Tuesday, 30 June 2009


Last summer 40 concerned citizens from all walks of life came together to stop a train containing 1,000 tonnes of coal on its way to Drax power station in Yorkshire. Drax is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK and people felt that it was no longer sensible to rely on our government to sort this problem out(as their track record of burying their head in the sand has shown).

The train was stopped by several protestors waving red flags and wearing Hi Viz jackets. This happened on the line destined for Drax. 29 people boarded its roof, and shoveled the coal onto the line. They then dropped a banner saying 'Leave It in the Ground'. All the correct safety procedures were planned in advance and adhered to minimize the risk of causing harm and disruption to anything other than Drax Power station.

The 29 people who boarded the train were arrested and are now standing trial in Leeds Crown Court. They are charged with 'Obstructing the railway' and could face up to 2 years in prison. Their trial started in Leeds, Monday 29 June 2009. The judge has ruled that they are prohibited from using Climate Change as a defence and the judge seems keen not to have a repeat of the Kingnorth 6 trial.

These people need and deserve our support over next couple of weeks. Non Violent direct action is not terrorism and shouldn’t be treated as such. We must protect our right to non violent protest; On a personal note, amongst these people are several much loved Manchester Activists(my friends) and other Climate Camp activists.Please do anything you can to get the word out.

Please invite all your friends to the ‘Friend of the Drax 29’ face book group and post message of support on the wall or go to Leeds Crown Court and peacefully protest(come suited and booted as requested!). They will be sending out updates as the trial proceeds.

if you're interested, there's an e-mail list that's been set up to inform people as to what happens day by day in the drax29 trial that i'm involved in. the list is called drax29info@lists.riseup.net. to subscribe to it, e-mail drax29info-subscribe@lists.riseup.net


Friday, 26 June 2009

Free SOAS 9: 4 events/protests. 1st one tmrw

Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 10:44:51 +0100
Subject: Free SOAS 9: 4 events/protests. 1st one tmrw
From: revolution@soas.ac.uk

Sorry for such a long email. Our google group is not working for some reason (please call me if you have any technical knowledge on this)
Please distribute this message widely.
Flyer attached above for you to print off and distribute
1) Call for action at Yarlswood tmrw, Saturday 27th
2) Lobby Home Office on Tuesday 30th
3) Bloomsbury Living Wage Campaign Wednesday 1st July
4) SOAS Occupiers host lunchtime filmshowing and food at Marxism, 4th July

Let them stay..

Our cleaners are not criminals!

Staff and students at SOAS are calling for Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for the Home Office, to grant leave to remain with permission to work for Marina Silva and Rosa dePerez, two of the SOAS cleaners picked up in a brutal immigration raid on 12th June. Marina, who is 63 and has applied for asylum, following het brutal honour killing of her husband and threats to her own life, and Rosa, who has four children to support in Nicaragua, remain in detention following the raid. Their colleagues, including six months pregnant Luzia, were deported within 48 hours of the raid.

Cleaners at SOAS had demanded and organised for dignity at work with many joining a union. They had succeeded in winning union recognition from the privatised cleaning firm ISS and raising their pay to the London Living Wage—higher than other colleges in the area. It is of grave concern that the raid, organised by ISS, took place shortly after this campaign and on the
very day on which UNISON was due to protest in support of an activist who had played a leading role in organising the cleaners at SOAS.

Please support our campaign:

*Lobby the Home Office, Tuesday 30th June, 5.30-6.30pm*

2 marsham st, millbank, Sw1

*Sign the letter requesting leave to remain is granted to Marina and Rosa*

For more information go to: http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/

*Stop the Deportation of SOAS University Cleaners!*

*Supported by SOAS UNISON and UCU*

In solidarity

Email freesoasclean...@googlemail.com

Please distribute widely

let them stay.png
238K View

Call to action in solidarity with detainees at Yarl's Wood detention centre:



Two weeks after nine cleaners at SOAS were taken into detention, take action for justice for the SOAS 9 and in solidarity with detainees in Yarls' Wood on hunger strike for demand including: freeing children who are detained, adequate access to health care, quality food and real privacy. Hundreds of people in Yarls Wood are being denied the medical care they need including a woman with epilepsy and a 5 months' pregnant woman in the families' section. Families have been on hunger strike for over a week now and we need to show them our support!

Forward this message widely>>>>>>


Morning – Action to let the Yarl’s Wood detainees know that we stand with them in opposing the
injustice of immigration controls, the imprisonment of innocent people and the denial of basic access to healthcare. Call 07952 254487 for more information.

1pm – March and speak out against cuts in ESOL

Meet Bethnal Green Gardens (Next to Bethnal Green Tube) for march with UCU (University and College Union) and Tower Hamlets College students and staff, over cuts in Jobs primarily in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). March to Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel, for
speakers and rally.

4.30 pm – Picket the Home Office's Communications House 210 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BR (1 minute from Old Street tube, 205 bus goes straight from Whitechapel)

Speak out and rally including speakers from migrant workers struggles and Yarl’s Wood.

The building looks anonymous but immigration reporting centres are places of fear for asylum seekers, who have to report to them monthly, weekly or even several times a week. They are places of detention and several SOAS Cleaners were held here on the day they were arrested.


Send messages of solidarity for the hunger strikers to: londoncoalitionaginstpove...@gmail.com

* Contact SERCO (who run Yarl’s Wood) and demand that the strikers’ demands are met - 01344 386300 - homeaffa...@serco.com

* Contact Yarl’s Wood and demand that the strikers demands are met: The duty manager01234 821517; The switchboard is 01234 821000; Health'care' 01234 821147

* Forward news about the SOAS 9 and the hunger strike as well as this call-out to any email lists you are on or press contacts you have

* Take action to demand exceptional leave to remain for the SOAS 9: http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/2009/06/send-this-letter-to-home...

* If you can donate towards credit for detainees’ mobiles or travel costs for solidarity visits, email londoncoalitionagainstpove...@gmail.com

More information on SOAS 9: http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/

A detainee involved in the hunger strike's story:http://londonmigrantworkers.wordpress.com/

More information on the hunger strike: http://www.caic.org.uk/node/43


Dear Bloomsbury living wage supporters,

The Bloomsbury Living Wage campaign will meet at 1pm Wednesday, the 1st of July, in the Institute of Education canteen.

All are welcome! Please bring a friend and come with practical ideas to discuss, possibly including:

* supporting the promising living wage campaign happening within the
Institute of Education, itself.

* building support for Rosa de Perez and Marina Silva, two of the "SOAS 9"
currently detained at Yarlswood removal centre in Bedford who were arrested
Friday the 12th of June as part of a strategy to undermine SOAS cleaners'
struggle for better pay and conditions.

Jesse Oldershaw

The Bloomsbury Living Wage campaign is the network of living wage campaigns at UCL, SOAS, Birkbeck, Institute of Education, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Senate House. It seeks the better pay and conditions for low-paid contract workers across the Bloomsbury (WC1) area, in line with the GLA's London Living Wage. The London Living Wage (LLW) takes into account London's high cost of living. It was increased in May 2009 to 7.60/ hr - 25% higher than national minimum wage. The LLW package also includes fair sick pay and holiday pay and respect for trade union rights. There have so far been successful living wage campaigns at SOAS, Birkbeck and LSHTM.

Email livingw...@unions.bbk.ac.uk for more information and join the Facebook
group athttp://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=64798072148

In solidarity

Email freesoasclean...@googlemail.com

Please distribute widely


Meet SOAS Occupiers at Marxism. Outdoor film showing and food.
Please reply to event if you want to come so we know how much food to prepare.

We filmed the whole thing. We want you to show you what we did and will answer questions and discuss where next for the campaign.

Start up your own campaign. If this can happen at SOAS of all places it can happen anywhere. This needs to be stopped. Our fellow workmates should not be living in a state of fear.


Please join us for an outdoor filmshowing of a number of our videos and photos's.

Including food and discussion.

PLEASE RSVP so we know how much food to prepare.

If it is raining we will transfer to our common room.

This is a truly SOAS affair-we hope you join us.
In solidarity, Clare Solomon

Email: revolution@soas.ac.uk
Mob: 07958 034 181
Blog: http://www.solomonsmindfield.net
Twitter: http://twitter.com/solomonsmfield

Follow Stop the War on http://twitter.com/STWuk
Follow the Socialist Worker on http://twitter.com/socialistworker

Friday, 19 June 2009

Postal Strikes, Friday 19th June 2009 and CWU environment motion

Postal Strikes, Friday 19th June 2009 and CWU environment motion (from CWU website)

As Royal Mail managers attended a swanky awards party in Alexandra Palace, over 9,000 postal workers in Edinburgh mail centre and London took 24 hours of strike action on Friday 19th June 2009. Reports from some of the picket lines are below.

Around 100 striking CWU members gathered at the East London Mail Centre at Bromley-by-Bow on the first day of the union's industrial action in protest against Royal Mail's "vicious" programme of cutbacks which violates existing national agreements.

John Coakley, east London delivery rep said that members at the site were "100 per cent solid. This will give a strong message to Royal Mail. Their cutbacks are irrational and just plain daft.
And John Ayres, east and north London distribution rep, agreed, adding: "Our message to Royal Mail is: 'Get back to the negotiating and start talking to us about a new national agreement."
Speaking to the pickets, PEC member Mark Baulch thanked everyone for turning out, describing the day's action as "fantastic, you're second to none.

"This is going to be a tough fight, but if we all stick together, we can win."

And Micky Rowell told us the same story at nearby Docklands Delivery Office, where he serves as CWU unit rep.

"It's been overwhelming, the best-ever turnout for a picket line. Over half the office is here - even the non-union members." he explained, while passing motorists, bus drivers and pedestrians hooted their horns in support and pickets cheered in reply.

"Our guys are determined. We're not opposed to modernisation, but change must come by agreement - not by imposition."

Strikers at Bow Delivery Office are "passionately opposed" to the company's strategy, according to unit rep Vince Micallef, who insisted that his members' "spirits are high and stronger than ever.

"All we want is a negotiated agreement," Vince added.

And Whitechapel's Bob Armitage - another unit rep reporting "100 per cent support" - vowed: "All our people are up for it."

Speaking to around 100 striking CWU members outside Royal Mail's new central London headquarters, CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said that today's industrial action in the capital been "absolutely rock solid."

And Dave vowed that the union will "fight every inch of the way" in defence of postal workers' rights and to save this vital public service.

Rejecting claims by the company that the union opposes modernisation, he insisted that the CWU fully backs the goal of a modern and successful Royal Mail.

"But the CWU wants change by agreement, while Royal Mail wants to impose change by diktat," he explained, accusing management of "doing the government's bidding and trying to privatise Royal Mail at the same time."

To rousing cheers, Dave concluded his speech by pledging: "We're going to fight every inch of the way, because we care about this service and about the public."

London divisional reps Martin Walsh and Mark Palfrey confirmed reports from around the capital indicating that the strike had been "rock-solid everywhere."

CWU members had, Martin said: "Responded magnificently, we've had almost 10,000 members out and I've been getting reports of big pickets all over town - bigger than we had during the 2007 strike.

And Mark added that, if agreement is not reached, further strikes could take place in a couple of weeks with an extra 4,000 members walking out.

"We want Royal Mail to negotiate, but, if they don't we'll strike again," he warned.


For any Green who thinks Greens have no common cause with Unions , this is what was passed at the last CWU conference:

“Conference acknowledges the importance of climate change as an environmental issue and the response of the trade union movement to it. The CWU should therefore support a Green New Deal that encompasses the use of postal and telecommunications services to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The CWU should also use its influence to encourage the use of renewable energy wherever possible.

The NEC are therefore instructed to purse this policy.”

GREEN MEP HAILS VICTORY IN MILESTONE SOAS CAMPAIGN - MEP backs call for urgent action for two women still detained

From the Office of Jean Lambert MEP
London’s Green Party Member of the European Parliament
18 June 2009

- MEP backs call for urgent action for two women still detained

Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, has welcomed news of the successful
end to the occupation of SOAS by students and activists in support of
cleaning staff arrested last week.

Students and activists occupied the School of Oriental and African Studies
in Bloomsbury after a dawn raid by immigration officers last Friday [12
June], when nine cleaning staff were arrested and six removed from the UK.
The circumstances of the raid were highly controversial. [1]

On Monday [15 June] students occupied the Principal’s office in the
university and they were threatened with a court injunction the following
day. However, after several rounds of negotiation, they called an end to the
occupation yesterday [Wednesday] after securing agreement to their demands
from SOAS management.

Jean Lambert MEP, along with the London Federation of Green Parties, has
been actively supporting this campaign since news of the raid emerged on
Friday. [2] Today, she said:

“This is brilliant news. Just days ago we were appalled at the disgraceful
behaviour of immigration officers in the corridors of SOAS. These students
and activists took a dedicated and principled stand in those same corridors,
and within a week they have won a victory which stands as a significant
milestone in the campaigns for the London Living Wage and the amnesty for
irregular migrants. This victory comes as a study out this week found that
an earned amnesty for migrants would bring £3 billion to the UK economy. We
know the humanitarian arguments for an amnesty; let’s hope this economic
aspect will further strengthen the case. [3]”

SOAS management have agreed to five key demands from campaigners, including
a commitment to write to the Home Secretary requesting exceptional leave to
remain those still being detained and for those forced into hiding, and
calling for the immediate return of those who were removed from the UK. The
Governing Body will review the outsourcing of cleaning services at the
university, and there will be an open discussion of last Friday’s events
with all those involved. [4]

Two of the cleaners arrested on Friday, Marina Silva, who has claimed
asylum, and Rosa de Perez, are still being held in Yarl’s Wood detention
centre, and Marina faces imminent removal. She is 63 and in poor health.
Campaigners are urging people to write immediately to Alan Johnson, the Home
Secretary, on their behalf. [5]

Jean continued:

“I join the campaigners in urging people to continue to their efforts in
support of Marina Silva and Rosa de Perez, and to write to the Home
Secretary to ensure these hard-working, poorly paid and vulnerable women are
allowed to continue their lives in the UK.

“We must also ensure that the management of SOAS honour the agreement, but I
am heartened to hear that campaigners are confident that these events
reached a constructive conclusion. It’s a sound achievement, and a positive
step forward.”

SOAS Unison has organised a public meeting to celebrate and discuss future
campaigning tomorrow, Friday 19 June at 6pm in the SOAS Junior Common Room.
On Saturday, the Campaign Against Immigration Controls at SOAS will meet to
discuss how to build the wider campaign for migrant workers, from 2pm to 5pm
in room G50. [6]


Notes to Editors

Jean Lambert is one of eight MEPs representing London and one of two UK
Green representatives in the European Parliament. Jean was first elected in
the 1999 European elections and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009.

[1] See http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/news_detail.php?id=477 for more
details of the raid on Friday.

[2] See http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/news_detail.php?id=479.

[3] The report, Economic impact on the London and the UK economy of an
earned regularisation of irregular migrants to the UK, was commissioned by
the Mayor of London and carried out by the London School of Economics. For
the full report, see

[4] The full list of demands and a summary of the agreement between
campaigners and SOAS management can be found at

[5] For a template letter to the Home Secretary, visit

[6] For details of these meetings and news and updates on the campaign,
visit http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/.

For more information please contact:

Rosie Lavan, London Media Assistant
Phone: 07760 220424
Email: media-assistant@jeanlambertmep.org.uk
Web: www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Thursday, 18 June 2009


2009/6/18 Jonathan Buckner

Hi Andy (and all),

As you all are no doubt aware, revised demands were conceded by management today.

The settlement reached is as follows:

1.SOAS will write directly to the Home Secretary within 12 hours of the end of the protest, requesting that he grants exceptional leave to remain in the UK those cleaners who are still being detained. In addition, SOAS will request the immediate return of those who have been deported and exceptional leave to remain for those forced into hiding by Friday's raid.

2. SOAS will open discussions with ISS, and separately with UNISON, UCU and the SU, to review in detail the events of last Friday.

3. SOAS will discuss the possibility of bringing cleaning services in-house at the nest scheduled meeting of its Governing Body.

4. SOAS will leet with the relevant unions to discuss health and safety issues relating to immigration raids and acknowledge UCU policy of non-compliance with immigration raids.

5. SOAS will not take action against those involved in the protest.

Numbers 1 and 3 were of most importance to the cleaners at SOAS given the immanent threat of forcible removal or deportation from Britain, Marina, one of the detained cleaners, is facing. She could be flown away as early as tomorrow (now today). http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/2009/06/send-this-letter-to-home-office-now.html This links to a template letter that can be sent to the Home Secretary and Phil Woolas, so if you have a minute send it asap. I have done so, along with a personalised section, too. We can all also contact our MPs (even Tories!) asking them to lobby on behalf of the detained cleaners and those forced into hiding.

The demands that were accepted were including as part of a joint Student Union-SOAS statement (not SOAS-Occupiers, since we were not 'recognised' by the management!), and this statement is very interesting:

"This incident has highlighted the need for further debate regarding this issue and, as has been mentioned in earlier correspondence, SOAS will be speaking with other heads of universities about the wider implications of the Government's policy on immigration and any likely impact it may have on our staff and students."

At a meeting at 6pm this evening, held in the Roberts Builidng at UCL, to discuss the new points based immigration system, this was discussed by reps from UNISON and UCU. Pressure exerted on other heads of schools for a progressive policy based around the best interests of all staff and students could thus be very important in tackling the discriminatory treatment of migrants across London and at SOAS, whilst also assisting the UCU's opposition to new controls. The acknowledgement of UCU non-compliance with immigration raids is also good. Although not as strong as we would have liked, it is a positive development, with 'acknowledge' being a potentially fun word to play with from UCU's perspective. The SOAS management also state:

"In our personal capacity, we would also like to indicate our support for the regularisation of non-documented workers."

'Regularise', not 'amnesty', implying support for a continuous process, not just a one-off. That got in under the radar!

There is a meeting at 6pm on Friday in SOAS Junior Common Room (by the main entrance) about the occupation and what next in the campaign etc. I would also like, on a personal note, to thank all those who have offered the cleaners and the occupation their support and solidarity, especially those who came down to the occupation and to those who came to the SOAS on very short notice on Tuesday when we thought a police raid was immanent. The solidarity shown has been much appreciated by all involved. And to show that, when the leaflet was published for today's (yesterday's) rally, the section listing a select few of the cleaners' supporters was led off by the Green Party. Jean has also been excellent on this!

Occupation is however tiring, so I am off to bed now. If anyone wants to know anything else about future meetings, to look over our media coverage, or see youtube videos of the occupation etc, then check out the blog: http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/

In solidarity,


Monday, 15 June 2009

Protect Indigenous Rights - Save the Amazon!

Protect Indigenous Rights - Save the Amazon!

Peru is witnessing violent clashes between indigenous groups desperately trying to protect the Amazon and the government, which has pushed through legislation allowing intensive mining, logging, and large scale farming in the rainforest.

If the government and extractive industries have their way, the Peruvian rainforest and its people will suffer massive devastation, with disastrous consequences for the global climate.

Sign the urgent petition below, and support the courageous struggle of the indigenous peoples to protect the Amazon -- a prominent and well respected Latin American politician will deliver it to President Alan Garcia on our behalf.

Petition to the President of Peru, Alan Garcia:

We urge you to immediately cease the forceful suppression of indigenous protests, to suspend laws that open up the Amazon to extractive industries, and to engage in a genuine dialogue with indigenous groups to end the conflict and address their legitimate demands and rights.

Sign at http://www.avaaz.org/en/peru_stop_violence/



PREAMBLE: “In 1834 six Dorset agricultural labourers, united together to - "preserve ourselves, our wives, and our children, from utter degradation and starvation". They were deported to Tasmania and became known as the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

Graham Dyer Chair of SOAS UCU speaking outside SOAS today noted the obvious parallel with the five SOAS cleaners who have been deported to South America this weekend; whilst one more is detained awaiting a deportation decision today. Some may have been sent to Columbia which has an appalling record for repression of trades Unionists up to and including torture and murder.

The SOAS martyrs were detained by Immigration Service Officers dressed in riot gear who surrounded a meeting of cleaners at SOAS at Friday, the meeting had been called just prior to a Union meeting to campaign for the reinstatement of Unison Shop Steward Joseph Stalin Bermudez who had been involved in the living wage campaign for cleaning and catering staff in the University of London.


The London Federation of Green Parties
1. Reiterates its support for campaigns for a living wage for all London workers

2. Supports the statements of protest against the arrest of SOAS WORKERS on 12/6/2009 made by Jenny Jones AM and Jean Lambert MEP and in the letter to the press signed by Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn Mp and others.

3. Notes that the invitation of IS officers onto SOAS campus by SOAS management their intimidatory conduct, and the deportation of SOAS workers seems a clear attempt to use migration law as a weapon in industrial relations in an attempt to prevent workers organising themselves to secure legitimate rights and decent remuneration for their work.

4. Class on its elected representatives GP and the labour movement to oppose all such intimidation and to campaign for the reinstatement of and redress to all those deported and/or dismissed see and/or otherwise punished for attempting to exercise their legitimate rights.

Appendix 1

ELECTED GREENS CONDEMN ARREST OF SOAS WORKERSFrom the Office of Jean Lambert MEP, Green Party Member of the European Parliament June 2009
for London


Jean Lambert MEP and Jenny Jones AM have condemned the arrest of nine cleaning workers at SOAS this morning [Friday 12 June].It is believed that the staff, mainly of Ecuadorian and possibly Colombian origin, have been arrested and are being processed for deportation.

A demonstration had been organised at SOAS this morning in support of Stalin Bermudez, the SOAS Unison branch chair, who was sacked earlier this year after a highly controversial disciplinary process. A Unison representative arrived at the college, just off Russell Square, at 7am this morning to discover a number of immigration control officers who had detained and were processing cleaning staff, and interrogating them about their status. The union received no prior warning.The Green Party has pledged its full support for the staff, and Jean Lambert MEP is already in contact with the union, who are arranging legal representation. Unison and UCU were holding an emergency meeting to decide on subsequent action.

Jean Lambert, London's Green Party MEP, said:"The circumstances and aims of this raid are utterly deplorable. These cleaning staff have been treated like criminals, and the timing of the raid is particularly reprehensible - first thing in the morning at the end of the university term, with fewer people around to intervene. Luckily, the union has been on hand to help arrange legal assistance for those arrested, and it is also fortunate that the demonstration - ironically called to highlight existing concerns about the treatment of SOAS staff - meant that this raid was noticed and immediate steps could be taken."I reiterate and reinforce the support already pledged by the Green Party, and I will be monitoring this case and its outcomes closely.

Today's events highlight the need to find ways for people to regularise their status so that their vital contribution to London and society in general is recognised. It also makes the Strangers Into Citizens campaign, organised by London Citizens, still more urgent."

Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly, said:"The effect of such ruthlessness on these workers and on their families is a cruel punishment. Workers have the right to be treated with courtesy and this raid is beneath contempt. Is this really how the Government tells them how to behave?"

Notes to Editors

Jean Lambert MEP is an expert on employment and asylum and immigration issues and is an active campaigner for the London Living Wage. On 1 May 2009 she addressed a May Day Living Wage rally at the Bloomsbury colleges in London. Stalin Bermudez also spoke at this demo.

Jenny Jones is a Green Party Member of the London Assembly. She sits on the Metropolitan Police Authority.

For more details of the London Citizens Strangers Into Citizens campaign visit http://www.strangersintocitizens.org.uk/For more information please contact: Rosie Lavan, London Media Assistant media-assistant@jeanlambertmep.org.uk07760 220424

Appendix 2

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Stop Racist Deportations at SOAS

We are appalled at the actions of the immigration services, who with the aid of facilities contractors ISS conducted an early morning raid of SOAS recently. Nine cleaners were accused of working without valid documentation and are now being held pending their likely deportation from the UK.Neither the contractors nor the university authorities had any problem with employing migrant labour with or without valid work permits so long as lecture theatres were cleaned at low rates and ISS were making sufficient profits.The crime these mainly Latin American workers seem to have committed is to have campaigned for, and won, the London Living Wage and their union rights. In fact ISS had signed a union recognition agreement with Unison last week. Unison members struck solidly last month in protest at the sacking of cleaner and union activist Jose Stalin Bermudez. Evidence suggests that SOAS Management colluded with ISS and the immigration services to allow this shameful episode to happen and we believe that the raid took place to send a message to other groups of workers who may have been encouraged by the success of the Living Wage campaigns.We demand an amnesty for all migrant workers in Britain.

Signed by (incl):Tony Benn
Jeremy Corbyn MP
John McDonnell MP
Sandy Nicholl SOAS UNISON
Marya Ahmed SOAS Co-PresidentElly James SOAS Women's Officer
Clare Solomon Former SOAS Co-President
James Haywood NUS NEC
Phemie Matheson NUS NEC
Pat Carmody CWU P&B Section Secretary

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

RALLY for Stalin Bermudez

RALLY Friday 12th June
9.00 - 9.30 am

Outside Main SOAS Building
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Joseph Stalin Bermudez, the SOAS UNISON Branch Chair was sacked by the School of Oriental and African Studies, in March 2009, following a deeply flawed and unfair disciplinary process.

Two weeks ago, SOAS UNISON trade union members undertook a very successful strike
action in support of Stalin, actively supported by both SOAS academic staff and SOAS students.

SOAS UNISON is now calling a lobby of the SOAS Governing Body's meeting on June 12th to demand that they review and reverse the appalling decision to sack Stalin.

In sacking Stalin, the School dismissed the personal testimony of the only
independent witness to the events on which the disciplinary investigation was based. This testimony bore out Stalin’s version of events. It is disgraceful that in SOAS, of all places, that this evidence provided by a black member of staff, can be dismissed as being “not credible”.

Stalin, an Ecuadorian migrant worker, has worked at the School for ten years with a previously unblemished record.

Stalin has been an outstanding UNISON Branch Chair consistently standing up for members’ rights. His work within the SOAS Living Wage Campaign was central to ensuring dignity at work for SOAS cleaning staff.

SOAS UNISON is calling on SOAS staff, students and others to continue to
return that solidarity and join the lobby of SOAS Governing Body to
call for Stalin’s reinstatement.

GPTU supports RMT

The Green Party Trade Union Group fully supports the call by the RMT for meaningful negotiations with tube management and the Mayor of London to prevent a tube strike starting this evening (9/6/2209). We recognise that the Union is reluctant to impose hardship on travellers in London but also recognise that when management is imposing jobs cuts and what are effectively wage cuts; the Union is justified in using industrial action.

We support Bob Crow's statement on behalf of his members that “We will not be bullied into accepting that our members should be forced to pay for an economic crisis that was cooked up by the bankers and the politicians.”

GPTU wants London to have an efficient, clean, environmentally friendly and publicly owned public transport system and this cannot be achieved by management threats and intransigence.

Go the RMT website to see their case in full (“http://www.rmt.org.uk/)

Friday, 5 June 2009


FRom Martin Francis' ( blog http://www.wembleymatters.blogspot.com/

Boris Johnson, the London mayor, has decided not to stop Brent's plans for a city academy on the Wembley Park playing fields site. The decision means that Brent Council can make its own decision to go ahead. However, there is still the possibility of further delays through intervention by the Government Office for London or legal action.

Martin Francis, Brent Green Party spokesperson for children, families and schools and the party's General election candidate for the Brent North said:

"The Green Party continues to oppose the concept of academies as they are run by private concerns with a built in majority on the governing body and there therefore not democratically accountable, although funded by taxpayers. We believe in locally accountable, community schools which are open to all. Brent Green Party also oppose the building of a school on the site of the Wembley playing fields because of the loss of local amenities, concerns about the structural viability of the site, the proximity to Preston Manor High School, its distance from the area of need in the south of the borough and its generation of traffic. We support the building of a community secondary school in the south of the borough which would serve local residents and become a local resource for education, recreation and the arts and a beacon of hope and pride for the area.

We are disappointed by Boris Johnson's decision but remain determined to stop the Wembley ARK Academy and will explore the next steps with our fellow campaigners."

There's no connection of course, but on election day hedge fund speculator Arpad Busson, head of ARK is hosting a £10,000 a head charity dinner for 900 guests at the old Eurostar Terminus at Waterloo. The keynote speaker at this 'glittering' event? Boris Johnson, London Mayor.