30 Jul 2009
What intrigues me about the whole thing is that I would expect organised continental workers to do this sort of thing, as British unions are generally so toothless on the whole that they tend to write strongly worded letters, and get pushed around quite a bit, like a pantomime horse:
The French of course, are always way ahead of us. "An occupation you say? Pof! Zis is, 'ow do you say, zer chicken feed". They've gone a step further by kidnapping their bosses until their demands are met, at such companies as Sony and Hewlett Packard. More on that here.
Whether the Vestas occupation will achieve its objective remains to be seen, but I would say the impact goes beyond one factory. Whilst my own union, Unite, has managed to be visible at a lot of actions, such as the wildcat strikes at the Lindsay Oil refinery, they've certainly not demonstrated the joined-up thinking of the Vestas campaign, which has united both trade unionists and environmentalists. Leader Derek Simpson made a third runway a policy of his recent re-election, and it remains official Unite policy.
24 Jul 2009
21 Jul 2009
In situations like this, a British workforce will feel down and moan a bit. Quite often quietly. Refreshingly, these workers haven't, and they've followed similar action in Latin America and Scotland, and occupied the factory. Yay! Direct Action.
They've got a blog here - and I will be watching it...
16 Jul 2009
10 Jul 2009
Within my reading I came across the name of one academic a few times, that of Chris Knight, Professor of Anthropology at the University of East London. Well, he was. He was suspended recently due to 'gross professional misconduct'.
At the time of the G20 summit, Knight was instrumental in organising The Alternative G20 Summit which was due to take place at the ExCel centre (loads of good shit seems to happen there), which is close to the UEL campus. The University initially gave permission, allowing the organisers to book such window-smashers as Tony Benn.
At the eleventh hour, the University decided to withdraw permission to Knight to hold the event, without specific reasons why. Now, reading the fluff and bluster from both Knight's account and others, it would be easy to arrive at the conclusion of some people moaning about having their party rained on. I've actually looked for what the possible reason of the cancellation was, and nothing seems that apparent apart from it seemed like a good opportunity to squeeze out someone who obviously liked rocking the boat a bit.
Did I mention Prof Knight also does political street theatre? And is also an expert on the cultural significance of menstruation? Whatever your conclusions are, its gratifying to know that we still have people like this, and I remain disappointed that I didn't have that many lecturers like that myself.
9 Jul 2009
Clarion buys yet another arms exhibition - Counter Terror Expo
Clarion Events, organisers of the forthcoming arms fair at London's ExCel Centre, have acquired yet another weapons-related exhibition. On 2 July, Clarion announced that it had bought sinister-sounding Counter Terror Expo from Niche Events.
Counter Terror Expo is a new event, launched earlier this year. It claims to showcase "the latest in specialist security technologies, products and solutions which form a crucial part of counter terror capabilities internationally", offering "a forum for senior buyers and specifiers to see the latest solutions which will assist in the prevention of, protection from and pursuit of terrorists globally".
Counter Terror 2009 had over 130 exhibitor companies, including well-known arms and internal security companies. To add a veneer of academic respectability, the exhibition was linked to a "high level conference with 75 specialist speakers", including representatives from government, police, industry, academia and media. Counter Terror 2009 claimed to have attracted 4,000 visitors from government, military, law enforcement, intelligence and the private sector.
Counter Terror Expo joins Clarion's so-called "defence and security" exhibitions, including three bought as part of the package from Reed-Elsevier in 2008. DSEi, the world's largest arms fair, will be held at London's ExCel centre from 8-11 September.
Meanwhile, Clarion continues to acquire new consumer exhibitions in its ever expanding empire. In May it announced the launch of Garden Expo 2010 for gardening and related suppliers. This is added to its current portfolio which includes the Baby Show, the Travel Show and the Spirit of Christmas - all consumer and trade shows.
CAAT spokesperson Kaye Stearman said:
“I wonder how many of the keen gardeners and garden suppliers who are likely to flock to Garden Expo realise that Clarion Events also owns arms fairs. CAAT will be highlighting Clarion's unethical record in the lead-up to the arms fair in September and organising a peaceful protest."