Events this Saturday 07/07/2012- Boycott Workfare | World Pride | Croydon Folk & Blues Festival

As a whole week’s gone by without any thing new on the website (we have done stuff, we’ve just been too busy to write about it) the last post on the site was about stuff to do last Saturday. To avoid confusion, and because there’s plenty of stuff to do tomorrow, it seemed appropriate to pop this here.

This might become a regular feature. It might not. It largely depends on whether or not a pub comes ‘twixt work and home. Look for it but it’s probably unwise to count on it.


Boycott Workfare

12.00pm, Goodge Street station

Tomorrow brings the start of a week of action against Workfare, the government scheme (initiated by Labour, taken to a whole new level by the Coalition) which gives large companies free labour at the taxpayer’s expense. The idea seems fair enough: giving work experience to long term unemployed people. Unfortunately the practice is far less altruistic.

  • Companies are using Workfare for free labour. One example is Argos who have admitted that they use JSA claimants forced on to Workfare to help cover their busiest periods. This reduces employment opportunities for potential new staff, reduces the overtime their low-paid existing staff rely on and reducing their wage bill while the taxpayer carries on paying the claimant’s benefits. Argos are far from alone.
  • More taxpayer’s money goes to the organisations which arrange Workfare placements.
  • Workfare has been shown not to work. Reports from the United States say it doesn’t work and even the DWP’s own research (( says that it doesn’t work.

Two years in to the Coalition government it’s getting difficult to put this in context without sounding like a broken record but the context is important:

The government is targeting benefit claimants at a time when their own policies are ensuring there are few jobs available. They are trumpeting small decreases in unemployment while neglecting to mention that many of the jobs people can find are part time, low paid and temporary. They are attacking employment rights, and soon are going to attack the facilities of the trade union reps who fight for employees, while allowing up to £120bn in tax to go evaded, avoided or uncollected. Workfare is part of their programme of attacking the weakest to prop up the richest.

Anyway, I digress.

This week’s action, largely organised by the Solidarity Federation and Boycott Workfare, kick off this Saturday, with many actions in London and across Britain.

We’ll be at the action in Central London. Assemble at Goodge Street station, 12.00. Our initial target, Holland and Barrett, have pulled out of Workfare, citing the protests as their main reason, so this stuff really does work.

For information about actions tomorrow and during the rest of the week visit the Boycott Workfare site: National Week of Action Against Workfare

You can read more about Boycott Workfare on this site, including our statement of support, here:

World Pride

Assemble 10.15 – 11.00 for march, PCS Proud stall in Trafalgar Square later

Probably the most important event in the UK LGBT (Lesbian, gay, Bisexual and Transgender) calendar. World Pride, held in central London, is a celebration of how far we’ve come with LGBT equality and a symbol to those who can’t hold such an event that things can get better. Although it’s been cut down a lot this year thanks to budget issues it still promises to be a fantastic day.

On a personal level I can honestly say that I’ve been relatively lucky: when I’ve come out to friends they’ve accepted me, I’ve only experienced one incidence of homophobia at work and have only been victim of one homophobic assault. That might not sound too great but I know how much worse it could have been. Homosexuality was illegal in the UK until 1967. That the primary issue kicking around at the moment is gay marriage is testament to how far we’ve come. Help celebrate it!

PCS Proud are joining the parade and will have a stall in Trafalgar Square later.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. Look for the Red Section (near the front) which is from Fitzhardinge Street up to George Street (near Portman Square – nearest tubes are Bond Street and Marble Arch).

For more information about PCS Proud, and to join, visit the website: http://pcsproud,

Croydon Folk and Blues Festival

12.00pm – 11.00pm, Ruskin House, Croydon

If you want something for the family that’s not too political you could do worse than pop along to the Croydon Folk and Blues festival. It’s only three quid, is for a good cause and has loads of family friendly stuff going on. More details here: Ruskin House Events

Thanks to Keith Johnston, PCS London & South East Regional Secretary, for additional info.

Events this Saturday – Virgin NHS protest | LMHH meeting | Olympics Missiles | PCS Proud social

There’s a lot happening this weekend. This is some information about four events that the branch is aware of. Click the name in the list below to go straight to information about the event(s) you’re interested in.

Virgin Care protest

2pm, Virgin Media Store, 133-135 Oxford Street, Marylebone, London, W1D 2HY

(Text from London Keep our NHS Public)

Before the new Health and Social Care Act has even come into force, Ricahrd Branson’s Virgin care have already taken over these NHS services:

  • £500million contract for community health services in South West and North West Surrey
  • Sexual Health Service for Milton Keynes
  • Dermatology service in the Isle of Wight
  • Shortlisted as potential providers of integrated children’s services in Devon

RICHARD BRANSON AND DAVID CAMERON, “You scratch my back – I’ll scratch yours”

It is not surprising “Virgin Care” is doing well out of the NHS or that Branson was one of the guests at the White House when David Cameron went to dinner there last month.

Just before the 2010 election Richard Branson was photographed in February supporting David Cameron’s election bid.

A month later he bought loss-making Assura private health company for knock down price of £4m, saying Virgin had been waiting to find “the right entry point” into the health market.

That acquisition of a GP provider company put Virgin in pole position to have influence in the government’s new commissioning arrangements.

A year later Virgin was the private health company with most links on the shadow commissioning boards.


Richard Branson tried to stop the publication by the Telegraph of Max Pemberton’s article critical of Virgin’s takeover of community services. It is reported Branson is demanding a half page reply. A high court injunction was served to try to prevent the article being published.
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Love Music hate Homophobia Meeting

2pm – 5pm,  NUS HQ, 184-192 Drummond Street, London, NW1 3HP

(Text from Love Music Hate Homophobia)

This year Love Music Hate Homophobia (LMHH) is looking to spread its message further than ever before. We are going to have a massive presence at World Pride with our bus in association with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and a walking party full of students, activists and trade unionists. We are also hoping to host more gigs, workshops and events across the country. As such we wish to invite you to attend an open-meeting in June
to help organise the campaign.

Love Music Hate Homophobia (LMHH) is a campaigning movement born out of an alliance between NUS LGBT, the NUT and Unite Against Fascism (UAF). Set up in response to rising levels of prejudice and electoral successes for the BNP, the campaign aims to educate, inform and support all those affected by homophobia and the threat of fascism. This took on new significance in 2010 when the English Defence League (EDL) began to
claim that it is ʻgay-friendlyʼ in an attempt to divide the LGBT community whilst attacking muslims. LMHH has played an important role in challenging these myths and bringing together people of all backgrounds in unity against the far-right.

The first half of the meeting will explain and debate the objectives of LMHH, whilst the second will deal with creating formal structures and the practicalities of running a national campaign.

The meeting is open to all activists (LGBT or straight) who want to be involved in shaping the future of Love Music Hate Homophobia, with a view to forming a committee with delegations from trade unions in the Autumn.

If you would like more information regarding the campaign or the meeting please contact: Josh Hollands,
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Protest: No Missiles In Our Community

1pm, Wennington Green, Mile End Park, London E3 5SN

(Text from Stop The Olympics Missiles)

As part of the Olympic Games this summer, the Ministry of Defence is planning to place surface-to-air missiles on rooftops in residential areas around London, including in East London.

There has been no consultation with local people about the missiles, nor has any risk assessment been conducted. The presence of missiles in the local area will create real dangerand do not serve reasonable security purpose.

We demand that the Ministry of Defence scraps the plan immediately.
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PCS Proud Unofficial Social

1pm, Brewdog, 113 Bayham Street, Camden, London NW1 0AG‎

A few members of PCS Proud (PCS’s LGBT group) are getting together for a few drinks and a bit of a chat in Camden. Any Proud members at a bit of a loss after a protest or meeting, or shopping or telly, please pop along.
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PCS Equality Events

PCS are holding three equality events over the next few months: Read More

Protest for Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga are a Malawian gay couple who have been jailed for 14 years. A protest has been organised for Saturday 29th May outside the Malawi High Commission in London. Read More

PCS Euston Branch Newsletter

PCS Euston Branch Newsletter Autumn 2009

Yep, we’ve finally published a newsletter. A little of it will be familiar (having been nicked straight from this blog) but most of it’s all new and shiny.

Click the piccie of the front page on the right to open, rightclick to download (.pdf). The ‘Name The Newsletter’ competition is open to branch members only.