Staff and students rallied against planned privatisation of over 10% of campus jobs in Library Square this lunchtime. Staff had come equipped to disrupt a planned 'bidders meeting' with many carrying airhorns, only to discover management had moved the meeting to the Amex stadium across the road. With security and conference staff amongst those facing outsourcing, suggests management don't feel able to hold such meetings on campus without the details leaking out and the threat of disruption.
On Saturday 12th May the Solidarity Federation with help from members of Brighton Benefits Campaign held a third picket outside Holland and Barrett’s main North Street store.
We experienced the usual response from the public with about a fifty-fifty split between those continuing to shop there and those who respected the boycott. Some potential customers who went into the shop came out after reading the leaflet to say they had changed their minds. Many passers by offered encouragement to the picketers and others were shocked to discover that an ‘ethical business’ would use unpaid labour.
Around 100 assorted members of far-right groups including the EDL, Infidels, and March For England were vastly outnumbered by up to 1,000 anti-fascists and Brighton residents when they attempted to march yesterday. The route of the march was repeatedly blocked by crowds, and police were only able to force a path through with baton-charges, shields and horses. Despite this, the march was twice forced to divert from its high-profile route down backstreets, where anti-fascists assembled barricades and once again blocked the march.
On Saturday members of Brighton SolFed and Brighton Benefits Campaign picketed the North Street branch of Holland & Barrett. This was the second action in an on-going national campaign against the retailer’s continued use of unpaid workfare placements to reduce staff costs. The picket successfully turned away a large number of potential customers and we engaged many members of the public in discussion of the issues, the majority of whom were sympathetic to our message.
Brighton SolFed joined the Worthing 'Carnival for Choice' organised by Brighton Pro-Choice on Sunday 15th April. The carnival was called as a counter-demonstration against the Jubilee Church, backers of the 'Abort67' group who have been harassing and intimidating women at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic in Brighton.
The evangelical Jubilee Church meets in a school building on Sundays as they have been refused permission to operate their building on an industrial estate as a church. The carnival attracted upwards of 75 people, who formed a lively picket of the main entrance, before splitting into two groups to cover the entrance and exit as church members left. Chants of 'whose choice? our choice!', 'abort your support for Abort67' and 'shame on you for harassing women' rang out.
Next Sunday (15th April) Brighton Solidarity Federation will be supporting the Carnival for Choice! in Worthing.
Carnival for Choice! is part of Brighton Pro Choice’s ongoing campaign against the anti-choice group Abort67. The group, based around a right-wing Christian church in Worthing, often protest outside the Brighton BPAS clinic. They are known for using US-style anti-choice tactics including photographing people entering the clinic and banners featuring graphic images of aborted foetuses to try and dissuade women from exercising their right to choose. Their aim is to have abortion outlawed, no matter the circumstances.
On Saturday Brighton SolFed held three separate pickets of Holland and Barratt stores in Brighton and in Hastings in response to their continued use of unpaid workfare placements to reduce staff costs. Across the country SolFed locals and other groups took part in a day of action to highlight the use of workfare by high street companies.
The national day of action was called by SolFed to coincide with the International Workers’ Association (of which SolFed is the British section) days of action which included the general strike in Spain called by our Spanish section, the CNT.
Saturday March 3rd was a national day of action against workfare, called by Boycott Workfare. In Brighton, members of Solidarity Federation headed down to Jubilee Street to support the Brighton Benefits Campaign picket of Tesco.
Turnout was encouraging, with over 50 people in attendance. A sizeable socialist contingent marched from Tesco in St James Street to Jubilee Street, before moving on to McDonalds. As numbers were still high outside Tesco, we were able to take another group to picket the Tesco store on Queens Rd. This was quite successful in turning people away, with only one person manning the checkouts inside the store.
THIS Saturday (29th May 2010), 12pm – 6pm in Brighton. Join the Facebook event. Venue to be confirmed very soon here and on Facebook.
As a new government is getting ready to attack the living conditions of ordinary people, students and education workers have already had experiences with cuts – and how we can stop them. We will try to draw the lessons from the strikes, occupations and other forms of direct action taken in HE and FE over the last months. How can we build effective alliances between students and workers? How can we act in solidarity across education establishments? How can we organise from below to defend education?
National conference with talks and workshops, open to students and education workers.
The first issue of a new newsletter focussed on direct action solidarity - tackling grievances from bullying to wage theft.