demo for mitie cleaners, friday 3rd april

The next demo in support of the sacked Mitie cleaners will take place in the City of London on the afternoon of Friday 3rd April. It is the latest in a series of actions organised by the migrant workers, who have been kicked out of their jobs working as Mitie cleaners for the Willis insurance group after protesting at being forced to work at night-time rather than during the day.

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The struggle is an excelent example of self-organisation, coming up against the resistance of the Unite union bureaucracy and their “Justice for Cleaners” campaign, which seems more a means of recruiting members and taking dues for the union coffers than it does a way of organising successful struggles. As Alberto Einstein Durango – a cleaner activist working at Schroders bank who has been central to the Mitie/Willis campaign – explained at The Commune’s forum on Monday night, the workers will fight based on their own strength and own collective-decision making, with or without the Unite “organisers”.

The demo starts at 1pm outside the Willis building at 51 Lime Street, London EC3M (Bank/Liverpool Street). For more info on the dispute and reports on recent actions, see the page here.

demo for reinstatement of mitie cleaners

On Thursday 5th was the latest in a series of protests in support of cleaners unfairly dismissed by Mitie. The sackings came when the workers objected to being forced to work their full-time shifts at night.

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Despite management threats and the weak stance taken by the Unite union, the demo, outside the City of London offices of the insurance broker Willis, attracted over thirty people. This was an improvement on the previous actions on Tuesdays and Thursdays over the last couple of weeks. The noisy protest used chants such as “Mitie, shame on you!” and “The workers, united, will never be defeated” (in English and Spanish).

Some photos are posted below. For pictures, reports and a video of previous actions, see here.

Continue reading “demo for reinstatement of mitie cleaners”

report of 17th january palestine demo in london

After last week’s massive march to London’s Israeli embassy in opposition to the Israeli state’s attack on the people of Gaza, a much smaller set of regional actions was called for Saturday 17th by the leaders of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War Coalition. In London, a rally in Trafalgar Square was followed by a “women and children only” protest at Downing Street.

However, as an eyewitness who spoke to The Commune reports, not everyone was happy with such conservative ideas of how to protest:

The rally in Trafalgar Square attracted a few thousand people. There were the usual speeches: Tony Benn called for the RAF to drop humanitarian aid over Gaza… When the women and children’s march headed for Downing Street at about 4 o’ clock we tried to go with, but a steward kept repeating “You are neither a woman nor a child!” and held me back. Around one to two thousand people were left in the square.

At the same time, a few dozen people started heading down Cockspur Street, planning to go to the Israeli Embassy in Kensington but the police ‘kettled’ them [ surrounded them] right there and told them they couldn’t leave the square. People from the rally swarmed round them, breaking the police ‘kettle’ and freeing them. There was then a contingent of about 400 people, itself surrounded by police on horseback and with dogs… but this police line was also only one deep, and another group of 200 protesters broke through. Continue reading “report of 17th january palestine demo in london”

activists disrupt israel’s pr operation – report and video

Activists disrupted the offices of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in central London on the morning of Tuesday 13th. The lobby group’s media centre, which is playing a key role in Israel’s public relations operation during the assault on Gaza, was shut down as protesters occupied the building.

Photographs of civilian casualties from Gaza were pasted on to the computer screens of public relations executives, phone lines cut off to halt the organisation’s media rebuttal unit and leaflets thrown out of window on to the main road and handed out to staff pressing them to confront the truth about the human cost of Israeli aggression. Continue reading “activists disrupt israel’s pr operation – report and video”

photo-report of action to defend rmt cleaners’ reps

On the morning of January 8th a series of actions were held in defence of two RMT activists victimised by their employer ISS for standing up for cleaners on the London Underground. Feminist Fightback and CAIC activists and RMT members were prominently involved. Clara Osagiede – RMT cleaners’ grade secretary – faced a disciplinary hearing on charges of “gross misconduct” for allegedly failing to return to work after a meeting, while recently elected local rep Mary Boakye, who has an eye condition caused by an injury picked up at work, was appealing against her dismissal for allegedly sleeping during working hours. In both cases the employers’ clear motivation was to break up the organising centre of the cleaners, who last year staged a strike for a ‘living wage’ of ¬£7.45 an hour.

Photos and comments on the day’s protests below. Continue reading “photo-report of action to defend rmt cleaners’ reps”

photo-report of 3rd january palestine demo, london

by David Broder

On the day that Israeli tanks rolled into Gaza, threatening a vast escalation of the war on Palestine, tens of thousands of people marched through London in an emergency demonstration.

The march from Embankment to Trafalgar Square (via Whitehall, where around a thousand shoes were thrown at the gates of Downing Street) was followed by a demonstration of around 5000 at the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, where  15 people were arrested after clashes with riot police.

At the demonstration The Commune activists gave out our own leaflet similar to that distributed during the last week’s daily protests at the Israeli Embassy, as well as another collaborative¬†effort calling for the movement to continue. The next demo is at the Israeli Embassy, Kensington at 2pm on Sunday 4th January, followed by daily pickets at 5:30pm every weekday and another march next Saturday (10th January). Pictures and comments about the 3rd January protests below. Continue reading “photo-report of 3rd january palestine demo, london”

greek embassy demo 18th december

There will be a demonstration outside the Greek Embassy in London on Thursday 18th December showing solidarity with workers and students in Greece, after the murder of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by the police and a series of strikes and protests against the government.

The solidarity protest will take place 4-6pm on the 18th. The Embassy is located at 1A Holland Park, London W11 3TP. The nearest Tube stop is Holland Park: see map below.