On an evening with many other events happening in and around York it was good to see a healthy turnout for a public meeting at the Crescent Community Venue organised by York People’s Assembly and Supported by York and District Trades Council on 13th September 2017 was entitled “Justice for Grenfell, end austerity, scrap the 1% pay cap” allowing a range of speakers to provide background to why the governments neo-liberal economic policies and especially its austerity program was ultimately to blame for the Grenfell Towers disaster on the 14th June 2017. A range of stalls were also present promoting defence of the NHS, Unite Against Racism and the campaign against fracking.
The first to speak was Kim Hunter from Frack Free Scarborough who spoke of the solidarity across the movement. Next was James Cussens from York and District Trades Council with a similar message of solidarity against austerity. David Lewis from York Unison followed with a story of the origins of neo-liberalism and austerity in the UK, including the Hayek-Thatcher meeting of 1975. Councillor Danny Myers continued the overarching theme of the need to work together against global capitalism.
Next in line was Annie, one of the Durham Teaching Assistants who had spoken at a previous meeting and whilst not bearing a message of complete victory brought one of the benefits of solidarity and support that they were able to demonstrate. They’re in the third year of a dispute that has grown from one woman on Facebook to having 1500 (out of a total of 2500) Teaching Assistants in Durham standing up boldly against the County Council and others. Annie was supported by two other colleagues, and it was great to see and hear them again.
“Enough is enough” was the message Judy Bolton brought from Justice4Grenfell. With friends and family who had died in the disaster she described the failings behind the catastrophic loss of life on the 14th June and after. Since the event it is estimated by the campaign that around 250 people lost their lives, whilst the authorities have only declared 85 “viable human remains”, and that only 16 people have been re-homed. Judy’s talk was a moving description of the horrors of the night and days following, along with a list of cuts, cock-ups and criminal negligence that cost so many lives.
Judy received a standing ovation at the end of the talk but continued to answer more questions regarding the event and campaign. She will be attending Manchester on the 1st October with the London Fire Brigade Union. So book your ticket for the coach and join her.
Her call was “enough is enough”.
Amongst the crowd of thousands, York People’s Assembly were represented by a full coach – and a mobile sound system. Along with friends in Scarborough and Thirsk, we headed to London for the Health, Homes, Jobs and Education march. Estimates on total numbers vary wildly from 50 to 150 thousand. Whilst the rally took place in 18Trafalgar Square, hundreds of protesters made their way to Downing Street. Continue reading
On Thursday 16th July, approximately 60 people gathered in St Helen’s Square to protest about the anti-homeless bars installed on benches on Rougier Street, prior to Richard Bridge handing in a petition of 5,400 signatures calling for their removal. People turned up with sleeping bags and blankets and at 5.30 and took over St Helen’s Square to stage a “sleep-in” and raise awareness of the issues faced by the rising number of homeless people in York.
Members of Unison were also protesting about cuts to Facility Time for union representatives working for the council, and once the sleep-in was over, York People’s Assembly joined this protest to show solidarity. Continue reading
Anti-homeless bars have appeared on benches at a bus stop in the city. The devices have been fitted to the benches on Rougier Street. A petition to have them removed has gained 2000 signatures, whilst the bars themselves have been given a bit of illicit decoration. Whatever you think of the decoration, the question is the right one. We’d encourage everyone to sign the petition here and we’ll try to keep you updated on the campaign.
Around 50 people took part in Thursday night’s Bedroom Tax protest in St Helen’s Square, before the Council debated its report on the York Housing Crisis petition. Councillors arriving for the night’s Full Council session were greeted with placards and chants, and a short rally followed. As the council meeting got underway, Assembly member and York Housing Crisis campaigner Chris Fuller addressed councillors in a speech which you can watch on Youtube.
We have a critically important opportunity to present our ‘No Bedroom Tax Evictions’ demand to the City of York Council. Next Thursday (12th December), the Council will discuss our petition in Full Council. We’re asking everyone to join us at 5.30pm in St Helen’s Square (Map: E) to show the strength of opposition to this draconian policy. Members of the York Housing Crisis group will be speaking in the meeting, as senior councillors come under fire for leaving vulnerable residents at risk of eviction.
York’s Housing Crisis are stepping up their efforts in preparation for the bedroom tax debate at next month’s Council Meeting. As well as appealing for stories from those affected, they’re holding two leafleting sessions in coming days. Can you help them?
On Friday, they’re meeting at 2pm outside Morrison’s on Front Street, Acomb and aiming to cover the Chapelfields area. On Sunday morning, they’re meeting at 10.45am outside the Fish and Chip Shop on Intake Avenue, very near the junction of Crichton Avenue and Burton Stone Lane. Both areas were covered intensely during the petitioning phase of the campaign.