Last week the Metropolitan police killed 24-year-old Chris Kaba.Continue reading
This motion was passed by Greater London Regional Council of UNISON on 2 November 2021
BLACK MEMBERS AGAINST RACIALLY DIVISIVE NATIONALITY AND BORDERS BILL
The ‘Nationality and Borders Bill’ is an appalling, racially divisive piece of legislation that seeks to legitimise and elevate the unpopular, derided racist hostile environment policy. The Bill seeks to criminalise the heroic acts of refugees in carving out routes to safety despite tremendous odds to arrive on Britain’s shores, along with the many thousands of acts within our communities that has played a part in the successive defeats of the Home Office’s most brutal policies. It is likely to lead to more outrages in line with the Windrush-Scandal.
Action now in all sectors, with the leadership of our Black members, and the wider refugee, asylum seeking and anti-racist communities, is essential to stop the Bill from becoming a workable law.
We note that
The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) defied the threat of the Borders Bill to criminalise the act of rescuing people from the sea and responded by asserting that they will not break their ethical code to rescue anyone in distress at sea without discrimination1.
The TUC statement of 24th August 2021 calls on the government to “… suspend deportation flights until it has addressed the miscarriages of justice taking place within the immigration system, and to scrap the new Nationality and Borders Bill that would breach international human rights law and increase worker exploitation.”2
Timed to coincide with the launch of the Bill the Home Office organised a ‘summer of charter flight’ mass deportations and removals to sweep up any ‘low hanging fruit’ the Home Office could reach. These mass deportations during a continuing pandemic were resisted by Jamaican, Nigerian, Zimbabwean and Vietnamese communities and organisations. Work by immigrant-rights organisation Movement for Justice identified so many miscarriages of justices concerning the Jamaica flight it eventually left with just 7 (Seven) of the 90 (Ninety) people originally targeted.
However, rather than end the injustice, the Nationality and Borders Bill:
• Seeks to create concentration camps of asylum seekers on islands hidden from view, inaccessible and out of the regular jurisdiction.
• Criminalises the most important aspect of seeking asylum – the act of moving across borders to escape danger.
• Perpetuates a view of Black people as outsiders whose status is permanently in question.
• Endorses Home Secretary – Priti Patel’s public attack on the lawyers and organisations who successfully fight oppressive Home Office practices by labelling them as ‘do-gooders’.
• Threatens sanctions against countries that don’t roll over and accept deportations, such as Jamaica which resisted accepting deportees who were effectively British, had no ties in Jamaica, had been in the UK from childhood, and faced immediate risk on return.
Overall, the Bill seeks to divide and weaken the working classes and oppressed through inducing and encouraging racism. The stigmatising of new asylum seekers and other immigrants who possess the highest hopes and ambitions for a better, fairer society, denotes a clear threat to everyone who, by association of the colour of their skin, the sound of their accents and the colour of their passport, prove the historic realty that Britain’s role in the world brings the world into Britain. The dynamism and hope in our increasingly international community is a threat to any government that seeks to intensify exploitation of the working class and to extend deeper cuts to social welfare and provisions.
- Support the statement against the Nationality and Borders Bill issued by the TUC.
We call on Regional Committee to
- Work with all TUC links that fall within the committee’s competence, to explore ways to further the words of the TUC statement against the Nationality and Borders Bill into effective actions that can defeat that Bill, and reverse the racist hostile environment measures.
- Work with Labour Link to strengthen Labour opposition to the Nationality and Borders Bill.
- Call on Labour Link to support those local authorities / councils that make public pledges that they will resist collaboration with the Home Office on its new rules which target immigrants.
- To launch a high-profile campaign for the region to oppose the bill from becoming law.
- Work with appropriate regional and national committees to develop a strategy through discussions / liaison to strongly support the campaign to prevent the Bill from becoming a workable law while in full compliance with UNISON rules.
Pizza Hut workers across several stores owned by the ATEAM franchise have not had their wages paid in full for several weeks now. On 22nd April, 25 people workers and supporters gathered, 2 metres apart, at Pizza Hut Penge, an amazing show of solidarity in these uncertain times. Continue reading
Motion agreed at our branch committee on 21 January 2020
This branch notes:
The fourth national day of strikes and demonstrations across France on 9th January saw massive action against French president Emmanuel Macron’s attacks on pensions. According to union figures, 370,000 people marched in Paris—up by 20,000 from the last day of national action on 17 December. Elsewhere 120,000 took to the streets in Toulouse, 35,000 in the port city of Le Havre, 30,000 in Rouen, 27,000 in Lyon and 25,000 in Grenoble. In Marseille 220,000 people took part, an increase from the 150,000 on 5 and 10 December and 200,000 on 17 December.
Those marching across France included striking rail and public transport workers, refinery, hospital and civil service workers, dockers, teachers, firefighters, barristers, Yellow Vests and more.
Across the country about half of teachers were out on strike, 60 percent in Paris. Over two-thirds of train drivers and nearly 60 percent of train controllers struck according to management figures. Only a skeleton service—staffed by managers and a few scabs—ran on the Paris Metro. All eight oil refineries in France started a four-day strike from 12 noon on Tuesday 7th January. The CGT union reported that this halted the movement of fuel by tanker or pipeline completely.
The government still wants £10.2 billion cuts in pension spending and a system that will mean most people working longer and get less.
This branch believes:
- The strikers are correct to reject Macron’s partial climb-down (which will still leave most people worse off)
- There is a danger that the union leaders will allow the strikers to be isolated.
- That in the UK it is our duty to show solidarity and to raise awareness of the strikes through our unions, despite the near total news blackout.
This branch supports:
- The call for a general strike in France to secure full victory
- ‘Twinning’ with our sister union in France to update our members on what is happening and to develop solidarity between French and British workers
- A donation to the Strike fund of £50
Proposed motion to Lamebth UNISON branch committee in July
As part of the national day of action by fast food and hospitality workers there was a large protest and picket outside of Brixton McDonalds on 4 October [Photos]
Victory to the McDonalds, TGI Friday and Wetherspoon strikers!
Emergency demo Tuesday 15th May at 17.30 in Whitehall Continue reading
Social Worker Jocelyn Cruywagen recently returned from a trip visiting a refugee camp in Calais. Below she documents what she saw. Continue reading
Speech by UNISON activist Henry Roberts at the solidarity with the Windrush generation demonstration in Brixton Continue reading