(en) GROUNDSWELL CONFERENCE: HARINGEY

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Fri, 28 Feb 1997 20.41 GMT


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GROUNDSWELL CONFERENCE: HARINGEY

BURGER KING BLACKBALLED At this, perhaps the biggest Groundswell Conference, war was declared by jobless claimants on Burger King and its parent company Grand Metropolitan Trust. This company is the only national body as yet identified as being implicated in the slave labour trade Project Work - in Hull and Kent. Burger King has been involved in some scandalous work practices and cheap labour scams like time-limited contracts. Grand Met is a multinational which owns J&B Scotch, Smirnoff, Pilsbury Cookies, H"aagen Dazs, Cinzano, Baileys, Malibu, as well as hotels and the burger chain. Grand Met has long been known for its activities in so-called training for the unemployed, and Restart courses. The Groundswell Conference decided on a local day of action against Project Work on 27th February, the coming launch date for the extension of Project Work to 29 towns throughout Britain. After Easter Groundswell plans a national campaign against Grand Met and Burger King as Project Work providers.=20

THE RELUCTANT 'VOLUNTEERS'

About half the proposed Project Work towns will start their schemes this month. The other half will kick-off in May, declared Oxford Groundswell (see list). Apart from Grand Met, Edinburgh Claimant's Group claimed the other culprits in the Project Work provider racket include: Instant Muscle, The Training Network, Career Ahead, and East Yorkshire County Council who have been paying the jobless fl0 plus benefits to paint the railings on the seafront at an East Coast seaside resort (see address list). ln New York, where these types of schemes have been introduced already, subway workers were sacked and replaced by dole conscripts. This has happened here with young workers on YTS. ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>> NEW LISTS FROM A-INFOS <<<<<
You can change your subscription to a-infos and receive all messages for a 24 hour period in one post: majordomo@tao.ca subscribe a-infos24 ------------------------------------------------------------------ The Edinburgh Claimants argues: "Project Work is to be forced on everyone unemployed for over two years. All such claimants will be made to do thirteen weeks compulsory work for benefits plus =A310. Unemployed people who refuse to attend or leave early will lose benefit." The Project Work pilot schemes in Medway, Kent, and on Humberside have met with mass opposition. The local councils and most charities have boycotted the scheme. Karen Spooner, chair of Humberside Voluntary Sector Alliance, says: "We didn't think it was appropriate to offer placements, particularly in care work, to people who were compelled to be there under threat of losing their benefit". Similar noises are coming from the Voluntary Sector in Scotland.=20

LOOMING THREAT

Some sixteen groups from across the country turned up for the conference. The London Dockers Support Group sent a speaker and the conference was addressed by a group of London textile workers in Tottenham who are occupying their factory. The 'Three Strikes' strategy was discussed, together with 'Sanctions Busting' and the Attitude of the civil service unions. Nationally it was claimed union resistance had been poor. The members of the civil service unions were implementing both the Job Seeker's Act and Project Work. Some union bosses seemed to be threatening unemployed activists. The leaks from rank and file dole workers about Employment Service conduct on JSA and Project Work to Groundswell and the anarchist press was welcomed. Edinburgh reported that they were issuing a 'third strike' exposing a claimant adviser in their area. Oxford claimed they had reversed fifteen cases of claimants being sanctioned. There was discussion of Fraud Squads, Housing Benefit, cuts in mother' s benefits, and an alternative election show, but the dominating theme of the proceedings was the looming threat of the introduction of Project Work. =20

Unemployed Worker

The following are Anti-JSA groups we know of in London.

North London, c/o PO Box 2474, Loncion N8 Tel: 0181-802 9804 (also for general information about starting your own group)

East London Against the JSA, c/o 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX

Hackney Against the JSA, c/o Colin Roach Centre, 56 Clarence Road, London E5

Hounslow Claimants Action PO Box 87, Hampton, Middlesex, TW13 3TF

Newham & District Claimants Union, Durning Hall, Earlham Grove, Forest Gate, London E7

South London, Box JSA, 121 Railton Road, London SE24 OLR

Southwark Claimants Action, c/o SHIP, 612 Old Kent Road, London SE 1 5 1 JB

Merton Unemployed Centre, Wimbledon Methodist Church, London SW19 1 SP

London Against the JSA, PO Box 3140, London E1 7 5U

Groundswell is a UK-wide network of independent claimant and campaigning groups against the JSA and Project Work. For more details about groups outside London contact them at: =20 Oxford Claimants Action Group, c/o OUWCU, East Oxford Community Centre, Princess Street, Oxford OX4 1 HU.

FREEDOM PRESS INTERNATIONAL =20 http://www.tao.ca/~freedom

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