Socialist Worker

After court blocks planned Serco evictions in Glasgow - fight to defend asylum seekers

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2667

Protesters last week disrupted the Caledonian Sleeper train in protest at evictions

Protesters last week disrupted the Caledonian Sleeper train in protest at evictions (Pic: Living Rent Glasgow/Facebook)


A court has blocked the eviction of 50 asylum seekers by the multinational giant Serco in Glasgow.

The Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) said the court’s decision “raised serious questions” about the firm’s plans to turf out 300 people.

Serco had sent some tenants letters warning that it would change their locks, rather than using bailiffs to forcibly throw them out. It hoped to get around the need to have a court order—a requirement for an eviction under Scottish law.

Graham O’Neill, an SRC policy manager, said, “These 50 interdicts are a significant milestone in the campaign against Serco and the Home Office’s inhumane treatment of people seeking refugee protection in Scotland.

 “We urge Serco to immediately stop making people homeless and to stop spreading fear and anxiety among vulnerable, marginalised groups in Scotland.

“There are undoubtedly more than the three people we know of who have been forcibly evicted this summer.”

Serco, which runs asylum seeker housing on behalf of the Home Office, wants to push through the mass eviction before its contract ends. The new landlord, the Mears Group, has said it wants to take over empty housing stock in September.

The court decision comes amid mounting pressure on Serco bosses.

Around 50 supporters of the Living Rent Glasgow tenants’ union disrupted the Caledonian Sleeper train at Glasgow Central Station on Wednesday. Serco operates the Scotland to London rail service.

Chants of, “Serco, Serco—out of Glasgow,” echoed in the station.

Posters

A statement from Living Rent Glasgow said, “We boarded the 23:47 Caledonian Sleeper at Central Station, plastering the train with #lockoutserco posters.

“We chatted to passengers and staff aboutSerco’s despicable policies.

“It was a thrilling action, complete with a run-in with the flustered managing director of the Caledonian Sleeper and a belligerent station manager.”

It will take direct action to block the mass eviction of people. Living Rent Glasgow added that the direct action was the “start of our call for UK-wide resistance to the entire lock-change regime”.

“It may be the 11th hour for these evictions, but that has only strengthened our resolve,” it said.

“We will defend our neighbours by any means necessary.”

Supporters of the group stopped a planned eviction in the Maryhill area of Glasgow in June.

Activists have called a “lock in” at Glasgow City Council for Tuesday 20 August. They are demanding the Scottish National Party (SNP)-run council offers more than “reports with empty promises” and shows Serco it’s not welcome in the city.

The treatment of refugees shows up the reality of the British state’s racist immigration rules. And new Tory home secretary Priti Patel has made clear she wants to make them even harsher.

Anti-racists need to support the campaign in Glasgow—and build a movement against the brutal system of detention and deportation.


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