Catalyst #27 out now!

Stop work to stop the cuts? Why striking against the cuts makes sense on June 30 and beyond.

Striking back: In-depth centrefold feature on strike action, including an illustrated timeline of strikes in Britain and a graph plotting falling strike days against rising inequality.

Victory against Office Angels: Direct action solidarity wins a temp's stolen wages.

This year's war: From Iraq to Libya - where there's oil there's 'humanitarian intervention'.

Plus: Your basic rights at work, Stokes Croft after the riots and your letters on the Southern Cross healthcare debacle, Slutwalks and more!

Due to popular demand, the pdf download is now as single pages (no spreads), so it can be printed out legibly on a normal A4 printer.

June 30th strikes in Brighton

Teachers have voted overwhelmingly to strike on June 30th. They are expected to be joined by thousands of public sector workers and possibly also university staff. Could we also see wildcat strikes on the day?

On Monday, Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition are organising a public meeting on 'Striking to Defend Pensions, Jobs and Pay' at 19:30 in the Friends Meeting House, Ship Street. Come along to share plans for the day, and join us in the pub afterwards to plot solidarity and support.

The 'Spanish Revolution' hits Brighton

The occupations and demonstrations that have rocked Spain in opposition to austerity, unemployment and party politics have reached Brighton. At least 30 people, mostly from Spain, were occupying part of the Old Steine in Brighton city centre tonight in solidarity with the movement in Spain. An assembly run on directly democratic lines, with a megaphone being passed around participants, discussed tactics and goals of the camp, with decisions made to stage further protests and put on a programme of workshops. The assembly also reiterated its independence from all political ideologies and parties.

National week of action against ATOS: Brighton

This morning we got together with local benefits campaigners to picket ATOS Healthcare, the private company paid millions by the government to force people off sickness benefits by reclassifying them as 'fit for work'. They do this by using an automated system to over-ride the judgement human doctors, as part of the wider attacks on claimants and workers, which began under Labour and are currently being accellerated by the coalition government. Below is the text of the leaflet we distributed to passers-by, many of whom stopped to share experiences of friends and loved ones who've had their benefits cut arbitrarily.

ATOS Healthcare: Poverty pimps putting profit before the welfare of people with disabilities

National week of action against Office Angels: Brighton

As part of a national week of action against the Office Angels agency in a dispute over unpaid wages, members and supporters of Brighton SolFed today picketed the Brighton branch for the third time in a week. Management locked the doors, and when a passing member of the public went in to ask why they didn't pay their staff, they could only desparately claim we were "liars". The passer-by sharply pointed out we wouldn't be giving up our time to picket for the fun of it! And pickets will keep spreading until Dan gets paid.

2nd picket in 24 hours at Brighton Office Angels

We picketed the Brighton branch of Office Angels for the second time in 24 hours this morning to keep the pressure up in the dispute over unpaid wages. After running out of leaflets yesterday we printed another batch overnight to inform passers by and potential Office Angels workers of the details of the dispute, and to encourage them to get in touch if they've also been mistreated by Office Angels.

Office Angels pickets spread to Brighton

Brighton SolFed today answered the call for solidarity from South London SolFed, who have been organising pickets against employment agency Office Angels over a non-payment dispute at their Wimbledon branch. Dan worked for Office Angels for three days in December of last year. He was assured by the company that the lack of a time-sheet would 'not be a problem'. However, Office Angels are refusing to pay him the wages he is owed - falsely claiming he only worked for one day, despite them having called him at work on his third day. After completely ripping him off, they had the nerve to harass him for seeking advice on an internet discussion forum.

Vodafone: tax dodgers AND union-busters

Also available as a pdf file.

Vodafone, the world’s biggest mobile telecoms service, has incurred widespread public anger for its tax-dodging activities in the UK. Led by the UK Uncut movement, direct actions at Vodafone outlets have disrupted the company economically and have raised awareness of the company’s avoidance of an estimated £4.2 billion in tax since 2000.

In Spain Vodafone transfers its products and its image to Internity-Avenir Telecom, who in February fired a CNT delegate for informing the company about the establishment of a trade union there. The CNT are the Spanish section of the International Workers Association and are active in the struggle for workers’ rights.

National Conference 2011

Mayday weekend saw the Solidarity Federation's National Conference come to Brighton. The annual conference is the most important decision-making event in the SolFed calendar, serving to make federation-wide decisions, mandate and hear reports from national officers and commissions and to share ideas and tactics. Delegates from Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester, Northampton, North London, South London, Thames Valley and West Yorkshire locals attended, with only Bristol not represented due to their delegate being ill. This year saw an unprecedented number of motions, reflecting increased activity and membership over the past 12-18 months.

National day of action against benefits cuts in Brighton

Members of Brighton SolFed supported a 20-30 strong protest and picket at ATOS healthcare in Brighton today as part of a national day of action against benefits cuts. The protest was organised by the Brighton Benefits Campaign (BBC), a group of claimants and workers fighting the cuts to welfare provision. ATOS is a private company paid millions of pounds to stop sick and disabled peoples benefits by declaring them 'fit to work' via a computer programme, which has given absurd diagnoses such as describing hand amputations as 'mild' and thus no barrier to work.

A letter to UK Uncutters from the 'violent minority'

We're writing this to you to try and prevent the anti-cuts struggle being split up and weakened by the media.

We are anarchists (well, anarcho-syndicalists, technically) – a word that is much misunderstood and misrepresented. We are also students, workers and shop stewards. We co-organised a 'Radical Workers Bloc' on the South London feeder march. The aim was to provide a highly visible radical presence within the workers movement of which we are a part, advocating strikes, occupations and civil disobedience.

Solidarity on the picket lines at Sussex university

As part of a national strike day, members of UCU at Sussex university have been picketing. They were joined by other education workers and students at the entrance to campus who expressed their support for industrial action. 

UCU are involved in a series of rolling strikes across the UK which started last week in Scotland and culminate in a FE and HE strike on Thursday. Strikes are nominally over changes to the pension scheme, however at Sussex it was clear that strikers see this as part of the wider fight against austerity. This was also in evidence from the solidarity from students and education workers well beyond the UCU membership.

Brighton SolFed to join Radical Workers on March 26

On Saturday 26th March the Trades Union Congress has called for a march against the cuts, and there is going to be a South London feeder march starting at Kennington Park which we will be joining. We are calling on anarchists, libertarian communists and militant workers from across the country who agree with the principles of solidarity, direct action, and self-organisation to join us on the demonstration to provide a visible presence and a revolutionary alternative to the reformism of the TUC.

Organising in the Workplace with SolFed

This past weekend saw a number of members of the North London Local of the Solidarity Federation travel to lovely Brighton to attend a day-long SolFed workplace organiser training hosted by the Brighton Solidarity Federation.  The training, which focuses heavily on the practicalities of organising at work, not only gave us the chance to network with other SolFedders and interested workplace militants, but to have strategic conversations about establishing an organising committee in each of our workplaces.  We look forward to keeping in touch and putting the training to good use.  Bosses beware!

If you're interested in getting trained up, please send an email to training (at) solfed.org.uk

Brighton homeless housing farce

The number of homes standing empty in Brighton and Hove outnumber the number of homeless families ten to one - but a Tory MP is leading calls to criminalise squatting. Brighton and Hove Council accepts responsibility for housing 368 homeless households, while 3,655 homes sit empty. Despite this, Tory MP Mike Weatherly wants to criminalise squatting, putting the interests of landlords and property speculators before those of the homeless. Home repossessions peaked last year following an increase in defaults on mortgages and rent during the recession.

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We are an anarcho-syndicalist union based in Brighton. We have ongoing campaigns in Hospitality and in Health & social care, but we aim to organise with workers of all industries and none. We also have a very active housing union.

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