solidarity with hotel cleaners in sweden

Hotel cleaners in Sweden are calling for international solidarity in response to attacks on workers who demanded an end to illegally low wages and long working hours. As the letter below demonstrates, these workers are standing firm in spite of extreme demands from management.

the swanky Berns Salonger hotel

The Cleaners’ Defence Committee, recently active in building solidarity with migrant cleaners at UBS bank in the City of London, has called a meeting for 7:30pm on the evening of Friday 9th July. We will be discussing how to organise support for comrades in Sweden. Email for details of the central London venue.

Continue reading “solidarity with hotel cleaners in sweden”

updates on 19th june ‘beyond resistance’ summer school

The Commune’s June 19th summer school ‘Beyond Resistance’ is now just three weeks away, and we are finalising details for the day’s workshops. Below appear the blurbs for three of the planned sessions, as well as a timetable for the whole event.

The event takes place from 11am-6pm on Sat 19th June at 96-100 Clifton St, London EC2. All welcome. Download double-sided A5 leaflet or A3 posterClick here to buy ticket – pay £5 if waged or £3 for concessions, and click here for map of venue. More details shortly. Continue reading “updates on 19th june ‘beyond resistance’ summer school”

‘we are fighting for now and for our future’

editorial of issue 13 of The Commune

As The Commune went to press the news media was dominated by coverage of the 6th May General Election. Both in mainstream politics and among the left there is much discussion of the policies of Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems.

Yet in reality there is little choice in the election. Parliament does influence our lives, and yet barely half of registered voters will vote. There is widespread disillusionment but no alternative in the election.

We believe that workers’ self-organisation is a far more important means of changing society. PCS, RMT and Unite members are all organising to stop the cuts planned by all three major parties. Continue reading “‘we are fighting for now and for our future’”

demo against UBS – support migrant cleaners

Friday 23rd April will see a demonstration outside Swiss Bank UBS’s City of London HQ. This is the latest protest in a campaign against attacks on migrant cleaners’ pay and conditions (see here for background) and the victimisation of shop steward Alberto Durango.

The demo will take place from 5pm on the 23rd at 100 Liverpool Street, London. It follows the 19th March international day of action which saw lively protests outside UBS sites around the world. Migrant cleaners are refusing to accept attacks on their conditions from this massively wealthy bank, and need the solidarity of the whole movement.

Bring banners, bring friends, bring anything that makes a noise! Continue reading “demo against UBS – support migrant cleaners”

UCL: reinstate juan carlos, pay the living wage!

On Friday 26th March campus staff, students and activists demonstrated at University College London in solidarity with the cleaners there. The protest demanded a living wage (£7.60 an hour) for the cleaners, and the reinstatement of Juan Carlos Piedra, sacked by cowboy contractor Office and General on account of his trade union organising.

In a lively demonstration, after leafleting in the UCL Quad we made repeated – and ultimately successful – efforts to enter the building in spite of the security guards. We then chanted at delegates at an international academic conference on migration, demanding that the university support migrant workers’ rights rather than just pontificate about migration. Continue reading “UCL: reinstate juan carlos, pay the living wage!”

photo-report of 19th march day of action against UBS

19th March saw an international day of action against Swiss bank UBS, who via its contractor Lancaster has imposed an effective 10.75% pay cut on its cleaners in the City of London, while sacking shop steward Alberto Durango.

The protests were called in solidarity with the cleaners’ demands for stable working conditions, the sacking of the contractor and the reinstatement of Alberto Durango. Demos were held in London, Zurich, Edinburgh, Manchester, New York, Buenos Aires and Stockholm.

Continue reading “photo-report of 19th march day of action against UBS”

international day of action against UBS: stand up for migrant workers!

Friday 19th March will see an international day of action in solidarity with cleaners at Swiss bank UBS in the City of London. The cleaners are facing cuts in working hours – effectively an 11 percent wage cut – and shop steward Alberto Durango has been sacked. For more background see Alberto’s article on events at the bank.

The day of action follows two strong and vibrant demonstrations on 12th February and 5th March at UBS’s 100 Liverpool Street site in London (as depicted in video). Tomorrow there will be protests in London (100 Liverpool St from 5pm), Manchester (1 Marsden St from 3pm) and also in Edinburgh, Zurich, Kyiv, Stockholm, Buenos Aires and New York. Continue reading “international day of action against UBS: stand up for migrant workers!”

immigration in britain today: london forum, 22nd march

The Commune’s next London forum is from 7pm on Monday 22nd March at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street. Click here for leaflet.

The economic crisis has worsened anti-immigrant sentiment in British society. Not only has it created a breeding ground for the BNP and English Defence League to win support, but establishment racism is also on the up. Continue reading “immigration in britain today: london forum, 22nd march”

video of 5th march demo at UBS

The latest demo in solidarity with cleaners in the employ of Lancaster at Swiss bank UBS in the City of London took place on 5th March. The cleaners are facing cuts in working hours and shop steward Alberto Durango has been sacked, and the demo demanded the maintenance of existing conditions as well as Alberto’s reinstatement.

There will be an international day of action on Friday 19th with protests already planned in the USA, Sweden and Switzerland as well as around the UK. More details shortly – and come to the Cleaners’ Defence Committee organising meeting on the evening of Monday 15th to help the campaign (email for venue details). Continue reading “video of 5th march demo at UBS”

migrant workers’ strike in france

by Antoine Boulangé

6,000 undocumented migrant workers, on strike since 12th October 2009, are bravely continuing their unprecedented struggle against the government in spite of very difficult circumstances.

Their determination is exemplary, faced with a government on the assault – propagating racism and Islamophobia – and a right-wing adding to their list of racist and ‘pro-security’ provocations such as the law against the burqa, the denial of asylum rights to 123 Kurds arrested in Corsica, and racist statements by the ministers for immigration and families. Continue reading “migrant workers’ strike in france”

resistance to racism in italy

by Marina Falbo

Rosarno is a sleepy town situated in the the southern Italian region of Calabria. But on 7th January it was catapulted to the centre of a media frenzy when hundreds of African migrant workers rampaged through the town, setting fire to rubbish bins and conducting a street battle with the police. The riot was sparked after a gratuitous attack against the 26 year old Ayiva Saibou. When the local police told the immigrants they could not help the injured man, within hours as many as 2,000 immigrants marched on Rosarno’s town hall before being driven back by police.

The day after, protests continued. The protestors carried placards saying “We are not animals”, calling attention to their desperate situation. They marched to the town hall where they demanded to see a government representative. The riots provoked an unseen backlash against the immigrants in a mix of xenophobia, mafia and economic hardship. Local residents set up a barricade near a meeting place for the immigrants. Continue reading “resistance to racism in italy”

issue 11 of the commune

The February issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact Continue reading “issue 11 of the commune”

paris undocumented workers on strike: so where next?

from Où va la CGT: see here for an interview with migrant worker reps and report on the occupation of the Pompidou centre’s restaurant

A month on strike for 5,000 undocumented workers in the Paris region: a month of mobilising people, strikes, pickets in the cold and in the rain. Their determination is unfailing, even if some are starting to tire.

But there is a problem with the direction of this massive, multi-site strike. Many reps are starting to question the manner in which the CGT union federation is guiding it.

Continue reading “paris undocumented workers on strike: so where next?”

latin american workers in unite: from heroes to pariahs

In September 2009 Unite the union ordered the Latin American Workers Association (LAWAS) without notice to vacate the office which it had provided the Association with in its southeast region HQ in Manor House, thus ending a five year partnership. This followed an organised campaign by officials againt LAWAS, because of the latter´s support for an unofficial dispute and support for undocumented workers. But what was the background to this breakdown in the relationship, and the closure of this well known point of contact between latino workers and the trade union movement, and what is the future for LAWAS?

Firstly , some history. LAWAS was reformed in 2003 by Ernesto Leal, Julio Mayor and other Latin American workers in London, many of them political exiles and trade unionists in their own countries. It was in fact the second incarnation of the Association as the first version existed in the 1980s, which is a story for another day. The aim was to address directly the exploitation and abuses faced by Latin American workers in London, and to link these workers to the broader working class movement. Continue reading “latin american workers in unite: from heroes to pariahs”