KINGSTON FOR A FUTURE THAT WORKS
PUBLIC MEETING called by Kingston Trades Council, Kingston GMB, Kingston University Education Activist Network, Kingston Anti-Cuts Group, Kingston Right to Work and London Unite Community.
Matt Wrack (General Secretary, Fire Brigades Union)
Julie Reay (Kingston Hospital UNISON)
Mark Campbell (UCU NEC and lecturer at London Met)
CHAIRING: Andy Higginbottom (Branch Secretary, Kingston UCU)
– Defend our National Health Service
– For free, fair and funded education
– No to cuts, closures and privatisation
– No to a lost generation – invest for jobs and homes
JOIN THE FUTURE THAT WORKS MASS DEMONSTRATION ON 20TH OCTOBER!
Benefits campaigners from Kingston Right to Work are set to stage a “cut bankers’ bonuses, not benefits” protest against the impact of benefits cuts locally.
Protestors say that cuts to housing benefits will have a negative effect on the poorest people living in the borough. They also point to the fact that scores of disabled people have been thrown off disability benefits in the borough, only to have their decisions reversed on appeal.
Changes to disabled benefits, including moving claimants from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments next year, could mean half a million people losing their benefits. And large amounts of disabled people in Kingston are being classified as “fit to work”, only to have the decision overturned at appeal.
Meanwhile, David Cameron recently set out plans to strip some 380,000 people under the age of 25 of their housing benefit. Campaigners are warning that these measures will cause a massive homelessness crisis, pointing to the problems around overcrowding and long housing waiting lists in Kingston recently revealed by the Kingston Guardian. Of 6,800 council and housing association tenants in Kingston, 377 are in need of larger homes for their families, while some 8,355 are currently on housing waiting lists.
“The government is cutting benefits to fund bailouts for the bankers, even though they are continuing to pay themselves massive bonuses,” commented campaigner Alistair Farrow. “The clampdown on disabled peoples benefits is going to lead to destitution and suicides, but massive fraud by the bankers is rewarded with fat bonuses. And the government’s plans for housing benefit could see hundreds of thousands of young people lose their homes – all to pay for a crisis caused by the banks.”
Cut bonuses, not benefits! is scheduled for Saturday 11th August. Protestors are meeting at Kingston station at 1pm.
From the Kingston Guardian.
Dozens of disabled people have overturned wrong decisions to cut their benefits.
More than 57 people successfully appealed against the decision not to grant them disability living allowance last year.
Disability campaigner Jane Young, from New Malden, blamed the perception of disabled people costing the country too much for the number of rejected claims.
Kingston Trades Council has called an important meeting for local trade unionists and activists, as the TUC announced its “For a Future that Works” demonstration on 20th October.
The TUC’s last mass demonstration on 26th March 2011 was over half a million people strong. It was a show of strength of the labour and anti-cuts movement against a government that wants ordinary people to pay for the bankers’ and bosses’ crisis.
As Europe descends into financial chaos, the government is demanding more and more austerity. The NHS is facing massive cuts and privatisations, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers are using their jobs and the government is attacking the labour rights of workers. We need a big demonstration of the strength and unity of the trade union and progressive movements to give confidence to workers who want to fight back.
Kingston Trades Council has called an organising meeting to bring together local activists who want to start building the demonstration to make it the massive march it needs to be. We want to use this meeting both as a way of planning how to mobilise huge amounts of people from the borough and of bringing together the elements in local society that are looking for ways to combine and organise against the government’s attacks.
7.30pm Thursday 12th July
Kingston Labour Party offices
160 London Road
Kingston KT2 6QW
THE ATTACK ON THE NHS
What it means for South West London and how we can fight it
7pm Thursday 10th May
Kingston Labour Party offices
160 London Road
The government’s Health and Social Care Bill may spell the end of the NHS. Already big sections of the healthcare system are being put into private hands – Richard Branson’s Virgin Care has signed a contract to run eight community hospitals in Surrey.
Hospitals are being cut too – despite all David Cameron’s promises before the election. Wards are being closed and local A&E departments are under threat. And new rules means that more privative patients can be treated by NHS hospitals – NHS patients will be kicked to the back of the queue.
Join us to learn about the attack on our NHS locally – and how we can fight it.
Speaking: Kevin O’Brien, Secretary of UNISON Epsom and St. Helier.
HOSTED BY KINGSTON TRADES COUNCIL
Footage of today’s demonstration outside Kingston Crown Court.
By Richard Donnelly.
About twenty activists congregated in Kingston town centre today to take on companies that are still involved in the government’s “workfare schemes”. Buoyed by the success of the recent protests in forcing company after company to pull out of the schemes, and by the government’s concessions over one of the programmes, they targeted high street shops that continue to use welfare claimants as unpaid labour.
The demonstration was organised by Kingston Right to Work, and hit McDonald’s first, where activists made speeches explaining that, though Chris Grayling, the employment minister, had given the multibillion pound company £10 million to create jobs, they had not used the money to open a single new position.
Wilkinson’s was next, where police and security guards had to lock one of the doors to stop the store being occupied. Shoppers were turned away as the protesters made the case that no one should buy goods from a shop that uses forced, free labour. As the demonstrators headed towards McDonalds, one of the union reps from the shop congratulated the protest for its work, explaining that workfare was being used to undermine the pay and confidence of retail workers.
Demonstrators were angry not only about the crude way in which the government wants to use unemployed people to drive down wage bills for massive companies, but also the attacks on benefit claimants being made in the media and by Tory politicians. Speaking outside Superdrug – which has suspended involvement in workfare, but not pulled out of the scheme completely – one protestor said, “Chris Grayling, the employment minister, calls unemployed people scroungers – but he claimed public money to pay his rent for a flat in Pimlico, even though he owns two in Wimbledon and one in Epsom. The real scroungers are in parliament.”
Kingston Right to Work resolved to keep up its campaign against workfare and continue shutting down stores until the schemes collapse. Members of the group will attending the Austerity and Resistance conference next Sunday to plan their campaign against the Tory attack on benefits and the welfare state.