N30 strike: live updates

N30 strike: live updates

Updates and accounts of the massive November 30 strike against cuts, particularly of public sector pensions. Please post your news and accounts of your day below.

Please post updates and accounts of the day. If you will be updating your twitter account post up the link below.

Education
Some 58% of England's 21,700 state schools are shut with 76% affected by strike action. In Wales around 80% were believed shut and in Northern Ireland more than 50% of 1,200 schools were closed.

Industrial action by about 300,000 workers in Scotland has seen most schools close. Only 33 of the 2,700 council-run schools stayed open today as a result of action by education workers.

Civil service and local government
135,000 civil servants went on strike, representing just over a quarter of the civil service. Mark Serwotka, the leader of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), said reports from picket lines showed a huge turnout, with up to 90% of staff in some government departments on strike.

In Northern Ireland, more than 200,000 workers went on strike across the area. The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) — representing members across the civil service — will alone have more than 45,000 workers on strike and stage 160 pickets.

Health
7,000 routine operations across the UK have been cancelled, as well as tens of thousands of appointments.

London Ambulance Service told BBC London it was struggling and people not in a life-threatening condition might not get an ambulance.

Demonstrations
Up to 1,000 marches and rallies were due to take place across the UK.

An estimated 7,000 striking public sector workers have marched outside the Scottish Parliament, in protest at UK government pension changes.

Posted By

libcom
Nov 30 2011 00:01

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plasmatelly
Nov 30 2011 17:04

Spent most the morning on the picket line freezing to death! Turned around a few cars and heckled a few scabs from our sister branch who had come in as normal - some stopped at the gate, but they clearly don't have any sense of reality. Then went on to a short march through Gateshead that terminated nowhere - about 3000 noisy marchers by our count. Interestingly, our union fellow used the SolFed's Don't Cross Picket Lines as the leaflet to hand out to scabs!

Armchair Anarchist
Nov 30 2011 17:05

15,000 strikers marched through Brum today.

Anatta
Nov 30 2011 17:07

UK Uncut taking Panton House

Joseph Kay
Nov 30 2011 17:10


University of Sussex Students' Union covered local train stations with propaganda calling for a campus shutdown in support of the strikes.


Conversations on the picket line at Sussex University.


Anarchist banner at one of the Sussex Uni picket lines.


Mass picket at the main entrance to Sussex Uni campus.


In contrast to Sussex management, Brighton University admitted defeat and reportedly closed all three campuses for the day.


And the sexy new Brighton SF union-style banner.

Edit: one of the main rally in Brighton from facebook:

Anatta
Nov 30 2011 17:12

That is a cool banner red n black star

wojtek
Nov 30 2011 17:17
soc
Nov 30 2011 17:31
Anatta wrote:
UK Uncut taking Panton House

That video turned to be "private" so here's an other one:

wojtek
Dec 1 2011 01:36

Metal "police cordon" at trafalgar square - PO-PO SAYS "NO"
Are the peeps at DSG ever serious? tongue

Edit: Some more pictures of the massive barriers:
#N30 Trafalgar Square Barrier Crazy Containment

Surtrsflame
Nov 30 2011 17:56

Pickets at the British Embassy in Washington
"In Washington, Teamsters are there with nurses (NNU), teachers (AFT), service workers, (SEIU), letter carriers (NALC), and members of the British union Unison. There are well over 100 people marching and chanting"

http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2011/11/teamsters-picket-british-embassy-in.html

Melmoth
Nov 30 2011 18:07

Around 15,000 people on this demonstration. At first I thought there were more but on reflextion I think about 15 K would be correct. Many workers on demonstration for first time. Obviously, pensions a real issue but last night's 'Autumn statement' added fuel to the real resentments. " Two comrades of the ICC marched with the Sol-Fed contingent, with some good chanting (against the Labour Party and SWP's - "Down with the Tories" rubbish) During the march from Pier Head to St. George's Plataue comrades of the Sol-Fed jeered at by EDL hiding hiding in crowd. But, the crowd down the shopping centre(Lord St) rebuked them and shoppers were seen clapping and encouraging the march.
The comrades of Sol Fed left I think to visit pickets.

At St Georges the usual speeches from the rosrum by union hacks.One very good one by an old lady (a secretary of a pensioneers organisation) who made important references to the 1911 strike in Liverpool where at the same place police viciously attacked the demonstration. But all in all, union positions are to leave it to them.However, the union hacks HAD to make a reference to the occupy Liverpool movement they could hardly leave it alone. How to move the struggle forward? This is the question on everybodies lips. There still an immense trust in the unions and workers some of which are on strike for the very first time in their lives. But also present a real anger at the pension swiz and the austerity aimed at all of us
Melmoth (ICC)

Chilli Sauce
Nov 30 2011 18:07

That Brighton SF banner is sexy!

Chilli Sauce
Nov 30 2011 18:37
Surtrsflame wrote:
Pickets at the British Embassy in Washington
"In Washington, Teamsters are there with nurses (NNU), teachers (AFT), service workers, (SEIU), letter carriers (NALC), and members of the British union Unison. There are well over 100 people marching and chanting"

http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2011/11/teamsters-picket-british-embassy-in.html

Thanks Surts. I guess it's still relatively early, but any other updates from the States?

baboon
Nov 30 2011 20:38

Around, if not over, 5000 in Exeter, lively and militant with some sober discussions. I helped give out the ICC leaflet which was well taken. The local Occupy group opened up an assembly to the protesters and a number came to it - which wasn't bad considering that they had been marched out of town to a sports stadium and listened to some long union speeches. The assembly discussion turned on the alternative to capitalism and the nature of communism.

no1
Nov 30 2011 22:16

Reports from Leeds, Hull, Newcastle and Middlesborough from WYSF:
http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=n30-reports-from-wysf
edit: and now also Bradford

Standfield
Nov 30 2011 21:51

Went to the march leaving from Lincoln Fields (London). Usual A-B thing really, but every one in good spirits, despite the occasional rainy patch.

It got a bit rough when the police kettled about 100 people dancing at Charing Cross to a sound system that was originally set up at Embankment until it was shut down. One girl (could've been no more than 5ft4in) got thrown to the ground by a copper and it turned a bit tense from then on. After it had settled down, people kept dancing until it got shut down again.

This is the only video I could find of the scuffle (you can make out the girl getting thrown at 40 seconds in):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvSoGGxFlYA

Some decided then to move on to St. Paul's, and some where off to Panton Street, but getting through the police lines was tricky. Me and a friend hadn't seen the Occupation yet, so decided to check it out. Much bigger than I realised. There were a few people from the march milling around, but that was it.

EDIT: Also like to say it was great seeing an Anarchist Stall at the beginning of the march, and especially overhearing an lively conversation between two old ladies about it soon after.

Chilli Sauce
Nov 30 2011 22:31

Anybody make it to the demo outside Stoke Newington police station in support of the nicked picketers/anarchists?

Alf
Dec 1 2011 00:12

my impressions of the union day of action - sorry if this is a bit long

Preparing for the strike at my workplace

In the run up to June 30th, the various unions at the sixth form college where Miles and I work didn’t do anything to prepare for the strike or discuss the problem of the strike being limited to NUT and ATL, and thus excluding the non-teaching staff who are in other unions like Unison or not in a union. We (Miles and myself) have initiated an open discussion forum for staff and students where various issues can be debated. In the lead-up to the J30 strike this became the main focus for discussing both general issues and the practical organisation of the strike (picketing etc), with over 40 members of staff taking part the day before the strike.

This time around, the union divisions were less obvious because most of the unions at the college would be officially on strike. But again there wasn’t much evidence of the unions calling meetings. The discussion forum called for a meeting on the eve of the strike, but on the same day our email went out to staff and the call-out was included in the student bulletin, the NUT rep called a meeting for last Friday (25th) open to all staff (though not for students), which I supported because the main thing was that there was a way for people to communicate across the union and departmental divide. But as it happened I then learned that a group of students had organised a ‘student assembly’ the week before in the main concourse of the college and planned to hold another one on Friday the 25th to talk about the strike. So the student/staff divide was already being put into question. On the Friday lunchtime the meeting of staff went ahead. This was fairly well attended and there were teaching assistants and site staff as well as teachers. There was general agreement that although most of the college would be closed and the students would not be coming in, we should have a strong picket and if possible send a delegation to Whipps Cross hospital which is nearby.

Some of us then went to talk to the students. About 20 of them were sitting in a circle in the main concourse. They are a slightly expanded version of the radical core who took part in last year’s student movement. Some call themselves ‘socialists’ (SWPish) and others anarchist communists. They call themselves a ‘left wing students’ assembly’, which I criticised a bit because it would exclude people who might not see themselves as ‘left wing’. The students had talked about coming to the picket line The NUT rep said to them ‘Of course I can neither encourage you or discourage you to do this’, to which I replied ‘but I can’, and sat down in their circle.

Although I didn’t expect too many to come to the discussion forum meeting after college on the following Tuesday (29th), there were six staff and 8 students from the assembly who had brought their banners to finish off. We had a good discussion about the general significance of the strike as well as what everyone would be doing the next day.

Strike day
A fairly good turn out for the picket and although the local NUT sent its members a long legalistic document saying how many pickets you could legally have, no one seemed bothered that we were well over the limit. The students came along as well. Heavy local SWP presence who like to claim every picket for their own. A few people went into work including some NUT members. There were some spirited arguments aimed at convincing them not to go in, but no one actually changed their mind.

Some of us then went to the advertised rally in Walthamstow where I renewed some auld acquaintances. At this point people were not saturated with leaflets and were happy to take the ICC one we were handing out - http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201111/4589/beginning-struggle-or-just-another-token-gesture - which I had also given out at the meeting on Tuesday and at the picket line. The rally had a few set speeches but you couldn’t hear much and there was no attempt to actually develop a discussion - this was a rehearsal for the big rally later on. This was a signal for me to leave with some workmates and head into central London. Miles went back to Whipps for the lunch time rally, where he was helped by Jaycee..

The central London march seemed very big. People were still arriving at Lincolns Inn Fields when the head of the march set off – there was a claim of 50,000 at the rally later on. The atmosphere was boisterous. Many varieties of leftism and numerous leaflets and free hand-outs so I wasn’t surprised that I got a lot of refusals. Not so many interesting discussions as people were just filing past. One remark was fairly typical, from someone who was familiar with our positions: ‘how come you’re here, you’re supposed to be against the unions’. This was the second time such a comment had been made today so I felt justified in relying: “that’s just a cliché, like ‘go back to Russia’. Of course we are here irrespective of whether the unions are in charge of it”. He was then more friendly and admitted to his mate that he really liked our book on the Dutch-German left, and bought a copy of World Revolution. Apart from that the best discussion I had was with a guy giving out a leaflet against workfare and who said he was just getting interested in anarchism and socialism.

It’s interesting how you run into people you know even at very big at demos: apart from two of my comrades from the ICC who I had expected to be there, there were a few from the CWO and various people from libcom and the London anarchist milieu, as well as some colleagues who hadn’t been on the picket. It’s always encouraging to talk to comrades when there are so many leftists about. I stood for a while with a CWO comrade while he gave out Aurora and I gave out our leaflet. I also told Battlescarred that I thought the AF leaflet was good.

Anyway: the big rally at Victoria Embankment at the end had a very efficient sound system and a big screen, and some big names like Ken Livingstone; but although I am biased I felt it was totally demobilising. People began leaving almost as soon as they arrived. I may also be biased but I felt that a lot of people were more willing to take the leaflet at this stage, especially when they saw the headline: ‘beginning of struggle or just another token gesture?’, because at this point this seemed a rather precise description of what was happening: it felt like massively organised powerlessness.

There were quite a few discussions about the extremely vicious and provocative attacks on public sector jobs and wages that Osborne had announced on the eve of the strike. Do they want more to push the unions into organising more days like this? In any case, there is still enough anger to make it possible that they will provoke reactions that the unions will actually find much harder to control.

fromhackney
Dec 1 2011 00:44

good demo outside stoke newington police station this evening, about 100 people, to protest against arrest of 37 people outside CLRJames library in Dalston this morning. Again tonight more overkill with about 15 police vans. Lots of support too from passers by. Everyone very angry about the arrests this morning.

Rob Ray
Dec 1 2011 01:16
Quote:
Anybody make it to the demo outside Stoke Newington police station in support of the nicked picketers/anarchists?

Yep, good turnout of maybe 60-odd people who stayed til about 10 when it became clear they weren't going to let them out any time soon. Apparently Affray charges are being considered.

Iskra
Dec 1 2011 01:16

Is there any good article which could be translated and publish to inform people here about UK's general strike?

Thx.

Chilli Sauce
Dec 1 2011 07:55

Kont, not a general strike unfortunately...

Rob, Affray?

Battlescarred
Dec 1 2011 09:54

Gawd, I was handing out AF flier on Kingsway when 2 uniformed police (FIT I believe) came up
" Can we have a copy of leaflet"
"No"
" why not Mr Bone?" (!!!!!!!!!!!)
" A. I'm not Bone and B, you can't have a leaflet cos you're not a human being"
" why aren't we human beings " ( accompanied by artificial and embarrassed grins)
"Cos you're policemen"
Then I moved away and they didn't take it any further.
What I am noticing more and more is increasing arrrogance of the police as they are given carte blanche by this regime. Walling Traf Square off with mobile walls inherited from northern Ireland, saying people have to surrender banners and placards if they passed through the area adjacent to the Square, even random stop and searches of people unconnected to march, one of which I and other comrades witnessed and which we intervened at stopping the cyclist being searched in full, I believe.

Harrison
Dec 1 2011 10:31

We had a funny situation in Hull where despite the roads having been blocked off by police for the march, we were still told by stewards to keep to the left of the road....

There were also coppers keeping an eye on the uni picket line which was weird....

However, still a good day. One of the first outings for our new SF local, and we made several new contacts and handed out a load of Catalysts.

The only other thing was that a few CPB Stalinists on the picket line thought it was OK to get out their red flags with yellow hammer and sickles on. Bit embarrassing really....

Entdinglichung
Dec 1 2011 10:34
Surtrsflame wrote:
Pickets at the British Embassy in Washington
"In Washington, Teamsters are there with nurses (NNU), teachers (AFT), service workers, (SEIU), letter carriers (NALC), and members of the British union Unison. There are well over 100 people marching and chanting"

http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2011/11/teamsters-picket-british-embassy-in.html

also in Dhaka/Bangladesh, http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2011/11/30/bangladeshi-garment-workers-rally-support-n30-strikes

Quote:
By Amirul Haque Amin, President, NGWF

Today, 30 November in the capital city of Dhaka, the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) organized a solidarity rally in support of striking workers in the UK. Several hundred garment workers took
part in the rally with Bangladeshi flags and red flag.

The rally was was address comrade Rashed Khan Menon MP, Mr. Steve Grinter (Education Secretary of the International Textile, Garments and Leather Workers Federation) as well as representatives of thr Trade Union Congress, student leader Mr. Bappadittaya Boshu (President of Student Unity of Bangladesh), and central leaders of the NGWF Safia Pervin, Faruk Khan, Mrs. Arifa Akter, Ms. Nasima Akter, Mrs. Jeesmin and Kabir Hossain.

Declaration of the Solidarity Rally

1. The rally expresses full support and solidarity for the strike in thr UK.
2. The rally protests the decision of UK government to move cut pension benefits for the workers and urges the UK government to stop this.
3. The rally urges governments including Bangladesh and UK not to adopt any policy according to the prescription by the World Bank,
IMF and IFC. Those are very much anti-workers and anti-peoples.
4. The rally urges governments not to serve the interest of the multinationals rather than working peoples.
5. The rally urges all workers and working peoples to unite and fight for rights and better conditions.

Comrade Rashed Khan Menon MP expressed his full support for the strikes in the UK, as well as the garment workers of Bangladesh who
organised the rally. He also called all the workers for unite to fight MNCs and all anti-worker international institutions like World Bank, IMF, IFC and others.

Steve Grinter thanked the NGWF for organising the rally and said it gave meaning to the idea of global trade union solidarity between North and South.

Rosa Noir
Dec 1 2011 10:52
Quote:
Plasma telly wrote:Then went on to a short march through Gateshead that terminated nowhere - about 3000 noisy marchers by our count.

Think it was more than that on the march - bbc reported 8500 people. I don't think that they could have picked a place for the rally in the whole of tyneside that was more inconspicuous, uninspiring, and politically insignificant though - the march basically went from Gateshead civic centre through Gateshead high street (not exactly bustling) over the swing bridge (the smallest, lowest road bridge) then along the Newcastle quayside (bars and restaurants that don't open till evening a private-sector offices) to spillers wharf aka the arse end of nowhere.

Lots of people on picket lines in the Newcastle city centre. Northumbria uni mostly shut down. More people crossing picket lines at Newcastle uni. Good picket lines at the General hospital and Civic Centre. The metro, libraries, Grainger Market were all completely shut.

I walked across the Tyne bridge to the start of the march with some of the Occupy Newcastle people and a couple of students. Massive, very jumpy, police prescence there.

jonthom
Dec 1 2011 11:58

Around 2000 people on the march in York, links to media coverage here

Caiman del Barrio
Dec 1 2011 12:31

SLSF and friends marched between a total of six pickets in Catford, Lewisham and New Cross, finally arriving outside Goldsmiths College where 150+ students and staff - fresh from a picket line teach out - charged into the road to greet us and blocked the road for about 10-15 mins before a heinous number of navy blue TSG descended on us. The cops were full of their usual trash, trying to intimidate and rattle students with wolf tales of arrests and "hijacks by anarchists" before pursuing one group of 10 students and filming them as they walked to the train station. Their CO was familiar to us as he'd attacked a student at a local action back in January.

Generally speaking, my personal impression was that despite the abundance of strikers on many picket lines, they were often weak and unwilling to enforce the strike. Far too many individiuals and vehicles crossed, with any sort of obstructive action being jettisoned by the ubiquitous, suited union officials. Despite this, the Town Hall had no public services for the day, the Jobcentre cancelled all bar 16 appointments (much to the disappointment of a particularly unpleasant and slimey Deputy District Manager who was hanging around encouraging 'customers' to enter only to be told to return the following day) and Goldsmiths College saw barricades erected to close it down.

A good start, but I think we need to be more proactive and explicit in communicating what a strike means, which means unravelling the TUC focus on demoralising demos, 'days of action' and attaching flags to work stations, etc.

Arbeiten
Dec 1 2011 14:26

Nice one Battlescarred!

Spikymike
Dec 1 2011 15:34

Not in a position to report accross Manchester but there was a big picket (or was it a small demonstration?) outside St'Mary's hospital in central Manchester.

The demonstration was the biggest and noisiest I've seen for a long time with all the trade unions represented with their banners and a limited number of non-union or handmade banners/plackcards, perhaps 8000 or more not sure?

Fairly good response from passers buy - only one 'greedy strikers' notice in an office window which got bood at. Small police presence apart from around the bigger banks.

Some TU speakers promising more strikes if no 'settlement' but - but personally I think they are desperate for just a few more concessions on the pension issue.

Usual turnout from the various left groups. Few copies of the CWO 'Aurora' broadsheet and SolFed's 'Catalyst' given out and ads for the Anarchist Bookfair on Dec 3rd but noticeable absense of any large anarchist contingent on the march.

I suspect that despite political difference that the general message gleaned by most strikers from the more radical leaflets distributed was that this kind of union token strike was never going to be enough to set back the raft of austerity measures comming our way. The nuances of the more astute anarchist and communist propaganda material probably bypassed most casual readers.

I'm pretty sure that pickets were far more limited or even absent in some areas of the NW outside of Manchester such as Oldham but others would have to confirm that.

Soapy
Dec 1 2011 17:45

Chicago Solidarity Rally for UK Public Workers
http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/95404/index.php