Hackney residents march for their college

Saturday's market crowds in Dalston were taught a valuable lesson in solidarity today as a large crowd of supporters marched, sang and shouted their opposition to education cuts all the way from Hackney College to Gillet Square.

Neighbours, students, teachers and friends turned out to support the College staff, who are fighting to stop compulsory redundancies and changes to contracts that will make life impossible for language teachers in the borough. 

Save Our College - 250 people march against redundancies in Hackney

250 people marched through Hackney on Saturday against the threat of 55 redundancies at Hackney College. Although there have been redundancies every year bar one for ten years, this year the proposed cuts are much more serious.
In a borough with 11, 243 people claiming JSA chasing just 669 jobs in the jobcentre, courses that may be closed include basic literacy, basic maths and health and social care. All the courses in the Access department are at risk even though Access to Nursing, for example, is already full with more than a hundred people on the waiting list. 

Workfare: You're putting your customers off, Mr Manager

Picketing shops can reap some rich rewards when the cause is as uncontroversial as "this lot force people to work for free." The general crowd response is along the lines of "really, they do that? What a bunch of gits." 

That sort of response to a campaign makes a grey day shine for us and makes shop managers very, very angry.

So angry in fact that the Holland and Barrett manager on Mare Street in Hackney, where North London SolFed did its latest picket in the battle to stop Workfare today, insisted on standing in his own doorway to berate us and ended up putting off nearly as many customers as we did.

There were quite a few, Mr Manager. Disapproving faces, Mr Manager. Your bottom line, Mr Manager, walking away because your firm doesn't pay its staff, Mr Manager.

Repression in Dalston

An eyewitness account by a Hackney picket:

I went from my picket line to the CLR James library picket at about 10. On the bus up there I was a bit disturbed to see a police helicopter hovering above Dalston Junction. When I got to the library there were a huge number of TSG kettling about 35 people with a mobile sound system. I managed to speak to people in the kettle and they told me that two people had been beaten up and arrested earlier when people had tried to block the road.

I called people on my picket line and asked them to come quickly to the library. A small group of us stood around for ages occasionally having short conversations with the kettled protesters or telling the police that they were disgusting. I phoned my picket again and was dismayed to find out that they had all gone to another picket line that was nearer.

Drumming on the doors at Hackney cuts protest

After a slow start, protesters at a March 2nd demonstration in Hackney against Labour council budget cuts made their voices heard with a drive for the doors which temporarily saw panic in police lines amid chants of "let us in" and "it's your jobs next."

The night had started off slowly, with barely 50 people hitting the pavement outside the council's Mare Street headquarters as the cuts discussion and vote, widely seen as a rubber-stamping of government funding plans, went through.

But numbers grew as the evening got colder until around 200 people were stood outside the heavily-fortified building. Police picketed every door with at least three full riot vans on standby and barriers adorned the main entrance in a nod to events which saw Camden and Lewisham councils browbeaten by their subjects late last month.

Hackney Showdown

Workers at the London Borough of Hackney went on strike on Tuesday 1st May over widespread attacks on pay and conditions. The action follows 24-hour stoppages in December and March, and a three-day stoppage in January.

Meanwhile, all sections have been applying localised “withdrawal of goodwill” to fit the problems workers face in their own sections. This means going back to not covering for vacancies, working to grade and job description, not doing extra hours, etc. Not only does this link in with the corporate dispute, but it also gives workers a chance to take direct action over issues which immediately affect them, and to gain confidence from immediate results.

Hacked off in Hackney


Hackney council sees itself as New Labour's laboratory for wholesale privatisation of local public services. Back in May, Catalyst reported on the attacks on council workers' pay and conditions in Hackney. Since then, in many ways, things have gone from bad to worse.

HACKNEY - FOR SALE - this offer is not available to the poor!

Address: 15 Atherden Road, Lower Clapton, Hackney

Description: Formerly a nursery, but we got rid of the kids + their whining parents. We even fibbed in court, to get rid of the squatters who had reopened it as a community centre of all things. We told the master that we were not going to sell this building but, Ha! - It is now freed up to give lots of potential for profit as a yuppie wine bar or a private health club for city workers to unwind and spend lots of their hard earned dosh.

Workers escalate year-long strike

Workers in Hackney's libraries have been on strike for over a year - in fact, every Saturday since 24th November 2001. They are calling for mass pickets of Hackney Central, Stoke Newington and Shoreditch Libraries to prevent scab labour recruited by the Labour-controlled Council from opening them. These pickets will take place on the first Saturday the scabs are called in, probably 7th December, and on each subsequent Saturday until they are withdrawn.