Archive for June, 2009

Calais No Borders Camp – What next?

Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, 30 June, 2009 by bristolnoborders

camp

As Bristol No Borders’ Activists return to the UK, they do so with the memories of those still stranded in Calais with them. The particpation of those from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq in the camp was probably the most positive thing at the camp, I think it is fair to say. Expect a full article of reflections and practical plans to help our friends in Calais soon…

demo

manifestation no border du 27 juin 2009 calais
Uploaded by calaistvNews videos hot off the press.

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French Authorities Bulldoze Dunkirk Migrant Camp

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Friday, 19 June, 2009 by bristolnoborders

WHY WE ARE GOING TO CALAIS:

Wednesday June 17th: These images may look like they are taken in Palestine, but they are in fact from just across the Channel.

dunkirk2

(report is google translation)

Wednesday June 17 to 9:00 am, the national police, the PAF, and agents of the autonomous port of Dunkirk have destroyed the refugee camps opposite the ferry terminal in Dunkirk

The camp housed hundreds of migrants.

The migrants “housed” here were mainly new arrivals, mostly teenagers.

The method is well established, and always the same scenario of destruction that runs in a loop at Dunkirk in years.

dunkirk1Nobody had time to salvage anything from the destructive crush gear tents, huts, food, clothing, and above all personal belongings, papers, money, photos of a baby mama …. there is certainly a desire to create a climate of terror and insecurity among refugees.

For years, the State, in Dunkirk, destroyed the camps but does not solve the problem

dunkirk3dunkirk4

Calais: Site and Workshops Announced

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, 17 June, 2009 by bristolnoborders
camp2_fused

Camp Site

Defy the rise of racism ! Come to the Calais No Borders Camp 23-29 June

With deportations of migrants (SOAS), attacks on Romanians in Northern Ireland and the rise of the elected neo-fascists, we make a last call for all those who are wondering whether to come to Calais.

Workshops range from practical workshops for migrants to developing our politics and networks, as well as medical and legal workshops.

Workshop Programme

Directions and other site details

We now even have the obligatory denouncement and misrepresentation in the Daily Mail.

FREE THE SOAS CLEANERS!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Monday, 15 June, 2009 by bristolnoborders

SOAS directorate block occupied over brutal deportation of SOAS cleaners

Occupation of SOAS

Occupation of SOAS

University cleaners who won living wage detained after dawn raid

Students and allies at the University of London’s School of School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have occupied the university today to protest against managers’ attacks on migrant workers.

Nine cleaners from the university were taken into detention after a dawn raid by immigration police on Friday.

Five have already been deported, and the others could face deportation within days. One has had a suspected heart attack and was denied access to medical assistance and even water. One was over 6 months pregnant. Many have families who have no idea of their whereabouts.

The cleaners won the London Living Wage and trade union representation after a successful “Justice for Cleaners” campaign that united workers of all backgrounds and student activists.
Activists believe the raid is managers’ “revenge” for the campaign.

Immigration officers were called in by cleaning contractor ISS, even though it has employed many of the cleaners for years. Cleaning staff were told to attend an ‘emergency staff meeting’ at 6.30am on Friday (June 12).

This was used as a false pretext to lure the cleaners into a closed space from which the immigration officers were hiding to arrest them.

More than 40 officers were dressed in full riot gear and aggressively undertook interrogations and then escorted them to the detention centre. Neither legal representation nor union support were present due to the secrecy surrounding the action. Many were unable to communicate let alone fully understand what was taking place due to the denial of interpreters.

SOAS management were complicit in the immigration raid by enabling the officers to hide in the meeting room beforehand and giving no warning to them.

The cleaners were interviewed one by one. They were allowed no legal or trade union representation, or even a translator (many are native Spanish speakers).

The cleaners are members of the Unison union at SOAS. They recently went out on strike (Thursday 28 May) to protest the sacking of cleaner and union activist Jose Stalin Bermudez.

The occupation has issued a list of demands to SOAS management:

1. We call on the directorate to request the secretary of state to immediately release the detainees and to prevent the deportation of the three cleaners who are still in detention in the UK.
2. For the directorate to release a public statement condemning what has happened to the SOAS cleaners and calling for their immediate release and return.
3. To campaign for the return of the cleaners who have already been deported.
4. To bring all contract staff in house. SOAS should not use contractors, ISS or others.
5. To keep immigration officers from entering campus under ANY circumstances or other forms of collaboration with immigration or police. Universities are for education not for state violence and oppression.
6. A year’s wage as reparations for all detained and deported staff.
7. To hold accountable SOAS managers who were complicit in facilitating the raid and detention of the cleaners, refusing to aid a sick worker and a pregnant woman.
8. To reinstate Jose Stalin Bermudez, the SOAS UNISON branch chair.
9. To respect the right to organise in Trade Unions unimpeded.
10. To provide space and resources for a public meeting to build support for the SOAS 9 and other migrants, in education and beyond, affected by immigration control and racism.
11. Amnesty for all those involved.

One of the detained cleaners today stated, “We’re honest people not animals. We are just here to earn an honest living for our families. SOAS management are being unfair.”

Joanne, one of the occupying students said,
“Universities should be sanctuaries: places free of violence and aggression. SOAS’s reputation as a university has been tainted today due to the complicity of state brutality in the arrest of the cleaners.”

Graham Dyer, lecturer in Economics of Developing Countries and SOAS branch chair of lecturers’ union UCU, said:
“Our fight has united lecturers, staff and students and has rocked SOAS management. Those managers are now lashing out.

“It is a disgrace that SOAS management saw fit to use a seat of learning to intimidate migrant workers. This is their underhand revenge and we will do all we can to stop migrant workers paying the price.”

The campaign to stop the deportation is supported by Tony Benn, MPs John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, film director Ken Loach, and many trade unionists and student activists.

John McDonnell MP said:
“As living wage campaigns are building in strength, we are increasingly seeing the use of immigration statuses to attack workers fighting against poverty wages and break trade union organising.

“The message is that they are happy to employ migrant labour on poverty wages, but if you complain they will send you back home. It is absolutely shameful.”

Ken Loach said:

“This raid is the action of a bully. Migrant workers are amongst the most vulnerable – poorly paid and far from home.

“Recent action by Unison to secure better wages and conditions at SOAS was good news. Now we wonder if the SOAS cleaners are being targeted because they dared to organise as trade unionists.”

The current occupation is a reflection of broad outrage against these actions by all sectors of society. This raid is widely seen as a continuation of current trends to remove immigrant labour and to maintain impossibly low wages.

Cleaning contractor ISS used the same tactics against tube cleaners that went on strike with the result that key activists were deported. The use of immigration law is bering used for union busting.

contact: Clare Solomon on 07958 034 181
Email: freesoascleaners@googlemail.com
Blog: freesoascleaners.blogspot.com