rights and trade unionism in Colombia.

You can also stay up to date with JFC on 
FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

We also hope you will consider 
supporting our work in Colombia, which you can do through your trade union or as an individual. Your contribution will help us to continue campaigning for human rights, labour rights and peace with social justice in Colombia.

Here is an update of some recent news from Colombia and JFC.

JFC Peace Monitor delegation visits Colombia

During 5-10 April 2018, the Justice for Colombia Peace Monitor staged its inaugural delegation to Colombia to observe the current state of implementation of the peace process and the broader human rights situation in the country.

The delegation was formed of British and Irish MPs and international trade unionists. You can read about the delegates and the various meetings they held with government officials, the FARC, the UN, foreign embassies and civil society groups here.

To read the official statement which announces the findings of the JFC Peace Monitor delegation, 
click here.

The delegation was the first in an ongoing series of JFC-organised visits to Colombia to observe and assist the implementation of the peace agreement.

For more information and to follow the work of the JFC Peace Monitor, visit the and follow our new Twitter page

Jesús Santrich campaign

JFC is extremely concerned about the implications for the peace process of the arrest and ongoing detention of Jesús Santrich, a key architect of the peace process and congress member-elect for the FARC. Jesús also sits on the Implementation Commission responsible for overseeing the implementation of the peace agreement.

Jesús was arrested on 9 April, a few hours after meeting with the JFC Peace Monitor delegation which, in its official statement, said it felt there was 'an absolute and unreserved commitment to the peace process' among the FARC.

Since his arrest, Jesús Santrich has been on hunger strike, causing a severe deterioration in his health and leading to his hospitalisation on 26 April.

The arrest occurred following an arrest request from a US court for Jesús Santrich with the aim of extradition on allegations of conspiracy to traffic drugs. The United Nations, the Colombian Supreme Court and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the transitional justice model which was created as a core element of the peace agreement, have said that his case must be reviewed first in Colombia by the JEP.

To read JFC's statement on the detention of Jesús Santrich, click here.

You can also read statements by Unite the Union and the National Education Union, both of which had representatives on the JFC Peace Monitor delegation who met with Jesús on the day of his arrest. 

Jesús Santrich was also the subject of an Early Day Motion submitted in the British parliament by a cross-party group of MPs. 

Human Rights

High levels of political violence continue to affect many Colombians. According to a recent report by Colombian NGO Somos Defensores (We Are Defenders), 46 social leaders and human rights defenders were murdered in the first three months of 2018. This continues the sharp escalation in killings since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016.

The majority of these killings have taken place in regions formerly under FARC administration, where the subsequent power vacuum has seen armed groups seek to establish a foothold. Many victims had been working on the implementation of the peace process, especially around land reform and voluntary substitution of illicit crops.
In a report published in March 2018, the UN noted that at least 121 activists were murdered in 2017.

Around 50 members of the FARC, as well as some of their close family members, have been killed since the agreement was signed. This is despite their demobilisation and attempts to reintegrate into civil society.

It is imperative for that the Colombian government implement the necessary security measures to address the ongoing targeting of social leaders and former combatants by paramilitaries and other armed groups. 


If you have any questions regarding JFC's work, contact us at: 

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A new deal for working people - TUC march and rally

A new deal for working people - TUC march and rally
On 12 May 2018, thousands of people will march through London to demand a new deal for working people. Come and join us.

The march will assemble at Victoria Embankment between Hungerford Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge from 11am.
It will move off at 12pm and march to Hyde Park. 
The rally will take place in Hyde Park, finishing at 4pm. 
We want to make sure the event is accessible to everyone. We are making special arrangements for people who:
  • wish to join the march at the main assembly point
  • wish to join the last part of the march for a shorter route to the rally
  • wish to go straight to the rally
Take a look at our accessibility guide.
The main march is about 2.5 miles and the short march is about 1.25 miles.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

How the Tory’s ‘Scatter-shot’ strategy has finally backfired on them and will eventually send them running for the hills.

Jim Scott.
Rural activism – Tales from the sticks – Part One.
How the Tory’s ‘Scatter-shot’ strategy has finally backfired on them and will eventually send them running for the hills.

Re-wind to 2013, The Tories are nigh-on invincible! Cameron and Osborne are riding high on a wave of their own absolute power and are three years into the biggest onslaught upon the fabric of our social structures that Britain has ever seen.

After years of a Blairite, Labour Government which oversaw UK Government’s cosying up to big business, effectively giving them free reign yet at the same time investing in public services and dishing out easy credit to keep us all quiet. the Conservatives had ridden into power on the back of the global economic crash and they had begun work like there was no time to spare!
With everything in going in their favour, they didn’t mess about. Any criticism of their economic austerity policies could be easily fended off by blaming the ‘still raw’ economic crash on Gordon Brown and their mantra that ‘there was no money left’ gave them carte-blanch to set about fulfilling their program of dismantling the state and carving up the spoils of UK assets to their friends, donors and allies among the super wealthy few who circled like vultures around the carcase of the UK public purse.

Everything was up for grabs, so Osborne wheeled out a metaphorical Gatling gun, loaded it up and began firing indiscriminately into the crowd, his new playground, the UK economy.
Cameron and Osborne knew, that our defences were down. With the failure of the 2003 Iraq demonstrations to halt Blair’s illegal war in Iraq, moral was low among activists and campaigners or at least our belief that we could make our voices heard was. Blair was hated enough because of Iraq but by drip feeding the state with investment he had created enough comfort that a gradual despondency and disenfranchisement with our political system had taken hold among many, His ‘nothing to see here’ style of politics had created the perfect storm for what was to come, and a Country which in the eyes of the Tories, was ready to be harvested.

Anyone who has scratched at the surface of the so-called Conservative’s actual policies knows that they are far from ‘conservative’ when it comes to our economy or our ecology for that matter, quite the opposite, they are short-termists, opportunists, they’ll take now and run later if its fuels the machine, the wealthy elite that feeds them, that is them.

So as Osborne continued to fire his Gatling Gun into the crowd he began hitting his targets with wanton abandon. Royal Mail – sold, NHS – dismantling, underfunding and privatisation, Probation services – privatised, Fracking sites – open for business, Welfare – slashed, Tuition fees – raised. Hospitals, Schools, libraries – closed, cut or sold off. TTIP, Trident, New Nuclear PowerStation’s and Mega prisons they were going all-out! Throw in a bit of bombing in Syria and the few activists who were combating all of this, on so many platforms were so busy fire-fighting that they could barely keep up with individual campaign’s let alone set about creating a unified opposition to the Tory’s onslaught or the Tories strategy to hit us in so many places that we couldn’t possibly fight back!
As a rural activist where I live in Pembrokeshire 2013 was a very bleak year. I travelled down to London to attend the inaugural conference of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity because the one thing I did know was that we had to start organizing and collectivising. But back home when I went to a local hospital closure meeting I was practically laughed out of the room when I mentioned austerity. Health is devolved in Wales so it was all Welsh Labour’s fault apparently! I networked with as many campaigns as I could, joined groups on Social media who were fighting cuts, privatisation, fracking, etc.. etc.. This was helpful but when I tried to disseminate our message onto wider public forums, again, I was shouted down & ridiculed. The word ‘socialism’ had become a dirty word in Britain and any talk of the need to collectivise and support the unions was met with scorn and derision. “The Unions!? Oh they ruined everything” I would be told.

The Tories seemed unstoppable, Theresa May, the ‘then’ Home Secretary was busy at work plotting and rolling out the most rancid of policies, all designed to erode our civil liberties and our civil rights while at the same time propagating anti-immigrant, racist, xenophobic narratives all fuelled by the growing popularity of the far right UKIP. Most of our media seemed to have turned into a direct channel for UKIP’s racist, ‘hate thigh neighbour’ doctrine with some bashing of disabled people who they branded as feckless and scroungers thrown in for good measure. The recent revelations surrounding Windrush epitomise the arrogance and contempt which the Tories (May) held for all of us at that time & still do. They really could do whatever they liked at that point, because there was nothing or no-one who could stop them. Even if the Windrush scandal had broken back then the media was so drunk on UKIP’s racist narrative that it would never have made the big story which it has done today. They would have spun it in UKIP’s Favour somehow, I very much doubt we’d have seen any resignations like we’ve seen with Amber Rudd.

But the one thing the Tory’s don’t ever take into consideration, mainly because they just can’t see beyond their own insatiable greed and desire to demolish any traces of equality, social justice or social conscience, and also because that arrogance is so deeply ingrained in them, is that by deploying this scatter shot strategy, they would, eventually hit so many of us and seed such a dystopian environment for us all to live in that they would create the very resistance movement they thought they were so effectively stamping into the mud from whence it had come!

Scroll on to 2015, the General election, Miliband’s hollow and lifeless, ‘austerity light’ Party was effectively a rabbit caught in the headlines of neoliberalism and had literally no-where to run. Milibands Labour had about as much drive for an equal and just society as Cameron’s Tories had to become “The greenest government ever”. Apathy among Labour supporters was tangible with the Greens, Plaid and SNP offering the only genuine socialist alternatives at that point.  But churning away in the background us activists and campaigners were beginning to find our feet! Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) activists were there on the front line barricading roads from their wheelchairs and invading Parliament. Hospital groups like the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign had beaten Hunt in court and were showing others how to fight back. People were beginning to sit up and take notice, putting down their newspapers and instead turning to the likes of The Canary, and the Artist Taxi Driver to get an alternative view untainted by corporate & establishment bias of what was really going on.

As activists we were still low in numbers but each day saw a gradual shift, new people, new energy and those of us who were campaigning hard could feel that the cultural lag which had shielded the Tory’s until now was soon to catch up with them. There were also many old time campaigners waiting in the wings to show us the way and pass on their valuable activism tips and advice, importantly also, their solidarity!

Another thing that the Tory’s never had a hope of seeing coming were all the unintended consequences that their austerity policies, cuts to public services and cuts to council budgets would create. They assumed we’d all be too busy working several zero-hours contract jobs or trying to fend off homelessness for our kids to care or even notice that our communities were falling into the ground. They obviously thought that we wouldn’t care if our neighbour; the Nurse, teacher or Fire-fighter was having to turn to food banks in order to feed their family. But we did notice, and we did care! Here in Pembrokeshire local greening groups formed and began tending and planting council land that had been left to go to ruin by a council with no funds. Community waste food cafés opened, community fridges & community hubs …and all this in aid of supporting each other and building community spirit and cohesion. In times of such austerity even consumerism goes out of the window, people are forced to re-use, re-purpose and re-cycle rather than spend the money they need for food and bills on an unnecessary new settee! The Tories would never have dreamed in a million years that their own policies would actually sow the seeds for a more socially conscious and environmentally minded society!

They never banked on us looking out for each other or collectivising, but that is exactly what we did, because most of us do have humanity in our hearts and can recognise the signs of unfairness, especially when it’s being rammed down our throats and our kids can’t even afford to move out or go to university!

As someone who has always favoured ‘creative activism’ in most of its forms but was finding that our efforts to fight the Tories were being constrained by the limitations of campaigning in a large rural county which was low of activists I joined forces with a couple of other people based in different parts of Wales and we launched Stick It To The Tories; A not for profit sticker campaign that would go on to distribute 170k anti Tory stickers and 10K Badges in under two years, that was one way that we felt a few of us could make a bigger impact just working from laptops and a small print shop. By thinking outside the box, we could achieve a lot, make the maximum impact with the minimum effort and we didn’t even have to have meetings!

By 2016 our demonstrations here in Pembrokeshire were starting to be noticed by the wider public and local press, we held a demo aimed at pressurizing Stephen Crabb MP to resign his Patronage of the local Mencap charity following his vote in Parliament to cut ESA for disabled people by £30 per week. Our demo was supported by DPAC and People’s Assembly at national level. I realised then that although still small; around 40 protestors, our demo had been attended by people from the progressive Parties and supported by activists from many different campaigns and groups. We’d all got to know each other; we’d had to because we were fighting on so many fronts. We had become networked and were supporting each other’s struggles in solidarity.

Fast forward through 2016; Jeremy Corbyn, Momentum, the EU referendum and to May’s disastrous and ill-fated 2017 General election, we were getting stronger by the day. As an activist I could feel the buzz on social media in the run up to the General Election, I knew that something had shifted. Many of my friends were literally terrified of what a Tory Landslide would mean to them, their kids, their families. I tried to reassure them that I could feel that public opinion had shifted, the level of activism and debate that was taking place in support of Corbyn showed me that the Tories weren’t in for the outright victory they had set out for.. ‘Socialism’ was no longer a dirty word, it had become something we were all striving for. Even that neighbour who shunned our views a couple of years ago was coming round. Our collective voice had been not only listened to but heard and was now being repeated!

We put a rally on here in Pembrokeshire in October 2017 as part of ‘Un-seat Stephen Crabb’ day to have another nibble at his now tiny 314 vote majority. The Canary covered the story for us with a section reporting that it had been the biggest political Rally in Haverfordwest since the Suffragettes’ movement! Then just last weekend we put on a Stop the War March last following May’s bombing of Syria and with just 3 days’ notice was mobilized 200 people onto the streets for our demo. This may not sound like much but believe me, if we’d tried that even two years ago we’d never have garnered such support as this! We’re now primed and ready and growing in number by the day. The more activism we put on against the Tories the more people want to support it and to get involved too.
Osborne and Cameron’s Gatling gun approach to keeping us all down by hitting us all so hard, so fast and whilst we were already down may have worked for a time, but now they really have hit so many of us that they have themselves created the mass resistance that will eventually topple them and hopefully take 30-40 years of neoliberalism down with them.
Our job as activists right now, is to build on this movement, now more than ever, we can take them down, we can take them down hard, but we need to go keep organizing, keep mobilizing, keep pushing the snowball until we have grown it into the unstoppable force that’s needed to finish them off!

The next People’s Assembly conference is in London on June 2nd. It’s gonna be a biggy so book your place now! Let’s keep piling the pressure on, let’s keep growing the movement, and let’s send those callous, nasty Tories running for the hills!

Jim Scott is a Rural Activist & Campaigner.
Coming soon; To hear how we achieved some of what we’ve done here in Pembrokeshire and how we have built the resistance movement over the last few years please look out for my next piece; Rural activism – Tales from the sticks – ‘How we built the activist movement from nothing in rural West Wales!’




London Socialist Historians’ Workshop on
Internationalist Renegades and Traitors
Saturday 19th May, 12 noon – 5pm
Wolfson Room, Institute of Historical Research
Senate House, WC1E 7HU
Admission free, with a collection to cover expenses
Registration required
12 - registration
12.15 Welcome / Introduction
12.20-1pm - Rebel Warriors (chair Christian Høgsbjerg]
Soldiers of Misfortune: Napoleon's Polish Deserters in the West Indies - Jonathan North [with a contribution from Christian Høgsbjerg]
 The Saint Patrick's Battalion - David Rovics [recorded]
-1pm - Break -
1.30-2.30 - Anti-Fascism (chair: Keith Flett)
 Organised Resistance to the Nazis from within the German Workers’ Movement from 1933-1945 - Merilyn Moos
Italians and Germans in the French Resistance - Steve Cushion
3pm-4pm Anti-Imperialism (chair Keith Flett)
The India and Burma Empire: Michael Carritt and Arthur Attwood - Richard Saville
Betraying the Moribund Empire: France 1946-1962 - Ian Birchall
4pm Opening the Debate - Steve Cushion (chair: Christian Høgsbjerg)