Workers are taking action against privatisation plans in a wave of occupations of hospitals and clinics across Madrid, with massive support from patients and from the population of Madrid. Today a 48 hour strike in health care in Madrid saw 80% of workers on strike. This is just the first of four planned walkouts. Huge demonstrations in support of public health care carried banners like “Health care, we don’t sell it, we defend it.” and “100% free and public.” There have been other occupations outside Madrid, such as the hospital occupation in Zaragoza just before the general strike. A grassroots mobilisation called marea blanca, “white tide” has been building in health care for several months. The privatisation reforms would mean patients paying upfront to see a GP and to have essential treatment.
What: Pret a Manger communications blockade
When: Wed 28th November
Since forming PAMSU earlier this year, Andrej and other workplace activists have faced victimisation from management. For Andrej, this has reached a point where he has been sacked on trumped-up disciplinary charges. His final hearing will occur on Thursday the 29th of November.
Despite the wet weather, today a member of NLSF joined PAMSU in leafleting some half-a-dozen Pret a Manger shops in central London. Demanding reinstatement for sacked union activist Andrej, we handed out several hundred leaflets, began conversations with customers, and established contacts with a handful of workers inside the shops.
The Pret a Manger Staff Union, formed in London when a group of workers got sick of management mistreatment, has been standing up for Pret employees for a number of months now. As part of the increasing momentum enjoyed by the campaign, the PAMSU website is now live. And on it is the announcement that PAMSU will be fighting for a living wage for all Pret workers.
Friday the 23rd of November will see Wal-Mart, which owns UK chain ASDA and which has an entirely non-union workforce, hit with coordinated strikes and protests. The date of these strikes is not arbitrary. It's “Black Friday”, the busiest shopping day of the year in the US.
This article, written by a American-born SolFedder who's worked retail in the past, seeks to explore the strikes: their roots and their implications for the American working class.
Following a successful picket on Monday, the Pret a Manger Staff Union received has received a write-up from Morning Star daily paper. Continuing to build on the success and energy of that picket, PAMSU has created a short YouTube video which explains the reasons behind the action, interviews supporters of the union, and shows members and supporters marching into St. Pancras Station and confronting management about their union busting and victimization of workplace activists.
PAMSU activists were today joined by members of the North and South London locals of the Solidarity Federation and some 25 other supporters in a vocal and mobile picket of Pret a Manger shops in central London. Our message to Pret was no doubt loud and clear: end victimization of all union members and full reinstatement for PAMSU founder Andrej.
If today's numbers and energy are any indication, the Pret a Manger Staff Union is on the march. Keep watch on this space to find out about upcoming actions and how you, as a Pret worker or union supporter, can get involved in the campaign.
Tens of thousands took part in demonstrations in about 100 Italian towns as part of the 14 November European general strike. Strikes affected many sectors including, amongst others, schools, railways, public transport and healthcare while students demonstrated around the country, leading to fighting with police.
The biggest protests were in Rome, where an estimated 50,000 people joined the demonstrations and which saw bitter fighting between police and protesters. Milan saw three different demonstrations with total attendance at around 10,000. One was from the CGIL (the largest of the mainstream unions), who had also called a four-hour strike for the day. The students held the largest demonstration in Milan, estimated at around 5,000, which also saw clashes with police. Sticks, eggs and flares were thrown at police, banks and an elite private university.
Today saw members of the North London Solidarity Federation join civil service workers, lay reps, and members of the newly formed Civil Service Rank-and-File Network in a two hour informational picket outside the London passport office.
Officially called as part of a series of lunchtime protests against government attacks on civil service terms and conditions, the demonstrations have been timed to coincide with the European general strike.
As workers are on general strike in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain today, we will have updates throughout the day. Here are ongoing strike reports from Spain.
[update 14:00] Barcelona: a large roving picket, composed of pensioners, is blocking roads!
Violent police charges reported now in Valencia.
Caixa banks, responsible for the eviction of Emaya Egana who threw herself to her death just before the eviction, are covered in red paint all over Spain today.
Reports of evictions stopped today by force of numbers blockading the doorways.
Castro Urdiales, a small town, reports CNT demonstration of 400 people.
No trucks went in at MercaCordoba due to mass pickets.
As part of an ongoing campaign, cleaners at a South London John Lewis have entered into a pay dispute with their employer. Although John Lewis purports to run on a socially responsible cooperative business model, the men and women who clean its shops are locked out of this “partnership”. Instead, they are hired through subcontractors who pay, at best, slightly above the national minimum wage.
Coming on the back of other successful living wage for cleaners campaigns, the John Lewis cleaners are demanding an immediate increase.
As the Spanish government announced a two year halt on evictions in “the most urgent cases” today, following two suicides by people evicted from their homes, more than a hundred people have demonstrated this evening outside the headquarters of the PP. Rejecting a “whitewash” and calling for a stop on all evictions they occupied various banks, including the Banco de España. Inside the banks people shouted “how many more will you kill?” and “these are not suicides, they are murders”. The government made the announcement following mass anger when a woman in Barakaldo threw herself from her window just before eviction, and a man in Granada was found hanged in his flat when the police came to evict him. Evictions are running at 500 a day in Spain.
Where: Entrance to St. Pancras Station
When: Monday 19th November, 12:00 – 2:00
Contact: pret.staff.union (at) gmail.com or northlondonsf (at) solfed.org.uk
Since being formed earlier this year, the Pret a Manger Staff Union has faced harassment and victimisation. In an all too familiar scenario, activists from the union have faced a series of trumped-up disciplinary charges.
Join North London SolFed in standing up to union-busting by helping us picket the Pret shop where the union was formed and where two members are in the process of fighting victimisation.
Solidarity is going to be key to fighting fast food exploitation, so spread the word.
A woman committed suicide today in Spain when she was about to be evicted by La Caixa bank. The woman, in Barakaldo, near Bilbao, threw herself from the window just before the eviction. There were protests in many places including Barakaldo and Madrid, and banks across the country are tonight wearing slogans such as "murderers" and "guilty". This is the forth suicide linked to evictions in two weeks.
There are more than 500 evictions a day in Spain and there is a growing anti eviction movement, which mobilises people to blockade houses and physically prevent the evictions from taking place.
Teachers at Connaught School started a two day strike today (Wed 7th) against plans to force the school to become an academy. There were more than thirty people on the picket line, and all NUT members at the school were out on strike. NASUWT are balloting for strike action.
The teachers said they had received welcome support from the teachers at Stratford School, also striking at the moment against attempts by the head to dock their pay by 15% for carrying out the ongoing NUT work to rule.
The picket will start at 7:15 am tomorrow and pickets welcome support from the community.
You can get in touch with us via the contact form on this site.
Stuff Your Boss - North London
A re-written version of SolFed's national Stuff Your Boss leaflet. Include North London's contact details. (pdf)
Education Struggle are Our Struggles
Generic leaflet that can be given out to education workers, students, parents, or members of the public. (pdf)
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Three SolFed posters: Just saying Barcode At Work (pdf), (pdf), (pdf)
Workplace Organiser Training Leaflet
Leaflet and generic invitation for the Solidarity Federation workplace organiser training (pdf)
Don't Cross Picket Lines!
Short, generic double-sided A5 leaflet meant to be given out on picket lines or in the run-up to a strike. (pdf)
Office Angels Leaflet
"Office Devils" leaflet handed out at picket lines in support of a cheated agency worker. (pdf)
North London leaflet for March 26th
Obviously, this is a bit late, but the content of the leaflet still holds true. Please feel free to plagiarise if you think it will be useful. (pdf)