Workers at the Leicester Square School of English keep setting 'em up and knocking 'em down as last Thursday's rush hour protest forced the Drapers to close off a busy thoroughfare in the City of London.
After a successful communications blockade earlier in the week, workers at the Leicester Square School of English – supported by the Angry Language Brigade and the IWW – held an early morning picket outside the Drapers Hall in the City of London.
Workers chose to target the Drapers – once a master craftsmen’s guild, now little more than an elite business club – because their wage-stealing boss is a noteworthy member. In fact, an earlier action caused Tallents to resign as a governor from the Bancroft's Academy – a position he attained through nomination by the Drapers.
Workers are fighting for thousands of pounds in unpaid wages resulting from Tallents' decision to permanently shut down the school over Christmas without informing staff or students.
Quite apart from effectively stealing holiday pay, notice pay, and straight-up unpaid wages, Tallents allowed newly arrived international students to arrive at a closed school unable to provide the lessons and accommodation they'd been promised. If it hadn’t been for the staff – at that time occupying the school building – these vulnerable students, some with very little English, would have literally been left out in the cold.
Ensuring they caught the morning rush hour, workers arrived to the Drapers Hall bright and early. Donning hi-vis IWW jackets and carrying flags and banners, the workers quickly made themselves noticed. As they'd chosen to install themselves on the privately owned Throgmorton Avenue, they were soon asked to leave on threat of the police being called.
After protesters made it clear they wouldn't be moving, the Drapers' Hall took the interesting decision of first closing then locking the gates at each end of Throgmorton Avenue, leaving the picketers barred inside.
While the picket had already garnered considerable interest from both passersby and local office workers, the shutting down of this usually busy passageway only served to dramatically increase the visibility and effectiveness of the picket. And despite the fact their morning was being disrupted, passing commuters were almost unanimously supportive.
Once the police had arrived and workers were “released” from their enforced street occupation, they set up in the front of the building to finish off the picket and snap some pictures.
So, to the Drapers, the LSSE workers have a message: in case you didn't believe us the first time, you need to sort out your member, Craig Tallents. If you can’t convince him of the need to sit down with his staff, we'll be back.