Jun 19 LARA Jam with a Refugeemore >>
A couple of the Bristolian crew went down to Redcliffe last Monday (10th June) to dish out the paper and to show our support to anti-blacklisting campaigners. Over 20 members of various unions and others held a short demonstration against the Kier Group (notorious for blacklisting Health & Safety Reps and workers involved in unions), in this case recieving building and maintainance contracts for education facilities funded from the public purse. It just so happens that the Kier Group are taking over May Gurney and are to run Bristol's waste management, and they've gotten themselves onto the front page of this months paper:
As troubled waste management company May Gurney teeters on the edge, one thing is for sure: no one in Bristol is going to benefit – least of all the binmen and women struggling to keep the city clean under ever-tougher working conditions and on dwindling pay packets.
As reported in the last Bristolian, May Gurney’s highly-paid executives have been HOLDING THE CITY TO RANSOM, blackmailing senior council officers into inaction despite MG’s repeated failure to meet contractual targets. ‘Fine us and we go bankrupt; and if we go bankrupt, no rubbish will be collected at all, our workers will end up on the dole, and the council won’t be able to claw any money back.’
So there are sighs of relief at Shitty Hall at the news of a white knight coming to the rescue with a bail-out offer. Step forward civil engineers Kier Group, who are offering May Gurney a juicy £221 million in a merger deal expected to be confirmed in mid-June. When the deal goes through, the joint KG/MG organisation will have contracts at one in five of all the local authorities in the UK – including Bristol – with an estimated annual turnover of £2.8 billion, and £5.7 billion-worth of orders on the books. The service giant will encompass not just rubbish and recycling work, but also roads and housing maintenance, general facilities management, and construction.
Of course, when making a corporate omelette like this, eggs get broken. Around 200 are expected to lose their jobs – though only May Gurney’s frontline staff, not the directors and certainly not the shareholders, who will own more than a quarter of the new organisation.
As anxious workers who picketed May Gurney’s Keynsham depot in early May over the proposed deal pointed out, the company’s new overlords are up to their necks in ILLEGAL BLACKLISTING ACTIVITY. Like other big construction firms such as Costain (which also bid to buy out MG), Kier has a long-held reputation for getting rid of employees who call for safer working conditions. Such workers then find themselves turned down from jobs at other companies, regardless of skills or experience – enforced joblessness that can last for years, thanks to a secret ‘do not employ’ database operated by building industry-bankrolled spying outfit The Consulting Association. An offshoot of an earlier blacklisting service, the Economic League, TCA was raided in 2009 by the Office of the Information Commissioner, which then closed it down permanently for its extensive data protection violations.
But whilst TCA has been shut down, the practice of blacklisting lives on, as 28 electricians on the London Crossrail project (undertaken by a consortium including, erm, Kier) discovered just last year when they were unexpectedly made redundant. Why? Their union reps had raised real concerns over life-threatening safety issues.
Since then, around thirty local authorities across the country now refuse to accept tenders for publicly-funded contracts from blacklisting companies like Kier – but not Bristol City Council… Yet.
The question is, will our own council place more value in the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Bristolians, over the interests of rich corporate bosses?
And will His Royal Redtrouserness George Ferguson refuse to do business with Kier – or will he meekly stand by and let it take over where May Gurney left off, fleecing the city, endangering lives and blacklisting at will?
Kebele Library presents... Sunday 16th June at 7.30pm, Poetry performance, by Dr. Edson Burton. A delight to watch, writer, historian and storyteller Dr Edson Burton has written drama for radio and theatre. His first collection of poetry Seasoned was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. Edson supports a of number of community and academic research projects. Edson combines his writing with research, poetry performance, talks and storytelling and has a focus on the history of the slave trade. The evening is organised by Kebele Library Collective and is part of the Easton Arts Trail weekend.
Festival of Migration - Saturday 15 June
11am – meetat Trinity Centre
In true carnival style, Saturday 15 June will see Stapleton Road alive with the smells and sounds of the many cultures who call the neighbourhood home. The Festival of Migration welcomes one and all to parade along Stapleton Road in colourful costumes accompanied by music and dancing. We will be meeting at Trinity Arts Centre Garden at 11am to add final touches to costumes and flags for the procession that leaves at 12pm. Those who need assistance to travel can meet at the bus stop outside Maliks to ride the 1960s bus that will lead the procession (mobility scooters and bikes also welcome).
The procession will travel the length of Stapleton Road and finish under the M32 for a skate demonstration and live art show at around 1pm. The bus will then be conducting short rides and bike buses will travel along the freshly cleaned and decorated back of Stapleton Road behind The Black Swan, Coach House and along Fox Road to take people back down to where most of the festival will take place which is in and around Rawnsley Park and Armoury Square. Festivities will start at 2pm and will include dance workshops, arts and crafts, live music, a chill out meditation zone and an international food market. The festival launch party takes place at the Armoury Tavern on 14 June from 6.30pm with 'Positive Propaganda' art exhibition and live music. The whole project is being delivered by Jahlake Koncepts on behalf of the Stapleton Road Working Group. Contact Cleo Lake on 07771825035 or Stacy Yelland at email@example.com
Bristol Indymedia wants to wish From Bristol With Love a great 40th birthday, we heartily recommend checking these boys out for all the lowdown on Bristol's big issues, so over to them now,
"We're 40, we're feeling naughty, so apologies to Durston's mum, there's a lot of swearing!
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