Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Bedroom Tax - just another excuse to bash benefit claimants

 Click on the link below to watch a video about the implications of this unfair tax which penalises benefit claimants. The 'Bedroom Tax' is nothing more than part of the right wing ConDem coalition's social cleansing package

Monday, 28 January 2013

Global economic exploitation

Hunger striker Jorge Parra

Jorge Parra started working as a welder at General Motors’ Colmotores plant in Colombia in 2001. For nine years, he worked 10 to 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week, lifting auto parts and pieces of machinery that can each weigh hundreds of pounds. He complained about pains, but doctors in the factory clinic kept sending him back to work. Then one day in 2010, at the end of a shift, he couldn’t move.

Even after surgery, Parra, who’s only 36, had trouble walking, standing, or using his hands. Then, just as he was recovering, GM fired him. He discovered that more than 200 workers had also been injured and fired. Many of these workers banded together and started demanding compensation, but GM refused to negotiate with them in good faith. So in November, Parra went on hunger strike and stitched his lips shut until GM agrees to sit down with workers and negotiate.

Now, Parra has come to the U.S. to confront GM executives directly at the North American International Auto Show, a massive auto industry trade show in Detroit that attracts media attention from all over the globe. We’d like to make sure he goes to the Auto Show with the signatures of tens of thousands of members in hand, so we can show GM that its customers and potential customers expect it to treat workers fairly.
Click here to sign our petition to GM CEO Daniel Akerson demanding that he meet with injured Colombian workers and offer fair restitution.

All these workers want is a chance to work and support their families and a guarantee that their former coworkers won’t be injured and discarded. They’re demanding that GM take financial responsibility for medical care related to their on-the-job injuries, help reintegrate them into the workforce with less physically demanding jobs, and institute new safety measures to prevent future injuries. They’re also demanding union representation, which would protect them from further abuses in the workplace.

Injured Colmotores workers have already been fighting for nearly two years. In 2011 the workers set up a makeshift camp outside the American embassy in Colombia. After a three week-long hunger strike in August, GM finally agreed to negotiations. But negotiators from the company refused to even consider letting the workers back into the plant. GM’s only offer was a monetary settlement that didn’t even cover upcoming surgeries.
With negotiations failing, the workers instead decided to take their fight to the United States -- to the Detroit Auto Show, and GM executives directly.

The occupational health provision at GM USA is similar to the OH provision provided by Atos to companies in the UK (they include, Royal Mail, Tesco and many others).

At a recent anti-Atos demo there was an ex-Royal Mail worker deemed unfit to work (and forced to retire) by Atos in an occupational health role for Royal Mail and fit to work by Atos in the benefit stealing role that Atos carry-out for the DWP.

Thanks to Brian for sending this report

Dont let taxpayers money simply float away

£50,000 in unpaid rent is what Torquay's Hi-Flyer balloon has so far cost Torbay tax payers. This is 50k which could have been spent tackling child poverty (which amounts to 24% in Torbay) or paying for 2 years of panic alarms for the most vulnerable.

Yet when challenged with a petition asking for a full inquiry into how this happened, Mayor Gordon Oliver denied the need for one. In fact he is more than happy to waste yet more tax payers money on a palm tree and landscaping work at the Kerswell Roundabout. 

Lindstrandt who operated the balloom are not exactly short of money either. Founder and 33% owner of the company is Per Lindstrandt, who happens to be chums with Richard Branson.

But the dripping tap which is leaking money from vital services does not stop there. Torbay Council have also just spent £40k on widening the path down at Torre Abbey Meadows. £5k of this was contributed by the Torbay Council subsidised RICC and £5k by Torre Abbey

The decision to do this was made by the same 'scoping group' headed by Mayor as made the decision about the £25k Pineapple on a roundabout.

Join Torbay Fightback and friends for our protest outside the Town Hall at 1.00p.m on the 16th February.

Successful meeting under difficult circumstances

Torbay Fightback held a productive meeting on January 26th, which was only spoilt by a lousy venue where some people found it difficult to hear all that was being discussed.
Nevertheless this did not prevent activists planning and discussing several campaigns and activities over the coming months. These include protests concerning unpaid rent on the Hi-Flyer balloon, Child Poverty and Reclaiming the NHS. The possibility of an event over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend was also discussed. 
Solidarity wishes were sent to Plymouth Fightback 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Action against Workfare & Atos

Activists took part in a leafleting and discussion operation in Paignton on the 12th January, as part of a campaign against Workfare and Atos. 

Hundreds of leaflets were distributed both outside and inside the town's Tesco and Co-operative supermarkets, with a number of shoppers eager to find out more about the implications of Workfare and the activity of Atos. One shopper at the Co-op store, who also happened to be a Co-op member said she would be raising the issue of Atos at the next meeting.

 Exposing the 'Ethical' Co-op's link with Atos

We have all heard the horror stories about Atos and their hounding of the sick and disabled into losing benefits and trying to force them into a job market which does not really exist. But not many people realise the supposedly most ethical name on the street, the Co-operative, have a very cosy relationship with Atos. Even the Co-operative Bank’s claim to be an ‘ethical investment’ company – as if such a thing exists – is doubtful after it emerged that in 2009 they signed a four year contract with disability denying poverty pimps Atos Healthcare.

The Co-Op have said that their new occupational health contract starts in March and that the bidding process for the new contract has already begun. The Co-Op have refused to publicly rule out a bid from Atos Healthcare.

The unethical behaviour of Atos has already been well documented in the mainstream media and by groups such as Disabled People Against Cuts. An increasing number of people have ended their lives after stress and poverty inflicted by the Atos testing regime whilst a recent investigation found that 32 people a week die after being found ‘fit for work’ by the company.

If the Co-Op were going to make their decision based on ethical concerns, which they claim will be a factor, they would have publicly rejected a bid from Atos. However instead of this they have refused to rule out the Atos bid!

The ethical image of the Co-op is its unique selling point.  But by refusing to rule out  the Atos their actions speak louder than words. 

The Campaign against Workfare 

The Con-Dem Coalition would have us believe that every benefit claimant is a scrounger, and should be made to enter into modern day slavery to keep their benefits. We are told that we need to cut the benefit bill and that Workfare is a way of people getting back into work.

The truth is 3% of the welfare budget is spent on benefits for the unemployed. With only just over a quarter of jobseekers allowance claimants receiving it for over a year.

In reality David Cameron along with his brown-nosing deputy and rotten cabinet of millionaires are far from caring about the vulnerable in society. They have given tax breaks worth on average £40,000 to the wealthiest, whilst the people they should be safeguarding are forced into modern day slave labour. Only 3.5% of Workfare employees have found employment for more than 13 weeks. In reality the only ones that benefit are the directors and shareholders of large companies such as Tesco!

This also has an effect on people who are already employed with certain firms. Why would the likes of Tesco pay for labour when they can get it for free? Therefore this puts paid workers out of jobs and undermines wages for others.

The fact is that workfare is just another ludicrous attempt by Con-Dems to turn the 99% against itself and to alienate another section of society. Next time you purchase from Tesco think about its employees. For more information visit