ADVOCACY IS NOT A CRIME!
The 25th February Britain-wide Day of Action saw protestors descending on High Riggs, Leith, and South St Andrews Street jobcentres in Edinburgh, and also nearby Musselburgh jobcentre, to show solidarity with arrested activist Tony Cox. Nearly 20 people were involved, distributing hundreds of leaflets declaring "Advocacy is not a crime" and "You have the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews", and displaying placards and banners. Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested at Arbroath Jobcentre on 29th January while representing a vulnerable jobseeker.
There was a good reception from jobseekers going in to sign on. At High Riggs jobcentre Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty activists took action to support a claimant who G4S security guards had unfairly refused entry to sign on. As activists moved into the Jobcentre foyer, G4S threatened to call the police. However Jobcentre management conceded a meeting, and the same afternoon a written complaint, and an appeal against the claimant's earlier benefit sanctions, was delivered to Jobcentre manager Aileen McBrierty.
At Musselburgh Jobcentre a woman who had come along to babysit her sister's two young kids while the sister had a 'work-focused interview' complained that the Jobcentre would not let them wait inside, even in the foyer area, although it was cold and wet and the woman was having pregnancy problems and needed to go to hospital. This inhuman attitude to claimants is mirrored Britain-wide and needs to be challenged.
The real crime is the war on the poor!
There were solidarity actions round Britain on the Day of Action, which co-incided with Tony's appearance in court at Forfar, where a lively protest took place. Glasgow, Dundee, Derby, London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bournemouth and Cardiff were among the sites of protest. Check links below for more info.
Report from picket of Forfar court at link below (scroll down to 25 Feb)
|Right to be accompanied to benefits interviews leaflet.pdf||28.94 KB|
|right to be accompanied - foi reply march 2014.pdf||28.02 KB|