Category Archives: Fighting Back

Rage Against #topshopstyle After Cleaner Sacked For Protesting About Poverty Pay

top-shop-cops

Scores of police were drafted in to protect Philip Green’s profits at the last Topshop protest. Despite this he does everything he can to get out of paying tax. And they call benefit claimants scroungers.

The United Voices of the World Union (UVW) are reporting that a Topshop cleaner has been sacked in advance of national protests demanding the company pay their cleaners a real living wage.

According to UVW:

“Carolina (see picture), one of the “Topshop Two”, who is a single mother from Ecuador, has just been SACKED by Topshop’s union busting contractor Britannia Services Group. Her only crime was to join a union and protest her poverty wages.

In other words as Philip Green buys another £100 million yacht, one of his cleaners is sacked for asking for a living wage of £9.40 per hour.

Carolina and her colleague Susana, who together make up the Topshop Two, were both previously suspended. Susana remains suspended.”

At least 17 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland will hold demonstrations against Topshop this Saturday (14th May 16) as part of a long-running and militant campaign against the poverty wages and appalling conditions suffered by their cleaners.  In London protesters will head to their flagship store at Oxford Circus where  despite the cost of living in the capital cleaners are paid little more than the minimum wage.  Topshop are owned by vile tax-avoiding billionaire Philip Green.

Astonishingly Top Shop have tried to avoid responsibility for their cleaner’s pay by insisting it is nothing to do with them and they contract out the cleaning services.  Cleaners at the company are technically employed by Britannia Services Group, a company run by David Shaw.  Yet in 2010 Britannia lost an Employment Tribunal hearing after sacking a shop cleaner on the apparent insistence of Arcadia – Top Shop’s parent company.  The cleaner had denied allegations by Arcadia that she had engaged in abusive behaviour whilst working at the company’s Outfit Clothing Store, but she  was sacked anyway.  The tribunal found that Britannia acted unreasonably due to not asking Arcadia to reconsider their position after receiving the cleaner’s denial of the allegations against her.

It appears that Arcadia don’t want to take responsibility for their cleaner’s grievances, but are quite happy to put pressure on their contractors to sack people when it suits them.  Whether Arcadia have used similar pressure in the recent sacking is unknown.  Whatever the truth, if Topshop won’t pay their cleaners properly than let’s make make Topshop pay some other way.

Join the protests on Saturday 14th May and let’s start holding vile parasites like Philip Green to account.  In London meet outside Topshop in Oxford Circus from 5pm.  Demonstrations are also due to be held outside the store’s branches in Liverpool, Dundee, Edinburgh, Dublin, Loughborough, Norwich, Belfast, Bristol, Sheffield,  Nottingham, Taunton, Birmingham, Gloucester, Plymouth, Glasgow and Cambridge.

Please help spread the word and it’s not too late to orgainise a local protest.  This Saturday’s events are also supported by Class War, the Baker’s Food And Allied Worker’s Union and many more.

If you can’t make a protest (or if you can) UVW are asking people to tweet using hashtags ‪#‎topshopstyle‬ and ‪#‎boycotttopshop‬.  You can also sign the petition.

For all the latest details visit the facebook page for Saturday’s protest.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

 

As Homelessness Soars Number Of Empty Homes In London Hits Seven Year High

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London doesn’t have a housing problem it has a rich people problem.  Despite soaring homelessness in the capital, figures recently released by the government show that the number of homes left empty in the city has risen for the first time since 2009.

There are currently 59,881 empty homes in London.  That is enough to house everybody currently living in emergency temporary accommodation in the city  – and everyone sleeping on the streets.  20,000 of these properties have been empty over two years.  These are not second homes, properties which are rented out or homes used for holidays.  They are empty, abandoned in some cases, or more often deliberately left vacant as investment opportunities.

It is this that is likely to be the reason the number of empty homes is rising in the capital but falling everywhere else in the UK.  Luxury penthouses built not for living in, just for making money out of.  These cunts are so rich they can’t even be bothered to rent out the properties they own – they just sit back and profit as house prices soar.  Or at least they did.  The party may soon be over with central London house prices now starting to fall.

This is the legacy of Boris Johnson.  A capital city remade as a grotesque monument to capital.  The real people of London forced out, or condemned to a life on the margins whilst billionaires built their own corporate Disneyland.  A sterile landscape of glass and steel now dominates the city whilst once beautifully chaotic streets are overrun with chain stores and wacky trust fund businesses selling bowls of cereal for a fucking fiver.  There is no place for human life in this city at all.  It is just a place that money lives now.

An army of security guards stalk the privatised city streets handing out fines to kids playing football or folk enjoying a quiet beer in the park.  Racist cops ruthlessly shut down working class culture wherever they find it, even banning clubs from playing music they don’t like.  Uniformed filth carrying machine guns glare at people on the public transport system.  Occassionally they shoot someone.  The message is stark and clear.  This is not our city anymore, this is a giant bank where the crooks of the world can store their wealth.  And so we must be constantly policed, always watched in case we present a threat to the pampered lifestyles of the wealthy minority.

According to charities the number of people who slept rough on the streets of London this winter rose by 15% in just one year to 2,561.  Beneath the glitzy facade poverty stalks the city. Bodies huddle in shop doorways whilst champagne glasses clink in restaurants where a meal costs more than a week’s wages.  Children go hungry in grotty hostels beneath empty shyscrapers where the flats cost millions of pounds yet no-one lives there.  This is what Boris has created.  A ghost-town in sky that has shut out the city’s light.

Quietly though, everywhere, people are organising.  Thousands of people whose homes are under threat grow more militant everyday.  Students are on rent strike across the capital.  Towards the end of the 2011 riots a mob headed towards Notting Hill and Sloane Square, smashing up designer shops and attacking restaurants.  Unlicenced and boisterous street parties are shaking the newly gentrified enclaves that once belonged to the working class.  Tenants facing eviction are barricading themselves in their homes.

Direct action, disruption and outright defiance are the weapons of choice, not petitions, or voting, or boring marches.  Everyone knows now who is too blame and where they live.  A reckoning is surely coming.  Be ready.

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Sell! Sell! Sell! Join The Fuck Parade And Let’s Burst The London Housing Bubble

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London is currently a giant building site.  Wherever you go new developments, in identikit glass and steel, snake up towards the skies, blotting the light, and the life, out of the capital.

Nobody normal can afford to live in these so-called luxury apartments – so-called because they are being built on the cheap as quickly as possible.  You wouldn’t know that from the price however – even modest flats in the poshest postcodes can cost a million pounds or more.  According to the Financial Times there are around 50,000 properties planned or under construction in this price range as every last brick in the city is turned into an investment opportunity.  The losses to the capital’s history and culture are incalcuable.  The end of Tin Pan Alley, once the heart of London’s music industry.  The destruction of Soho’s gay scene.  Half of Camden Market flogged off to a dodgy developer to build high price flats.  London’s skyline damaged beyind repair.  And, most tragically of all, the mass social cleansing of every working class area of London. Pubs, markets, community centres and libraries all gone to make way for the global super rich.  If you are on a low or even moderate income, and stuck in the cut-throat private sector, then you’ve probably left already.  If you are in social housing, hold tight, they are coming for the council estates as well.

But there are signs that the feeding frenzy is coming to an end.  There may well be 50,000 high value properties on the way, but as the FT also points out, just 3,900 homes costing more than £1m were sold in central London in 2014.  The villains at Foxton’s have recently announced falling profits whilst financial experts are warning openly of a crash.  And the Office for National Statistics recently revised how house price statistics are calculated which resulted in a shock fall in London’s prices between January and February this year.

Now is the time to send a message to every pampered hipster, spiv banker, property developer and global billionaire that we do not want you in our fucking city.  Let’s crash their party and their market.  Rage against horrifying inequality in the capital grows ever fiercer and it is the rich who are becoming the targets.  There have always been consequences when the decadence of the upper classes becomes too visible or obscene, and there is an obscenity taking place in London right now.  It’s time to make them feel unwelcome.  To let them be the frightened ones for a change.  To take the class war to their fucking front doors just like they have done to us.  The battle of the capital is just getting started.  Don’t be late.

The fourth London Fuck Parade will take place on May 1st.  This boisterous anti-gentrification street party made headlines around the world last time.  The parade starts at One Commercial Street, Aldgate East, London E1 7PT at 6pm.  For the latest news visit the website at: https://fuckparade.wordpress.com/

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The Government Is In Chaos, Now Is The Time To Move Beyond Marching

minnie

Minnie says let’s all meet in Whitehall in 2pm and have some fucking fun.

We all know the fucking script.  This weekend tens, or possibly hundreds of thousands of people, will march through central London.  According to the People’s Assembly, who have organised the protest, we will be demanding jobs, homes, health and education.  The march will be followed by the usual speakers, who mostly all have health, jobs, homes and an education themselves – but it’s nice that they care enough to tell us what we want.  Most of them will also tell us to vote Labour.  Some stale old union boss will pretend there’s going to be a general strike.  The Socialist Worker Party will sell some newspapers.  Then everyone will go home and complain about a conspiracy because the BBC didn’t run this boring political non-event as headline news throughout the weekend.

It doesn’t have to be like this though.  The current Tory government is a fucking shambles.  Whatever the results of the EU Referendum they are set to tear themselves apart.  Their paper thin majority means they can barely even pass the laws they want.  The string of financial dodgy dealings, not least by dodgy Dave himself, is reminiscent of the worst of Tory sleaze to those old enough to remember.  The wheels have even come off the welfare reform gravy train as Iain Duncan Smith’s flounce has thrown the DWP into chaos, forcing Cameron to give his job to an obedient little chipmonk who believes in magic.  Osborne and Boris are at each other’s throat, cabinet ministers are plotting against the Prime Minister, toffs are going off message accusing those they once called hard working families of being under-achievers and only a miracle will see a Tory Mayor in London’s City Hall come May.  There has not been a weaker government in the UK than these clowns in living memory.

Civil disobedience, occupations, strikes, riots  – these are the things that cause government’s to crumble, backtrack or even implode.  Fuck this sham democracy if it means that a fraction of the population – the group with real capital power – can vote to destroy the lives of the rest of us.  Waiting for the next election is not an option.  Whoever wins our lives will still be shit.  If we are serious, if we really want change, then it is vital to move beyond marches, votes and empty sloganeering. There will not be a better time than this, the wind is with us.

On Friday night, the day before the People’s Assembly event, hundreds of people will join to March With The Homeless through central London.  This annual march takes place at night, going where it wants, and not asking permission from the authorities.  To take the streets, without asking them if they mind awfully in advance, to cause disruption and not agree to a policing plan, this is the kind of march worth having.  It will be meeting at Downing Street, 6pm, 15th April.  Spread the word.  Liverpool is also marching, details here.

On the day of the People’s Assembly march itself Class War have called on people to gather at gather in Whitehall at 2pm, for fun.  Later in the afternoon protesters will gather outside Top Shop’s store on The Strand where the odious Phillip Green has decided he would rather sack workers than pay them the living wage.  Meet at 4.30 pm, Top Shop on The Strand.  This is just down the road from Trafalgar Square where the People’s Assembly march finishes.  If you’re lucky, and leave early enough, you might even miss some of the speakers.  That’s the choice,  Stand around listening to some Labour Party apologist lying to you that they will make everything alright one day.  Or get up the road and join those being fucked over by one of the richest men in the UK and show all the bastards ripping us off that we mean fucking business.

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April 15 Is Workfare Day – A Chance To Tell The Truth About Benefit Sanctions And Forced Work #esday16

#esday16

Wave your hands in the air. Like a fucking idiot.

The welfare-to-work industry is planning a gushing celebration of forced work and benefit sanctions with the UK’s first Employability Day due to be held on April 15th.

According to ERSA, the trade body established to lie on behalf of companies running workfare and forced training schemes, this exciting day will offer a chance to show the impact of ’employment support’ in local communties.

Welfare to work companies are being encouraged to invite employers, MPs and other local agencies to their premises to show off all the wonderful support beig inflicted on unemployed and disabled people by companies like G4S, Atos and Maximus.  Perhaps they could also take them to a local foodbank and show them all the people who have had their benefits sanctioned for being late to a meeting with their so-called Work Coach or not turning up for workfare.  Or organise a tour of closed local libaries and other public services to show how funding has been much better spent forcing disabled people to endlessly attend CV workshops and recruiting young people to work in supermarkets without pay.

And it is funding that lies behind ERSA’s shabby promotional drive.  Be in no doubt, the welfare to work industry are collectively shitting themselves.  With George Osborne turning off the money tap and chaos at the Department of Work Pensions then for the first time in two decades the future of this sector does not look so rosy.  There has never been a better time to escalate the struggle against these parasites.

Luckily ERSA insist you do not have to be a member of their organisation to take part in Employability Day.  Just turn up, let yourselves in, bring a cake they seem to be saying.  Let’s not disappoint them.  Let’s fucking trash their workfare party.

Companies taking part in the day are using the hashtag #esday16.  ERSA have also produced a map of where events are taking place – although predictably, it doesn’t really work.    There will rarely be a better time to show the real impact that benefit sanctions and forced work have inflicted on our communities.  Be creative and spread the word.

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First Demonstration Called Against New DWP Boss Demanding #CrabbMustGo

crabb-resign-stickerIf new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb had any decency at all he would resign from his position as patron of the local branch of Mencap.

Ever since Crabb voted to slash benefits for many disabled people to little over £70 a week the Haverfordwest based charity, who run a once popular community garden, have faced outrage from the public over their relationship with Crabb – and with good reason.  It is beyond belief that a member of a government that has so ruthlessly attacked disabled people has he gall to hide his sins beneath a charitable facade.  And it is beneath contempt that he would rather see this charity destroyed then do the hornourable thing and step away.

This is sadly unsurprising however.  Crabb happily referred to his own mother as welfare dependent when he gave an interview about saving her from a violent attack by his father when he was just eight years old.  He has no shame in dragging his family’s traumatic past out under the public spotlight when he thinks it might win him some sympathy with voters.  Even a recent re-union with his father – which conveniently took place just days after his appointment to Scretary of State – appeared to be little more than stunt to further his political aspirations.  After what must have been a difficult and emotional meeting for both of them, Crabb’s first thought on leaving was to ring the Daily fucking Mail and tell them all about it.

A broad coalition has now emerged in Crabb’s home town demanding that he step down in his role as Mencap patron.  He should step down as Secretary of State as well.  His nasty affiliation with a ‘gay cure’ Christian cult seems to be the only sincere thing about him.  We got rid of the last bastard now let’s get rid of this one.  Join the fine folk of Pembrokeshire for a demonstration against Crabb this Saturday April 2nd from 11am-1pm outside his constituency office, Upper Market St, Haverfordwest, SA61 1QA.

Please share the facebook page for the event and help keep up the pressure on Pembrokeshire Mencap to get behind the people they claim to support and sack Crabb immediately.  And keep up the pressure on all the other charities hiding dirty little Tory secrets as part of Operation #ToryDump

Sign the petition calling for Crabb to step down as a Mencap patron at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stephen-crabb-resign-as-mencap-patron-pembs-immediately-voted-for-disabled-to-lose-ps30-a-week-esa-1

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Rage @mencap_charity Grows As Thousands Demand Crabb Must Go!

mencap-boss

Mencap’s chief executive Jan Tregelles explains the charity’s position.

If you want to know how Tories sleep at night, how they salve their consciences or make peace with their non-existent Gods, then just ask Mencap or one of the other charities happy to accommodate those destroying the lives of disabled people amongst their ranks.

The horrible, homophobic, new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Stephen Crabb is currently a trustee of Pembrokeshire Mencap despite the main UK branch of the charity campaigning against everything he stands for.  The message this sends to Crabb is clear – don’t worry, it’s not that serious, don’t expect any real consequences from Mencap for slashing the already meagre incomes of those the charity claims to support.  Sure Mencap will huff and puff, will write petitions and issue strong statements, but when it comes right down to it, when Mencap are actually tested as an organisation, they will choose sucking up to their local MP over actually fighting for people with learning disabilities.  That is how Stephen Crabb sleeps at night.  After all, if he’s on the board of the local Mencap then how can anyone say he doesn’t care about disabled people.

Of course it is not just Stephen Crabb’s conscience that is cleared.  The PR value to the Conservative Party is plain to see.  Tory MPs on the boards of charities helps maintain the party’s lie that they are not really attacking disabled people, they are just helping them, by making them a bit poorer to encourage them to strive.  From a purely cynical campaigning angle what charities like Mencap are doing is not just helping Tories to get elected, but also to push their vile agenda that insists benefit cuts are good for you.

Over the last week thousands of people have expressed outrage at Mencap’s involvement with Stephen Crabb.  Over 11,000 people have signed a petition demanding he resign from his post.  Mencap’s facebook page has been bombarded by those disgusted at the charity’s behaviour.  The response, as ever from the disability industry has been mealy-mouthed excuses and a refusal to act.  The main branch of Mencap say they are powerless do anything, that this is a local branch of the organisation who they have no influence over. You’d think anyone can set up a branch of Mencap, use their name and logo for fundraising purposes, and that’s just fine.  They must think we’re fucking idiots.  They could have Crabb removed with a phone call.  They don’t want to.

Instead they are calling on people to write to him, to wish him luck in his new job and ask if he would mind awfully being a champion of people with a learning disability.  It’s important that he gets things right say Mencap, despite the fact he has been getting things wrong for the last six years.  Crabb has voted for every cut to disability benefits that has been implemented, including the introduction of Personal Indeendence Payments designed to remove benefits from a fifth of disabled people.   He voted for the Bedroom Tax, and the Benefit Cap, and more recently in favour of cutting the payments to many sick or disabled people by £30 a week.  Give the chap just one more chance Mencap seem to be suggesting when they should be showing him the door.

It is vital to keep up the pressure and make sure that charities who harbour dirty little Tory secrets learn that there will be consequences for their betrayal.  Disabled People Against Cuts have released a guide to which charities have Tory MPs on their boards.  And these consequnces should reach to the very top, like Mencap’s chief executive Jan Tregelles who in 2013 gave a nauseating interview to The Guardian explaining how she’s worth every penny of her whopping £137,442 a year pay-cheque.  If despite all this money she can’t cleanse Mencap of politicians who support policies that have driven disabled people to suicide then she should go herself.

And it is her huge salary that is part of the problem.  Charity bosses like Tregalles are far closer socially, economically and politically to the likes of Stephen Crabb, then they are to those who depend on benefits.  She will never understand the icy terror of seeing a brown enevlope from the DWP drop through her letter-box. Or personally experience the constant insecurity and life-sapping stress of living under a government that is happy to condemn people to economic destruction on little more than a whim.  She’s not on the receiving end of the so-called help currently being inflicted on claimants in the form of endless assessments, benefits sanctions, workfare, forced training and quite possibly soon forced medical interventions.  It is all abstract to her, not something lived directly.  If she is angry at all about the current situation it is because she is being paid to be.

This is the reason for the disconnect that has repeatedly emerged between disability, homelessnes or anti-poverty charities and those they are funded to support.  It is not just that they don’t feel our rage, they consider it their jobs to mitigate it.  To channel it in safe directions, to explain to us how we just need to trust them and see the bigger picture.  The bigger picture being that they are doing very well out of austerity and would really rather the plebs didn’t derail the gravy train.  We should be grateful for all their hard work munching vol-au-vents at glitzy fundraising dinners on our behalf.  Here have a vol-au-vent yourself.  Just kidding.  As if a service user gets to have a vol-au-vent.

Please sign and share the petition calling for Crabb to resign from his local Mencap branch.

Visit Pembrokeshire Mencap’s facebook page and let them know what you think of their trustee Stephen Crabb.

Or contact the national organisation on facebook or twitter @mencap_charity

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Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid