Workfare - Unfair! No to compulsory DWP work placements! Dundee targets Learn Direct

Dundee Against Austerity, Dundee Revolutionary Communist Group, members of the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network and Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty united in direct action against the notorious Learn Direct outfit which is financially rewarded by the Department of Work and Pensions for forcing welfare claimants to take up dubious work experience placements to keep their meagre benefits.

On 15 December 2015 Learn Direct's main office in the city was occupied by activists who have regularly campaigned at the Job Centres and picketed workfare companies, standing against a miserable system which uses the labour of the unemployed to run wealthy charities or boost the profits of multinational retailers like Tesco and Asda.

Despite denials from Learn Direct staff, evidence was easily provided by campaigners of the central involvement of the company in lining up claimants for shameless exploitation. Compulsory Work Placements are touted by Learn Direct and other contractors to be the means by which the unemployed can gain work experience to prepare for a return to employment. The reality is entirely different: hours repetitively spent pulling nails out of wooden pallets or steam ironing second hand clothes with little chance of employment at the end of the placement.  

Towns and cities across Scotland, England and Wales are full of shops and companies where that compulsory labour is taking place. People in such dead end placements are not provided with information about their rights by the DWP or the firms involved: personal accident insurance, Health and Safety standards, union rights and proper support for vulnerable people are frequently lacking. Campaigners are determined to continue to expose and challenge this bullying exploitation supervised by this ruthless Tory government. The slogan is 'No to Workfare! Exploit Us and We'll Shut You Down!'

    

Advocacy is no Crime! No to benefit sanctions! Defend Tony Cox!

Dundee Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Dundee Against Austerity activists turned out for the recent court appearances of Tony Cox. A member of the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, Tony has faced a number of charges over the year for his welfare advocacy work. In early 2015 he was arrested at the Job Centre in Arbroath as he tried to accompany a vulnerable person into an interview. Statistics and campaigning experience have shown that welfare sanctions - where a person's entitlement to Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance can be ended or reduced to 40% - are disproportionately imposed on people with mental health or learning difficulties.

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Edinburgh Speaks out against Racism, Austerity and War!

On Saturday 21st November Edinburgh Revolutionary Communist Group held an open mic street rally on Princes Street. Comrades from Dundee and Glasgow RCG, Spanish workers in Edinburgh, the Women in Black, Edinburgh in Protest, joined us on the streets and the mic was open for anyone to speak out against racism, war and austerity. Activists raised the issue of Sheku Bayoh, a young Sierra Leoneon man killed by Police Scotland in Fife earlier this year, talked of the newly announced £70 million of cuts by Edinburgh Council that threaten school music lessons, lollipop crossing guides, tenement lighting and libraries alike, spoke out against the racist Prevent strategy being rolled out across Edinburgh university targeting Muslim students and the racist immigration bill currently in parliament that is set to drive refugees and migrant workers into more misery and oppression. Spanish comrades spoke out against Operation Pandora in Spain which is currently arresting anti capitalist activists en-mass, seeking to politically gag anyone who opposes Spain's policies of racism and austerity. Comrades detailed the hypocrisy of Britain's military interventions in Syria and Iraq, highlighting the booming arms and oil trade Britain enjoys with Saudi Arabia, main funders of ISIS and stood in solidarity with Socialist Cuba and movements for socialism across Latin America, beacons of hope that show a better world is possible! We are committed to creating a democratic political space on the streets, to provide a counterbalance to the racist, capitalist, warmongering media forced down our throats.

Join us at our next Speak out events

Dundee: Saturday 19 December, 12-2pm Mary Brooksbank monument, Murraygate

Glasgow: Saturday 23 January 12-2pm in front of Primark, Argyll Street.

RCG Scotland

Hands off John Bowden!

Greenock Sheriff Court for John Bowden 22 September

We reproduce below a letter sent to Glasgow Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! from long term prisoner John Bowden. John has been regular writer for FRFI and organiser for prisoners’ rights over the last 30 years. The backlash against him by the prison authorities continues. We ask you to join us in mobilising for the following dates at Greenock Sheriff Court where he is being put on a show trial for defending himself and others against Scottish prison service brutality.

Thank you so much for your very welcome letter that raised my spirits considerably, especially at a time when the constant transfers around the prison system and overtly more repressive treatment have increased the feeling of extreme isolation; your support and solidarity at such a time is deeply appreciated.

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Justice for Sheku Bayoh! Police Scotland, PIRC, SNP – blood on your hands!

FRFI supporters from across Scotland joined hundreds marching through Kirkcaldy on Sunday 6 September to demand justice for Sheku Bayoh, a 31 year old father of two who was killed in police custody on Sunday 3 May. Sheku moved to Britain from Sierra Leone when he was 11 and had lived in Fife since he was 17.

Right from the start there was a cover-up. Sheku’s family were given five different accounts from Police Scotland about the circumstances surrounding his death, including allegations that Sheku was carrying a knife, and that he was found dead by a member of the public. Sheku was unarmed and died in police custody. Whilst Police Scotland has refused to release CCTV footage, what is known is that police forced Sheku to the ground less than two minutes after confronting him, using CS spray, pepper spray and batons. Handcuffs, leg and ankle restraints were applied while he was face down. Still in handcuffs, Sheku was pronounced dead at Victoria Hospital within two hours of the start of the incident,.

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Glasgow Events

Contact us

Get in touch with your local Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! group:

Glasgow: glasgowfrfi@gmail.com

Tel: 078 2620 3476

How to deal with police harassment - Glasgow Defence Campaign

Victory to the Intifada! Rally in support of Palestinian hunger-strikers