LSE Cleaners Victory Party
Burgess Park, London. Sat 24 Jun 2017Mildred
Simpson shows off the 'Masters of Arts' certificates that were presented
to the cleaners at the protest
Cleaners at the LSE held a party in Burgess park to celebrate a successful
end to 8 months of campaigning with United Voices of the Word and Justice
4 Cleaners, including 7 days of relentless strike.
Their actions have achieved parity of terms and conditions of employment
with directly employed workers and they have been promised they will be
brought in-house by the Spring of 2018.
During the party there were speeches by several of the cleaners and they
were presented with 'Masters of Arts' certificates with First Class Honours
in Justice and Dignity.
One matter was still to be settled, as the LSE and Noonan have so far not
agreed to the reinstatement of Alba, who had an employment tribunal hearing
set for July. The cleaners threatened to go on strike in July if she was
not taken back and an agreement was reached in time to avoid a further strike.
This is a small selection of pictures that I took and those involved who
want to see more can find them on Facebook.
Withdraw US troops from Korea
US Embassy, London. Sat 24 Jun 2017
67 years after the start of the Korean War, the UK Korean Friendship
Association protested outside the US Embassy calling for the withdrawal
of US troops from South Korea and an end to sanctions on the the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea (North Korea.)
Time for PR - Save Our Democracy
Parliament Square, London. Sat 24 Jun 2017
Make Votes Matter campaigners use balloons to point
out the unfairness of our electoral system
Make Votes Matter and Unlock Democracy organised a picnic and rally
after the recent election demonstrated again the unfairness of our current
There were speakers from various groups including the Green Party and the
Women's Equality Party and balloons were used to demonstrate the very different
number of votes that each party obtained per MP elected, getting volunteers
from the crowd to wear a rosette and hold them.
Women protest DUP/Tory talks
Downing St, London. Sat 24 Jun 2017
Women were asked to wear red for the protest
Around a thousand women joined with housing protesters for a rally at Downing
St against the Tories and their talks with the DUP to provide support for
the minority government.
Many protesters were in red for the blood of lives lost without access
to reproductive rights, of those who lost their lives at Grenfell tower
because they were considered too poor or black to need safe housing, of
disabled who have died because of cuts and unfair assessments, of innocent
civilians bombed overseas and by terrorists here, for the blood shed in
Northern Ireland before the peace process and for the decision to gamble
the rights, health and safety of LGBT+ people. As the rally ended they were
joined by the UAF who had been opposing the small march by the EDF.
Football Lads Alliance at London Bridge
London. Sat 24 Jun 2017
Millwall and West Ham fans pose with wreaths on London
Well over a thousand supporters of the recently formed Football Lads
Alliance marched to the centre of London Bridge to protest what they see
as the UK government's reluctance in tackling the current extremism problem.
They marched in silence and without banners, posters or placards to a short
rally and moment of silence, after which some stopped to pose with the wreaths
from Millwall, Arsenal, West Ham and Portsmouth supporters left with the
other tributes at the centre of London Bridge. Police had imposed conditions
on the event under Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act, 1986, due
to concerns of serious public disorder, and disruption to the community,
which prevented them from marching to Borough Market.
Anti-fascists oppose the EDL
London. Sat 24 Jun 2017
UAF gathered at Trafalgar Square on the corner of
Several hundred attended Unite Against Fascism's protest against the EDL,
some gathering on the corner of Northumberland Avenue close to the advertised
WDL meeting point at Charing Cross where only a handful of the EDL turned
up, with rather more meeting at the Wetherspoons on Whitehall.
There were a few minor scuffles with EDL protesters on their way to the
pub, but several hundred police kept the two groups apart, moving the UAF
down to their assigned rally point on the Embankment before escorting the
EDL to another location a couple of hundred yards away. After the EDL had
been escorted back to the station, the UAF marched to join the women's rally
at Downing St against Theresa May's collusion with the UDP to prop up her
Among those opposing the EDL were a group of four dressed as clowns who
clowned around mainly making fun of the police, who handed them the same
leaflet detailing the conditions imposed on the UAF under Section 12 and
14 of the Public Order Act, 1986, due to concerns of serious public disorder,
and disruption to the community.
EDL march against terror
London. Sat 24 Jun 2017
EDL come out of the pub and move to the march surrounded
EDL protesters met up at the Wetherspoons pub on Whitehall. Later police
escorted them to Charing Cross and down a back street to the Embankment
where they were to hold a rally.
Earlier police had moved several hundred anti-fascist counter-protesters
organised by UAF from their route down to a separate area of the Embankment
a short distance away where they continued to protest noisily against the
EDL until the police escorted them back to Charing Cross station.
Both EDL and UAF had conditions for their protests imposed on them under
Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act, 1986, due to concerns of serious
public disorder, and disruption to the community.
London University Security officers
Senate House, University of London. Thu 22 Jun 2017
The protesters kept up a deafening noise outside
the Senate House as people went in to the open evening
University of London Security Officers who are members of the Independent
Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) were on strike demanding talks with
the university and contracting firm Cordant over the restoration of pay
The IWGB picket had been at Senate House all day from 6am and left at the
end of the day to join for a rally with SOAS Justice 4 Works campaign. At
the end of the rally they marched with students and supporters from the
rally, including the SOAS samba band and a number of UCU members for a noisy
protest at the entrance to the Senate House where an an open evening was
Security Officers jobs were outsourced in the early 2000s and they are
currently employed by Cordant. When they gained the London Living Wage in
2011 they were promised that pay differentials would be maintained, but
since then they have been reduced by 25%.
Earlier this year they approached the University management asking for
talks over pay. The university at first agreed to talks, but then cancelled
them, saying their pay was no business of the university.
Four days of strike in April-May caused massive disruption but failed to
get an offer to talk, so they have again gone on strike. Other outsourced
university staff affected are also balloting for strike action.
SOAS J4W & IWGB Security Workers Rally
SOAS, Univ of London. Thu 22 Jun 2017
The doors of SOAS are locked as protesters try to
SOAS Justice for Workers campaign, some of whom are occupying the SOAS
directorate on the first floor of the main SOAS building held a rally outside
the occupation. They were joined by striking UoL Security Workers and together
briefly occupied the doorway area of the building.
The occupation began after catering staff heard from employer EliorUK that
the main building refectory was to close and workers there would be made
redundant. They demand there should be no cuts, no closures and no redundancies
and that all workers at SOAS should have fair contracts offering equal sick
pay, holiday pay, with zero-hours contracts being replaced and outsourced
workers brought in-house.
They campaign also want a proper consultation with staff and students over
the refectory and catering services and for the agreement for catering staff
agreed with Unison to be implemented - some are now owed up to £4000
in unpaid wages. They call for a public apology by management to the workers
involved and an undertaking there will be no legal or disciplinary action
against students taking part in the occupation.
'Day of Rage' march for Grenfell
Shepherds Bush to Parliament, London. Wed 21st June 2017
There were very few on the protest wearing masks,
but all were angry at government and RBKC
Movement for Justice's 'Day of Rage' march was perhaps unfortunately named,
allowing the right-wing media to indulge in a fantasy extravaganza imagining
violent insurrection about Movement for Justice which has a long history
of peaceful but active protests mainly aimed at the UK's iniquitous and
illegal treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
But there is now a great deal of entirely justified rage over the systemic
failure to care about the provision of safe social housing which resulted
in the deaths of well over a hundred people burnt alive in Grenfell Tower
and which still threatens many others.
Many of the dead at Grenfell were asylum seekers and refugees, and were
undocumented and not recorded as residents on any official lists. The marchers
assured Grenfell residents who came to the start of the march that the predictions
of violence were simply media inventions and that this was intended as a
powerful but peaceful protest, and those residents present thanked the marchers
for their solidarity and a number joined the several hundreds on the march
as it set off to Parliament.
Police tried to stop the protesters as the ran across Whitehall towards
Downing St, where a line of police stood in front of the barriers. People
from the organising group quickly ran to form a line between police and
protesters and urge them to move on to Parliament Square, but many wanted
to stay and vent their feelings towards the Prime Minister. After a few
minutes MfJ set up a small rally in the centre of Whitehall, pulling people
away from the gates, and after several speeches the crowd were asked if
they now wanted to move on, and most agreed to do so.
OUtside the Houses of Parliament, most of the crowd of protesters halted
on the street, blocking it to traffic with a noisy, spontaneous and chaotic
protest. Eventually the protesters began to drift away onto the square and
when most had left the street I decided it was time to go home.
Al Quds march
BBC to US Embassy, London. Sat 18 Jun 2017
Among the many 'Boycott Israel' flags were a few flags
for Hezbollah as a political organisation
The annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day march in London was attended by
several thousand from all over the country. Organised by Quds committee
with the Islamic Human Rights Commission and supported by various groups
including the Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain and
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods was led by Imams and Neturei Karta anti-Zionist
Jews, it called for 'Freedom for Palestine', and for all oppressed people's
across the world, and for a boycott of Israel.
As usual in attracted opposition from Zionist groups, with a rally being
held close to the US Embassy where the march was to end with its own rally.
There were protests along the route by a small group carrying Israeli flags
who claim the event supports terrorism by carrying Hezbollah flags. There
were more than in previous years, most of which carried the message that
they indicated support for Hezbollah as a political organisation rather
than its military wing.
Hezbollah uses one flag, and because it is the flag of a Lebanese political
party it is not illegal to fly it in this country. But as many on the march
reminded the protesters, Zionists are in no position to complain about terrorists.
The nation of Israel was founded in terrorism against the British mandate
and is still in breach of international law in its oppression of the Palestinian
The march had to stop for some minutes at Oxford Circus because of the
Zionist protesters. I left as they started to go down Oxford St towards
the US Embassy with police moving the Zionists on in front of them. A larger
protest against them had been planned by the Zionist Federation and others
close to the Embassy.
Zionists protest Al Quds Day March
Oxford Circus, London, UK. 18th June 2017
Zionist protesters with Israeli flags block Regent
St at Oxford Circus
A handful of protesters had stood across the road and shouted insults
at the Al Quds march as it formed up close to the BBC. As the march came
close to Oxford Circus, around 30 Zionists holding Israeli flags moved to
block the road.
The marchers stopped, commenting that not being content with occupying
Palestine, Zionists now wanted to occupy Regent St, and waited patiently
for police to clear the road.
When police were very slow to do so, the marchers sat down in the road
and held their planned minute of silence for Grenfell Tower before getting
up and telling police, who by now had moved the Zionists a few yards further
along the march route that if police didn't clear the road they would take
the march - very much a family event - through them.
Police slowly got the Zionists moving along the street with the Al Quds
marchers following behind. I left the march at this point and went home.
Brian Haw remembered
Parliament Square, London. Sat 18 Jun 2017
Brian Haw's peace camp was here for over 10 years
On the sixth anniversary of his death, some of those who had known
and supported Brian Haw held a vigil in his memory at the site of his courageous
10 year long political stand in Parliament Square.
The event was organised by Veterans for Peace, a voluntary ex-services
organisation who say that war is not the solution to the problems we face
in the 21st century and call on everyone to reject the 'War System' that
accepts war and the preparation for war as a means to achieve status, power
Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill
Central Hill Estate, London. Sat 18 Jun 2017
One of the estate's original residents comes to talk
with me as I take pictures
Ted Knight, former leader of Lambeth Council, spoke in support of the
campaign to save the Central Hill Estate, passed for demolition by the council
despite the almost unanimous vote of residents for plans to refurbish rather
than demolish and the plans by Architects for Social Housing which would
achieve the increase in density desired without demolition.
I arrived early at Central Hill to take another walk around one of London's
finest council estates and to take a few more pictures. A woman who had
seen me from her window came out to talk with me, telling me she was still
living in the house she had moved into when it was first built, and how
much she had loved living here. She was very worried about possibly having
to move if Lambeth Council's plans go ahead. We talked for a few minutes
about how her family had grown up here and she praised the quality of her
home and also the community on the estate, telling me that the house was
still in fine condition and had never needed any repairs.
Looking at the other homes around I could see that some had minor improvements
from the original - such as double glazing, though her's still had the original
window frames. But all over the estate the buildings look in good condition,
although in some cases the balconies and paths etc had been badly patched
up by the council. But I was in danger of missing the start of Ted Knights
talk or I would have talked more with her and taken more pictures.
Knight recalled how under borough architect Ted Hollamby the estate was
planned as a living community and was remarkably successful, with a number
of original residents from the 1970s still living there and wanting to continue
to do so. At that time he said that Labour believed that nothing was too
good for the working people and the estate was built to high specifications
and is still in sound condition. A deliberate process of managed neglect
- like that which had resulted in the Grenfell Tower disaster had - had
been carried out by Lambeth Council to legitimise its demolition. He promised
to try to persuade Jeremy Corbyn to change the party's policies where Labour
councils like Lambeth are only interested in realising asset values and
not in building homes for working class communities.
The meeting was poorly attended with just a handful of the campaigners from
the estate and other friends, but a survey around the estate carried out
by the residents has revealed a very different picture to the figures published
by the council about the feelings of those who live there, with a very high
percentage of both tenants and leaseholders wanting to remain on the estate
and opposed to demolition. Lambeth council's response to the feedback that
it has got from residents on the estate has been to remove the estate representatives
from the consultative body.
The residents and architects advising them also say that the figures for
refurbishment of the homes here given by the council are ridiculously inflated,
and that the scheme they propose for limited infill of the site rather than
demolition and rebuild would be a much cheaper solution that would involve
far less disruption to the families who live here and also result in the
retention of much-needed social housing. New build schemes on other London
council estates have often promised social housing but have usually produced
only a small fraction of what was originally promised.
There appears to be only one problem with the alternative scheme proposed
by Architects for Social Housing - it would not generate excessive profits
for the developers.
Class War protest Grenfell Murders
Downing St, London. Sat 17 Jun 2017
Class War protest with a banner and posters in front
of Downing St
Class War came with posters calling for revenge over the Grenfell fire
and calling for action by the people rather than waiting for a whitewashing
public inquiry to report.
Grenfell was an open declaration of class war by the wealthy elite against
the working class, and Grenfell Tower was where Ian Bone first lived in
London and where the first issues of the Class War magazine were written.
He and others in Class War knew at least one of the residents of the tower.
They took it in turns to stand in front of the gates to Downing St with
the banner with a quotation from the US activist, labour organizer, radical
socialist and anarchist Lucy Parsons (ca 1853-1942), who fought against
racism and for the rights of workers and for freedom of speech from her
early years until her death, " We must devastate the avenues where
the wealthy live."
No Tory DUP Coalition of Chaos
Downing St, London. Sat 17 Jun 2017
Some had come to protest about Theresa May and Gavin
Barwell's complicity in the Grenfell outrage
Protesters came to Downing St to oppose a Tory alliance with the homophobic,
climate-change denying, anti-choice DUP and called on Theresa May to resign.
Mostly made up of vocal supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, buoyed up by the election
results which showed him to be eminently electable, there were speeches
by Labour MPs Marsha De Cordova who gained Battersea from the Conservatives,
Rupa Huq who greatly increased her tiny majority and Shadow Education Secretary
Others, including several from Northern Ireland spoke in more detail about
the DUP, as a party intrinsically linked with Protestant terrorist groups
and dominated by a homophobic church which represents a tiny minority of
the Northern Irish population. They included Northern Irish women campaigning
for abortion and other women's rights enjoyed by women in the UK. DPAC spoke
about the Tory assault on the disabled, and there were various others.
North Kensington, London. Sat 17 Jun 2017
Grenfell Tower from beside Notting Hill Methodist
Shock, anger, grief were some of the emotions I felt on hearing about the
fire at Grenfell Tower, and the terrible stories of those trapped in the
inferno. But knowing that the area would be swamped by the media I made
a conscious decision not to add to the pressure on the survivors and the
local residents who were traumatised by what they had seen and heard. And
I felt others could do what needed to be done better than me.
It wasn't until the following Saturday that I went to see for myself and
to spend some time looking at the scene. Others were walking the same way
as I was, many carrying flowers on their way to pay their respects to the
dead, to say a few prayers and to cry a few tears. I wasn't really going
to take photographs, though I did later file just a few of the images here.
They were made with respect and I hope will not upset any of those affected
by the outrage of Grenfell.
Posters on lamp posts, walls and noticeboards display the poignant images
of those missing from the disastrous fire in the tower block which had been
clad with flammable material, and had no working fire alarm system. The
whole area around the tower was still cordoned off, but the grisly blackened
hulk of Grenfell Tower dominates.
Outside the Methodist Church an area has been set aside for candles, tributes
and flowers for those dead and missing, now presumed dead, whose numbers
are now thought to be over 80 and possibly significantly more. There were
thought to be a number of asylum seekers and undocumented people living
in the tower who were not included on any official records.
We don't need an inquiry to tell us what happened - the various defects
that came together are only too obvious, as a number of fire safety experts
are concerned. Someone authorised the use of cheap cladding that contained
flammable foam, someone let that cladding be applied without fire breaks
to save money, Someone approved those unsafe gas lines, someone employed
a consultant so the building didn't get proper fire inspections and so on.
Over the years people at Kensington & Chelsea Council (and the TMO they
set up) turned an inherently safe building into a firetrap waiting to happen,
because to them it was a place where people they didn't see as people, just
numbers who were a burden on the housing department.
Of course it was just the RBK&C. There were the various government
ministers and others responsible for setting standards that let inherently
unsafe materials pass - which when tested after Grenfell have given a 100%
failure rate. The ministers who dismantled and privatised safety inspections,
relaxed and got rid of safety regulations, failed to implement the lessons
learned from earlier fires and so on, most but not all of them under the
previous Tory government. And all those pressure groups and 'think tanks'
pushing the ideas of deregulation, of removing what they called 'red tape',
the protections that would have saved the lives of those who died.
The victims of Grenfell - certainly a case of mass corporate manslaughter
if not murder - deserve justice. They died because they were poor and in
council housing and those in authority and the greedy super-rich didn't
think they deserved proper care and decent standards. They deserve justice
- and that means fines and imprisonment for those responsible as well as
changes in the way that we run things.
Justice for Grenfell Downing St protest
Downing St, London. Fri 16 Jun 2017
Moyra Samuels, a teacher at a school close to Grenfell
Tower, speaks outside the gates of Downing St
Over a thousand protesters marched to Downing St and pushing past police
who tried to move them to the pavement opposite held a noisy rally in front
of the gates,
There were speakers from the North Kensington community, housing activists,
residents from other tower blocks and Stand Up to Racism. They called for
the resignation of Theresa May and her aide Gavin Barwell who as housing
minister had failed to implement the changes in regulations recommended
after the previous London tower block fire disaster.
After a rally there they left to march for further protests at the BBC
and elsewhere, but I left them at Trafalgar Square.
Justice for Grenfell Ministry protest
Dept for Communities & Local Gov't, London. Fri 16 Jun 2017
People listen as Tanya Murat of Southwark Defend Council
Housing speaks outside the Home Office
Around a thousand protesters met outside the Department for Communities
and Local Government calling for urgent action to identify those responsible
for the unsafe state of Grenfell Tower which led to the horrific fire in
which over 150 people were burnt to death.
Speakers included Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary,
local residents who had witnessed the deaths, housing activists who have
long called for social housing to meet the same safety standards as private
developments and Stand Up to Racism, and there was a silence in solidarity
with the dead and injured.
After the rally they marched to Downing St, demanding the resignation of
Theresa May and former housing minister Gavin Barwell who failed to implement
the recommendations made after a previous London fire disaster.
London Co-operative Housing Group report
Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London. Wed 14 Jun 2017
The report is called Co-operate Not Speculate; London's
Councils are more interest in realising asset values
Members of the London Co-operative Housing Group had brought copies
of their new report 'Co-operate Not Speculate' to photograph outside the
London Real Estate Forum.
Their report calls on Local councils, the Mayor and the GLA, and organisations
like TfL, Network Rail and the London Canal & River Trust to work with
community builders and co-ops who can provide genuinely affordable properties
rather than with property developers who are making high profits.
Although projects with developers realise the market value of the land
they do not provide the homes needed for ordinary Londoners nor deliver
the long-term financial value and stable communities that only permanent
low rent housing can provide.
Stop demolishing council estates
Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London. Wed 14 Jun 2017
War hold up posters outside the London Real Estate Forum
Campaigners, including members of Class War and the Revolutionary Communist
Group concerned over London's housing problems protest noisily in Mayfair
outside the London Real Estate Forum.
They complained at the scandal of London councils, mainly Labour controlled,
speaking at the event and increasingly conspiring with estate agents and
property developers to sell public land and transform estates which now
house those on low incomes into homes for the wealthy and investments often
kept empty for overseas investors.
They also point to the cosy 'revolving door' with many councillors and
officers who cooperate with the developers ending up in lucrative jobs with
them or in companies set up by councils, as well as enjoying gifts and hospitality.
They say councils are driving ordinary Londoners out of the capital and
of failing in their duty to ensure safe and decent housing. They demand
social housing not social cleansing.
May has to go! march
Downing St, London, UK. 10th June 2017
People make gestures towards No 10 Downing St
After the rally celebrating the Corbyn's leadership and performance
in the General Election, most of those present walk to Downing St to celebrate
anti-racism and multiculturalism and against all bigotry.
In particular the urged on Theresa May not to make any pact with the DUP
with their close links to paramilitary terrorists and disregard for human
rights. They crowded around the gates of Downing St shouting slogans before
marching to Trafalgar Square and then back down Whitehall to Parliament
Square where I left them.
May has to go! rally
Parliament Square, London, UK. 10th June 2017
People shout slogans calling for May to go and supporting
A rally in Parliament Square with speeches, music and dancing celebrates
the remarkable performance against all the odds made by Labour led by Jeremy
Corbyn in the General Election.
Speakers called for support for him inside and outside the Labour Party
and for the fight for Labour values to continue and for all Labour MPs to
get behind a leader who has shown he can grow the Labour vote. They said
Theresa May has to go, and expressed disgust at her making a pact with the
far right DUP with its bigotry and close connection with paramilitary terrorism.
But it was very hot and I found most of the speakers were in rather predictable
Irish Abortion Rights
Parliament Square, London, UK. 10th June 2017
A gay couple celebrate after kissing in front of the
abortion rights banner
Shocked by the news that Theresa May is to govern with the help of
the DUP, the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign protest in Parliament
Square against the bigoted views they hold against abortion, women's rights
and gay rights.
The DUP has consistently obstructed basic human rights in Northern Ireland,
where women can still face life imprisonment for abortion, is opposed to
gay rights, believes in creationism and opposes the idea of evolution and
has close links with Protestant paramilitary terrorists.
Protests follow Hung Parliament Vote
Westminster, London. Fri 9 Jun 2017
Class War hold up posters outside the media village
on College Green
After election results showed that no party had a majority, a few
protesters came to Westminster to demand that Theresa May resign or make
points about Brexit.
I had expected there to be more people and more protests on the day that
we woke up to hear that although the Tory Party still had more MPs than
any other party they had lost their absolute majority, with Labour under
Jeremy Corbyn performing much better than the pundits and most opinion polls
had predicted. But perhaps too many had been up until the early morning
listening to the results as they were announced rather than having the sense
to go to bed and get a proper night's sleep.
Avaaz had brought a person with a large caricature head Of Theresa May
to Downing St to pose in front of a banner 'The People Have Spoken'
and lay white roses in front of a gravestone with the message 'Hard
Brexit R.I.P 2016-2017'. There were a few other protesters there too.
And at College Green a couple of Class War activists, Ian Bone
and Sid Skill had come to barrack from the sidelines the MPs and journalists
carrying out interviews in the media village there. Apart from them and
a few other individuals, Westminster seemed strangely empty.
In the election, the Tories were saved from a more ignominious defeat by
the relatively poor performance of the SNP, expected after their landslide
victory in Scotland in 2015. Had Scottish Labour got behind Corbyn they
might have benefited from this, but instead it was the Conservatives who
were revived from their almost complete death in the 2015 election there.
Theresa May announced she was intending to stay on and try and govern
as a minority government, relying on votes from the Ulster protestant extremist
DUP party, linked to loyalist paramilitaries. Eventually - with the aid
of a £2 billion bribe - she did get them to agree to support her -
in what soon became known as a 'bung' parliament.
Street Theatre against LSE Inequality
LSE, London. Wed 7 Jun 2017
Some of the cast of the short play - including a man playing the LSE director
look at the script
'Life Not Money at the LSE' staged a street theatre protest supporting
London School of Economics cleaners who have taken a series of weekly strikes
The cleaners complain that the LSE and employers Noonan treat them as second-class
citizens, refusing to recognise their union the United Voices of the World
and giving them low pay and grossly inferior conditions to directly employed
Two people sprayed a chalk slogans on the road while others alternated
chanting 'London School of Exploitation' in various silly voices
with loud blowing of vuvuzelas, creating a very strange and alien atmosphere
which made many stop and listen, including those taking their lunch break
at the nearby pub.
The campaigners then performed a short play in which a character playing
the LSE director tore the shirts off the backs of several cleaners and boasted
about his huge and rapidly rising salary, while a student and a lecturer
made excuses about not intervening, with the performance ending with the
'director' being showered with streamers and tinsel.
DPAC Trash The Tories in Maidenhead
Maidenhead, Berks. Sat 3 Jun 2017
Paula points her finger at the officer who is threatening
to arrest her
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) protested in Theresa May’s
constituency against the Tory government, the first in the world to be found
guilty of the grave and systematic violations of disabled people's human
rights by the UN.
The cuts the Tories have made since 2010 have had 9 times the impact on
disabled people as on any other group, 19 times more for those with the
highest support needs.
DPAC say Tory polices are heartless and are starving, isolating and ultimately
killing the disabled and that they regard them as unproductive members of
society - though they axed the Independent Living Fund which did enable
many to make a real contribution. A UN investigation which found the UK
guilty of grave and systematic violations of disabled people's human rights
was rejected by the Conservative government.
The protesters marched from the station to protest on the high street with
a straw effigy of 'Theresa May - Weak and Wobbly' and the message
'Cuts Kill'. After a hour of protest with speeches, chanting and
handing out fliers calling on Maidenhead voters to vote for anyone but Theresa
May they returned to the station.
It looked as if the protest had finished, and I think some of the photographers
who had taken the train from London had left to travel back. But I though
it unlikely that DPAC would leave without some further action. Most of the
police had also left but they soon returned when DPAC moved onto one of
the busiest roads into the town, blocking it for around 15 minutes before
police finally persuaded them to move.
There was a lengthy argument between police and a man who identified himself
as General William Taggart of the NCA and was claiming a military privilege
which gave him a right to block roads in times of national emergencies such
as these. He founded the Reading-based New Cyber Army in 2006, though on
Facebook he states "We originally were around in one form or another
since the 80's" to "to help represent the little guy against the
onslaught of the corporate indifference to consumers and consumer rights."
The police then turned to argue with Paula Peters of DPAC, and told her
that she would be arrested if she did not move off the road. She argued
for some minutes with the officer in charge and then moved her mobility
scooter slowly to the pavement.
Police started to move those protesters still on the pavement with the
banner showing the around a hundred names of those killed by benefit cuts
and the protest seemed to be finishing, so I caught the bus back to Windsor
rather than hang around for an hour or two for the next one. Bus services
are infrequent in these areas a little way from London.
LSE Cleaners strike Day 7
LSE, London. Fri 2 Jun 2017
A smoke flare adds a little colour to the end of the
The United Voices of the World Cleaners end the seventh day of their
strike for equal treatment at the London School of Economics with a rally
showing their determination to continue the struggle.
The LSE management had made them an offer some days ago, but withdrew it
after the cleaners accepted it and the dispute appears to be widening, with
students, workers from other institutions and other unions including the
UCU coming to express their solidarity.
There was poetry from Poets on the Picket Line as well as dancing and some
Liar, Liar protest at BBC
Broadcasting House, London. Fri 2 Jun 2017
'I am a threat' says the banner about Theresa May
Protesters came to the BBC to protest against their refusal to play
Captain Ska's "Liar Liar GE2017" in the Radio One Chart Show despite
announcing that it hard reached No 4 in the chart.
The track is a scathing attack on the Conservative's record in office,
highlighting food banks, the NHS crisis, education funding crisis and a
drop in living standards and the BBC say the law requires it to be impartial
in the election period.
The record's promoter, The People's Campaign Against Austerity point out
that the BBC coverage "has been anything but impartial throughout
the election campaign with a constant bias in favour of the Conservatives."
I suspect that a thorough academic study of the corporations output will
back this up, though probably also finding that the bias was rather less
than usual. It does seem to be a necessary qualification to work as a political
commentator on the BBC to have been an active member of the Young Conservatives
and to have an essentially right-wing viewpoint and a Westminster-centric
perspective, as well as a penchant for making snide comments about anyone
on the left.
The band arrived after I left and gave a live performance or 'Liar, Liar'
on the stage facing the BBC, who I think ignored the whole thing - as they
do most protests.
LSE Cleaners strike for equality
LSE, London. Thu 1 Jun 2017
Cleaners blow vuvuzelas at the rally outside the LSE
London School of Economics cleaners rally on the 6th day of their strike
calling for the same terms and conditions - annual leave, sick pay and other
benefits - as directly employed workers and to be treated with dignity and
Cleaners are employed for the LSE by cleaning contractor Noonan and almost
all are members of the United Voices of the World union. After 8 months
of their campaign for equality the LSE have only offered derisory concessions
and are refusing to recognise the UVW and and hold sensible talks with them,
or to reinstate a sacked worker. At the end of a long day of picketing they
intended to relax with a Zumba class on the picket line.
London, June 2017
This months images from my travels around London includes
a bus ride in South London
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