The anti-austerity protest in Sheffield at the weekend was well attended with a great party atmosphere. Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green party attended the march and spoke at the rally along with many others including Barbara Jackson of Orgreave Truth & Justice and Tony Wright of Barnsley band, The Hurriers.
Another great day. Threats of thunderstorms; many people taking part in a demonstration against the English Defence League in Hexthorpe; many others demonstrating in Sheffield and Rotherham about the tragedy in Gaza yet we still had over 100 turned up for the Barnsley demonstration. Large numbers wearing the Freedom Ride t-shirts, banners and placards and lots of singing and chanting made a great impression.
One of our supporters has been fined £150 by Northern Rail for travelling without a ticket. Over £150 was collected at our rally, quite a bit given by people passing by and hearing what had happened.
Tosh McDonald from ASLEF turned up to give his union’s support again at a very enthusiastic rally outside the bus station.
We had a symbolic walk round to the platform where Northern Rail got into a panic, trying to lock the gate.
The rally agreed that the next Freedom Ride will be on Monday 28th July at 11am at Barnsley train station.
Barnsley Council is meeting this Thursday at 10.30am and they will have the minutes of the transport committee on the agenda which made the decision about changing the concessions. We are having a lobby outside the town hall from 9.30am, come along at whatever time you can manage. And contact your local councilors before Thursday – ask them to stop and speak to us outside to discuss our ideas for returning the train concessions. We want them to say whether they support us.
At 11am on Thursday we have an open planning meeting at Barnsley library – come along if you can.
A number of people have put in complaints about what happened to them at Sheffield station. Let me know if you have done that as well. I have details of what to do in making a complaint if you want to make one.
Saturday 19th April
Demo & Rally
Assemble 11am, at Civic Square, Waterdale
Download the flyer Doncaster Fighting Back 2xA5.
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.
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.