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Wednesday, 30 October 2013



THIS IS ONLY A DRAFT AGENDA AND ORDERING OF THE SECTIONS AND SUBSECTIONS MAY REQUIRE SHIFTING BECAUSE OF URGENCY. Perhaps it may be advantageous if our guest speakers make their presentation after the reports and discussion section?
  1. Gather as soon after 3pm as possible and appoint/select facilitator/chairperson and minute-taker
  2. Present
  3. Apologies: Brian, Clarence,Lexie, Marie, Robin
  4. Cases and Members' Wellbeing (Pt 1)
  5. Break
  6. Draft Minutes of group meetings held 24 October 2013 and any matters arising
  7. Guest Speakers: Nick Phillips of London Unemployed Strategies and TUC Press Secretary to disucuss joint-working possibilities
  8. Reports and discussion of recent actions and current and emerging campaigns
    NB: Dates set out below are generally in date order rather than order of urgency and relevance to KUWG, and this is a DRAFT agenda. Clarence has expressed a desire to draft a leaflet combining the items coloured red below.
    1. Report back from Monday 28 October 'Claimants' Right to be Accompanied at Jobcentre interviews' demo — DEFERRED TILL ROBIN'S RETURN
    2. Report back from Tuesday 29 October Utopia Workshop planning at Willesden Trades Hall — DEFERRED TILL ROBIN'S RETURN
    3. Toward KUWG logo for flags, etc — DEFERRED TILL RETURN OF CLARENCE AND ROBIN.
    4. Elizabeth is having problems re the place that she has been forced to move to, the deposit for that place and what she is being charged for it
    5. Workshop prospectus, including replacing Alan as Work Programme Conditionality and Precarity Workshop co-organiser
      • Duties/responsibilities include Co-ordinating with Robin and workshop speaker Anne Gray over prospective dates that are mutually acceptable to group, speaker [not Thursdays and not a weekday that is the 10th of the month or nearest working day] and venue.
    6. Monday 4 November: Communication Workers Union strike — what can KUWG do to support this?
    7. Tuesday 5 November @ Willesden Magistrates Court, 448 Willesden High Road, NW10 2DZ: Demo in support of Herbert against summons by Brent Council re Council Tax arrears. Might this be part of another mass-summons?
    8. Tuesday 5 November: People's Assembly Against Austerity 'Bonfire of Austerity' events
    9. Wednesday 6 November: Mark faces eviction bailiffs and requires support to stop this.
    10. Request from Brum Claimants Union in West Midlands for a KUWG member to visit them toward helping get them 'off the ground'. What information could we require of them?
  9. KUWG Finances
  10. AOB, incl Cases (Pt 2) if necessary, and prompt exit by 5:30pm, with non-compulsory deposits of a financial nature into hat, tables and chairs put back in storage space.
Please sign these petitions:

100,000 signatures to stop the War On Welfare! #DefyIDS #SignWOW

We call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions

To: Department of Work and Pensions UK

of 5,000 signatures

Campaign created by Ana Pepa Akatix Icon-email

Stop the benefits cuts and sanctions

We demand that:
1.  Caring must be recognised as vital work for the whole society.
2.  All carers, including mothers, must be paid a living wage for this indispensable work, including paid time off.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Leaflet from Monday 28 October demo at Neasden Jobcentre

Today the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is saying:

  • We have a right to be accompanied at Job Centre interviews
  • Don't hid the funding for training and job-seeking costs
  • Stop making things up: decisions should be backed by policy guidance and put in writing
  • No intimidation by security guards
A member of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group, Robin Sivapalan, was due to have a “Work Programme Completer Mandatory interview” in July 2013. It is open news that the DWP has targets for sanctioning the long-term unemployed, so Robin wanted to have a representative at this interview. This was denied by the Job Centre manager and the interview was put off while the office manager consulted with the District Office. Robin asked that any decisions be put in writing.

He carried on signing on fortnightly, discussing his job options with his advisor. They agreed that a CELTA (teaching English) course would be the best option, and Robin asked for the advisor to look in to Job Centre funds to pay for this. In August, his advisor reported that there was no funding and that he would not be able to bring a representative to his post-Work Programme interview because he spoke English perfectly well. He wrote to his advisor and the office manager, Devinia Akonor, referring them to the “Flexible Support Fund” and the “Low-Value Procurement” scheme for training, and again asking that they write down their decisions, especially about not allowing a representative to attend interviews.

He missed the CELTA courses starting in September with the delays. With the knowledge of his advisor he applied and was accepted after interview on a part-time course at the College of NW London starting in January. He was told that if he enrolled on a full-time course he would not be eligible for JSA, even though the Job Centre are forcing people on to unpaid and useless work placements with full-time hours. His advisor copied the enrolment forms to look in to funding. Since then he has been signing with other advisors.

Last Tuesday –now mid-October - after signing with another advisor, he went and enquired again about the funding for the course. She said that there was no funding available. Once again, Robin asked for this to be put in writing and to speak to the manager. This advisor, the office manager and another senior staff-member conferred in a huddle for five minutes on the other side of the room … before handing Robin an appointment letter for today, Monday 28th October, for his post-Work Programme interview! And once again the same argument about not being allowed to bring a representative, saying that if he didn’t need one because his English was good, that if he had a representative then the job Centre advisor needed a representative too, which they didn’t have the resources to provide. The office manager said “I won’t put it in writing, I don’t have to”. The Customer Relations Manager on the ground floor who deals with complaints defended this by saying local managers have no powers to write to customers, only the Belfast office did. A security guard came over and interrupted to intimidate Robin from the office.

The Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is affiliated to the London Coalition Against Poverty. Our sister organisation in Edinburgh who were also insisting the right to be accompanied received this from a DWP official: “On the matter of accompanied interviews....Mr McGonigle and his predecessor Bill Wilson have written to Edinburgh Claimants about this and made clear the position for interviews conducted on Jobcentre plus premises. We accept that there will always be times when customers attending our premises feel the need to be accompanied by a friend or advice worker and we will always try to accommodate this where possible.”  ( Letter copied to Edinburgh Claimants from Matthew Nicholas, Employers and Stakeholders Director Jobcentre Plus, on behalf of the Chief Executive Darra Singh, letter dated 15 February 2010.

We represent people regularly at the Kilburn Job Centre with no problems and 8 of our activists were given a tour of the whole Kilburn office last week to be better able to work together. Robin himself had agreed monthly meetings at Willesden on behalf of the group with the previous office manager before he moved. A Job Centre worker, explaining good practice, suggests that if a claimant needs someone present for support or simply wants a witness, the advisor should no object to a third party present, as long as they don't control the interview. Devinia, this office manager has unnecessarily dug her heels in, seemingly with support from the district office – and she refuses to be accountable. This is not acceptable.

The CAB report “Punishing the Poor” released this month explains why we need representation: “Despite initial Government denials, it is clear that recently some JobCentres have been set targets for sanctioning claimants, with DWP staff creating ‘league tables’ based on the number of sanctions issued by individual JobCentres. The effects are apparent in the dramatic increase in the number of sanctions issued: in 2009 the number of claimants sanctioned was 139,000, consistent with number earlier in the decade; by 2011 this had increased to 508,000.”

What are your issues? You are not alone: supporting each other we are strong.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A suicide due to eviction, social housing, and the London Stock Exchange

Thanks to John  Healy for this. BBC Radio's 'File on 4': What Price Social Housing

Programme blurb:
"The government wants 170,000 new affordable homes by 2015. But with social landlords under pressure from spending cuts and benefit reforms, can they deliver? Fran Abrams reports."

The bit about the suicide due to the emotional stress brought on by eviction of N Firminger appears between the 3mins 11secs-6mins 30secs slot, with input from his close friend Nic Griffiths. The program then expands into the 'bigger picture' situation about WHY Genesis Housing has launched itself on the Stock Market. A far cry from the ideals of Genesis Housing Association's founder!

If and when the murky 'world of high finance' comes crashing down, who will the rubble crash down on?


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Guest blog piece by 38 Degrees about the 'Gagging Law':

38 Degrees Logo


Today the House of Lords start to debate the controversial gagging law. It’s a law that would mean ordinary people, campaigning groups and charities would be severely restricted in how they can campaign in the year before an election.

The bill was rushed through the House of Commons at breakneck speed, without any of the normal public consultation, and although there was a rebellion, it wasn’t enough to stop it. Everyone from the Royal British Legion to Oxfam has called for the government to stop and rethink the bill. [1][2]

With this in mind, dozens of charities and campaign organisations set up an independent commission to do the research that the government should have done in the first place. [3]

It’s called ‘The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement’ and it has been holding evidence sessions up and down the country listening to how the gagging law will affect a huge range of campaign organisations and charities. [4] Now they want to hear from you too.

Can you fill out a short survey telling the commissioners what you think about freedom of speech and campaigning, it won't take long:

The range of people on the commission shows how widespread concerns about the gagging law are. They come from organisations across civil society, including Mumsnet, the Countryside Alliance and the NUS. And the chair is a retired bishop.

You don’t have to be an expert to answer any of the questions. You just need to tell the commission what you think. It’s really important that they hear from as many people as possible. Imagine how powerful it will be for them to say they've heard from thousands of members of the public. It will mean Lords will feel more pressure to listen to their recommendations.

Let’s make sure that the government and Lords hear what thousands upon thousands of us think before this bill is rushed through any further.

Can you fill out a short survey and make sure the commission hears evidence from individual people as well as organisations:

Thank you for everything you do,

Robin, Blanche, Suzy, Ian and the 38 Degrees team.

[1] The Royal British Legion - http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/news-events/news/campaigning/lobbying-bill-why-asking-politicians-to-back-our-troops-could-be-stopped-under-this-sloppy-law
[2] Oxfam - http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/latest-campaign-news/2013/10/lobbying-bill-update
[3] http://civilsocietycommission.info
[4] http://civilsocietycommission.info/consultation/

Follow 38 Degrees on Facebook and Twitter.
Unsubscribe: If you no longer wish to be part of our movement and receive our emails you can unsubscribe here.
This email was sent to whea3@yahoo.co.uk.
38 DEGREES Registered Company No. 6642193


  1. Gather as soon after 3pm as possible and appoint/select facilitator/chairperson and minute-taker
  2. Present
  3. Apologies
  4. Cases and Members' Wellbeing (Pt 1)
  5. Break
  6. Draft Minutes of group meetings held 17 October 2013 and any matters arising
  7. Appeal to the Edge Fund for sponsorship of a summer 'know your rights' training camp on Isle of Wight, etc. Discussion led by Robin
  8. Reports and discussion of recent actions and current and emerging campaigns:
    1. Clarence and Alan to report back on Camden Trades Council meeting Thursday 17 October and CTC's award to KUWG of a £35 'affiliation fee'
    2. Camberwell Green Magistrates Court demo, Friday 18 October
    3. High Court Vigil re DWP's assertion that Work Capability Assessment is 'fit for purpose'
    4. Fall-out from Kilburn Jobcentre guided tour and what this does for Justice for Herbert and All Claimants
    5. Request from Brum Claimants Union in West Midlands for a KUWG member to visit them toward helping get them 'off the ground'
    6. Proposal from Nick Phillips of London Unemployed Strategies for him to visit us on Thursday 31 Octobe with TUC Press Secretary for guest speaker slot about joint-working and possible help from TUC re media contacts
      • KUWG Secretary's proposal by Alan that Nick Phillips of London Unemployed Strategies, and Pilgrim tucker of Unite Community be added to Kilburn Unemployed googlegroup to streamline joint-working through enabling them to input directly to googlegroup rather than necessitating that Secretary forwards their responses on multi-recipient messages. (See below for Alan's motion)
    7. Replacing Alan as Work Programme Conditionality and Precarity Workshop co-organiser
      • Duties/responsibilities include Co-ordinating with Robin and workshop speaker Anne Gray over prospective dates that are mutually acceptable to group, speaker [not Thursdays and not a weekday that is the 10th of the month or nearest working day] and venue.
    8. Other events and campaigns
  9. AOB, incl Cases (Pt 2) if necessary, and prompt exit by 5:30pm, with non-compulsory deposits of a financial nature into hat, tables and chairs put back in storage space.

KUWG Secretary's proposal re partnership working and the Kilburn Unemployed google group

The KUWG Secretary proposes that -- pending the agreement of Nick Phillips of London Unemployed Strategies and Pilgrim Tucker of Unite Community -- the e-mail addresses of Nick Phillips and Pilgrim Tucker be added to the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group google group.

This would facilitate unomoderated sending by Nick and Pilgrim to the KUWG and thus eliminate the necessity of KUWG Secretary forwarding to the google group Nick's or Pilgrim's replies to correspondence that Nick and/or Pilgrim have been copied into.

(Such sending and receiving rights on the Kilburn Unemployed google group are usually the sole preserve of KUWG members; but including Nick and Pilgrim on the google group would most probably cut down on the KUWG Secretary's workload.)

Proposer: Alan Wheatley, KUWG Secretary

Monday, 21 October 2013

High Court challenge vs WCA, Monday 21 October 2013

Photos from Lunchtime Vigil Against the Work Capability Assessment outside the High Court Today

Photos by Tracey Dunn
Camera loan and a little placard text sharpening by Swheatie in the final digital images

Swheatie of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group attended this vigil aimed at pointing out to the Department for Work and Pensions [sic] and passers by how rotten the Work Capability Assessment that successive UK governments have sold their souls to since 2008 actually is. (See previous blog entry below about the Mental Health Resistance Network's initial victory in the courts over this, that has led the DWP to try defend its own lack of mercy in the Hight Court over the issue.)

Liverpool-based journalist Tracey Dunn who works with Nerve Magazine was on hand with a few other journalists including Kate Belgrave who writes for the Guardian and New Statesman, and witnessed the demonstration from Mental Health Resistance Network, Crossroads Women's Centre, Croydon Disabled People Against the Cuts and 'a taxpayer' disgusted at the fact that taxpayers' money was not supporting the economically vulnerable but making Atos stinking rich — and megaphone vying with local pneumatic drills.  The main speaker was from the Mental Health Resistance Network, displaying a message related to Daid Cameron's solution to fuel poverty: "Hey, David Cameron, You can shove your inhumane and unjust policies and your jumpers where the sun does not shine!"

Access to justice?

And Tracey proved very helpful in operating Swheatie's camera after hearing why Swheatie was there.

As Swheatie and Crossroads Women's Centre's Didi were leaving, reinforcements arrived from People First and Disabled People Against the Cuts.

Post Script
Tracey Dunn's article on the vigil, including a video by Kate Belgrave, can now be seen at
Nerve Magazine - Atos Vigil at the Royal Courts of Justice

Sunday, 20 October 2013

When Southwark Council summonses Council Tax Benefit claimants en masse to Magistrates Court, they should be prepared to face a public outcry. Unite Community, Zacchaeus 2000, Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group, Single Mothers Self-Defence and more 'all in this together'.

Labour Councillor confronted over cuts in Southwark

THE OBSERVER 20 OCTOBER. It is a lack of jobs, not laziness, that prevents people working

Our friend and colleague Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty writes:

Politicians trying to look tough are ignoring the reality.
"There is no life worth living on benefits". 
"Our sons and daughters do almost anything rather than sign on and my guess is that this as much as immigration is what’s driving wages down." 
Like many older parents, I see my children and stepchildren having harder lives than mine at their age. Unemployed, overworked and/or in debt, it hurts us all and Labour's threat to be tougher than the Tories risks rubbing salt in the wounds ("Labour will be tougher than the Tories on benefits, pledges party's new welfare chief", News).
Most of my generation had a choice of jobs and felt no great shame on being on benefits between them. Some of us used that time to do what we wanted or thought was needed in the world.
Our sons and daughters do almost anything rather than sign on and my guess is that this, as much as immigration, is what is driving wages down.
I know from experience on and running job-creation schemes that Labour's latest promise and threat must offer useful work with pay at rate for the job, plus a real prospect of progress, not let-down at the end.
Now, as ever, it makes no sense to push people into work for peanuts to make some rich men richer.
Greg Wilkinson

Rachel Reeves, the new shadow minister for work and pensions, endorses the myths that flow from the lips of Iain Duncan Smith by claiming that nobody should be under any illusion that they are going to live a life on benefits under Labour. There is no life worth living on benefits: £71.70 a week single adult unemployment benefit is now paying rent and council tax and becomes valueless because annual increases are pegged at 1% while prices of food, utilities, clothes and transport escalate.
Tins of beans collected at a food bank cannot be cooked at home when the gas bill cannot be paid. Unless there is a policy to provide affordable housing, then a higher and higher proportion of the £500-a-week cap on benefits will be needed to pay rising rents in a housing market in short supply, forcing more individuals, parents and children into penury and out of their homes into temporary and overcrowded accommodation.
The Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty

Please sign our petition celebrating Martin Luther King
Parliament is asked to debate the speech made by Martin Luther King 50 Years ago in Washington USA on the 28 August 1963 and to note that it can be applied to circumstances in Britain in August 2013. He said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Check these out in Red Pepper magazine!

  • Privatisation/dismantling of our NHS, railways and schools and the half-truths told to con the public into accepting privatisation as the way to go
  • Detroit: the city they couldn't destroy
  • Prison reform
  • Student activism

And comment on them in the comments space below!

Mythbuster: Health warning

By repackaging privatisation as ‘reform’, the government has tried to sell voters the idea of dismantling the health service. Jacky Davis exposes the main marketing myths behind the NHS giveaway

A world without prisons

Inmates in California began a hunger strike in July, sparking renewed debate about the use of solitary confinement in US prisons. Nicole Vosper offers a personal response and a vision for a world beyond bars

Detroit: the city they can't destroy

Detroit’s bankruptcy made global headlines last summer. Tawana Petty considers the state’s undemocratic takeover – and the people’s work to rejuvenate their city from the ground up

Campus campaigning: student activism goes local

The flames of the 2010/11 student movement haven’t been entirely extinguished. Hattie Craig and Roz Burgin examine the new look of campus-based resistance

Getting back on track: an alternative to private railways

There is a growing consensus that rail privatisation has failed, but an alternative doesn’t have to mean a new centralised bureaucracy, writes Paul Salveson

Red Pepper Mythbusters
includes: references to dismantling of social security system; and what's really behind Con-Dem schools policies

Friday, 18 October 2013

Council Tax Mass-Summonses in Southwark

At least one KUWG and Brent Housing Action member attended this demonstration organised by Unite Community in tandem with Zacchaeus 2000: Justice for Vulnerable Debtors - , and noted by BBC TV London News.
Unite Community protest against council tax benefit cuts

An Example of Work Capability Assessment Cheating by Atos and the DWP

Yesterday's Casework and Members' Wellbeing section of he KUWG business meeting heard how one of ours folk recovering from a cancer operation and living with asthma had been awarded only 6 eligibility points from her most recent Work Capability Assessment. (She has been retested a number of times in the sick game that could be called 'Atos Roulette'.)

The report that was used by a Department for Work and Pensions 'decision maker' in awarding 6 eligibility points (threshold 15 to qualify for Employment and Support Allowance) included Atos lies that she could raise her hands above her head, and followed such long delays in her getting the result, that after a recent cancer operation she was feeling totally worn down. The Atos 'Disability Analyst' had lied in saying that the person examined as a 'claimant not a patient' could raise her hands above her head. ('Computer services' company Atos with its contract to conduct assessments for the UK Government assumes that getting medical staff to think of people as 'claimants not patients' assumes that such mental gymnastics overwrites the Hippocartic Oath.)

One of our members had attended the WCA with the 6 pointer and can thus give testimony as to her true capacity to raise her hands above her head, but the rules or goalposts regarding appeal deadlines keep changing, so our Miss X who could not attend our meeting yesterday might be timed out of justice.Another member reported that at his first WCA he wanted the Atos staff member to focus on his mental health situation while he was crying his eyes out and found it bizarre that in a limited time appointment he was asked to raise his hands above his head. He had been awarded 0 eligibility points at his first WCA. When he attended with a knowledgeable friend he was able to get the 'Disability Analyst' to have a better focus, and was subsequently put into the Support Group of ESA claimants. But even when a claimant has a supportive friend, they have no control over the number of times or frequency with which they will be retested, or the targets that the DWP denies exist but numerous cases testify to. Contrary to ministerial statements, Atos Roulette is generally not life enhancing.

KUWG blames the DWP for the way that it awards Atos Healthcare bonuses of about £1,400 per claimant that they declare fit for work.

The meeting also decided to help the claimant concerned pay parking fees so that she can attend our meetings.
From our colleagues in Winvisible: Mon 21 Oct 12-2pm Defend legal victory against Work Capability Assessment

Monday 21 Oct  12-2pm
Vigil at the High Court, Strand WC2A 2LL
– called by the Mental Health Resistance Network -- to defend the legal victory that claimants won, that the Work Capability Assessment is discriminatory towards people with mental health problems – the DWP is appealing against this ruling.
WinVisible is supporting -- bring banners, placards and voices.
Sick, disabled and terminally-ill people are being found fit for work and cut off, mums and kids are being cut off and evicted.
All of us have a right to survive!
·         Case starts 10.30am in Court 72

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Disability Rights Commission Newspage items:


Testing DWP’s assessment of the impact of the social rented sector size criterion on housing benefit costs and other factors
The University of York has published a new research paper – “Testing DWP’s assessment of the impact of the social rented sector size criterion on housing benefit costs and other...
15 October 2013

Cameron's millionaires unleash more misery on Britain's vulnerable

Wednesday 16th
posted by Roger Bagley in Britain
As cost of living surges, pensioners continue to lose out

Pensioners, workers and home-seekers got another nasty Bullingdon-style clobbering from David Cameron's government of millionaires yesterday.

New official figures showed a relentless surge in the cost of living, with house prices soaring to a record high....

More in the Morning Star....

Wednesday 16th
posted by Morning Star in Features
A new coalition 'clampdown' on these poverty-profiteers does nothing to curb their usury - but there are ways we can act, says RICHARD LYNCH



TIME: 3-5:30PM

The meeting will need to appoint a minute-taker as the Secretary is leaving at 5pm for 6pm start of Camden Trades Council meeting.
  1. Gather and decide whether to start with a brief meditation — and do so not
  2. Appointment/selection of facilitator/chairperson and minute-taker
  3. Present
  4. Apologies
  5. Cases and Members' Wellbeing (Pt 1)
  6. Break
  7. Draft Minutes of group meetings held 10 October 2013
  8. Discussion and Brainstorming on how do we get more members and activists from our leafleting and 'external communications'? We are at about the end of our regular leaflet stock and need to consider how we will 'up our game' for the next load. Brainstorm, etc
  9. Reports and discussion of recent actions and current and emerging campaigns:
    1. London Coalition Against Poverty General Meeting, Saturday 5 October, attended by Marie
    2. Tuesday 8 October demonstration against estate agents collusion with landlords' colour bar in Willesden
    3. Possible linkage of anti-racism in housing campaign with Social Work Action Network London 29 October meeting theme on 'anti-racist social work'
    4. Online activities
    5. Council tax campaign in Brent and elsewher
    6. Unite the Resistance conference on Saturday 12 October
    7. Other KUWG Diary events and campaigns
  10. AOB, incl Cases (Pt 2) if necessary, and prompt exit by 5:30pm, with tables and chairs put bak in storage space.

KUWG Diary for Discussion at Thursday 17 October KUWG Business Meeting

Thursday 10 October, 3pm-5:30pm @ Kingsgate Community Centre, 107 Kingsgate Road, NW6 2JH, in the Small Hall
KUWG weekly business meeting.
Sat 12 Oct, 1:30-4:30pm @ Navariono Mansions Community Hall, Hackney
London Coalition Against Poverty General Meeting. KUWG is affiliated to LCAP
Weds 16 Oct, Assemble 11am @  Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY
Fire Brigades Union demonstration on pensions and cuts
FBU national demonstration: “an opportunity for firefighters, our families and friends to tell the Westminster government to stop cutting our fire and rescue service and to provide decent pensions for all. An FBU leaflet and poster have been sent to members and fire stations.” Supported by George Binette of Camden Trades Council
Tues 15 October, 12:30pm National Estate Agents 75 High Rd, NW10 2SU
Stop Racism in Letting Agencies
Picket against estate agents found to have colluded with racist landlords' colour bar. See BBC News report London letting agents 'refuse black tenants'
Thurs 17 October, 3pm-5:30pm in Small Hall at Kingsgate CC
KUWG weekly business meeting
This meeting will start largely with casework as usual, but alos focus on how we get our messages and leaflets across when we leaflet jobcentres, etc so as to attract and keep more members and be more effective.
The Secretary will be leaving at 5:00pm so as to attend a Camden Trades Council meeting in WC1 at 6pm. So the KUWG Secretary will not be the minute-taker on this occasion and a minute-taker for this meeting will need to be appointed at the start of the meeting.

Thursday 17th October: London Teachers Strike Day
• Assemble 10:30am @ Malet Street, London WC1E 7HZ (Off Gower Street). 
• Rally for Education: 12:15pm Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW
London teachers strike
Thurs 17 October, 6pm in a ground floor room at BMA House, Tavistock Square, WC1H 9JP
Camden Trades Council meeting with Guest Speaker Nick Phillips of London Unemployed Strategies
Fri 18 Oct, 9am @ Camderwell Magistrates Court D'Eynsford Rd, LB Southwark SE5 7EB
No Council Tax Benefit Cuts. Protest — called by Unite the Union — Community Members Facebook event page.
Unite Community Web details: Tweet with us @unitehousing 
Join our branch- facebook page. Our Website  is also very up  to date with lots of useful information on current campaigns, disputes &  resources!
Saturday 19 Oct ober, Start: 11am. Tickets: £3 waged; £5 ordinary @ Bloomsbury Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue WC2H 8EP. Online registration and further details
Unite the Resistance National Conference. Speakers incl: Billy Hayes (Gen Sec Communications Workers Union; Liz Lawrence (Vice Pres Universities & Colleges Union); Ronnie Drapers (Gen Sec BFAWU bakers' union); Jeremy Corbyn MP; Jane Aitchison (PCS)....
Wed 23 Oct 2pm – 3pm @ Kilburn Jobcentre, 5 Cambridge Ave, NW6 5AH
Members of KUWG engage in a guided tour of the facilities in the company of the manager as we attempt to secure Justice for Herbert and Other Benefit Claimants
Tues 29 Oct ober, 6:30p - 8:30pm @ London South Bank Uni (Room TBC)
Social Work Action Network London meeting, with themed discussion on 'Anti-racist social work': What is anti-racist social worK? And how is it relevant to social work practice in 2013?
Tuesday 5 November. Assemble at Jubilee Gardens @ 6pm
“The People's Assembly is organising an all-London action — …. then block Westminster Bri. — as act of civil disobedience."
See role call of events around the country.
Tuesday 5 November
Anonymous is calling for a worldwide 'Million Mask March'

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Announcement from Social Work Action Network (SWAN) London

Social Work Action Network brings together social work practitioners, service users, academics and students toward improving services rather than surrendering social work as hostage to cuts and privatisation. SWAN London Convenor Dan Morton writes:

Anti-Racist Social Work, Tuesday 29 October, 6:30-8:30pm

Dear SWAN London list members

This is to inform you of the date of the next SWAN London meeting - Tuesday 29th October 6:30-8:30pm. This will take place at London South Bank University - room TBC.

The discussion for the first part of the meeting is themed, as usual. On this occasion 'Anti-racist social work' is the topic at hand. We hope to have a speaker to lead the discussion on this and talk about what anti-racist social work is and how it is relevant to practice in 2013. 

Please join us.

Best wishes

SWAN London

p.s. Please do not forget to attend the Palestine-UK Social Work Network - https://www.facebook.com/palukswnetwork -second annual conference on 12th November 2013.

Social Work Action Network (SWAN) London
Visit the SWAN London blog for latest information here.
Visit the national SWAN website here.
Sign up for the Critical and Radical Social Work journal for free here.

If you would like to be removed from the Social Work Action Network (SWAN) London mailing list, please reply to this e-mail with your full name and e-mail address stating 'Unsubscribe' in the subject line.

Monday, 14 October 2013

"Gove + DWP set kids up for life of misery," says Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group Secretary

"Education Secretary Michael Gove's premature and relentless testing regime and the Department for Work & Pensions attacks on social security payments are setting children up for a life of misery," Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group Secretary Alan Wheatley said today.

"When the market rules people's lives and workers become commodities, the market also colonises children and their childhood," he said. "Testing is used to measure the value or otherwise of children rather than monitor the support they require. Against that backdrop, successive UK Governments have sided with turning children's impairments into disabilities as money spent per child to support their development is cut and misappropriated by channelling it into endless testing. A June 28, 2002  Times Educational Supplement article by Ted Wragg is aptly headed 'Humane rights of the tested'.

"The impact of cuts in poor families' income is recognised in a Kellogs televised commercial that pledges to give money to sponsor poor children's breakfasts when people buy a Kelloggs breakfast cereal. Cuts in housing and council tax benefits also lead to disruptions in  children's home life as councils such as LB Brent have become renowned for implementing central government cuts. At the same time, overseas millionaires leave UK properties unoccupied as gambling chips in a bid to increase house prices beyond the reach of even public service workers such as teachers."

Details of the London teachers' march can be found on the Camden Trades Council website. "It is great that the teachers unions are co-operating in strike action," Mr Wheatley said; "in that, they have a lot to teach the jobcentre unions." PCS Union members in jobcentres take far more industrial action than the more-short-term-contract GMB members in jobcentres, and this lack of joint working has led to apparent apathy of even PCS union members at Kilburn Jobcentre who have demonstrated great reluctance to so much as form a picket line on an official strike day.

Guest blog piece on racism in estate agent policy in LB Brent:

No Colour Bar

Stop Racism in Letting Agencies

Picket: 12.30pm, Tuesday 15th October
National Estate Agents, 75 High Road, Willesden Green, NW10 2SU
called by Brent Housing Action, supported by Unite Community and Brent Renters Campaign
A BBC Report today exposes the racism in Letting Agencies, naming and shaming two in Willesden that have openly shown they will illegally refuse Black tenants at a landlord's request.
In 1990 a Commission for Racial Equality report "Sorry, it's gone" showed that one in five accommodation agencies in thirteen locations discriminated against ethnic minorities; in this case, it seems all 10 that were tested were prepared to.
Brent Housing Action is calling a picket at National Estates and we will march to A-Z at the other end of the Willesden High Road.
Willesden is at the heart of Brent, a borough whose history has been shaped by Black people, often through community anti-racist action. Even as the government is stepping up its attack on the non-white and migrant population through imposing new racist immigration checks on tenants, decades old racism still persists.
We will raise the issue tonight at Brent Question Time and Council meeting, at the Willesden Connects forum, CNWL on Wednesday night. We are already discussing the Redress Scheme, Trading Standards, Brent Council lettings regulation. We are or will be getting in touch with Brent Councillors, Black community groups, anti-racists, CAB etc
The next Brent Housing Action meeting is 7pm, Tuesday 22nd, Brent Trades Hall, 375 Wilesden High Road.

Contact Suj, Brent Housing Action 07973 632 827 or e-mail brenthousingaction@gmail.com

"Those who give the order seldom see the mess it makes" — from 'The Trojan Women' by Euripides, adapted by Jean-Paul Sartre

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group activist [kuwga] Giselle does not claim social security benefits but joined the KUWG to channel her rage against the lies and abuse committed by UK government against those of us who are in the 99+ per cent who are legitimate claimants of social security payments.

Commenting via the Kilburn Unemployed google group, she writes:

"stirling work on the blog, looks very good and dynamic. I found this link and thought it might be good on the blog."

So here goes for the intro to that external Web content:

Sparkhill Job Centre Closed Yesterday After Sanctioned Claimant Smashes Windows

Sparkhill Job Centre was closed today after five windows were smashed by a claimant who it appears had been sanctioned by an advisor at the centre. No staff were hurt in the attack. The attack highlights the effect on people of the savage sanctions regime put in place by Iain Duncan-Smith and the tories in charge of the DWP. This is far from the only time a desperate claimant has been placed in a position where the only response they have is one of anger or pain. Last year a claimant set themselves on fire outside Selly Oak job centre, and staff at JCPs have been given training to deal with suicidal claimants.....
Facebook users can inspect what Giselle has done for the KUWG Facebook at
 Facebook: Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group