At this week’s stall, three separate people approached us asking advice about claiming benefits when they are unfit for work. With this is mind, we thought it would be useful to restate the basic rules of engagement. (Most of this information is on our current leaflet.)
The general advice we give is:
ALWAYS get someone who knows the system to help you to fill in forms.
ALWAYS take someone with you to assessments as a witness and support.
ALWAYS remember that you are not alone. There are people out there to help you.
Under the ‘old’ system, you would apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). If you have recently stopped working, and have enough National Insurance contributions, you are entitled to apply for what they now call ‘New Style’ ESA, which is not means tested.
Otherwise, you will need to apply through Universal Credit. Once you have been on…
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DWP Secretary Amber Rudd is determined to be Boris Johnson’s running mate in the imminent Tory leadership campaign. Her fragile 346 vote majority in Hastings is one problem. Her other problem is her responsibility for Universal Credit and its disastrous impact on working-class households. This in turn is attracting a stream of bad press stories, even in the Mail and the Sun. Not a good look for an ambitious One Nation Tory.
Solution? Suddenly, after years of denial, refusal to release information or allowing journalists to speak to JobCentre staff, the DWP is launching a public relations campaign to persuade the public that Universal Credit is a wondrous and beautiful thing.
A leaked internal memo picked up by DPAC, the Disability News Service and subsequently the Guardian reveals a concerted publicity campaign involving newsprint and TV to “myth-bust the common inaccuracies reported on UC”.
At the end…
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The usual semi-regular listing of recent grassroots class struggle news and upcoming events – if you’re looking for commentary on the Euro elections, Theresa May and all that you can find plenty elsewhere:
The strike action by staff in Universal Credit centers in Walsall and Wolverhampton is set to continue with two more walkouts on the 28th and 29th of May. At a time when Universal Credit as a whole is coming under increased criticism, hopefully this might take us one step closer to the collapse of the scheme.
The decentralised anarchist festival is set to run across the weekend of the 31st May-2nd June, with events mainly scheduled for London, but also taking place in Newcastle, Southampton, Brighton, Cambridge, Preston and Bristol.
Other events happening at the start of June include a victory march organised by Hackney tenants to celebrate the defeat of letting agent fees
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Can you imagine waking up next to your partner only to find that they have died during the night? How would you feel, and how would you react? When we met John, he was caught between shock and anger. He was agitated, and his eyes darted to left and right as we spoke to him; he seemed to be a man on the edge, still computing the terrible loss that he had suffered. He was also angry, very angry, as he had just learned that he had been sanctioned for two weeks as a result of missing an appointment on the very day he had lost Joan, his partner. He had turned up at the buroo with a sicknote from his GP, but this appeared to make little difference to his ‘work coach’ and all she could suggest was to apply for a miserly DWP hardship payment.
We offered our…
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Sorry to come across like a bunch of capitalists but these things run smoother if we know who’s coming and get the money in early.
Stalls are £25 each but if paid by the end of Mayyou can have one for £18.
We’ve got a lot more room this year so if you need more than one table just ask and we’ll sort something out.
On the 31st of March members of RABL attended the Trans Pride march in Leeds. There was a really good turnout and it was a lovely day.
We used this opportunity to argue that in a capitalist society, the bulk of issues effecting trans people disproportionately harmed working class trans people and making transphobia a largely working class issue. We did this by distributing a leaflet, written by trans members of RABL which drew inspiration from articles by Shon Faye and Sadie Cash.
We would encourage any groups who find this leaflet useful to use it for themselves. Anarchist positions rarely seem to extend beyond trans inclusivity and other groups seem sceptical about discussing anything that might be deemed “identity politics”, and in our opinion this leaflet bridges this…
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The Gilet Jaunes have come to understand the truth about elections
All elections are dead ends, as the movement has known from the beginning: we have avoided all the pitfalls that have been set for us (co-optation by the government, appointment of representatives, manipulation by parties or unions, division between good and bad “Gilets jaunes”, etc.). We will never fall again into the election trap that […] only serves to establish the power of those who have a party apparatus, an enormous social and financial capital, relays in the media, etc. and certainly not to serve the interests of “those who are nothing”.
Because the State serves the economy, not the other way round! It is the armed wing that protects the interests of those who make their fortune by trading our means of subsistence (food, shelter, clothing, transportation, health care, education). It is in the pay of multinational companies…
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We would like to start a TEFL group in Dorset, there are many language schools especially in the BH postcode area. If you are employed by one of these firms in any capacity and would like to participate in this new initiative, please get in touch.
If you are a student, we would like to hear from you also. Remember you can carry your IWW membership in and out of work, and across national borders.
Teachers at Delfin Language School in London have joined the TEFL Workers Union, part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). As a result, they have won major improvements to their working conditions.
Prior to unionisation, Delfin contracts were copied-and-pasted templates off the internet that, in many instances, didn’t meet basic legal minimums. After a year-long campaign, the teachers now have paid meetings and CPD training sessions, five paid sick days, a pay structure and contracts that guarantee a minimum of 15 hours a week. With union support, the teachers also won back pay and a pay increase for three teachers who’d been unfairly denied a rise.
Throughout the campaign, workers have stuck together and stood up for themselves and each other. This has meant many things: taking out individual and collective grievances, setting up a shared email account to communicate collectively with management, demanding group meetings with senior managers, and organising a boycott of yearly appraisals.
On one occasion, an IWW representative in Ireland had to pay a visit to the main Delfin campus in Dublin in order to get a response from the school. Similarly, the London teachers’ negotiating hand was strengthened when their fellow Delfin teachers in Dublin joined the UNITE ELT union. Teacher-to-teacher and union-to-union communication increased the teachers’ power and made management aware that national boundaries would not prove a barrier to solidarity.
Throughout all of this, the IWW TEFL Workers Union has been instrumental in offering legal guidance, a meeting space, representation, training, and strategic advice.
One of the Delfin teachers had this to say about the value in joining the union and getting organised:
“I’m not exactly coming up for retirement, but I wish I’d done this ten years ago. All aspects of my working life until this last year have been in the hands of my employers and this has not worked out well for me. I’ll never let that happen again and neither should any other teacher.”
The struggle is not over. Delfin has agreed to meet their staff for formal negotiations and the teachers still want to secure paid prep time, better pay, and greater accountability and transparency from management. The IWW TEFL Workers Union will be there to help them achieve that.
If you work in a language school, the IWW is happy to sit down with you to discuss your contract and answer any questions you may have. We also offer training, advice, and representation in disciplinaries and grievances.
The TEFL Workers Union is open to all workers in language schools, including receptionists, admin staff, interns, cleaners, and sales staff. If you work at a language school and you have a problem at work, the IWW has got your back.
Today (May 9th), AWP staff joined in another lunchtime protest orchestrated by Unison Wiltshire and Avon branch. BCWN has been scathingly critical of these pantomime pickets, since they take place over our lunch breaks and as such involve no actual work stoppage (see our previous response here). Staff’s response today was fairly mixed but despite ours and other’s reservations, that atmosphere during the protests themselves seems to have been positive. Workers were chipper, enjoying the novelty of taking some kind of action for a change, and pleasingly defiant in their attitudes to both the bosses and the union.
Whatever our criticisms, Unison’s tactics have undeniably got the bosses rattled. About half an hour before the planned walk out, AWP’s departing CEO Hayley Richards emailed all staff in the trust to “share […] the latest position regarding the administration review”. Hayley’s email made frequent reference to the impending threat of…
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