UVW members came together in their dozens on International Workers Day to express their solidarity with the Royal Parks cleaners and to fight against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which represents a mortal threat to our right to protest and take direct action.
If passed the bill would create a new “public nuisance” offence with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The wording of the bill is far reaching and dangerous, it gives the police the power to shut down protests which “result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation which are carried on in the vicinity”. The very sort of protests which UVW organises to beat the bosses!
The day of action saw UVW members come together outside Buckingham Palace before setting off on a march to protest the appalling treatment of UVW members working as outsourced cleaners at the Royal Parks. The workers are currently battling to be brought in-house and to have their unlawfully dismissed colleague reinstated and to have £100,000 in stolen holiday pay returned to them.
They were also joined by the care workers at Sage Nursing Home who recently voted – for a second time! – to go on strike and who are battling for trade union recognition, a £12 per hour living wage and the same sick pay as NHS workers. The march outside Buckingham Palace saw UVW members link up with the national #KillTheBill demonstration in Trafalgar Square. The demonstration was the biggest #KillTheBill demonstration to date and Sage Nursing Home worker Julia addressed a throbbing crowd about the fight of the Sage workers and the need to resist the bill. Speaking to the crowd, Julia said:
“I represent United Voices of the World, I am a carer, and we are fighting for recognition, we have been out on strike already a couple of times. We are working in a place that is supposed to be a charity, but the owner is one of the richest men in the UK, they say they cannot give us more money, they say that they don’t have money for workers, society also says they do not have money for key workers, they only have money for rich people”
She went on to say:
“We should get united to change the laws, and make the laws be the same for everybody, especially for the workers, because we are the ones who keep the country going, without us the country would stop, and not the Prime Minister, not the Queen, none of those people would be stocking the supermarkets, driving the buses, without us they wouldn’t be able to do anything! Key workers be united, we can do it, the workers united, we will never be defeated!”.
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