Lewisham Occupation

Since 23rd April parents of pupils at Lewisham Bridge Primary School in Lewisham, south east London, and their supporters have been occupying a school roof. They are protesting against Lewisham Council’s plans to demolish the school building and replace it with a school for children aged 3 to16. The proposed new school will be squeezed into a site presently occupied by the primary school, which has less than half of the 835 pupils projected for the “all age” school, so play areas and room sizes would fall below government recommendations.

The new school would only have one primary class per year, instead of the current school’s two. Eleanor Davies, whose six year old son, attends the school, said:

Occupy and Defy: the Visteon workers’ struggle & their union

Over the spring, hundreds of workers at three car parts manufacturing plants across the UK were made redundant. In response, workers occupied the plants and, in doing so, demonstrated that any protection we might have from the ravages of this recession will come not from the generosity of employers, politicians or trade union bosses but from the action we take as rank and file workers.

In June 2000, Ford Motor Company outsourced production of some of its car parts to Visteon, an apparently independent company, but in reality one in which Ford retained a 60% holding. The relatively smooth changeover was negotiated on the promise that the ex-Ford – now Visteon – workers would remain on Ford terms and conditions, including pensions and redundancy packages.

A contradiction at the heart of Chaos: Regulation of global financial markets to solve boom and bust is a non-starter

It appears the world’s governments have stopped capitalism going into total meltdown. But even if it recovers the cost of saving it will be massive and we, the working class, will pay for years to come through job losses, cuts in pay and reductions in public services. Nor is that our only worry. There is every likelihood capitalism will nose dive back into recession at some future point.

Why Anarcho-Syndicalism Remains Relevant Today

Apart from the obvious recurrent global economic crises, we live in a world where some 30,000 children continue to die every day, not because of a lack of resources, but because of a flawed set of economic priorities that places the profits of the rich above all others. As capitalism has gone global, the majority of the population suffer growing absolute or relative poverty, increasingly repressive governments, financial uncertainty, and social divisions. As transnational corporations grow ever more powerful, workers across the world face sub-contracting, migration, “race to the bottom” pay policies and non-contract labour in their quest to earn a living.

Brighton SolFed

This is the page of Brighton SolFed, the local anarcho-syndicalist union based in Brighton. We also have members in Hastings and Worthing. We have ongoing campaigns in hospitality and in health&social care, but we support workers in all industries. If you want to get in touch with us, see our contact details to the right.

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Strike in the city

Latin American cleaners on Friday 3rd April held the latest in a series of weekly demonstrations outside their former workplace in the insurance firm Willis in the City of London against the sacking of five of their colleagues by the Mitie cleaning contractor. The four men and one woman were dismissed following an email conversation with management, in which the cleaners registered their unhappiness at a sudden change in shift patterns, done without consultation.

National Day of Action against Subway

On April 4th, several Locals of the Solidarity Federation, alongside other anarchists, trade unionists and activists took part in the national day of action against Subway, in support of victimised pregnant worker Natalia Szymanska. This day saw pickets of Subway stores across Britain and Ireland, demanding her reinstatement and compensation.

19 year old Natalia Szymanska worked at a Belfast branch of Subway. As she was 5 months pregnant and working until 10pm, she arranged for her boyfriend - an employee of the very same company - to pick her up and walk her home. He had done this many times previously, with the full knowledge and agreement of her managers and never before had it been a problem. However, unknown to Natalia her managers had a different plan on this occasion, because a month previously she had informed them she was pregnant - a fact which would require them to provide her paid maternity leave.

Management seized upon the presence of her boyfriend, and Natalia was dismissed in a farce of a disciplinary. Her managers believed she would have no recourse, and be forced to accept their decision. Their excuse was violation of health and safety - allowing an “unauthorised member of staff” onto the premises. Quite why the presence of another employee of the same company represented such a dire threat to health and safety was never explained.

Natalia turned to the Belfast and District Trade Union Council, who for the past several months have been holding a regular series of pickets of the premises in question, supported by a wide array of organisations from the labour movement and beyond. Thus far, G.G. Cuisine, the franchise holder has been unwilling to budge, and so the decision was made to turn up the pressure, and spread the pickets across the whole of Britain and Ireland. The aim is to force Subway to pressure G.G. Cuisine into settling with Natalia and to show that we will not allow bosses to treat any worker with such contempt.

The pickets were well attended across both countries, being hold in a wide range of cities, including London, Brighton, Belfast, Bradford, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool and Dublin. In Brighton and London pickets were also held at a wide range of different Subway store Since the pickets, the franchise holder has attempted to get an injunction against Belfast TUC in order to stifle the protest, but as we go to press, the struggle for Justice for Natalia continues.