ECAP supports the National Strike Day
On the massive 30 November Strike Day supporters of Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty joined the Jobcentre workers picketline, protested at slave labour shysters A4e, then participated in the thousands-strong march to the Scottish Parliament.
At the main entrance of High Riggs Jobcentre, Edinburgh on 30 November
ECAP were warmly welcomed by the workers picketing the High Riggs Jobcentre, who reported 90% on strike, with a similar high strike rate at Leith Jobcentre. ECAP members were able to display banners and leaflet claimants going in at the main public entrance where, the workers reported, they were not allowed to go.
Jobcentre workers and Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty together picketing High Riggs Jobcentre, Edinburgh on 30 November
“Unemployed Solidarity with Jobcentre workers’ strike – No cuts!” and “Claimants Support the Strike for Fair Pensions for all – No Cuts!” were among the placards displayed by ECAP at the Jobcentre, which is by Tollcross in central Edinburgh. Hopefully this united action will lead to more claimant-worker co-operation in future.
NO TO SLAVE LABOUR
After 2 hours on the High Riggs picketline, ECAP moved onto nearby A4, the notorious multinational who run slave labour schemes for the government. Soon the slave masters windows were covered with posters proclaiming WORKFARE ATTACKS BOTH WAGED AND UNWAGED. When A4e management came out to complain, they were questioned about when the multinational was going to start recognising claimants’ human rights to have their own choice of representative accompany them to A4e interviews. As always A4e were quick to call the police, but the protest, now about 20-strong, continued, lasting over an hour.
30 November: protest at A4e slave labour agency, Earl Grey Street, Edinburgh
A good number of unemployed people compelled to attend A4e took ECAP leaflets ATTENDING A4E? STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS , and several stopped to talk about their experiences. One recounted how he was forced to work for nothing for 13 weeks doing gardening at a community centre in Oxgangs.
ECAP members then went on to participate in the several thousands-strong march down the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament. We distributed several hundred copies of our leaflet, stating:
The massive 30 November Pensions Strike Day March in Edinburgh passing Scottish Parliament
SUPPORT THE STRIKES
These days those with jobs must consider themselves the unemployed-in-waiting. The greed crazed gamblers of global capitalism have dumped us into crisis …. Job cuts, wage cuts, cuts to benefits and pensions; we’re told that these attacks are “necessary” and “for our own good”. We are supposed to be “realistic”.
Banner of community group North Edinburgh Fights Back on 30 November Pensions Strike Day March in Edinburgh
But we should tell them to stuff their “realism” – we see our families, communities and workplaces under attack while the rich get richer. The need to defend ourselves- that’s the “realism” we have to recognise. Let’s break down some of the barriers that separate us and turn us against one another; unemployed/employed, private sector/public sector, we all face the same potential fate.
IN WORK OR OUT OF WORK, WE HAVE A COMMON ENEMY
Today’s strikes are a clear sign of growing anger and can be a useful lesson in solidarity. They also give us a chance to meet and to recognise our common interests and our common enemy. These cuts are happening across the world in response to demands by global bankers, and everywhere workers and unemployed are taking to the streets. They are forming assemblies, challenging union demarcations and controls and staying on the streets to discuss and organise resistance to the unreasonable and irresponsible demands of the mega-rich. We should follow that example.