J30 strike - updates and accounts

J30 strike - updates and accounts

Today, hundreds of thousands of workers in the UK across several unions are taking strike action against the government's austerity measures, in particular the attack on public sector pensions.

Please post updates and developments on the day, any useful links or excerpts from media reporting and any personal accounts of the day's events below.

Comments

Django
Jun 30 2011 09:51

Manchester:

I nipped along to one of the pickets outside the Aytoun Street entrance to the Crown Court this morning. It was the only one I could really visit without taking a huge detour. I could only have a brief chat with the picketers as I was late to work as always, but he said the 7 of the 9 courts at Minshull street and all of the 12 at the main Crown Courts up at Bridge Street were closed today. There's a rally in the City Centre at lunch time if anyone can make it.

Also the PCS pickets listed as being at Picadilly Tower on the J30 website are actually at the city tower next to Picadilly bus station. Picadilly Tower is still a building site so don't go there.

Entdinglichung
Jun 30 2011 11:05
Joseph Kay
Jun 30 2011 13:13

Brighton: big pickets and lots of loud public support. 30+ at BHASVIC college, which completely closed, 15-20 at the CPS just down the road. Plus pickets visiting each other and real sense this is a political, class struggle, not merely a pensions dispute. The march afterwards drew 4,000, which is the biggest weekday demo I can remember in brighton since the day the Iraq war started in 2003. Very orderly though. Also, some anarchists have squatted a social centre in Churchill Square (town centre).

Rob Ray
Jun 30 2011 13:52

Hackney:

Good presence at schools and job centres we attended, combinations of strikers on the picket, lots of supporters bringing cake, tea etc and moving round the pickets (which meant that people on the lines were getting a fair bit of info about what was going on through the day and felt well supported).

Best moment was at Hackney Community College, which already had a good number of people and were joined by a roving picket of 40ish late on in the day - felt quite dramatic!

Central London:

Seriously heavy police presence lifting pretty much anyone carrying an anarchist flag - people were being arrested for having spare clothes in their bags (which is apparently evidence of intent to commit a crime). Section 60s being handed out everywhere. Apparently this "liberal democracy" thing doesn't extend to say, someone who's just got back from a couple of days out of town...

Ramona
Jun 30 2011 14:19

Oh London doesn't sound like a fun place to be right now sad

Edinburgh:

I started off the day picketing the museum, about 9 PCS members on the line all in good spirits, UK Uncut came and brought us all breakfast. Moved on to High Riggs Jobcentre with a few other students, found PCS at the staff entrance and Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty at the public entrance leafletting claimants, seemed to go down well. Joined in with Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty's demonstration against A4e round the corner, lots of people on A4e programmes taking leaflets and stopping to talk, lots of interest in the protest from them and passers by. A4e called the police, who came and told us not to obstruct the door or harass anyone - we said we weren't, they left.

Have heard there were really busy pickets at Victoria Quay JCP, the Sheriffs Court, and various government buildings, with CWU posties refusing to deliver, excellent! Lots of people went through to the big PCS rally in Glasgow, where UK Uncut have teamed up with Black Triangle (claimants and disability group) and are currently making merry!

Alf
Jun 30 2011 16:09

Good picket at our college. Yesterday after college there was a discussion forum meeting with about 40 people present and most of them agreed they would come in the morning, including the non-official strikers (non-teachers etc). Majority of these turned up in the morning. Lively atmosphere. Very few people actually turned up for work, and not many students, but it is very near the end of term. We had visits from a group of UEL students (mainly SWP) who brought food, and a few others from the SWP. About 15-20 people went to the demo together. The demo was much bigger than I expected. By the time we got to to Parliament Square things had dispersed already. The Peoples Assembly took place. I couldn't stay for all of it, so i would be interested in other impressions. I would say it was a mixed bag...but perhaps the start of something bigger.

Rob Ray
Jun 30 2011 16:52

Oh I dunno, it had a fair few positive bits smile. North London Solfed report:

http://solfed.org.uk/?q=report-north-londons-public-sector-pensions-strike

Joseph Kay
Jun 30 2011 17:10

Forgot to mention, Brighton firefighters had parked an engine on the route if the march and were hanging out the door waving an NUT flag. Also lots of support from street cleaners/binmen. Heartening to see the seeds of the kind of solidarity we'll need in the struggles ahead.

mons
Jun 30 2011 19:44

Oxford:

Went to two pickets, one PCS and one NUT, ATL and UCU. The PCS job centre picket line only had a few strikers picketing, but they appreciated up to 40 of us lot (mainly anarchists) giving them food and support. I think 4 people crossed that picket line. Happy to have conversations, etc. and lots of anger at the lack of action being taken, lots of talk of general strikes and getting all the unions out.
The other picket was for a college. The college stayed open, but there were maybe 15 picketing strikers, and again around 40 of us supporting and bringing food. Loads of scabbing and the college stayed open. There weren't any students (of the college) on the picket lines. Quite an odd thing, a fair few people joined the picket lines (one even brought a cake) but then went into work after when they had to teach... But again, lots of people wanting more strikes and not just one-day ones. And I met an old family friend who I didn't know worked there or was political, and she was the most militant of the lot which was nice.
There was a rally of strikers (possibly just teachers, but I'm not sure) in the Town Hall which apparently had about 600 people at! Then we marched with strike supporters which was lively and had maybe 800 (but the margin of error for that is several hundred either side!) people.
Then some people did some uk uncut style stuff, occupying Natwest, in support of the strikers (which several strikers walking by saw and loved).
We've organised a party for later as well.

Apparently in Reading there were lots of pickets outside schools, but the demo was really small. Someone who was there would know better.

The pickets themselves were a bit disappointing, just in terms of the amount of scabbing and lack of resistance to it. But those that were striking were well up for it, wanted much more and, with the exception of 2 ridiculous ATL members, really appreciated the support we were giving (even when they found out we were anarchists smile )
We also met between 3 and 5 people interested in getting involved with our SolFed local, which is always nice. Plus one of us spoke to an Italian communist and teacher who saw the uk uncut thing and was baffled by how polite we were and wondered why we didn't just use molotov cocktails, she might come and talk to us about the political situation in Italy.

Edit:
Oh, and there was a load of Unison and CWU workers and banners, they held a little protest in support and were clearly pissed off they couldn't strike themselves.

Also, is it only in Oxford or does every taxi driver beep in support??

Battlescarred
Jun 30 2011 17:48

Went to picket on Bow road- PCS and Unison(!) and NUT banners. 2 pickets on side road nearby, one teachers and opposite them civil servants. March down to Mile End and then stood on central road island chanting.
Joined main demo later in day. " young boys stopped by police at top of Lincoln Inn's field and searched cos had hoods up!!! Not arrested.
Later as rob ray says rdetention of anarchists on the Strand at back end of demo and arrest of some for having change of clothes . Detained under Section 60. Arresteeds apparently taken to Marylebone station. Someone texted me to say that anarchists had been arrested on another part of demo!!
Handed out loads of AF material.

Rob Ray
Jun 30 2011 18:10
Steven.
Jun 30 2011 18:25

I took a day's annual leave today. Started off in Hackney at an academy, was initially a bit awkward as got there at 7 AM to see fingers malone, and a French sex worker, but no actual strikers. Then two quite UK Uncut-looking young women came down. Two management-types crossed the line and went in, although we asked them not to, but couldn't be too strong with it because we didn't even work there!

Then finally some strikers turned up (the opening time for the school had been put back half an hour, so the picketing was also put back, although we didn't know that). Ended up being a good, lively picket. The school was shut to children, which was good. The two girls had made loads of cakes which they offered to the first two strikers at the beginning of the morning, who said they weren't yet ready to eat cake, and the girls looked a little embarrassed (I remember this feeling well: I was pretty embarrassed the first few picket lines I went to to support people!). But a little later one of the teachers said he was hungry, and I mentioned that those two made cakes, so he went over and asked them, then pretty much everyone took a bit of cake and was very grateful.

Support staff came in, but joined the picket line, talked to the strikers then walked in together at the start of work, which I think is probably the best thing you can do if people aren't prepared to refuse to cross.

Then headed down to Hackney community college, a good picket at the main entrance, with maybe about 20 people. Was asked to help cover the back entrance, where a few people were crossing, so went there for a bit and also nipped round the corner to a job centre which had a small picket line at the rear entrance. There, workers said that some scabs had started going through the main entrance, but they didn't want to picket the main entrance, but in the end two of them did go round the front. Apparently only a couple of managers actually went into work.

Went back to Hackney College, where a group of cyclists and a few people from Precarious Workers Brigade were supporting. Then the picket was joined by a roving group of strikers from the learning trust, with supporters, and a massive banner marching down the road chanting "no ifs, no buts, no education cuts", which was a good moment.

After that headed off to the demo from Holborn.

Getting near the starting point of the demo it was clear it was massive - much bigger than the October 20 demonstration against the emergency budget which went from the same place (and had about 3000 people on it). Lincoln's Inn Fields was packed, and as soon as I noticed the demo start moving I cycled off to try to get to the front - but I went pretty much all the way to Trafalgar Square and still hadn't got to the front yet, which should give an idea of how big it was. 20-30,000 people seems likely. Quite young crowd, pretty diverse, seemed to be mostly teachers and quite a lot of student-looking types as well.

Certainly the biggest thing I've been to in a weekday that I can remember.

It was particularly heartening to see so many young people turning up to support picket lines, and joining a strike demonstration. I think it really reflects a shift for a lot of people in terms of actually seeing politics as rooted in our everyday lives, and seeing strikes as a powerful way of fighting the government and the employers.

I think UK Uncut and the student movement have had a big part to play in this. UK Uncut in particular did a great video building support in the run-up to the strike:

It helped that it was also a lovely day!

Had quite a few chats with people asking about when we're going to be out (in unison, local government) and commenting how silly it is that we were not out together. Which of course, it is.

All in all, seems like a pretty successful day.

Rosa Noir
Jun 30 2011 19:32

I visited a few picket lines and the march in Newcastle.

All the local primary schools were completely closed (with only a very bored-looking lollipop person outside each one). Apparently there weren't picket lines at some of the schools that were open but had some striking teachers because of fears that they would be too confrontational wall

At Newcastle College the picket line was lively and well attended (with lots of supporters) and there was a good turnout for the strike but with this being their 4th 1-day strike this year there were fewer picketers than on previous strike days. The college was open and lots of managers, (Unison) support staff, and students crossed the picket line (though some students and support staff did't cross or were supporting the picket). They got lots of support from bus drivers (and waving bus passengers) and council van drivers.

The picket at the central jobcentre was good, but less lively. The situation seemed a bit confused because there are other organisations in the building (and various private companies have staff in the jobcentre).

UCU at Northumbria University probably get the prize for the longest-lasting picket (till 15 mins before the march) - they seemed in good spirits and appreciated the support.

I was told that the PCS picket line for the Marine Management Organistaion / Rural Payments Agency was lively but that there was a fair amount of scabbing.

The march seemed huge - one of the biggest demonstrations i've seen in Newcastle for a very long time, but also one of the quietest and most orderly. There was a small but highly visible anarchist contingent (and other anarchists marching with their work collegues etc). There seemed to be less of a presence of the left sects than at most marches in Newcastle. The rally didn't seem to have a PA - i couldn't hear or see the people speaking.

Before the march I saw a group of young -looking workers wearing full PCS Official picket gear and flags on a random street corner waving their flags and getting beeps of support from passing cars. When i asked if they were in a picket, they said no they'd been on a picket line at "the ministry" (massive DWP offices) and had come into town then been chucked out of Eldon Square shopping centre for "looking like protesters" so had decided that they may as well protest. They seemed really excited about the day and up for more of a fight.

I talked to lots of Unison members (and members of other unions) who were annoyed that they weren't on strike. And a few people frustrated that it was only a 1-day strike. There was a sense that lots of people understand it to be about more than pensions, but didn't know what to do next.

Django
Jun 30 2011 20:33

Went looking around Ardwick for pickets after work but they'd all finished.

Here's a list of pickets and some photos from Manchester culled from the radical and corporate press:

UCU MMU
John Dalton building, Oxford Road, opposite BBC, M1 5GD
Geoffrey Manton, Rosamund Street West, Oxford Road, opposite Aquatic Centre M15 6LL
All Saints buildings, All Saints, Oxford Road, M15 6HB
Business School, Aytoun Street near Piccadilly Station M1 3GH
Didsbury Campus, Wilmslow Road, M20 2RR

UCU The Manchester College
Northenden campus, Sale Road M23 0DD
Shena Simon Campus, Whitworth St, M1 3HB
Openshaw Campus, Ashton Old Road, Openshaw M11 2WH
Moston Campus, Ashley Lane, Moston M9 4WU
St Johns Centre, Quay St M3 3BE

PCS Ministry of Justice
Manchester Civil Justice Centre, 1 Bridge Street West
Manchester Crown Court, across road from Civil Justice Centre
Manchester City Magistrates Court, Crown Square, Wood St, back from Deansgate
Crown Court, Minshull Street, off Aytoun Street, M1 3FS
Salford County Court, Prince William House, Eccles New Road, M5 4RR

PCS Equality & Human Rights Commission, PCS Young People’s Learning Agency
Arndale Centre, Corporation Street, opposite Big Wheel, M2 1NP

PCS Highways Agency, PCS Ofsted, PCS TDA
City Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, M1 4BT

PCS British Council
Bridgewater House, 58 Whitworth Street, M1 6BB
PCS HMRC
Trinity Bridge House, 2 Dearmans Place, Salford, M3 5BG
PCS DWP
Chorlton Benefit Delivery Centre, Graeme House, Chorlton Square, Chorlton, M21 9BU
Job Centres including Dickenson Road, M14 5HZ, Rusholme, Wilmslow Road, M14 5BJ

PCS
Alexandra Park Jobcentre, Moss Lane East M15 5JB
Altrincham Jobcentre, Roberts Rd, Altrincham WA14 4PU
Cheetham Hill Jobcentre, Crescent Rd M8 9DQ
Didsbury Jobcentre, Palatine Rd M20 3JQ
Longsight Jobcentre, Clarence Rd M13 0ZL
Newton Heath Jobcentre, Oldham Rd M40 2EP
Salford Jobcentre, Baskerville House, Browncross St M3
Stretford Jobcentre, Arndale House, Chester Road M32 9ED
Wythenshawe Jobcentre, Wavell Rd M22 5RA

NUT
Manchester Academy, Whitworth St, Rusholme
Stretford High School, Great Stone Road, Stretford, M32 0XA

UCU Manchester Adult Education Service
Abraham Moss Centre, Crescent Road, Crumpsall M8 5UF
Hulme Centre, Stretford Road M15 5FQ
Longsight Library, Stockport M12 4NE
Chorlton Park Centre, Mauldeth Road West M21 7HH

UCU Trafford College
Talbot Road Stretford M32 0XH
Manchester Road, West Timperley, Altrincham WA145PQ

Mr. Jolly
Jun 30 2011 21:22
Quote:
I visited a few picket lines and the march in Newcastle.

All the local primary schools were completely closed (with only a very bored-looking lollipop person outside each one). Apparently there weren't picket lines at some of the schools that were open but had some striking teachers because of fears that they would be too confrontational

At Newcastle College the picket line was lively and well attended (with lots of supporters) and there was a good turnout for the strike but with this being their 4th 1-day strike this year there were fewer picketers than on previous strike days. The college was open and lots of managers, (Unison) support staff, and students crossed the picket line (though some students and support staff did't cross or were supporting the picket). They got lots of support from bus drivers (and waving bus passengers) and council van drivers.

The picket at the central jobcentre was good, but less lively. The situation seemed a bit confused because there are other organisations in the building (and various private companies have staff in the jobcentre).

UCU at Northumbria University probably get the prize for the longest-lasting picket (till 15 mins before the march) - they seemed in good spirits and appreciated the support.

I was told that the PCS picket line for the Marine Management Organistaion / Rural Payments Agency was lively but that there was a fair amount of scabbing.

The march seemed huge - one of the biggest demonstrations i've seen in Newcastle for a very long time, but also one of the quietest and most orderly. There was a small but highly visible anarchist contingent (and other anarchists marching with their work collegues etc). There seemed to be less of a presence of the left sects than at most marches in Newcastle. The rally didn't seem to have a PA - i couldn't hear or see the people speaking.

Before the march I saw a group of young -looking workers wearing full PCS Official picket gear and flags on a random street corner waving their flags and getting beeps of support from passing cars. When i asked if they were in a picket, they said no they'd been on a picket line at "the ministry" (massive DWP offices) and had come into town then been chucked out of Eldon Square shopping centre for "looking like protesters" so had decided that they may as well protest. They seemed really excited about the day and up for more of a fight.

I talked to lots of Unison members (and members of other unions) who were annoyed that they weren't on strike. And a few people frustrated that it was only a 1-day strike. There was a sense that lots of people understand it to be about more than pensions, but didn't know what to do next.

We headed up to the 'Ministry' for 7:30ish, good solid picket line. We were the only ones there who were not Ministry employees. Tutted a the scabs who were all looking sheepish except for the occasional smug tory boy.

The whole Longbenton area had been bombarded strike posters we plastered up a few days earlier.

Rosa Noir
Jun 30 2011 21:51
Quote:
We headed up to the 'Ministry' for 7:30ish, good solid picket line. We were the only ones there who were not Ministry employees. Tutted a the scabs who were all looking sheepish except for the occasional smug tory boy.
The whole Longbenton area had been bombarded strike posters we plastered up a few days earlier.

Good to hear!

bookerhurley11
Jun 30 2011 22:17

woah what an article...

Samotnaf
Jul 1 2011 04:56
Quote:
one of us spoke to an Italian communist and teacher who saw the uk uncut thing and was baffled by how polite we were and wondered why we didn't just use molotov cocktails

I sympathise.

Nice cakes, nice smiles, nice weather, nice chats, nice intentions about general strikes, nice polite domesticated Englishness it seems - and no anger towards scabs, no anger towards the Union fuckercrats, no anger towards the enormity of what's coming down, no attacks on The Ritz or their local equivalents etc. Nice day, but the previous demos with the black blocs and the attacks on banks, etc. provoked questions - and showed up all those pro-Union let's keep it all nice ideologues. Egypt explodes again, Greece continues to explode, but what can a poor boy do in sleepy English towns...? It's nearly the 30th anniversary of the riots that spread through these English towns and woke people up - but England and the rest of the UK have been hammered back into a coma, a sleep of reason breeding ever-worsening monsters, which only a Millbank of every government, multinational building and rich man's castle will shake people out of.

RedEd
Jul 1 2011 05:36

I know what you mean, and I was just as frustrated today, seeing people cross the lines and pickets giving a friendly wave. But I don't think the 'English' 'polite approach' is any bar on militancy, it's an excuse. Militant strikes depend on getting everyone in a workplace together before the strike happens, and working out how to build solidarity and make the dispute effective. Only then does the language of scabs and pickets make any sense. When a strike is merely a bureaucratic union call out it's hard to blame people with different bureaucrats leading them for not caring.

My main frustration was that the politicos in my town almost all seemed to want this to be a symbolic demonstration for their brand of management, rather than an opportunity to start fighting and winning, from the Constituency Labour Party, to the Trots of various stripes, to the radical liberals. All the militants in my town before the strike were talking about how to have a nice family oriented strike rally in the afternoon. Not organising in their workplaces to broaden the strike and actually take effective action. When I was saying 'time is running out to build strike comities' most others were saying 'time is running out to book local bands'.

Sorry for the pessimism, because today really was quite good, and a lot of people showed support, but serious analysis of the problems of today need to happen fast, in my opinion.

Chilli Sauce
Jul 1 2011 07:02

Agreed Red Ed, but it is early days. In my workplace this was the first time the vast majority of the staff directly experienced a strike. I think it will really change the dynamic for next time.

Steven.
Jul 1 2011 08:37

Chilli, what happened in your workplace regarding support staff and non-union members crossing picket lines?

One thing I meant to add about the London rally was that there seemed to be a fair few arrests of mostly kids (the media are saying about 30) for things like having a second set of clothing, or some had spray cans.

nan
Jul 1 2011 10:53

Just to add to the comments about the (now routine) heavy handed policing in London yesterday, the (small) 'black bloc' presence were instantly surrounded by very well organised TSG police, funnelling them thru police lines and wrestling arrestees to the floor then picking them up and carrying them into the vans. People seemed to be picked out for eg wearing black, having a hoodie on, etc, tho someone mentioned spotter cards. A friend who happened to be wearing a black hoodie was confronted by a woman from one of the unions accusing him of being "one of the naughty boys who ruined my peaceful march". I also heard similar talk among NUT people along the lines of, why are the anarchists spoiling things, tho yesterday all the supposed anarchists were doing was getting arrested on suspicion of being anarchists.
Elsewhere the 'people's assembly' outside westminster central hall seemed totally lame, i only stayed for five minutes but from what i heard was a predictable mishmash of "the bankers gambled away the money... but there is enough money for pensions really..." etc. On the more radical side, a halfhearted sit-down protest outside the DWP didnt really go anywhere, no one even tried to get into the building and staff were allowed to leave and enter without disruption. It's great that so many people went on strike, but in general I thought yesterday felt a bit lacking in depth, not very much anger on display at all and a lot of pseudo-reasonable arguments for keeping things much the same as they are except a bit better.

smidge
Jul 1 2011 13:11

yesterday was a pretty weird day. started off at a rather awkard/hungover picket in lewisham. noone going in seemed to give much of a shit about the striking teachers. other reports from the area seemed really positive though.
there was a wee cheerful street party in new cross, which happened to be joined by a critical mass. a main road into london was blocked by loads of cyclists and partgoers for a bit. police arrived en masse, and shepherded everyone until we dispersed (or rather til the bulk of the critical mass cycled off somewhere and the pedestrians were kinda exposed). bit of cake, bit of shouting, bit of hanging about in the middle of the road.
central was nuts. arrived at charing cross to young kids just being nicked by police. their friends were shouting, the march stopped, loads of people got involved shouting and arguing with the police. when the kids were dragged into the station a load of people followed. think one got dearrested. others pulled down into underground, with crowd shouting. good to see solidarity like that. shit to see filthy police.
dwp was after wandering about not sure what to do with ourselves. a samba band and our lack of initative/direction/energy? meant sitting about felt kinda silly, but noone had any ideas, or enough of a group confidence to execute anything (cept round on some silly cops who took some guy to one side to be questioned/arrested. immediately they were surrounded and shouted down, and the guy was let go).
whitehall was ridiculous. insane police presence. very intimidating, although people could leave whitehall. people were being roughly snatched, with too many police and not enough of us to stop anything. sounds like the police are getting more powerful (which makes sense).
also, saw david hasselhoff.

Chilli Sauce
Jul 1 2011 16:54

It was one of the kids in my school who got nicked incidentally...

Steven, I've circulated something internally in SF. I'll email you and for any other folks who know me, drop me a PM and I'll send it your way too if you're interested.

Quote:
saw david hasselhoff.

Ha!

Joe Hell, if you're reading this, eat your hear out...

Chilli Sauce
Jul 1 2011 16:57

Also, what happened with Tiny Tempah in South London? Or was that just a rumour...?

Caiman del Barrio
Jul 1 2011 20:14

A Critical Mass of around 50 cyclists traversed around the boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham, stopping to support early morning pickets before converging on a planned street party on New Cross Road (aka the A2, the thoroughfare from Central London to Dover, ergo Europe). There, revellers rushed out to greet the cyclists and 100+ people ended up blocking traffic in both directions on the road. The eerie silence left by the lack of vehicle noise was thankfully punctured by the two soundsystems.

However, eight police vans and a helicopter arrived so after around 30 mins people started to move. There was a lot of discussion about where to go, but in the end, after marching as far as a Lewisham College campus, a couple of hotheads in the critical mass decided to abandon the pedestrians (cyclist elitism wut lol) and head off on their own.

In Central, I noted:

-the solidarity of the main demo (or part of it at least), stopping when the police start haulling 13 year olds off to the sides, and the sheer incompetence of their CO when faced with an incandescent crowd of 100 odd in response.

-the poor planning (or Machiavellianism, not sure yet) of the bureaucrats who booked a room indoors @ Methodist Central Hall which would clearly only take maybe 1/2 of the demo. This was helped (hindered?) by the fact that most people seemed utterly uninterested in hearing platitudes after having got up early to man pickets before coming up to Central to march. The assembly fetishists were equally unsuccessful it seems, their PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY banner - with perhaps one person beneath it - being People's Front of Judea-esque in its self-important self-delusion.

-generally, the sheer lack of organisation for anything following the march, despite the hours and hours of painful meetings which led up to it, leading to people to wander around aimlessly, and blocks to form accidentally to seemingly retrace the march's route (with violent responses by the police in various moments). Did anythign at all happen in the City, after all?

-other than that, the police seemed incredibly heavy-handed and clearly have a tactic of trying to isolate the student movement radicals (and everyone who radicalised alongside them) from the lethargic, sluggish union footsoldiers.

Steven.
Jul 2 2011 10:39

I looked for the assembly, but didn't see it anywhere. I also didn't see any of the UK Uncut stuff materialise either in the afternoon

bricolage
Jul 3 2011 18:41

No local schools had pickets despite being closed so checked out the local jobcentre, picket line of three workers (one a member of the socialist party) and later joined by another. About 30 of the 150 workers went in to work most saying they couldn't afford to not but others saying they weren't in the union. The response of those on strike was that they couldn't really do much if they weren't in PCS and there target should be getting them to join, whilst that could make sense to some degree security staff are sub-contracted to G4S and they seemed to think there was nothing they could do with them. I think if we are talking about generalising struggle bridging this gap between those directly employed by public sector workplaces and those not so is a primary issue. Later went to Lambeth College which was a larger picket line with a number of supporters, seemed relatively strong. Both (and I assume all) lines were tame affairs as would be expected, one ex-postman at the jobcentre lamented the fact post was being delivered there and told tales of baseball bats in the late 60s, such is the changing of the times...
(But to cover my back I don't think smacking people going to work would have been very useful or productive.)

The march to Windrush Square (centre of Brixton) took over the road and seemed like it might be going somewhere but the rally itself was pretty predictable. Still though a fairly good turnout.

Points of discussion;
- Most people on strike were not out on picket lines or at rallies.
- In contrast those taking priority of place on the picket lines (especially at the jobcentre) were already involved leftist politicos, in terms of interacting with that fabled 'ordinary worker' this was not it.
- I didn't see anyone who had been planning to go to work turn back at the picket lines, did anyone witness anything like this?
- Teachers seemed the most vibrant and 'up for it' group of workers on strike, however they were also the sector with the least need of picket lines and most schools (in my borough at least) got closed.

Went up to central London after with some PCS people I'd met and the numbers were higher than I had expected but most people have already covered the basics of it. The People's Assembly looked like a joke and I don't think any 'actions' took place in the City. I think in planning such actions we need to take into account spatial and geographical considerations more, ie. if the aim is to draw in 'ordinary' (god I hate that word) workers then it has to be where these 'ordinary' people are going to be, calling for something somewhere else which involves travel will mean only those already involved in the activist shenanigans will go there. This is largely self-defeating.

Oh and the Solfed 'Don't Cross Picket Lines' leaflets went down pretty well, I think they are a good tool.

RitaRearguard
Jul 3 2011 21:25

Good picket lines at Huddersfield Job Centre and many schools. The ATL and NUT had a rally with speakers from UNISON and postal workers and lecturers. It was a good mood of solidarity, the local UNIOSON branch instructed members not to cross picket lines. about 200 turned up to the rally and roughly the same number turned up to a Save our Services rally later in the day. This was less teachers and more council workers who were pretty mift at not been on strike. With a lack of union banners the red and black flags and Huddersfield Anarchist League were chosen to lead the march. This was amusing since the local ATL secretery who was not usesd to organising rallies was a bit worried that the teachers meeting had been made public and anarchists may turn up to disrupt things. Not a copper in sight just one PCSO all day.
There was definantly a feel of the new movement it was much liflier than the usual humdrum trade union events.
Next time we will occupie the town squatre all day.

Chilli Sauce
Jul 4 2011 16:34
Quote:
It was a good mood of solidarity, the local UNIOSON branch instructed members not to cross picket lines.

Wow. You don't happen to have a copy of the letter they sent out, do you? Any chance you could email it to training [AT] solfed.org.uk?

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So I just want to say this week is the most militant I've seen my co-workers. Although most of them (I'm in a non-teaching department) did cross picket lines last week, they are up for a fight. I think this is a culmination of a number of things, I really think the strike had an impact.

Admin edit: email broken to stop it getting spammed.