AN OPEN LETTER – TO JD WETHERSPOON

This is going viral on social media, we have no connection with the author but thought it was worth sharing.

AN OPEN LETTER – TO JD WETHERSPOON

I have dined in your establishments many times but I write to inform you that I will never do so again and nor will any of my friends or family.

The reason for this is that my stepson has the misfortune to work in your Thomas Sheraton bar in Stockton and I am now aware of the basis upon which you operate and profit.

He is “employed” on a zero hours basis and earns barely enough to feed himself. Not long after joining your establishment he got into trouble with his rent due to the extremely low wages and was evicted from his home. I blame the basis of his employment with you for this. He now lives 2 miles away from your bar and is obliged to walk this distance to and from work as he does not earn enough to afford public transport. Yesterday my wife was obliged to buy him new shoes as he had worn holes in his existing ones. I think it is appalling that you do not provide your kitchen staff with appropriate footwear. If you feel that this communication is becoming a stream of negative comments then I urge you to read on as I have more to say. This 4 mile round trip trudge is sometimes made to attend a one hour shift. Unbelievable, a day’s work of just ONE HOUR. Furthermore, if he attends expecting a longer shift this is sometimes not the case as he is sent home if trade is slack. He, your employee takes all the risk, you the employer take none. You’ll note that I do not mention his name. This is for fear of reprisals. Before you scoff, let me tell you this: When he first joined you, after two months of working every single weekend he politely enquired if he might have a weekend off. He was given the weekend off but worked no other hours either. A genuine ZERO hours. This was clearly a reprisal and he has never asked for the weekend off again.

The only way he can survive on such grindingly low wages is by getting benefits top ups. In order to do this he must provide pay slips which you do not provide. He is obliged to download them and print them himself and given that he will never be able to afford a computer and printer so long as he works for you, he must go to the library. I put it to you that it takes him more effort to work for you for a pittance than it does me to fulfill a full time job.

Clearly your business model requires that the public purse subsidise your employee’s wages. This to my mind makes your firm and others like you one of the benefit scroungers we hear so much about these days.

Yours sincerely
STEVE THOMPSON

Leave a review on the Sheraton’s Farcebook page:

We will fight against exploitation in Amazon! from ZSP union.

amazondzwig10.5 hour shifts, one 30 minute unpaid break for lunch. Barely enough time to get to the canteen, eat something quick and get back to work. Not to mention that the food isn’t fresh. Half the time we work in the night, from 18:30-5 AM. Many of us travel more than one hour to work. Our bodies cannot adjust to the changing shifts. We miss spending the evenings with our families. We treat this job as something we are stuck with until something better comes along. Almost any job is better.

Work in the fulfillment center is stressful, we are always monitored. There is a lot of physical work. We are exhausted in the first few hours. We cannot take a break to rest our feet. When we get home, we can only collapse.

For all our hard work in the evenings and even on Sunday, we get no extra pay. Workers in Sady get paid more than workers in Bielany Wroclawskie for the same job.

In some countries, workers get more money for the evening shift and two paid 15-minute breaks. Not in Poland.

A lot of colleagues say the same: they thought they would have opportunities to work more, overtime, extra pay for night shifts. They feel misled by the agencies that recruited them. Nobody told anybody what the work would really look like. Some people might not have taken the job. A lot of us have no other choice.

There is a total mess with the payments. One colleague is not in the system and can’t get paid. Others claim they received too little payment. There are delays. People do not understand why their salaries are so low.

Some of our colleagues already quit and a lot where just hired til the end of the year. Some of us will stay on here, hoping that things will get better. But nothing will change if we let the bosses treat us like slaves. In Germany workers make 4 times more money for the same job and they still fight for better working conditions. We are being used to increase the profits of a company that earns enough to pay their workers decent wages.

ZSP union has taken action concerning payments through Manpower and Adecco. We will fight so that agency workers and better informed and paid correctly and on time!

In the long term, we want to see better working conditions in Amazon Poland and this means concretely a higher rate for evening and Sunday work, no pay discrimination and paid breaks.

Contact

Fair play for Mike Haney! Communications blockade of Gwalia housing association.

Mike Haney has worked for Gwalia, a large housing association for 8 years, in July 2013 they changed his workplace without any consultation, increasing his annual mileage to and from work by 3,525 miles. In addition to fuel and vehicle maintenance costs he incurred extra insurance premiums. Gwalia have since cut Mike’s salary by £300 per month, making it financially impossible for him to continue. Mike has volunteered for redundancy but is being refused.

Mike has resorted to camping outside his work place at Brecon House, Llantarnam Industrial Park Cwmbran. Np44 3AB. Phone: 01633 833540 He’s camping out 22nd 23rd 29th & 30th Dec, then from 5th Jan he’s there from Monday-Thursday for as long as it takes!

Please support Mike Haney by contacting Gwalia Hierarchy telling them to give him redundancy he deserves otherwise the fight goes on! He’s on his own but with plenty of fighting spirit.

If you would like to go and support Mike in person get in touch first (as he might be working). We will will pass on any messages of support and solidarity to him.

Here’s Mike’s statement:

I have worked for Gwalia for 8 years.

Two years ago I took out a mortgage. I could afford this based on my salary at that time. I could not have anticipated a cut in salary as Gwalia had stated in their 2012 corporate report that they had increased surplus and that their finances were robust. Indeed they had factored in yearly wage rises.

In July 2013 they changed my workplace without any consultation. This increased my annual mileage to and from work by 3525 miles. It also put me over my insurance mileage limit and so incurred me further costs.

Increasing cost of living was also taking its toll, but by cutting back on every possible expense I was continuing to keep a roof over my head. Gwalia have now cut my salary by £300 per month.

There is no living expense I can cut now, except my home to work mileage. I now have no alternative but to pitch a tent outside the office premises during the working week.

Gwalia directors have shown complete contempt for my situation. I volunteered for redundancy but was refused. I believe that this was a deliberate effort by Gwalia to force me to leave the company with no recompense for the years of service and contribution to the company’s reputation that I have given.

The constant changes within my terms and conditions and pay means that I am being forced to leave my job. However, if I resign and cannot obtain immediate employment, then I am unable to either claim any benefits or claim on my mortgage protection. Hence my current situation.

Ironically I was a key member of a group who raised money for rough sleeper kits, including sleeping rough on one of the coldest nights of 2014. Gwalia were happy to make the most of the publicity this generated.

Update to Bristol Solidarity Network action and communications blockade against rogue landlord.

BIG UPDATE 28/12/14: From Bristol Solidarity Network:
CEA have had enough, and have notified the landlord and the tenants that they have quit managing the property. We have called off a second picket and communications blockade of their offices, pending further confirmation. They have put the tenant in direct contact with the absentee landlord, watch this space for more information on how the landlord plans to handle things!

Rotting House, Rotten Landlord

The first protesters arrived outside CEA at 10am

On Monday 22nd December, 20 members and friends of Bristol Solidarity Network demonstrated at the offices of Central Estate Agents in Bristol. There was a great deal of interest and support for the picket from passers by, many of whom said they would tell others about the situation. This marks the beginning of a campaign to expose CEA’s shocking neglect and threats against tenants of a house in Easton, which will continue with a second demonstration on Friday the 2nd Of January.

CEA “manages” this property for an absentee landlord last seen by the tenants in 2007. The house is in an appalling state of disrepair, with a seriously leaky roof, huge cracks in walls and ceilings, broken doors, rotting window frames and intolerable mould, cold and damp. Four family members, including three children, have developed asthma as a result of these conditions they have been forced to live in by CEA and the landlord’s neglect. They are understandably angry.

CEA and the landlord they work for have consistently dodged their responsibilities and ignored the tenants’ repeated requests to carry out the necessary repairs. Even ignoring a legally binding improvement notice issued by Bristol City Council. The very few repairs that have been done have been cosmetic, minimal and ineffective. Unbelievably, the council claim they are satisfied the repairs have been done, without even examining the roof! We offered them a ladder so they could see the extent of the disrepair but they declined. Their “investigation” was clearly just about how they could shirk any responsibility or involvement. As is often the case, the tenants are very unlikely to get help from the council. Luckily, our boxes are not so easily ticked and we are not so easily brushed aside.

Protest against delapidated housing, Bristol, UK 22/12/14

On Monday 8th December Bristol Solidarity Network members accompanied one of the tenants to the offices of CEA to deliver a letter demanding the necessary repairs be done. Two days later Jabar Mohammed of CEA responded, not by agreeing to do the right thing and start the repairs, but by threatening the family with eviction. We will not allow this absentee landlord and his agents to bully a family out of their home just for wanting to live in decent conditions. This family are prepared to stand up against this shameful bad practice, and Bristol Solidarity Network will fight alongside them until we win. We know this family is not alone and this is part of a larger struggle for decent homes for people – rather than ever higher profits for landlords.

CEA have a clear list of the much needed repairs. We will not stop and the pressure will increase until these repairs are done. It seems they won’t listen to tenants or appeals to do the right thing. Let’s see if they’ll take notice of a high profile campaign to affect their profits. Money talks after all.

One of our next steps will be a demonstration at the offices of CEA on Friday January 2nd at 2pm: Central Estate Agents, 52-54 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8BH. (Facebook).

At the same time, throughout the day on Friday January 2nd, we are calling for a communications blockade to give everyone a chance to let CEA know what they think.
If you can’t join the demonstration, please contact them to let them know what you think. Here are the company’s contact details:

Tel: 0117 98 92 150
Fax: 0117 94 21 882
Email: info@ceahomes.co.uk

Not quite as pretty as the pictures CEA choose to display in their windows!

Introduction to Feminist Self Defence, 17th January 2-5:30pm, Albany Centre Bristol.

Bristol Community Gym, The Albany Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5LT

  • Do you want to learn about basic self-defence?
  • Do you struggle with confidence in a mixed training environment?
  • Want to revise techniques you have learnt previously?

A one-off session to learn feminist self-defence for all self-defining women. We will look at common barriers and boundaries and work together to consider practical ways to overcome them.

-assertiveness
-use of voice
-stance
-force
-basic strikes
-fighting from the floor

You don’t need to be super fit, or have prior experience. The session will combine physical techniques and discussion, so please wear comfortable clothes and bring something warm. There will be cake and hot drinks available.

Please email Bristol Community Gym for more info. We will ask for a donation of £3-£5 to cover the cost of venue hire. Booking essential so we know how much kit to sort.

Please spread the word among your networks.

Message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch: Medical Aid for Palestinians.

You might like to learn about the amazing work that Medical Aid for Palestinians are doing on behalf of the people of Gaza. As you may be aware tens of thousands of people in Gaza are going to be homeless this winter, including newly orphaned children and bereaved families. Medical Aid for Palestinians are doing everything they can to try to provide them with the basics that they will need to at least get through the winter months such as blankets, food packages, mattresses, and hygiene kits. Would you like to help them reach a few more of the many thousands who are suffering? Maybe you’ll make a donation to their Gaza Winter Crisis Appeal (think of it as buying a Christmas present that you know someone definitely DOES need and want!) to help them to do just that:

Palestine Solidarity Campaign is not an aid organisation, but as a branch group we support the work of Medical Aid for Palestinians and have often donated a proportion of the proceeds of our annual sponsored walk to them. It would, however, be unsatisfactory to focus exclusively upon aid given that this is a man-made problem that can be resolved with sufficient political will. Medical Aid for Palestinians are also well aware of that and also try to promote awareness of what is happening and why. This point was also made by Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert who was working in Gaza at the time of the mass bombing in the Summer. As Mads Gilbert has put it prevention is always better than cure in the area of public health, and so it would be irresponsible for him to not focus on the root causes of the problems faced by the people of Gaza.

Please consider joining Palestine Solidarity Campaign as an individual member. Even if you aren’t able to make it along to any of our local events this is still a powerful way of supporting our organisation at a national level and ensuring that we can continue to advocate on behalf of the long-suffering people of Palestine and advance their cause.

For a powerful interview with Mads Gilbert see:

For a brief summary of events of the past year by our Chairman Hugh Lanning and a link to our annual report see:

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Website
Blog

Message from Barnet UNISON via Dorset Socialists.

Dear Colleagues

First of all I need to update everyone that we managed to hold on to our UNISON office and to our facility time. Tonight 63 Barnet Councillors are going to vote on the proposal to outsource 81% of the existing Council workforce. Our story has been covered in the Guardian by Aditya Chakrabortty: “Outsourced and unaccountable: this is the future of local government”

By the comments being left it is taking place across all of public services. BUT there are more and more shocking headlines emerging I have produced some of them below:

“Northamptonshire County Council reduce its workforce from 4,000 to 150 people in a bid to carve £148 million out of its budget within the next five years.”

Camden £73 million cuts

Cardiff council planning £32m cuts in 2015/16

Birmingham city council to axe thousands of jobs as part of ‘dire cuts’

Manchester facing £60m council cuts – while 20 areas in the south GAIN spending power

Funding crisis leaves Newcastle facing ‘impossible cuts’ and social unrest

Coventry City Council’s service cut plans ‘horrify’ residents

Leeds faces up to ‘brutal’ council cuts

Business leaders hear impact of £102 million council cuts

The makes it very clear that public services funding will be reduced to 1930’s levels. I have checked, there weren’t many public services in 1930’s, which does mean the end of local government. But it isn’t stopping a local government with 70% of NHS contracts already handed to the private sector.

Two weeks ago we submitted a joint Trades Dispute with the GMB in response to the mass outsourcing proposals. Today our branch submitted to our region a request for a formal industrial action ballot as this is the only response to the draconian proposals we are now facing. It is untenable not to mount a fight that is directed at our member’s Terms & Conditions, Pay and Pensions.

Some branches may be able fight battle alone but it is obvious this is a national matter which needs a national response and quickly.

Solidarity to all and good luck in your fights in 2015.

Best wishes
John Burgess
Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON

DS members have been supporting the UNITE Defence Support Group picket lines at Bovington.

Message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch. ‘Open Bethlehem’ Film showing.

The film ‘Open Bethlehem’ is getting rave reviews from many of the people who have seen it. The film’s website give the following background to the making of the film:

“Film director Leila Sansour returns to Bethlehem to make a film about her home town, soon to be encircled by a wall. She left the city as a teenager thinking that Bethlehem was too small and provincial. She never wanted to return but this time she is making an exception. She intends her film to be a tribute to her late father, founder of Bethlehem University, and a man regarded as a hero by his town’s folk. As Bethlehem approaches ruin her decision to flee this sleepy town, taken much to her father’s regret, comes to haunt her.

Armed with her camera and a dilapidated family car that keeps breaking down, Leila plans to make an epic film about a legendary town in crisis but just few months into filming her life and the film take an unexpected turn when cousin Carol, Leila’s last relative in town, persuades her to stay to start a campaign to save the city.”

The film will be shown at the Harbour Lights Picturehouse in Southampton on Wednesday 4th February at 21.00, but only if we can get the necessary number of bookings for it – we currently need about thirty more. If you would like to see the film and to support a showing of it in Southampton please book here:

For further details about the film via the film’s web-site

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Website
Blog

Public Consultation on Slyer’s Lane wind farm, closes 20th December 2014

From West Dorset Pro Wind Facebook group

Application Number: WD/D/14/002611 Case Officer: Andrew Martin Tel: 01305 252227

For the application & to comment online West Dorset District Council “Planning Application Search”
http://webapps.westdorset-dc.gov.uk/PlanningApps/Pages/Planning.aspx?App=WD/D/14/002611

By post: Mr Martin, Case Officer, Planning Department , West Dorset District Council, South Walks House, South Walks, Dorchester DT1 1UZ

If you are writing your own letter make sure you include the application number and your address. Everyone 18 and over in your household can have his/her own say. You can use the same envelope or email address. Save a copy of what you write and use it to contact your local councillors and your MP. Check out the documents online or view at the Council offices on request.

It is an election year. With UKIP and others, there is a new level of climate change denial, a threat to cancel all targets on greenhouse gas emissions and plans to stop the development of renewables both wind and solar in its tracks.

Wetherspoons getting defensive over fascist connection.

Wetherspoons are getting all upset about the negative reviews of their Cardiff establishment the Prince of Wales, resulting from their decision to host members of the Neo Nazi Welsh Alliance recently. Antifascist locals have been barred for life.

It seems they are leaning on Fashbook to remove honest reviews from their FB page as well, keep ’em coming! By their own admission, Wetherspoons made record profits of around £80m last year.

spoonsa spoonsb1

South African farm workers need your help!

Visit CSAAWU siteThe CSAAWU is the only thing standing between these workers and ruthless exploitation, they need and deserve the support of every worker throughout the world, please contribute to their fund, share their appeal and publicise their situation. They are not so far away, you’ve probably eaten something they grew, picked or shipped. Our class, our future.

Facebook page.

Click here to contribute.

Click here to contribute.

In the coming months CSAAWU may be forced to close its doors.

CSAAWU made a decision to defend all farmworkers who were dismissed or victimized in the aftermath of the 2012/3 farmworker rebellion. Amongst CSAAWU members alone, there were close to 100 dismissal cases. CSAAWU went as far as to take dismissal cases to the Labour Court, representing farmworkers in the Court for the first time since since 1994.

The Labour Court issued devastating judgments against the dismissed workers and CSAAWU. The judgment rebuked individual union officials for supporting the strike, deeming this reckless and irresponsible behavior. Cost orders were awarded against the union with the loss of two cases. While CSAAWU paid a high price for its position to support the struggle of farmworkers, we believe that it can never be wrong for a union to support the strike action workers, especially the most vulnerable workers, when they stand up against their exploitative conditions.

It would be a devastating defeat for CSAAWU members and farmworkers in South Africa for many years to come if CSAAWU can’t be saved! However, once we pay off the cost orders, we will be stronger than ever! Please read more about the struggles of farmworkers in the Western Cape, and consider contributing to our cause.

AMANDLA! VIVA CSAAWU, VIVA!

Campaign Statement:

In 2012/2013, farm workers and dwellers undertook a historic rebellion. It was more than a labour dispute for higher wages – it was a spontaneous rural rebellion driven by workers and communities against the brutal conditions the rural working class are forced to suffer everyday, even 20 years after so-called democracy. The ANC government has failed to transform the rural landscape characterised by dependency master-slave relations, racism, sexism, starvation wages and violations of the limited freedoms won from decades of working class struggle. Farmworkers are forced to work under unsafe and unhealthy conditions, to drink dirty water, live without electricity, live without toilet facilities, on poverty wages, suffer threats of evictions, and violent physical and verbal abuse and intimidation for enacting limited freedoms such as joining a trade union.

“Why do the horses enjoy clean water and we must drink dirty water? Why do the pigs’ living quarters have electricity and we are without?”

ROBERTSON FARM WORKER

Visit CSAAWU Site.

Door Smashed by UKBF Raid – Soli Fund.

Click to donate.

Click to donate.

Recently, the UK Border Force attempted to detain a person they suspected was staying at a No Borders South Wales activists home. In the activists absence they forced their way in by smashing through the front door.

They then ‘fixed’ the door by filling in the pane of glass they smashed with a piece of wood and proceeded to charge £200 for the ‘service’.

In addittion to this, it is estimated that it will cost at least a further £150 to properly fix the smashed door.

Having your house raided is bad enough, it’s not fair that this person should endure this financial cost alone!

Please show solidarity and donate what you can. If you can’t contribute financially, please share this page with others that you think may be able to do so.

Click on the image to go to the donations page, or paste this link: http://www.gofundme.com/hvzibw

Wessex welcomes new IWW Dorset branch!

iwwlogo DORSETgreenIndustrial Workers of the World Dorset group is in the process of chartering as a branch in its own right, having operated for several years under the auspices of Bristol General Members’ Branch. The paperwork’s all done we’re just waiting for the formalities and should be fully operational in the new year.

The IWW is a certified union and can represent you at work, but unlike the TUC unions we’re not shy of direct action and don’t have to pretend we’re all on the same side, we’re not bothered about getting Labour elected and none of us has any ambition to sit in the house of lords! Follow the logo to the side of the page.

– Cindy Callist.

You can still be evicted for reporting a leaking roof – and politicians are still taking the piss.

Taking the piss, Davies L and Chope R

Taking the piss, Davies L and Chope R

With another meaningless election looming, if anyone needs reminding what a pile of horseshit representative democracy is, consider the parliamentary proceedings of the 28th November when the Tenancies (Reform) Bill was subject to a filibuster* by Christopher Chope and Philip Davies to prevent it being voted on. Like a grotesque parody of BBC Radio’s ‘Just a minute’ game these two arseholes talked rubbish for hours deliberately running the bill out of time.

The Private members bill by Sarah Teather, the member for Brent, was intentionally narrow in scope, limited to preventing retaliatory evictions – Teather cited a tenant who was thrown out of her flat for reporting a collapsed ceiling and leaking drains.

Private members are M.P.s who are not ministers, and P.M.B.s are just about the only mechanism by which someone as far down the Westminster pecking order as the member for Brent could do anything their constituents might actually want. But not being on the government’s legislative agenda, these bills have no time allocated to them. 7 Fridays per year are dedicated to P.M.B.s chosen from a list by ballot, and the debate must be concluded by 2.30pm to reach a vote.

See how far removed the people are from the levers of power in a parliamentary system. Sarah Teather is a member of one of the governing parties, and had the tacit support of the minister for a proposal no one in their right mind could object to, yet the faceless bent landlords’ lobby can rent a couple of unscrupulous stooges to sink the whole thing. During her presentation Ms Teather gushed over how privileged she felt to have had her bill come up in the ballot at all. So even if an ‘honourable member’ appears on the face of it to mean well, they are on a hiding to nothing when the needs of real people conflict with the vested interests that run the show.

All 60 (out of 650) MPs present apart from Chope and Davies spoke in favour, expressing their disapproval of the filibuster by voting to close the debate and vote on the bill, however, with fewer than 100 members in the house this decision was not binding. The pair continued to shamelessly thumb their noses at their colleagues and constituents, the vast majority of whom will never own their homes outright, much less have a spare one to generate unearned income.

If you’re actually considering voting in the next election, it’s worth taking a look at the Hansard entry to see what these wankers get up to on our time, those of them that can be arsed to turn up that is. You need to skip to the second page to appreciate the level of childish waffle Chope and Davies resorted to, knowing full well that fewer than one in ten of your elected representatives could give a toss about your struggle to keep a habitable roof over your head.

Jim Fitzpatrick (for Poplar and Limehouse) had this to say:

I do not think it is fair to blame the hon. Gentleman who, with the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) and others, has been blocking one of my Bills for the past five Fridays. I respect their ability to do that.

– Really?

I was well up for doing a hatchet job on ‘Chopper’ Chope, but his Wikipedia entry is indictment enough, a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

Davies is a racist, misogynistic homophobe, paid advocate for the gambling and tobacco industries that proposed a reduction in the minimum wage for disabled people. His candidacy has the support of UKIP and his father Peter stood for the far-right English Democrats.

Soon these smug pricks are going to ask your consent to tell you what to do for the next five years. It beats me how anyone who considers themselves ‘left’ or ‘green’ or has any morals whatsoever could sit around playing these stupid games with them.

We believe in Direct Action, and it works, if you’ve been following this blog you’ll see we’ve notched up a few successes in recent weeks through people getting off their arses and onto the streets. But if your idea of D.A. involves a telephone or a keyboard, feel free to tell these despicable enemies of the people what you think of them; look we’ve done most of the work for you:

Chope: 18a Bargates, Christchurch, BH23 1QL

Tel: 01202 474949 Fax: 01202 475548

office@christchurchconservatives.com

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Tel: 020 7219 5808 Fax: 020 7219 6938 chopec@parliament.uk

Davies: 76 Otley Road, Shipley, BD18 3SA

Tel: 01274 592248 philipdavies@shipleyconservatives.fsnet.co.uk

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Tel: 020 7219 8264 Fax: 020 7219 8389 daviesp@parliament.uk @philipdaviesmp

*“a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body. The English term “filibuster” is derived from the Spanish filibustero, itself deriving originally from the Dutch vrijbuiter, “privateer, pirate, robber” (also the root of English “freebooter)”.

– Wikipedia