11/12/13 Cardiff students demonstrate against police brutality
13/12/16 What does the Diamond Review mean for Welsh Students?
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Global fast food protest hits Cardiff
Youth Fight For Jobs Wales and Bakers Union join protest in 30 countries
The Youth Fight For Jobs campaign in Cardiff joined a global chain of protest outside McDonalds in Queen Street as part of the May 15 Fast Food Rights campaign with the Bakers Union against low pay and zero hours contracts.
Chanting "Hey McDonalds We�re at your door, Raise your wages - don�t keep us poor" and "Hey McDonalds do us a favour, We want jobs not slave labour!" the protest paraded in front of the store attracting applause and shouts of encouragement from passers by. Dozens of people approached the Youth Fight For Jobs stall to sign our petition against zero hours.
The protest was part of a global protest against McDonalds taking place on May 15 in 150 cities in 30 countries on six continents. Across the world companies like McDonalds use a variety of methods, including zero hour contracts, to hold down wages while making billions in profits. Small wonder that the top 1% are getting richer and richer while the working class have got poorer and poorer, especially in the last five years. In Britain the top 1% now own as much as the bottom 55% combined.
In the United States McDonald workers went on strike and protest erupted around the rest of the world.
Youth Fight For Jobs member Helen Pattison was interviewed on Channel 4 News, you can see the interview here. Youth Fight For Jobs Wales organiser, Jaime Davies, was interviewed on the BBC World Service with a fast food worker from Pittsburgh. A fast food Youth Fight For Jobs Wales workers was also interviewed for ITV News.
Campaign for Youth Fight For Jobs Merthyr-Cardiff march hits Ponty
Big support at Ponty's Big Weekend
The campaign to build for the Merthyr to Cardiff march for jobs hit Pontypridd on Saturday and got a brilliant response.
Youth Fight For Jobs have organised a march from Merthyr to Cardiff starting on August 4th to highlight the lack of jobs for young people in the valleys and to hit back at the slur of Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith that unemployed Merthyr people should just "get on the bus" to Cardiff to work.
About a dozen campaigners hit the streets of Pontypridd to build support for the march which will leave Pontypridd on August 5th. We received a great response: "Why can't we march from Maerdy" asked one woman from the Rhondda.
A lot of older people signed to support the march. "If the government was really concerned about the unemployed they wouldn't be cutting jobs in the public sector" was a common response.
Many people had their own stories of unemployment or were worried about their future prospects, expecting to finish work soon or in seasonal jobs. One woman from the Rhondda reported that she was being paid just �4.50 an hour "I know its illegal" she said "But what can I do. If I report them they'll just get rid of me"
Unfortunately the sympathy for the marchers was not shared by Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) council who stepped in to prevent Youth Fight For Jobs from setting up stalls to get support. The excellent campaigning came to an abrupt end as council officials thretened to call the police if Youth Fight for Jobs did not pack up.
"We can't win, can we" said one young campaigner "If we just stay at home then we're lazy, but as soon as we try and do something to fight for jobs the council threatens us with the police". "Labour in RCT showed its true colours today" said Rhys, joint organiser of the march, "They like to attack the Tories, but they when it comes to the crunch they make it as difficult as possible to oppose them".
The march leaves Merthyr Job Centre at 10.00 am on Thursday 4th August and arrives in Cardiff at the Nye Bevan statue at 12.00 noon on August 6th where it will lead a demonstration to the Cardiff Job Centre.
Workers and students march against the cuts
Wrexham Socialists were in attendance at a demo against cuts and fees on Saturday, January 29th, in Manchester.
The demo was called by the PCS Young Members Network, and was supported by the TUC, the NUS and the UCU, with around 5000 people out on the streets. We marched from Manchester University through Rusholme, before hearing speakers at Platt's Field.
Aaron Porter, the president of the NUS, who has faced heavy criticism for his willingness to accept increased tuition fees and for placing his future career ambitions as an aspirant New Labour politician ahead of his members interests, was forced to abandon the demo before it had even stared, after several hundred demonstrators made their views on the NUS president quite clear! Some media reports in the right wing press, and Porter himself, have alleged anti-semitic abuse. However, supporters of Wrexham Socialist Party were in the crowd protesting against Porter, and we can state categorically that there is no merit to these allegations. It would appear to be a deliberate misinterpretation of the chant 'Aaron Porter, we know you, you're a f***ing tory too'.
Porter, who had private security guards disguised as stewards, opted to hide in the university union rather than answer the students he has repeatedly betrayed.
We then began the lively main march through Rushholme, which was characterised by much chanting and singing. We marched for around an hour, and in good spirits, before arriving at Platt's Field for the TUC organised rally. At the rally, we heard from a number of speakers, most trotting out dull pro-Labour statement after pro-Labour statement about 'ConDem cuts', with notable exceptions from the likes of Jenny Warburton of PCS and Matt Wrack of the FBU, who called for co-ordinated resistance to the cuts and criticised the TUC response.
In replacement for runaway Aaron Porter, NUS vice president Shane Chowen spoke, but was cut short by almost universal booing - as befits the NUS leadership, which has diabolically sold out its members.
As the demo began to wind down, and given we were now several miles from Manchester city centre, many people began to head back into the city, still singing and chanting. Unfortunately the police took this as a license to crack down on what had been a peaceful protest. The demonstrators were overtaken by a number of large riot vans, which would periodically stop to make arrests, seemingly at random. We then found ourselves kettled and harassed at regular intervals as we headed down Oxford Road and towards the train home.
Despite the provocative behaviour of the police and the attempts by the TUC bureaucrats to dampen the spirits of the demonstrators, Saturday was an effective and peaceful day which demonstrated the strength of anger and resistance amongst working class and young people.
Youth Committee Plans the Fightback
The first meeting of the new Socialist Party Wales Youth Committee was held in Swansea on January 17th. 11 delegates attended, representing the different branches of the party in Wales, and the Socialist Students groups in the different colleges and Universities.
Rae Lewis Ayling introduced the political session on Marxist economics. Rae explained how the ruling class have maintained their obscene profit levels through the recession in the economy, by driving down the living standards of working people. This is the real objective of the Con-Dem coalition's cuts programme; to decrease the share of wealth received by the workers, and increase the share going to the bosses.
This laid the backdrop for the organisational session, which was focussed on building in the colleges and universities for the anti-cuts demonstration in Manchester on January 29th. It was also agreed to organise for the protest called by Unison in Pontypridd on February 19th, which could prove an important stepping stone for trade unionists in Wales wanting to organise an effective movement against the cutbacks.
The mood to fight back against the attacks on our living standards is there amongst young people in Wales. It's up to us to provide a lead to all those wanting to organise to defend our rights to an education, a job and a future.
Joe Fathallah, Socialist Party Wales Youth Organiser
Victory at Cardiff University - Occupation Wins Concessions
Cardiff Socialist Students report
The occupation of Cardiff University ended in victory for the students tonight as the University gave in to two of the demands of Action Against Cuts - Cardiff. Not only have occupiers won freedom from victimisation for taking part in the action -- implying the University acknowledges the basic right to civil disobedience in protest -- but the University's Vice Chancellor, Dr David Grant, has invited an elected delegation from the occupiers to a meeting at a time to be arranged to discuss students' concerns.
Also today, Welsh Assembly Government education minister Leighton Andrews announced that the Education Maintenance Allowance or EMA, which provides a small but important weekly grant to college students, will be preserved. Students from half a dozen colleges took part in Wednesday's protest at Cardiff University and additional actions took place around Wales and across the UK. The Cardiff occupation was one of 22 student-led occupations which started on "Day X," 24 November; estimates say 130,000 students and academic staff took part in marches, occupations, rallies and other events against cuts in education funding and increases in tuition fees.
Occupiers left around 7pm after two mass, non-partisan rallies outside Cardiff University's Main Building on Thursday showed the enormous support for the occupiers. The 20 students remaining in the building left in triumph, perservering through a day when they were denied access to drinking water and toilets by the University management. Intervention by Leanne Wood AM finally shamed the University to concede and allow the occupiers access to basic human needs.
Meanwhile, the University and College Union which represents lecturers and academic staff, and which held a special conference in Manchester today, unaninmously passed a motion saying the conference "congratulates and celebrates the magnificent occupations, rallies, marches and other protests by students, school students and staff yesterday. They are an inspiration not just to us in the UCU but to the whole of the trade union movement." Lecturers at the conference voted to ballot for strike action against cuts in January 2011.
Adam Johannes, a press officer for the campaign, said
"There will be a 'Where Next' mass meeting tomorrow (Friday) on campus at 7 pm convened by Action Against Cuts - Cardiff....The movement now needs to spread to workplaces, pensioners, unemployed and others."
Edmund Schluessel of Cardiff University Socialist Students noted
"The entire protest was carried out in a non-violent, peaceful fashion, which even South Wales Police condeded 'passed without incident'. This tactical decision allowed the action to build a broad base of support, bringing in a stream of messages of solidarity from other universities, trade unions, and political organisations. Whatever comes next, and have no doubt there is a 'next', will be even bolder. Students across the UK say, no to fees, no to cuts, yes to good-quality education for all!"
Demands of the Occupation
- Free movement to and from the occupation
- No victimisation of participants in this occupation or in previous or future actions against fees and cuts
- For Cardiff University to issue a public statement opposing any rise in fees
- For Cardiff University to issue a public statement opposing any education cuts
- Full disclosure of university finances