Archive of ‘Protests’ category

Axe The Bedroom Tax

Unite Community Members from Barnsley and Sheffield joined forces with Leeds members, to show their anger at the hated Bedroom Tax. For a protest on the anniversary in Leeds city centre yesterday (5/4/14).

View a video of the demonstration here.

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Atos Protest Sheffield

Atos demo April 1 2014, Barkers Pool Sheffield 12pm.
Attendees: approx 40

Participants congregated at Barkers Pool outside lloyds bar. Various groups and organisations attended and were represented inc: Unite Community members, the NUM and striking NAPO members.

Short speeches inc one by David Kirkham of Sheffield Uncut who highlighted the fact that IDS seems to have slipped through the fit to work scheme.

The procession set off led by union banners, people held placards with slogans such as;

” disabled people are not disposable”

and many others.

The crowd proceeded to march to the DWP building on West St.

Supported by cheers and whistles from people hanging out of windows of nearby buildings and some motorists hooting in support.

5 activists immediately entered the building unchallenged and proceeded to chain themselves with lock to the struts of the central staircase. They held a huge banner which read:

“DWP.  STOP
TERRORISING SICK
AND DISABLED
!!!PEOPLE!!!
RESPECT!! DIGNITY!! EQUALITY!!”

Outside the remaining protesters lined the street and began a series of short, punchy, speeches which highlighted the issues of the protest. Not only to the DWP and the SYP who had been called to attend but to passers-by, who were in general disgusted at the treatment of sick and disabled people.

As the writer of this report, I witnessed no negative feed back from the general public. It is important to note that.

Speakers on the day were many and came from varied backgrounds.

Some spoke as union or group reps some as individuals.

Napo’s rep highlighted the link between the cause and the cuts to legal aid and how one drastically affects the other.

Chris Skidmore form NUM talked about people who had been diagnosed with RSI (vibration white finger) by vascular surgeons, only to have it quashed by ATOS staff. He also highlighted to need to screen and assess staff for medical experience and qualifications and the importance of all constituents badgering their local MP to question the processes that are currently in place.

He said that sick and disabled people suffer continual abuse because they are labelled scum and scroungers even if they don’t work due to work related injury.

Unite member highlighted workfare practices.
Cerco. D4E
The cost of implementing workfare is £5.5million.
The fact that companies are taking advantage of the scheme while IDS scapegoats foreign workers for the lack of jobs.

Shouts from the assembled crowd of ” it is slavery” were met with applause and agreement.

Jenny Poulton of Sheffield University Disabled Students Committee said, “what does it mean to be fit for work?”

Instead of telling people they are not fit for work, why aren’t employers being told to create jobs for disabled people? Some people are unable to fight back, or even were unable to attend the protest because they are trapped in their homes.

Disabled people are not useless and the world needs to stop telling them that it doesn’t want them.

satos SDC10970

Free Travel Protest

Pensioners, disabled people and Unite Community members from Doncaster Sheffield and Barnsley refused to pay for their travel on trains to Meadowhall today where they met for a rally against cuts to free travel for the most vulnerable in our Community.

Although more the 20 Police officers and security guards were present nobody paid for their travel in a fantastic act of defiance set to be repeated next Monday at 11am. Meet at the train station in Barnsley, stop the cuts direct action gets the goods!

South Yorkshire added extra concessions to the travel pass schemes for disabled and elderly people because of the higher rates of disability and lack of money in our area.

Many other parts of the country did the same. London still has free travel during the day on buses, local over ground trains and the underground. West Midlands threatened to take away its concessions but backed down because of a massive protest campaign.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive voted by 7 to 5 to stop all travel on trains with passes and to only allow bus travel between 9.30am and 11pm. The seven who voted for cuts were 5 Sheffield councillors and 2 Barnsley councillors. This is a particularly severe cut for disabled people who are able to use passes at any time of the day. Many disabled people have been able to take on low paid and part time work because of free travel. Partially sighted people will find handling money outside of ‘free’ times difficult and demeaning.

A meeting of over 300 in Barnsley decided to oppose these cuts. Over 150 turned up to lobby the latest meeting of the SYPTE.

It has been agreed to organise a ‘Freedom Ride’ on Monday 31st March. We are asking people in Barnsley to turn up at Barnsley Train station from 10am to board the 10.24 to Meadowhall refusing to pay. We hope that other parts of South Yorkshire will also aim to get to Meadowhall on their own ‘Freedom Rides’ to meet up for a rally at 11am where we will plan further action.

Barnsley Chronicle report here.

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Budget Day Protest

Unite Community members in Leeds linked up with the People’s Assembly to Protest about the Useless Budget Day Proposals yesterday, As was pointed out working Families are at least £1600  a year worse off with thousands of workers forced into accepting low wages and zero hours contracts. The group used the opportunity to raise awareness about the Demonstration against the hated Bedroom Tax on the 5th of April.

More here.

Unite Budget Day Briefing here.

Travel Pass Protest

Bus Pass meeting

South Yorkshire added extra concessions to the travel pass schemes for disabled and elderly people because of the higher rates of disability and lack of money in our area.

Many other parts of the country did the same. London still has free travel during the day on buses, local over ground trains and the underground. West Midlands threatened to take away its concessions but backed down because of a massive protest campaign.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive voted by 7 to 5 to stop all travel on trains with passes and to only allow bus travel between 9.30am and 11pm. The seven who voted for cuts were 5 Sheffield councillors and 2 Barnsley councillors. This is a particularly severe cut for disabled people who are able to use passes at any time of the day. Many disabled people have been able to take on low paid and part time work because of free travel. Partially sighted people will find handling money outside of ‘free’ times difficult and demeaning.

A meeting of over 300 in Barnsley decided to oppose these cuts. Over 150 turned up to lobby the latest meeting of the SYPTE.

It has been agreed to organise a ‘Freedom Ride’ on Monday 31st March. We are asking people in Barnsley to turn up at Barnsley Train station from 10am to board the 10.24 to Meadowhall refusing to pay. We hope that other parts of South Yorkshire will also aim to get to Meadowhall on their own ‘Freedom Rides’ to meet up for a rally at 11am where we will plan further action.

View the poster: Travel pass Freedom Ride poster

York TUC Protest

Unite Community members from Doncaster, Grimsby, Durham and Leeds marched through the streets of York on Saturday to protest at the Lib Dem Conference. The March also had added significance because it was also International Women’s Day which was reflected by having an all-female platform of speakers listed below. Fantastic work from our Unite Community Members once again United We Bargain, Divided We Beg.

Kay Carberry – Assistant General Secretary of the TUC. Kay will be outlining ‘the better way’ our society, economy and country needs. Kay will highlight the alternatives to austerity, why Britain needs a pay rise, the importance of publicly owned services and need for a real recovery for all parts of the country.

Kate Fox – comedian, poet, writer and BBC Radio 4 regular. She’s been a Poet in Residence for the Great North Run and the Glastonbury Festival and originally trained as a radio journalist, working in Yorkshire and the North East. She has toured comedy shows all over the country and will be sharing a new poem about the Coalition government at the rally in York. http://www.katefox.co.uk.

Sue Marsh – disability campaigner & blogger. Sue is an inspiring campaigner who through her blog http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/ has helped make a difference and given people with disabilities a louder voice over what the government is doing right now.
Fran Heathcote – PCS DWP Group President. Fran lives in the North of England and will be taking on the attacks on those in need of social security, the culture of TV shows such as Benefits Street and the scapegoating of the unemployed. She will be highlighting the huge potential to fully fund public services through clamping down on tax avoidance.

Nikki Sharpe – social entrepreneur and councillor in Sheffield. She will be highlighting the gutting of local government by the Coalition with the poorest areas hit hardest. Nikki will highlight Nick Clegg’s betrayal of Yorkshire & the North.

Megan Ollerhead – campaigning student from the University of York. As well as highlight the repeated broken promises from Nick Clegg’s party, Megan will speak about the cuts of Higher and Further Education and the removal of the Educational Maintenance Allowance that helped young people from modest backgrounds to stay in education.

Liz Mawson – NHS worker in Yorkshire and an inspiring workplace rep. Liz will be exposing the Coalition’s mythical ‘ring-fenced’ funding for the NHS and the scale of privatisation that is taking place without any democratic consent.

Kate Lock – environmental columnist, author, researcher and campaigner. Kate is a published author and writes a regular ‘green’ column for The Press in York. She has worked for the Stockholm Environment Institute and is Chair of the York Environment Forum. Kate will be highlighting the environmental impact of austerity cuts and outlining how the green economy can be a win-win for jobs, young people and the planet.

Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing – Deputy Leader of York City Council where she also holds the Cabinet Portfolio of Health Housing & Adult Social Services. Tracey will be speaking about the importance of a living wage.
York City Council is a living wage employer and the city has the greatest number of accredited living wage employers outside of London.

Liz Kitchen Hands Off our Homes / Unite Community

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York demo poster

Unite members to protest about Atos’s ‘capability’

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Members of Unite, the UK’s largest trade union, are to join disabled campaigners in peaceful demonstrations outside Atos work assessment centres across the country tomorrow (Wednesday 19 February).

Atos – a profit driven multi-national company hired by the government to assess the capability of disabled people to work – has increasingly come under fire for its treatment of disabled people attending for work capability assessments.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The government’s own figures last year showed that 10,600 people died within six weeks of being declared ‘fit for work’ by Atos. This alone should have set alarm bells ringing that the assessments were not fit for purpose.

“We are calling on the government to stop this degrading policy and introduce a fairer transparent system that restores dignity to the sick and disabled.”

Over 40 per cent of cases where people have been deemed fit to work, and had their benefits cut have had their appeals upheld. However the appeals process can take months while some of the most vulnerable disabled are plunged into poverty.
The ‘tick-box’ nature of the tests does not cater for the complex nature of peoples illnesses, particularly for those with mental illness. This has also led, in some cases, to those with long-term degenerative and terminal illnesses, such as Parkinson’s and cancer, being told they are fit for work.

 

Betterway demo at the Lib Dem conference confirmations

The list of speakers for the rally in York on Saturday 8th March has now been confirmed, organised to coincide with the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference. There’s a good mix of national and local  speakers drawing on the different themes of the day and calling for a Better Way than the austerity policies of the Coalition government.

Pam Johnson, Yorkshire and the Humber TUC Vice Chair, has kindly agreed to MC the event. Given that the demo takes place on International Women’s Day it’s fitting that we have a great set of women speakers – full details here: http://abetterwaydemo.org/2014/02/13/speakers-confirmed/ There will be 1 or 2 more additions in the coming days.

We also have leaflets and posters promoting the event. If you would like to place a free order then please email Y&HRegSec@tuc.org.uk with the name, address and quantities you require. You can also download them from http://www.abetterwaydemo.org  and an electronic copy is also attached.

To make the demo a safe and smooth event we still need more stewards. Please email BAdams@tuc.org.uk with names of volunteers and we will arrange for briefing details.

The event website is available at http://www.abetterwaydemo.org and the finalised route will be uploaded shortly and other information you may find useful. For those on twitter our address is @yorkprotest8mar and for those on facebook you can find us here http://tinyurl.com/n9v2cyu

As a reminder:

11.00am Meet at Clifford’s Tower, Tower St, York, YO7 9SA. We’re also collecting food for local food banks and homeless groups so please bring dried, tins and packets of food if you can.

11.30am Demonstration begins. The designated route takes us directly past the Barbican Centre where the Lib Dem conference is held, into the city centre before returning to Clifford’s Tower for a rally. Check http://www.abetterwaydemo.org for route information.

12.30pm Rally. Speakers include: Kay Carberry (Assistant General Secretary of the TUC), Kate Fox (poet, comedian & writer), Fran Heathcote (PCS union DWP Group President), Sue Marsh (disability campaigner & blogger), Liz Mawson (NHS worker), Megan Ollerhead (Student at University of York), Nikki Sharpe (Sheffield City Councillor)

We are prioritising five issues focusing on the positive alternatives and encouraging demonstrators to adopt a colour for the day to highlight why they’re marching. This could be reflected in an item of clothing or the colour of a placard or banner.

The themes are:

Jobs and fair pay

Tax justice

Industrial growth

NHS, public services & social security

Young people and the future

To confirm that you are attending and to help spread the word, please click here: http://abetterwaydemo.org/2014/01/28/pledge-to-join-the-better-way-demo-at-the-lib-dem-spring-conference/

Many thanks for all your support so far and please forward this email to your contacts and networks.

Download the flyer here: A5 2 page leaflet LO

Demo at the Lib Dem Spring Conference

The Yorkshire and the Humber TUC has called a demonstration in York on Saturday 8 March to protest against the austerity measures of the Coalition government and to highlight a better way to grow our economy and protect our society. The demonstration takes place while the Liberal Democrats hold their Spring Conference in York.

Would your Unite Community Group or branch like to organise a mini bus to this event? We can help to source funding, if you can arrange for members to travel.

Please contact joe.rollin@unitetheunion for more Info.

http://abetterwaydemo.wordpress.com/

Benefits Street producers have a bad day at the office

Benefits Street protest

Protestors (and press) gather outside the London offices of Benefits Street producers Love Productions. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Ahead of the second episode of Channel 4‘s controversial documentary series Benefits Street, the production company responsible had their offices picketed on Monday afternoon by protestors angered by last week’s first episode. Around 30 people gathered outside the London offices of Love Productions with placards – “Bankers are the real scroungers” – and chants – “Love Productions, Channel 4, spreading lies about the poor” and “Love Productions stop your hate, trying to smash the welfare state”. It was never like this with The Great British Bake Off (which Love Productions also makes). Pilgrim Tucker of the Unite union, who co-ordinated the protest, said they were moved to protest because Benefits Street “felt like just the latest and one of the most extreme in a long stream of programmes which seek to demonise people who are reliant on state benefits.” She added: “To focus on people who are essentially drug addicts and criminals, and to then call the programme Benefits Street, has the suggestion that most people who are relying on benefits are in some way like the people they are showing. That type of public opinion then justifies the action the government is taking which is to really heavily cut those welfare benefits.” Production staff kept their counsel and stayed out of the way – and the range – of the protestors, who at one point risked being outnumbered by the media. If the programme makers knew the Facebook organised protest was coming, then the Folio Society – based next door – looked more taken aback, with windows promptly shut to block out the noise.

Originally published in the Guardian.

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