Workfare is a growing problem, as demonstrated by recent stories of a number of supermarkets had volunteered to be providers for the scheme and that young people were providing 30 hours a week of unpaid labour. This presents a problem both for the claimants trapped by this scheme, essentially as slave labour, and for the providers' workforce who are being undercut by those doing their job at practically no cost. Equally worrying is that, despite the growing anger over government attacks and emergence of anti-cuts groups across the country, nothing is being done to challenge this.
Last night, Liverpool Solidarity Federation members were amongst protesters gathered outside Liverpool Town Hall. They demonstrated as Liverpool City Council held a Budget Question Time in order to seek views on how they could save £50m in the coming year. Whilst the audience inside gave the councilors a hard time, those outside disrupted traffic by blocking off a road.
Today saw the start of the Royal College of GPs conference in Liverpool. Keep Our NHS Public held a protest outside the venue, the BT Convention Centre, as health minister Andrew Lansley was set to be the day's keynote speaker. Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation joined the action.
As the land was private property, the security had taken the trouble to set up a protest pen using steel barricades, in which the demonstrators were to be contained. Liverpool Solfed members and others were resistant to this, but too many of those who turned up complied willingly either by going inside or by keeping their distance from the centre whilst giving out leaflets. The minority who chose not to be caged - especially as there were no police present! - simply kept moving about so that they were never static enough to be herded back to the pen.
On Sunday 2nd October, members of Solidarity Federation were amongst those who descended on Manchester to demonstrate at the start of the Tory Party Conference. 30,000 people took part in the march, and there was an occupation of Albert Square which at the time of writing is still ongoing.
See Liverpool Solidarity Federation's pictures of the demo here.
Ryanair Don't Care campaigner John Foley appeared at Liverpool magistrates court on Thursday (September 8th) following his rooftop protest at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
SolFed members and supporters held a solidarity demo outside the court to support John and help promote the campaign.
Below is an interview we did with John and a few photos from the demo.
Below we reproduce some photographs of the rooftop protest held by John Foley at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. To avoid embarassment to the airport and Ryanair, the police placed a news blackout on the protest, meaning the local media were unable to report the story. As a result, Solidarity Federation was the only organisation publicising the action against Ryanair's exploitation of young cabin crew recruits.
The airport's management has particular reason to be concerned as they only realised John was on the roof of one of their buildings after he'd been there for over an hour and a local journalist informed them.
After spending 15 hours on the roof, John was arrested and spent 28 hours in police custody.
Workers' rights campaigner John Foley has begun a rooftop protest at Liverpool John Lennon Airport to highlight the exploitation of cabin crew by Ryanair.
Nearly 50 people attended a public meeting organised by Liverpool Solidarity Federation about the Liverpool general transport strike of 1911.
• First off, local historian and BBC Radio Merseyside regular Frank Carlyle gave us an overview of Liverpool's growth as a port city, it's economic development, the influence of immigration and the rise of the city's working-class.
Liverpool SolFed members joined around 150 people on St George's Plateau in Liverpool city centre today to commemorate the brutal attack on workers by police that took place 100 years ago .
" We’re gathered here today, peacefully, to demonstrate our determination to win this long and terrible battle against the employing classes and the state. What does that mean? Only this. All the transport workers of Liverpool are arm-in-arm against the enemy class."
- speech given by strike leader Tom Mann, read it in full here.
John Foley, founder of the Ryanair Don't Care campaign against the exploitation and scamming of cabin crew, has staged a protest outside the offices of Dalmac, a recruitment company in Dublin used by the airline.
The YouTube video below shows someone connected with the company mounting the pavement in her car to drive over John's banner and, at one point, almost run over him.
John also attended a recent meeting of our local to talk about the campaign and how we can actively support it. He told us: "I have never told anyone not to work for Ryanair. I want to make information available about their employment practises. It's then up to individuals to make a choice for themselves." He also insisted that attempts by Ryanair and its partners to intimidate him will be fruitless.
Teachers, parents, and students in Sefton are currently engaged in a struggle to stop a number of schools in the area becoming academies. As part of that fight, they today held a "funeral for education" in Liverpool. Despite the wet weather, a number of people joined the mock funeral procession from St George's Hall to St Luke's Church and handed out leaflets to the public about the issue of academies and why they should be opposed.
Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation were amongst those present on the march, as were those involved in a similar struggle over Shorefields College in the Dingle - whose picket lines we have previously supported.
A protest was held outside Liverpool John Lennon airport yesterday to highlight Ryanair's exploitation of employees and also remember Paul Ridgard, a Ryanair pilot who passed away in May of this year. More actions are planned for the future. SolFed are also making enquiries through the IWA/AIT about how we can help make the campaign against Ryanair go continental (our Spanish sister organisation, the CNT, has organised some workers at the airline, see here).
John Foley, founder of the Ryanair Don't Care campaign, speaks about yesterday's protest:
On Thursday 14 July, a meeting held in Unite's regional office saw the establishment of Liverpool Against The Cuts. 85 people, including members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation, were in attendance.
Residents of Cairns Street, in Toxteth, yesterday defied private contractors coming to demolish houses as part of a "regeneration" scheme by blockading the street. The demolishers Lovell and the police were both foiled by the peaceful action, which will be continuing every morning from 8am whilst the threat of demolition remains.
The demolition of the houses first came on the cards in June, when Lovell won planning permission to knock down six houses in order to build three. Residents objected from the point of the initial bid, but their protests have been studiously ignored by the Labour council. A site visit won no concessions, and when a planning meeting was split over the issue councillor John Macintosh used his casting vote to take the side of the developers.
As one local resident told Liverpool Confidential;
Liverpool Solidarity Federation recently agreed to fully support the Ryanair Don't Care campaign, which was formed to highlight and fight against Ryanair's exploitative employment practises. Campaign founder John Foley has been arrested six times for his direct action activism against the airline. Blogs exposing Ryanair's mistreatment of employees have been closed down by sevice providers. Numerous Ryanair employees and ex-workers have also been in touch to share their negative experiences of working for the airline.
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International week of action against Ryanair - placards
Poster designs, two unbranded and one with the SF logo on, for use at pickets and protests against ryanair recruitment scamming. (pdf)
International week of action against Ryanair - leaflets
Liverpool Solidarity Federation and unbranded versions of a public leaflet for the action against Ryanair. (pdf), (pdf)
International week of action against Ryanair - demand letters
As we begin the week of action against Ryanair, we hope that people across the world are writing, faxing, emailing and making phone calls in protest at the airline's exploitative recruitment practi (pdf)
Combat Workfare public leaflet
Leaflet handed to the public during the Combat Workfare demonstration in Liverpool. (pdf)
Workfare staff leaflet
A leaflet for the Combat Workfare day of action, specifically aimed at workers in the companies that support the workfare programme. (pdf)
Leaflet for Liverpool NHS demo - "Labour Won't Save the NHS"
Leaflet distributed by Liverpool Solfed members outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital. (pdf)
Liverpool leaflet for Adecco picket