Target Express workers occupy in Wexford
Workers began occupying several Target Express haulage plants in Ireland on Tuesday of last week. This was after the firm sacked some 390 workers.
The trigger for the occupation was the fact that we could not get any answers as to when we will get the entitlements we are due. We decided to occupy after we heard that the high court had appointed a liquidator and that he was due in Wexford the next day.
Many occupations have now ended. But the Wexford one continues with around 15 people. We have at least one person on site 24 hours a day. All workers have taken part in the sit in and we work in shifts.
The support we’ve received from other workers, not only in Ireland but also across Britain, has been amazing. The general public are supporting us too.
We want answers from our elected government members as to when we will receive our wages, holiday pay, notice period and details about our redundancy. All we have received is the reply that this might take “possibly four weeks”.
No worker has been paid for the past two weeks. No worker has been given a P45—making it hard to pursue welfare claims. Everyone is looking for work and wants to be back in work as soon as possible.
It’s very unusual being on the premises and not working. It’s a place where we’ve worked so hard over the past number of years. But we have learned that people won’t be pushed around anymore. The strength in the depot is amazing.
Cormac McManus, Wexford, Ireland
‘Equality training’ peddles racist myths
I experienced the worrying result of social care training in the private sector last week. It seemed there was little or no regulation in terms of training content.
I was taught that asylum seekers rob benefits and that unemployed people are lazy. I was also told that black people make up racism to cover poor practice. That was as part of my equality and discrimination session.
Cutting corners on training by using private firms will mean that care workers aren’t properly equipped to do their jobs or to tackle abuse.
The lack of regulation of private companies allows oppressive attitudes to seep into the profession. The privatisation of care is leaving vulnerable people open to a poorer quality of care, and a higher risk of abuse and discrimination.
Our press is not free
It was inevitable that The Sun would publish a photo of a naked prince Harry. But it’s got nothing to do with a “free” press. There isn’t a “free press” in Britain, there is a free commercial press.
Saleable commodities that exploit apathy or trivia are deemed to be news. The economic and social matters that affect people’s lives aren’t.
Nick Vinehill, Norfolk
Get politics and class at the heart of Pride
It was free to watch Manchester Pride’s parade last month—but there was a charge to visit the gay village during the bank holiday weekend. Ticket prices ranged from £12.50 for a day to £25 for a weekend pass.
Some of the profits were donated to HIV/Aids charities. But these prohibitive costs meant that many working class and young people were excluded from Manchester Pride. It also made it a very commercial event with little political input and this was reflected in the parade floats.
There was only one trade union float, the National Union of Teachers, and three community organisation floats out of around 80.
Many political gay activists think it is time to challenge the discriminatory pricing policy at Manchester Pride and campaign for a free access event in the future.
Debs Gwynn, Liverpool
Beware Egypt’s enemies of revolution
Despite facing potential corruption charges, former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq intends to return to Egypt and establish a new party, the National Movement for Egyptians.
Shafiq is a military man. He used to be the commander of the Egyptian Air Force. The military council backed him for the presidency—but the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi beat him.
Since then Mursi has served the counter-revolution. He’s paid lip service to democracy while discouraging the continuation of the revolution that got him into office.
But Mursi is weak, and cannot be seen to be abandoning the demands of the revolution. As the revolutionary movement grows it has the potential to make further social and political gains.
The counter-revolution is certainly regrouping and organising. With that comes dangers. But it’s also necessary to distinguish between the old regime and those serving it.
Matthew Hale, Rotherham
I back action against Atos
I wish I had known about the protests against Atos. I would have travelled to the other side of the world to demonstrate against this bunch of incompetents!
And yes I also agree that it is immoral for someone to make a profit out of other people’s misfortunes.
Kirsten Miller on Facebook
A catch-22 on disability?
One wonders whether the Paralympics are a Department for Work and Pensions sting operation? Win gold, lose your benefits!
Peter Crouch, Plymouth
Socialism can use space
I would agree with most of John Parrington’s article on the moon landing. Mankind may well not be able to realise the potential benefits of space exploration until after socialism.
The article mentions science fiction novels—sometime Bolshevik Alexander Bogdanov wrote Red Star about a communist utopia on Mars.
Jim Farmelant on Facebook
Pasolini films to be watched
it is always pleasing to see a Pasolini film gracing your reviews page. But his film Salo is little more than sedately filmed torture without analysis or defence. Best recommended are his Arabian Nights, Oedipus Rex or Medea.
Joe Ruffell, Portsmouth
Asda isn’t helping us
Are the supermarkets trying to make us miserable? Asda has started having Santa grottos—in August. It says this is to help people save. It just reminds us we have no money to save.
Brenda Rogers, Newcastle