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Reports round-up—Free speech on Palestine

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Issue 2631


Protesting against the Labour
Defending free speech on Palestine in September (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Supporters of Paul Jonson—a Dudley council worker reportedly suspended from work after calling Israel racist—have launched a statement in his defence.

Paul was reportedly suspended by Dudley council for a Facebook post stating “Stand up for Palestine—Israel is a racist endeavour”.

The post also advertised a lobby outside the surgery of Labour MP Ian Austin.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism complained to the council and called for him to be sacked.

The statement says, “Paul is a long-standing anti-racist activist and campaigner against antisemitism and all forms of racism.

“Whatever one’s views on Israel or the nature of the Israeli state and its founding, there is nothing antisemitic about this statement.

“Paul’s suspension is an attack on every trade unionist’s right to engage in political and human rights’ campaigns outside work.”

Supporters have called another lobby outside Austin’s next surgery on Friday 7 December.

Sign the support statement at Go to Facebook event page Protest Free Speech on Israel, lobby Ian Austin MP

Universities organise

Students at two universities protested against surprise visits by Israeli ambassador Mark Regev last week.

Protests took place at King’s College London and the University of Leeds.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called for a national “Apartheid off Campus” day of action at universities for Thursday of next week. Go to

No justice at the ministry

Cleaners at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) were set to demonstrate outside a private drinks reception with Tory justice minister David Gauke on Monday.

But St James’s Conservatives cancelled the £35-a-ticket event, presumably after news of the protest reached them.

Cleaners and security workers at the ministry are on a poverty wage of between £7.83 and £9 and hour.

They have been fighting for an increase to the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour for nearly a year.

In addition, as outsourced workers they are treated as a second class workforce and are only entitled to the statutory minimum terms and conditions.

The MoJ has backed down from its promise to meet workers.

The workers are organising for more strikes.

Anger at new sell-off move

CWU union reps at BT Facilities Services were called to an an emergency briefing meeting this week after bosses announced plans to outsource the company.

The union has pledged to fight the move which it says poses huge risks to the terms, conditions and job security of more than 1,700 workers.

CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said, “We will not sit back and watch our members’ jobs and livelihoods being sold off.”

The 1,700 affected include around 770 housekeepers (cleaners) and grounds maintenance staff, nearly 700 general technicians and engineers and 210 security officers.

CWU assistant secretary Sally Bridge said, “We will be campaigning vigorously against the outsourcing of Facilities Services.”

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