Manchester

Manchester SolFed support IWA days of action

We had hoped to support the CNT and the general strike in Spain only to find that the Spanish Consulate has been closed. On the 30th, we leafleted the Holland and Barret shop we were going to picket the following day and had a chat with the workers in the shop. We leafleted then went on to leaflet the shops close by again talking to workers. We then went on to leaflet shops round the centre of Manchester.

On 31 we picketed a Holland and Barret shop in the centre of Manchester. We gave out several hundred leaflets. The picket followed the usual routine: manager came out, asked us to leave, we refused. She then called police a bit of a heated exchange and so on. One person who had just finished a Warkfare programme stopped to have a go at the police and went into the shop to have a go at the manager.  

Adecco picket Manchester

The Manchester SF local organised a picket of the Adecco office in the centre of Manchester on 6/3/12. Management seemed prepared for the picket and issued a statement arguing they had no say as to what happened in Spain. We distributed several hundred leaflets and a number of people took leaflets to pin up in their workplaces. 

Tory Party Conference Demo

On Sunday 2nd October, members of Solidarity Federation were amongst those who descended on Manchester to demonstrate at the start of the Tory Party Conference. 30,000 people took part in the march, and there was an occupation of Albert Square which at the time of writing is still ongoing.

See Liverpool Solidarity Federation's pictures of the demo here.

Read Liverpool members' individual reflections on the day on the Truth, Reason & Liberty and Working Class Self-Organisation blogs.

Direct Action Against The Cuts

Public Meeting: Saturday July 16th, 1:00pm at Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester

The aim of this meeting is bring together activists fighting the government’s cuts to discuss views of ‘direct action’ and how to apply it to the current struggle. There will be a number of speakers, including one from SF who will present an anarcho-syndicalist viewpoint:

There has been a lot of talk in the anti-cuts movement about the importance of ‘winning the argument’. This strategy holds that the best way to go about fighting attacks on wages, living conditions and services is to point out the flaws in the pro-cuts arguments and suggest alternative policies which would avoid the need for cuts.

Some even seem to think that if the argument is won, the government will see the error of its ways, stop the planned cuts and everyone can go home happy.

Manchester Education Workers’ Network Report, June 30th Strike

After the last UCU pensions strike in March, several rank & file union members, upset at the lack of inter-union unity, set up the Manchester University Staff Against the Cuts group (MUSAC). The group has been meeting regularly and consists of members of Unite, Unison and UCU. Members of Manchester EWN are also involved.

It has been good to meet with people whose criticisms of the existing unions match our own in many ways. The group has held a weekly stall in the University, giving out leaflets in support of various anti-cut campaigns.

Victory in campaign to save Levenshulme Baths

On 8 February Labour-run Manchester City Council was the first to announce its budget cuts - £109 million worth. Among community amenities being axed were several libraries, some advice centres and half a dozen fitness and leisure centres. The south Manchester neighbourhood of Levenshulme – ethnically and economically mixed with some pockets of severe deprivation was the worst affected – facing the loss of its leisure centre, Sure Start scheme and its historic swimming pools.

The baths were a contentious choice to cut by the council, which had spent more than £200,000 in 2010 upgrading the facilities  but was insisting full refurbishment was too expensive at more than £300,000 and the only viable option was to close it.

"Making friends not millionaires"

One evening in May 2005 at a curry house in Manchester a group of disillusioned Manchester United fans decide they’d had enough. Billionaire Malcolm Glazer’s takeover of the club was the final straw in a long line of events, including changing kick off times for the benefit of television and ridiculously priced tickets. They decided to do the unthinkable; form their own football club.

Fast forward to Bonfire Night 2010 and that club, FC United of Manchester (FCUM) beat Rochdale in the first round of the FA Cup. Over 3,500 FC fans celebrated this achievement of a club that set out to do things in a radically different way.

Sparks of anger

Since May, there have been daily pickets outside the prestigious Piccadilly Gardens development in Manchester. The action began when four electricians were sacked by the contractor DAF Electrical for forming a branch of the TGWU/EPIU and insisting on their right to direct employment. There were seven further dismissals as other electricians took unofficial strike action in solidarity.

DAF have used the terms of the JIB (Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry) to justify the sackings. This body represents Britain's longest running ‘sweetheart deal', under which the employers pay workers' dues direct to the union (originally the EETPU, but now, through a series of mergers, Amicus). As such, no other unions are recognised.