By Jérôme E. Roos On July 6, 2011
Christine Lagarde, who took over the reigns at the IMF yesterday, will earn $467,940 per year plus a $83,760 allowance. Notably, this salary is up almost 6 percent from the $441,980 per year that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn used to make — and significantly more than the $400,000 salary earnedby the U.S. President.
Ironically, the IMF justified Lagarde’s raise as “reflecting a rise in the cost of living.” Yet workers in countries ‘bailed out’ by the IMF have experienced vastly greater increases in their cost of living without any form of wage compensation.
Indeed, their living standards are rapidly plummeting as the IMF calls on countries like Greece, Portugal and Ireland to cut public sector wages across the board. Greek wages, for example, have already been slashed 15-20 percent.
Just to put this in contrast, the average Greek worker, say, a waiter in a restaurant, made some 727 euros net per month in 2008 on an average work week of 47+ hours (much less today, I just can’t find more recent figures). Excluding her benefits, Lagarde makes over 53 times that amount.
Also, while the IMF has forced these loan ‘beneficiaries’ to raise both income taxes and VAT, Lagarde herself will benefit from America’s negligible sales tax and won’t have to pay any income taxes over her salary.
Moreover, while the IMF has launched a head-on assault on so-called “overly generous” pension schemes in countries like Greece, Lagarde will receive benefits that most European or American workers couldn’t even dream of, including a generous pension arrangement and a lifelong annual retirement supplement.
All in all, this situation reveals a number of painful truths about our world today. First, it amply reveals the enormity of the chasm between the technocratic elitesin charge of economic policy and the average people affected by their decisions.
But secondly, and this is even more troublesome, it reveals the subsumed truth behind the global financial crisis that we are not all in this together. As David Harvey correctly pointed out in a recent interview, “the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer.”
Austerity, in other words, is not about everyone tightening their belts in order to collectively overcome the crisis we face. In truth, austerity is about siphoning wealth from the lower rungs of the social ladder to the top.
It’s the greatest bank heist of the century, and it’s the bankers who are doing the robbing — with their smiling and well-spoken accomplices in the finance ministries, central banks and IMF right by their side.
By Liam Fox
NEWS JUNKIE POST
Jun 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Finally, a large, and rapidly growing, coalition of left wing and progressive activists, and organizations, is coming together with a clear and united platform. Hundreds of thousands are expected to descend on DC this coming October, 111 days from now, not just to march in a permitted parade and then return home, but to stay and occupy Freedom Plaza indefinitely, until their demands have been met.
The Bonus Army, made up of WWI veterans, did precisely this in 1932 so that they could be paid the money that the government owed them for their service, performed more than a decade earlier, and be able to feed their families during the horrible early years of the Great Depression. They were met with violence from the police and two of the veterans latter died from their wounds. The army was also called in and the protest was finally put down after almost six weeks.
In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior was on his way to a permanent tent city being established on the Capitol grounds in Washington, called Resurrection City, as part of his ‘Poor Peoples’ campaign. He was murdered while in Memphis, on his way to the event. After his murder, the army was used to clear the demonstrators and their tent city.
Both of these prior events share fundamental principles with the October 2011 action. Illegal foreign wars, high unemployment, cuts to services and wages while increasing costs and taxes, and corporate influence over political institutions and policies are just as current today as they were at either of those times.
Wage disparity is worse than ever. Jobs are being lost, benefits cut, and homes foreclosed on while the financial elite are boasting record profits. The politicians they’ve paid for are busy stripping away any rules, regulations, and responsible taxation, in return for campaign donations and lucrative post-public-office positions. Plainly speaking, it’s the politician’s jobs to hold us down while Big-Finance, Big-Business, and any other well-heeled special interest with an army of lobbyists rapes us, robs us, and rolls us.
There is a nonviolence pledge that all participants are asked to sign even though it can be expected that the DC police, and the Federal Security Forces, are unlikely to have any such pledge of their own. Information and tips regarding peaceful civil disobedience, your rights, and your responsibilities, will be shared as the event approaches both at the main site as well as in regular updates here at News Junkie Post.
The left has been slow in their response to the loud rantings of the extreme right. A unified and focused effort that brings all those with shared fundamental principles together has taken some time to organize, but that time is here. In One Hundred Eleven days, on October 6, America will show up on the lawns of the Capitol and will not move until they have been heard, and the appropriate responses are forthcoming.
The October2011 site states;
“October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.”
The event beginning October 6 is endorsed by a growing list of participating organizations that include ANSWER, Backbone Campaign, FireDogLake, The Green Party USA, Progressive Democrats of America, Single Payer Action, Veterans for Peace, War is a Crime, Food Not Bombs, Ted Rall – author of The Anti-American Manifesto, Code Pink, World Can’t Wait, United National Antiwar Committee, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, and many more. In addition to these organizations, there are currently more than twenty media outlets besides NewsJunkiePost.com that will be covering and carrying this event and all related and relevant information.
Also from the October2011 site;
“Previous demonstrations were one-day events which were simple for the Administration and Congress to ignore” Margaret Flowers, another organizer, told me. “The large demonstrations usually happened on weekends when there was little going on in Washington. “This is different because it is an occupation that begins on a Thursday, a day of business, and will continue.”
They will keep the heat on. “We intend to stay and to have waves of nonviolent civil resistance. The time for symbolic actions has ended. Too many people are suffering and dying here and around the world because of the policies of this nation. The planet is suffering because of the policies of this nation. This government has demonstrated that it is incapable of acting in the best interests of the people and planet. We say that this is unacceptable and we will stay and resist until this changes,” Flowers said.
The goal of the protest can be found in this excerpt from the pledge found on the October2011 site;
“I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.,…where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine until our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation…”
The question of ‘if’ it’s going to happen is already settled; comprehensive planning by a large and committed coalition has ensured that. The goal is to sustain the action for as long as it takes. Pack small, pack smart, and pack to make it last. The action will begin during the beautiful low 70′s weather of early October in DC, but the hints of winter will only be a few weeks off. As a group, problem solving can be done as things develop, but, preparation can save a lot of frustration and strengthen the groups morale and resolve.
We have seen the response to such demonstrations in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. One always hopes that their own government will be more civil, and more democratic, and, indeed, this is everyone’s hope. But, make your back-up plans, contact plans, bail contacts, emergency numbers, etc. Good planning and preparation are what will ensure success.
A volunteers list is already being organized through October2011.org to manage logistics and supplies. Transportation programs are also available at the October2011.org site. A method for receiving donations has already been established and, it too, can be accessed through the October2011 site. Bookmark their page and check back here for any further details as they are available.
Mark your calendars: October 6, 2011, 111 days from today. Arrange to have the time off; as much as possible but preferably for the duration. I’ll see everyone there.
‘Like’ October2011′s brand new Facebook Page and ‘Follow’ the Twitter Hashtag #October2011 !
By John Chan
July 4, 2011
The rash of protests by workers in Zengcheng has shaken the global financial circles, highlighting how dependent the global economy is the exploitation of the upper working class in China.
Both the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal have published articles that are concerned about the Chinese police state’s ability to contain any mass movement of the working class. An editorial in the Financial Times speculated on the number and intensity of protests in China and remarked: “The perception that local protests gain greater national coherence is slightly more threatening to the Chinese Communist Party.”
This picture is also threatening the international bourgeoisie. Even a social explosion in the town of Zengcheng, known as the “capital of Jeans,” has resonated throughout the world. The satellite city of Guangzhou produces one third of the jeans in the world to 60 different brands. Zengcheng is just one of many capitals “manufacturing”, each specializing in one commodity, mostly for export.
Large industrial unrest in China have huge ramifications for international corporations, ranging from German exports to the large mining machines in Australia and Brazil. General Motors currently produces more cars and trucks in China than in the U.S. And Walmart is dependent on China for most of their cheap consumer goods. The Apple iPhone and Cases are made in huge maquiladoras (a term originally used to describe the U.S. industry produced-ie, “makeup”-in Mexico) run by Foxconn. Subsidiaries directly managed by foreign companies employ 16 million Chinese workers, with millions more involved in complex supply chains for multinational corporations.
The angry protests of rural migrants in Zengcheng were caused by the harsh treatment of a pregnant woman by local security guards. Stressing the incident, however, were acute social tensions produced by the rising prices of food, shelter and other essential issues. The increase of wages earned by workers last year in a series of strikes beginning in a Honda plant was completely eroded by inflation.
Protests Zengcheng has been followed by industrial strikes. Last week, 2,000 workers at the plant in Dongguan Citizen Watch Japanese went on strike for several days to protest the long hours and low pay. This week, 4,000 workers at a factory that manufactured portfolios Korean high-end products in Guangzhou went on strike demanding higher wages and a halt to the abuses of the administration.
In response to protests Zengcheng, an editorial in the state newspaper the Global Times endeavored to deny that China was likely to the revolutionary upheavals of the Middle East and North Africa. “Many people may have specific complaints and appeals, but they have no interest in breaking with the existing social order and break social stability,” he said. “China is a nation where public discontent seeks to overthrow the existing order. It is time to discard this lie irrational.”
In fact, the regime of Chinese Communist Party (PCC) is still tormented by the uprisings of May and June of 1989 when millions of workers joined students in Beijing and other cities to demand decent living standards, democratic rights and a an end to official corruption, only to be brutally repressed.
None of the social contradictions that led to this explosion has been resolved. In contrast, the impressive growth of Chinese capitalism in the past two decades has been a growing social divide between rich and deep the poor. The number of urban workers has grown from 120 million in 1978 to over 500 million, including 210 million rural workers. The number of billionaires in U.S. dollars China has jumped from none in 2002 to 189, the largest increase outside the U.S.
In an online survey in March, the Global Times found that 94 percent of respondents considered themselves as “marginalized” by the current social order. Typical of those who voted yes was a person who said China was “a heaven of the rich while the poor bitter struggle for employment, a home and to survive.” One way or another, this seething social unrest in China will find its expression in a mass movement against the Stalinist regime in Beijing.
In Europe and the U.S., having rescued the banks and major corporations, governments are now imposing the huge debts incurred in the form of drastic austerity measures. Terrified at the prospect of growing unemployment and unrest, the Chinese regime has responded to the global financial crisis by providing massive stimulus packages and opening the floodgates of credit to keep the economy growing at a frenetic pace. These policies can not be sustainable in the long term. Beijing is already slowing credit growth will inevitably slow the rising unemployment and lead to greater unrest.
If there is any lesson that Chinese workers should learn from the protests in the Middle East, Europe and the U.S., is that no amount of pressure will force the regime in Beijing to make any fundamental change.
Chinese workers are quite aware that unions operate as state police officers for the regime. However, it also must reject the perspective of those as the founder of China Labour Bulletin Han Dongfang, who proposes that workers can defend their rights through the formation of unions “depoliticized” independent. He is using his reputation as a labor leader during the demonstrations of 1989 to deceive the workers to believe that strikes and protests will pressure the government for concessions.
Han Dongfang recently called for Beijing to implement a system in which workers’ demands can be resolved through “peaceful negotiations, equitable and constructive relations with the administration.” He continued: “If workers can achieve their goals through peaceful negotiation of an agreement in the long run there will be few strikes, workers are better paid and labor relations will be most improved.” In fact, Han Dongfang is offering its services to help stop any independent movement of the “bargaining agreement” of workers, even as the regime strengthens its police-state measures.
As in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, workers in China have to rely on their own strength and move independently on the basis of a socialist and internationalist program. His natural allies are the workers around the world who face the same transnational corporations scouts and the same system of capitalist oppression. The central task facing Chinese workers is to lead the downtrodden rural masses to overthrow the Stalinist regime in Beijing and take power into their hands. This means building a new revolutionary party as the China section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, the world Trotskyist movement.
Independence day in Belarus: detained more than 100 people
We’re marching from town to town to build a mass movement against the cuts, demanding job creation, not destruction
guardian.co.uk, Monday 4 July 2011 12.28 BST
Police try to dismantle a protest camp at Plaza de Catalunya square in Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images
In the past few weeks, Europe has been rocked by youth rebellion. In Spain, young people have taken to the squares and plazas in a movement against sky-high levels of unemployment. In Greece, a huge movement of young people supported by the trade unions has taken to the streets over the government’s brutal austerity agenda. And now if young people are to have anything like a decent future in Britain, we need to do the same here.
At the moment there are nearly 1 million young people unemployed. We have also seen the right to an education snatched away from working- and middle-class students and turned into a privilege for the wealthiest few in society. Public sector cuts will also impact young people disproportionately as millions more are sent to the dole queue, while those services that support unemployed people are slashed to the bone. And this government of Bullingdon Boys wants to heap more misery upon us.
In spite of Cameron’s crocodile tears, the government clearly sees the situation as an opportunity to be seized for rich mates rather than the scourge that it is. Under its work programme, the unemployed will be turned into an army of slave labour working for meagre benefits.
It is fitting that this all coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow Crusade. Because, if the present economic crisis and attacks on young and working people show anything, it is that capitalism has not been able to solve the question of unemployment and poor living standards in the decades since the march. Yes, we may live much better now but we face 75 years of gains, like the NHS, the welfare state and the right to an education, being blotted out of existence. This government wants to wind back the clock to the 1930s. That is why we are bringing the spirit of “los indignados” to Britain and marching again.
Young people, unemployed people, trade union activists and students from the struggle last year will march from town to town, starting on 1 October and arriving in London on 5 November, myself among them. We will be organising protests, demonstrations and meetings to bring together all these groups. We’re demanding job creation not destruction from the government. We’re demanding a wage you can live on for all, including apprentices and interns. We’re demanding a halt to the brutal attacks on benefits, already lower for young people. To beat this government and to win a decent future, young people need to be part of a broad anti-cuts movement. That’s why the solidarity shown on 30 June was so important. We want the march to help build a mass movement.
The student movement at the end of last year already gave a glimpse of what was possible when young people moved. Not only did that movement break the silence on the Con-Dem cuts, shattering the idea that the cuts were necessary and inevitable, but it also won important concessions showing that mass movement can still win victories.
And events this year have shown that mass movements can change the world. The revolutionary wave that has swept across the Middle East was started by young people in Tunisia and Egypt. In Spain young people are marching from the north coast to Madrid. And just like young people have already done from Cairo to Madrid, we need to stand up and say that we won’t be a lost generation.
Published date: July 11, 2010
Comments: 4 (Comment on this post)
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A film project about the power of mass collaboration, government and the Internet. In his student flat in Colchester, Jack Howe is staring intently into his computer screen. He is picking the team for Ebbsfleet United’s FA Trophy Semi-Final match against Aldershot. Around the world 35,000 other fans are doing the same thing, because together, they own and manage the football club. If distributed networks of people can run complex organisations such as football clubs, what else can they do?
Us Now takes a look at how this type of participation could transform the way that countries are governed. It tells the stories of the online networks whose radical self-organising structures threaten to change the fabric of government forever. Us Now follows the fate of Ebbsfleet United, a football club owned and run by its fans; Zopa, a bank in which everyone is the manager; and Couch Surfing, a vast online network whose members share their homes with strangers.
The founding principles of these projects, transparency, self-selection, open participation, are coming closer and closer to the mainstream of our social and political lives. Us Now describes this transition and confronts politicians George Osborne and Ed Milliband with the possibilities for participative government as described by Don Tapscott and Clay Shirky amongst others.
Watch the video!!
On-Line Planning Meetings
06.01.2011 · Posted in Call Outs, Democracia Real Ya!, Meetings
On Line Meetings – All welcome !
There will be a Real Democracy Assembly meeting Sat 9th July at 7pm in the 15M Chatroom http://15m.speeqe.com/
This will be a meeting of Real Democracy Now activists to discuss how best to develop a Spanish/Greek democracy movement in the UK, Ireland & elsewhere..
Draft agenda to follow. Comments and Minutes of Last meeting are set out below – pls feel free to add more comments/suggestions.
Hope to see you there ~
1) Cardiff 19J: Assembly with 10 people in city centre. Looking to join UK Uncut groups. Difficulty getting people involved. Camp for 14 days. 180 people on FB.
Liverpool: “Democratic Revolution LVP”: a group of about 12-15 organising meetings and events. We meet every a quiet march (12 people) and distributed over 100 leaflets to local people. We gained another 8 people for our FB group as a result. We are now investigating ways to improve communication with other groups, local and national media and pressure groups. We have made links with UK Uncut.
London: many regular london assembly people are busy with activities – they have been making links with J30 Strike Assembly and are helping to facilitate that. Linking up with large Spanish contingent of democracy now movement. Made good links with A World to Win (Corinna is here, from them) and from the People’s Assemblies Network. And also they have had talks with the Education Activist Network, Coalition of Resistance etc – there were around 500 in Trafalgar Square for J19. London based colleague Paul Brandon of a Right to Work put out a statement 25/06/11 calling for ‘Spanish style camps’ in town squares across country on J30. See http://righttowork.org.uk/2011/06/right-to-work-calls-for-spanish-style-city-centre-occupations-on-30th-june/. Hoping to take Parliament Square J30. Trying to get a London college to form a Peoples Assembly. Will be put to Student Union this week hopefully. We have been working for permanent assemblies in different places. The Lambeth PA on May 21 agreed to hold its next meeting in September and to become a standing body.
Manchester: First assembly on 19J (60 people). Past tuesday there was a Manchester Coalition Against the Cuts meeting. 100 people. All very willing to do ´something´ like 15M (Movement). Attempted an assembly 25/06/11 to plan for J30. Not many people showed up.
York: We are not organised as an assembly. There are only three of us. There was a democracy camp in York for one weekend; check link. http://democracycampyork.wordpress.com/
Trying to build up for the 30th, which is the main goal of all this to build up and add numbers.
Birmingham: My plan is to attend but I really have nothing in mind yet, maybe link with the UK Uncut
Brighton: in Brighton we will have an assembly tomorrow during which we will decide whether we will support 30j or not
Edinburgh: In Edinburgh the people decided to join the 30j demonstration, but the one which is going to take place in glasgow
Liverpool: We have nothing official for J30. I have tried to encourage our members to join me on the Liverpool March via Facebook.
London: J30 we’ll have a assembly block on the march to parliament sq – distributing leaflets etc. Then we’ll set up an assembly using sound system hopefully. It will be moderated using facilitators we’re going to learn from the Spanish DRY how to organise the assembly. There have been 3 assemblies to plan , and what has been agreed is (a) to suport local London picket lines [ as described by Andy (b) to form a People’s Assembly Block to go on the London march (c) to convene a Striker’s Assembly (with 15M London the Peopple’s Assembly network and others) in Westminster very near the main union rally] and (d) to organise autonomous actions in the City against financial institutions in the afternoon / eve (e) maybe to camp on in Westminster. there is a Website http://www.j30strike.org
Cardiff: June 30th plans: We already contact with a group who is organizing an action to stop for the lunch and take the streets at that time to demonstrate the support to the strike. I think it’s not going to be huge, but at least is something, and we can get closer with the group who is organizing this. I think it’s uncuts as well.
connect with local student groups mobilising for J30 and try and get them into the Assembly / camp idea. there have already been calls for this from some student organisers.
arranging showings of relevant documentaries, accompanied by debates.
define ourselves as a movement.
the main issue is gettting the word out that we actually do not have a democracy – once people understand this thigs will evolve by themselves
In Edinburgh people are organizing a kind of festival to spread the movement, projecting documentaries as “Inside Job” and others..
flyers, word of mouth, a web presecence which sets out clearly the problems, the proposed solutions and the way of getting there
contact national media to increase exposure
Maybe we have to forget about the labels: “15M”, “DRY”, ….
information about the corruption of English polititian then create an informative flyer
tax evasions maybe
local groups here in the UK call for a European Day of Action for Real Democracy
a day of coordinated action – people standing with placards at the places in cities where free newspapers are distributed. the placard could include a link to sites which disseminate information about democracy and our lack of it and what people can do – not sure about legality issues but its an idea!
a national manifesto with a list of values that our Movement considers central. wiki? for an english manifesto?
So why not call for a European Day of Action on Friday August 19th with a picnic and assembly and possible acampada – on a Friday for a three day weekend which shows solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters (the other two days of the weekend being Jewish and Christian)
We have decided that we will work bottom up, create as many assemblies as possible that are in public places and clearly visible, invite other groups to support us.
Please FB message: “http://www.facebook.com/luke.t.shore” with name and location and L will add you to coordination group.
Local assemblies in public spaces, local information needed, indignation with common issues and positive solutions in terms of local involvement.
Next meeting: 09/07/11.
4 Responses to “On-Line Planning Meetings”
Susana Manchester says:
25 June 2011 at 8:40 pm
the firs one went better that i thought. great for start!!
Miki Nottingham says:
25 June 2011 at 9:10 pm
I agree… we have shared some good ideas… but decisions of actions should be taken locally, according to the local reality… we have seen that we all share the same problems…
a picnic for 19J [do you mean August 19th ??? Mark] has been seen well, we are going to look for tools for work on net, like n-1, riseup and peopleassembly and we all will refer to http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_147765901962890 in the meanwhile, for a better coordination…
so very nice meeting!!! see you in the next one!!!
Sophie Manchester says:
25 June 2011 at 9:33 pm
I think it started well, but later it got very difficult, and we were struggling to moderate the meeting. It was inspiring to hear about all the things everyone’s been doing. I really think we should set finish times as well as start times – that way people are more likely to stay the whole meeting and decisions made at the end are fairer as everyone is able to participate in them. Better planning is also needed – the summary at the beginning took a long time and this is something that could have been prepared beforehand, as it meant that people were already becoming tired by the most important part of the meeting – the brainstorm of ideas and future plans. Overall though I think it was great. I think we have already learnt a lot and made a lot of progress, and am convinced that we will continue to do so.
Cardiff March for the Cuts
Nearly one million workers from public sectors industries went on Strike on Thursday. Cardiff had its own demonstration along with the rest of Wales
Massive public sector pension strike in Wales
Public sector workers show they will not accept pension cuts
At the Swansea rally
Over 40,000 public sector workers in Wales were on strike today as part of a massive UK-wide strike to defend public sector pensions. Try as they might the media could not deny the turnout of strikers. All the carping about the turnout in the strike ballots was blown away as in most workplaces 80-90% of workers voted with their feet and struck.
Thousands of schools, colleges, job centres and hundreds of civil service offices across Wales were shut down by strike action as workers showed their anger at the pension theft being attempted by the ConDem government. The picket lines had an enthusiastic mood as strikers celebrated the united action taking place today with breakfasts and deck chairs side by side with placards and picket tabards.
Thousands of strikers attended rallies across Wales to protest at the threat to their pensions and were joined by council and hospital workers from UNISON, UNITE and GMB, a foretaste of wider action expected in the autumn. “Next time we will have four million on strike if the government does not retreat” declared Dave Bartlett, Ministry of Justice PCS representative, at a rally before the march through Cardiff, an idea echoed throughout Wales.
Many UNISON, UNITE and GMB workers wished they too had been balloted. UNISON members in the further education colleges angrily regretted that they had been sent letters instructing them to cross UCU picket lines when even most managers in the colleges were on strike.
Swansea and south west Wales
Teachers, civil servants, lecturers and many other trade unionists converged onto Swansea’s Castle Square at lunchtime to rally support for their first day of strike action to defend their pensions and to stop the attacks on their jobs and conditions.
DVLA picket line
Dozens of picket lines were scattered across South West Wales, from as far apart as the Job Centre Plus in Pembroke Dock to the massive DVLA site in Swansea with Socialist Party members to the fore in organising the action and addressing the rallies.
Without exception, PCS members in the different departments of the civil service reported the best response ever to the strike call.
Dave Warren on the DVLA picket line pointed to the empty car park as a clear indication of his members feelings. It was the same on the lively picket lines at Land Registry and the Pension Centre in Swansea.
At Llanelli Job Centre the mood amongst pickets was determined and they even recruited a couple of non members who then stayed on to help picket!
Hundreds of schools across the area were closed and a strong delegation of teachers attended the Swansea rally.
UCU at Gower College organised an impressive rally at the Gorseinon campus gates where Socialist party members Carrie Anne Watkins and Alec Thraves were amongst those giving support and solidarity speeches.
PCS members in the Van Road DWP Call Centre face closure of their office in nine months time. They’ve been told that they will all be redeployed, but they have no idea how that will be possible with the cutbacks taking place. Nevertheless, the mood was good on the picket line. This was the first picket ever mounted at the Caerphilly call centre. They had heard stories from other DWP workplace picket lines and they had decided that this time they had to play their part.
There were 25 on the gates at Ystrad Mynach College, with reps from every department in the college.
Bottom gate Ystrad Mynach college
“It’s the same old story”, said Paul Ford, the UCU branch chair. “The friends of the Tories cock up the economy and we’re the ones who have to pay for it. I haven’t seen any college lecturers messing around in the sub prime market.
“I also feel very angry that they always equate our pay with the appalling private sector pensions. What we should be doing as a trade union movement is fighting to raise conditions in the private sector”.
The lecturers were very interested to find out about the Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow March in October and the Merthyr to Cardiff march that will be taking place in August. A number of them contributed to an appeal for support and a YF4J representative will be going back to speak to the branch.
Workers on the picket line at the DWP in Merthyr had the advantage of being in the high street, so they were kept busy by a constant flow of people supporting the dispute. The pickets were in high spirits and they had come so well prepared that they looked as though they were ready to stay for weeks. There were two camera crews filming them, as they talked to the passers by and handed out leaflets and stickers, while their children – freed for picket duty because their teachers were on strike – waved banners in the background. “He knows everything about this dispute”, one worker said of her son.
At a quarter past twelve, the pickets packed up and walked 150 yards down the road to the rally of about 200 in the Civic Centre, which had been organised by Merthyr Trades Council. Royal Mail posties from the CWU, Council workers from Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Unison and the GMB, Unite and UCATT members joined striking PCS, NUT and ATL members. A number of school students had also come, some with their parents, others in groups of friends. Several gave their details and said they would like to come on the Youth Fight for Jobs march from Merthyr to Cardiff.
The response for the trade union speakers was warm and Jaime Davies from the Youth Fight for Jobs was interrupted by applause when he spoke. But when Dai Havard, the MP for Merthyr began to speak one teacher from Pontypridd tried to shut him up.
“What are you doing speaking?!” she shouted. “You don’t support this strike! Ed Milliband doesn’t support it! The Labour Party doesn’t support it. Get off.”
The rest of the crowd stayed quiet, but there were quite a few nods of agreement.
The clear feeling was – this is just the start. We’re going to fight this government and beat them.
UNISON members joined the rallies
Hundreds of workers picketed across Newport with large picket lines at the Office for National statistics, Intellectual Property Office and Passport Office.
The Passport Office has been earmarked for closure. The government has promised to save 120 jobs but workers at the office are having to reapply for these jobs competing with applicants from outside the office in a full application process. All Home Office workers will be balloted to take action to defend all the Passport Office workers.
At Coleg Gwent in Newport even the principal and managers were on strike. At the DWP call centre pickets reported an even greater response to the strike than in other disputes.
UNISON members from the Royal Gwent and Newport council took time off work to join the 250 strong rally in John Frost square where they heard speaker after speaker condemn the hypocrisy of the Con Dems in attacking their pensions while the fat cats continue to get massive pensions
The poorest speakers were from the main parties. Despite opposing the strike, Labour MPs and AMs were invited to speak, but all declined, citing other meetings and business. Two Labour councillors did speak to attack the other parties. One criticised the turnout at the rally and instructed the strikers to bring “20 each” to the next rally. The Plaid and Green speakers were also poor.
Over sixty strikers joined a rally and march in Llandrindod Wells, Powys. Powys is the largest and most thinly populated of any county in England and Wales, with no big towns, so a rally of this size, with people coming from over fifty miles away shows the depth of feeling on the issue.
Speakers from NUT, ATL and PCS described their members’ anger at the attack on their pensions and wortking conditions. A trade unionist from Remploy reminded people that this was only part of the Government’s attack on working people and on people with disabilities.
Many schools were closed, particularly a majority of Secondary Schools where staff are angered at the Council’s money-saving plan to shut many sixth forms and force pupils to travel even more miles for sixth form education.
There was general agreement that the battle is only beginning and that there is a need to set up Powys Against the Cuts to fight the attacks on our jobs and services.
Tags: annonymous, real democracy now, revolt, revolution
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