Yesterday, anti-choice campaign group Society for the Protection of Unborn Children held “kerbside vigils” across the UK, to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the Abortion Act 1967. Liverpool was, unfortunately, one of the cities to be blessed with a vigil and so Liverpool feminist group Angry Women of Liverpool (AWOL) organised a counter-protest just a week in advance.
Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation were joined on pickets by other activists today as part of the Solfed national day of action against workfare. We distributed around 800 leaflets across three sites. Our first target was an ASDA store in Wavertree before returning to the city centre in order to target two branches of Holland and Barrett.
As we began our ASDA protest the Police were already in attendance, but after we answered ‘no’ to their fiendishly subtle question, “Are you lot here to cause a disturbance”, they generally left us alone. That was until the store manager and several security staff came out in an attempt to intimidate us. Some of the security staff actually physically pushed customers out of our way to prevent us giving them our leaflets.
The North West Infidels (NWI), a splinter group from the English Defence League, are holding a demonstration in Bolton on Saturday 24 March. Liverpool Antifascists is calling on all anti-fascists, anti-racists and organised workers to mobilise in opposition to the presence of these fascists on our streets.
This demonstration comes in the wake of a number of incidents which show that the far-right is aiming to re-assert itself as a physical force on the streets. The British National Party’s electoral support is hemorrhaging thanks to internal splits, whilst the EDL is viewed as just not radical and racist enough for hardcore supporters, allowing the NWI to gain prominence with disillusioned far right activists.
To round off our week of action against Ryanair, Liverpool Solidarity Federation and Ryanair Don't Care campaigner John Foley today picketed Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Though not quite the spectacle that the previous day had been, it was succesful in getting across the key message: end the Ryanair recruitment scam!
We pitched up outside Departures at around twelve o'clock, with banners and signs, and began distributing leaflets to people as they came and went from the airport. This quickly attracted the attention of the police, though this time they felt no need to bring in horses and we were allowed to carry on our picket without interruption.
As part of the international week of action against Ryanair, on Friday 16 March Liverpool Solidarity Federation members joined John Foley of the Ryanair Don't Care Campaign for pickets in the City Centre. The targets of our action were a bank and a solicitors who are complicit in the budget airline's recruitment scamming.
The Allied Irish Bank formerly provided 3500€ loans to probationary cabin crew for their training with Ryanair, though they stopped this practice in 2010 under pressure from the Ryanair Don't Care campaign. More recently, however, it has come to light that they are still sending threatening letters to terminated staff, warning them to pay up outstanding fees (for training they did not finish!) or face bankruptcy.
The International Workers Association has called days of action against austerity, exploitation, and oppression on 29, 30 and 31 March. As part of this, on Saturday 31 March, Solidarity Federation locals will be taking action against workfare.
Following on from the succesful day of action initiated by Liverpool Uncut on 3 March, our aim is to spread the action beyond the City Centre and get claimants and local communities more involved.
Our action will take place in Wavertree, at a target to be announced on the day. There, as last time, we intend to engage staff directly and encourage them to organise against their employer's use of workfare as well as encouraging the public not to give their business to the target.
John Foley of the Ryanair Don't Care campaign joined members of Solidarity Federation and the Anarchist Federation in Liverpool City Centre yesterday to hand out leaflets. John addressed the public by megaphone, describing the recruitment and employment practices of Ryanair as around 500 leaflets were distributed.
After the distribution, John provided Liverpool Solfed with an interview outside News From Nowhere bookshop - which has a Ryanair Don't care display in its front window - about what was in store. On Friday, there will be a picket of the Allied Irish Bank and Daniel Silverman Solicitors.
Poster designs, two unbranded and one with the SF logo on, for use at pickets and protests against ryanair recruitment scamming.
Liverpool Solidarity Federation and unbranded versions of a public leaflet for the action against Ryanair.
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 practices.
Attached are pro-forma demand letters to send to Ryanair and other key targets, which can be adapted as needed. Don't forget to include your name and/or the name of your organisation, along with contact details and let us know of any reply you receive.
In the order that the letters appear in the attachment, here are the contact details for the targets:
Ryanair Corporate Head Office
Phone: +353 1 812 1212
Fax: +353 1 812 1676