'Don't charge us' say firefighters in London
FORTY FIREFIGHTERS attended a fantastic rank and file meeting in central London last week. The meeting was called by Clerkenwell Fire Brigades Union members who are taking unofficial action against the levying of a congestion charge which will cost £I,000 per year.
'Why should we be penalised for working in central London?' asked Ray, a firefighter from Soho. 'Management should pay the costs.' Mark, a Clerkenwell firefighter, agreed: 'We've had to call this meeting because our union leaders refused to.
'Now we need to agree a united position between all the stations and organise coordinated action to win.' Seven central London fire stations and one fire safety office are affected by congestion charging.
All were represented at the meeting, which agreed to demand that management compensate firefighters for the congestion charge. Firefighters also agreed to join Clerkenwell's unofficial action by refusing to use their own cars for standbys (covering for shortages at other stations). Firefighter Neale Williams, who chaired the meeting, said, 'We need unity, and that means fighting on all fronts.
'We need to see the fight against congestion charges as part and parcel of the wider fight for increased London weighting and national pay.'
Protest at arms sales
PROTESTERS disrupted the annual meeting of giant arms company BAe Systems last week. Campaigners against the arms trade drowned out a statement by the company's chairman, Sir Richard Evans.
Eight protesters tied themselves together with string and for ten minutes chanted, 'Stop selling arms to oppressive regimes.'
Villagers say no to waste
AROUND 300 local people marched in Skewen near Neath last weekend to protest about the proposal to build a giant waste plant on the edge of the village. The march was lively and colourful and sent a clear message to New Labour controlled Neath Port Talbot council that the community does not want the waste plant.
Campaigners are increasingly confident that the planning application for this plant will be turned down when the council meets this week.
'Crazy law, crazy war'
AROUND 6,000 people joined a legalise cannabis march and festival through London last Saturday. One banner read 'Crazy law, crazy war'.
The march was part of an international Cannabis Liberation Day. A further 200 joined a similar event in Manchester, and the same number joined the demonstration in Hull.
Other marches took place in Birmingham, Liverpool and Edinburgh.