Workers opposed to privatisation at the university of Sussex decided to ballot for industrial action after uni bosses refused to stop the ongoing outsourcing process. The move comes less than three weeks after the Pop-Up Union, an unconventional rank-and-file initiative, became officially listed as a trade union.
Are you unemployed and placed on one of the DWP’s Workfare schemes? Contact us.
The court recently judged the DWP regulations surrounding the workfare programme as unlawful. Claimants on any of the other schemes can now withdraw without threat of sanction and existing sanctions must be brought to an end. Unless the DWP wins the right of appeal, all those who have been sanctioned will be entitled to repayment of lost benefit and all referrals will have been unlawful.
However, the DWP is currently laying new regulations which could make all the workfare schemes lawful and mandatory. Added to this, we’ve had numerous reports of claimants being forced under threat of sanction onto the ‘voluntary’ schemes and there is no reason this won’t continue.
Reports circulating on Twitter suggest Tory MP for Hove and architect of the recently passed anti-squatting law, Mike Weatherley, has been chased from campus by angry students. Weatherley had been due to address the university Conservative Society. Weatherley's anti-squatting law, pushed through amidst a barrage of lies and disinformation about squatting, abolished the centuries-old right to squat in abandoned residential buildings. With rising fees and living costs, squatting has been a way of saving money for many poorer Sussex students - empty residential properties in Brighton and Hove outnumbered homeless families 10:1
On Saturday, the Lib Dems' party conference was in Brighton. Following a protest march, there were simultaneous mass pickets of firms using workfare across Brighton. Rather than simply 'having our say' and being ignored by politicians, the idea was to disrupt a high profile coalition policy - the forced, unpaid work schemes known as workfare.
The Liberal Democrat conference is being held in Brighton on Saturday 22nd September 2012 – there will be a large demonstration organised by Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition and Brighton Trades Council.
To coincide with this, Brighton Solidarity Federation, Brighton Benefits Campaign and Brighton Uncut are calling for a day of action in Brighton against workfare – instead of ineffectually “having our say” and being ignored by the junior coalition partner, we should physically shut down a high profile coalition policy.
Domino's delivery drivers in Australia have had their pay cut 19% overnight. As their trade union was complicit in the cut, the drivers have formed a new union, the General Transport Workers Association (GTWA), to fight the pay cut. The GTWA called for a global day of action to support their struggle, and SF members in Brighton were happy to respond to the call. We spoke to staff about why we were there, giving them information on workplace rights, and leafletted the general public with information on Domino's attack on workers' conditions.
Solidarity actions also happened across the UK and around the world, and are continuing this weekend. The GTWA is affiliated with the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation (ASF), an Australian 'friend' of the Solidarity Federation's international, the International Workers' Association (IWA).
On Saturday Brighton Solidarity Federation were joined by Brighton Benefits Campaign on our first picket in the national campaign against Workfare profiteers Poundland. Over the course of two hours we handed out a thousand leaflets and struck up many conversations with the public at their North Street store. This follows the high court ruling that the DWP were within the law to force two unemployed workers out of voluntary work and into unpaid labour at the store.
Brighton Solidarity Federation and the Brighton Benefits Campaign picketed the London Road branch of Holland & Barrett this morning (23rd June). We had a warm reception from the public, giving out several hundred leaflets during the three hours we were there and turning at least half of their trade away.
So many potential customers decided to shop elsewhere that a member of staff came out and started a loud argument, accusing us of having physically blocked people from coming in to the shop. It was unfortunate that his rant was based on the fact that customers had been ‘in the doorway’ before turning away – proving that they found Holland & Barrett’s use of workfare far more off-putting than our picket.
Brighton has seen off the fascist EDL twice already this year, with successful mobilisations against the March for England and subsequent 'revenge' visit. Now they've decided to target another southern city - Bristol - on the 14th of July.
Brighton Anti-Fascists are hosting a public meeting on the 3rd of July to discuss mobilising against this threat. It is at 7.30 in the Cowley Club on London Road.
May 26 saw the National “How Do We Break Workfare” conference in Brighton organised by Brighton Benefits Campaign, with attendees from groups across the country. The one day conference saw a variety of discussions and workshops on the various work for your benefits schemes about the UK