Patrick Bond is the Director of the Center for Civil Society and Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Bond is the author and editor of the recently released books, Politics of Climate Justice and Durban’s Climate Gamble.
Thanks to the thousands of people who have signed the ‘Hands off our Unions’ statement.
When we launched the statement in the Guardian on Friday our website crashed throughout the day because too many people were trying to get on to sign!
If you had problems please do try again and keep asking your workmates, friends and family to sign.
The government looks set to continue the attack on our right to resist, especially in the run up to the election, and now there are signs that protest is being clamped down on even more – the students occupying Birmingham University have been told they face a fine of up to £25,000 unless they agree to stop demonstrating against the sell off of the student loan book.
The People’s Assembly will be launching a nationwide campaign around the ‘Hands off our Unions – defend the right to resist’ statement, starting with a rally in Central London in January and then rolling it out across the country.
Day of Action on 14 December
‘Can you afford Christmas?’
The government’s announcement today that they will cap the amount payday loan companies can charge indicates a U-turn. Now we need to keep up the pressure, and say this is not enough. The real issue is the government implementing austerity measures, pushing people further into poverty and into the hands of these payday loan sharks.
New law would ban protests, even imply thought crime
This is a post from the blogsite SCRIPTONITE DAILY which describes this Bill.
lThe UK Government is about to pass legislation which will make any behaviour perceived to potentially ‘cause nuisance or annoyance’ a criminal offence. The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill also grants local authorities, police and even private security firms sweeping powers to bar citizens from assembling lawfully in public spaces. The Bill has successfully passed through the House of Commons without issue, and is now in the latter stages of review by the House of Lords, after which it will receive Royal Assent and become Law. Those who refuse orders under the new rules will face arrest, fines and even prison time.
The Ever Increasing Powers
Since the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) the government has invented and legislated for a litany of such orders covering everything from dog poo to drug addiction, including but not limited to: Control Orders; Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Orders; Intervention Orders; Crack House Closure Orders; Premise Closure Orders;Brothel Closure Orders; Gang Related Violence Injunctions; Designated Public Place Orders;Special Interim Management Orders; Gating Orders; Dog Control Orders; Letter Clearing Notices;Noise Abatement Orders; Graffiti/Defacement Removal Notices; Directions to Leave and Dispersal Orders.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, purports to simplify this legacy of New Labour’s legislative promiscuity. In reality, it creates a series of wildly ambiguous, generic orders which grant officers of the state and private sector even greater powers to issue tougher sentences, with fewer checks and balances to protect citizens.
The UK Government is about to pass legislation which will make any behaviour perceived to potentially ‘cause nuisance or annoyance’ a criminal offence. The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill also grants local authorities, police and even private security firms sweeping powers to bar citizens from assembling lawfully in public spaces. The Bill has successfully passed through the House of Commons without issue, and is now in the latter stages of review by the House of Lords, after which it will receive Royal Assent and become Law. Those who refuse orders under the new rules will face arrest, fines and even prison time.
Read the full post from here
THE leader of Derby City Council says employees should not be alarmed after letters were sent out saying they may have
to have their contracts “terminated alongside an offer of re-engagement” if they don’t accept a new pay agreement.
But the biggest union at the authority, Unison, has said the intention of the document was to “do exactly that, panic people”.
They have been sent, said Councillor Paul Bayliss, to all the authority’s staff that “aren’t employed in a school” as a result of wrangling over the Government-ordered “equal pay review”.
This, the council says, is aimed at ensuring its workforce receive fair wages for work of equal value and common terms and conditions.
Historically this has not been the case nationally, mainly because women were not paid a fair amount in comparison to men.
The Derby Telegraph previously reported how at least 600 city council workers stand to see their basic pay reduced from April 1 next year as part of the changes.
About another 2,000 staff members will see their basic rate of pay increase and about 800 see no change.
Hands off our Unions
Defend the right to resist
The People’s Assembly has launched a new statement in today’s Guardian in defense of our trade unions following recent attacks from the government.
Please ask everyone to sign this statement, share on facebook and twitter and forward this email to your collegues, friends, family etc.
“The government’s announcement of an inquiry into trade union tactics is further proof of its determination to undermine the right to protest against its austerity programme.
David Cameron’s speech at the recent Lord Mayor’s banquet has revealed the government is determined that there will be no end to austerity.
The trade union’s customary right to strike and the right to protest are fundamental liberties that have already been significantly restricted by anti-union laws and other legislation. This inquiry is a new Tory-Lib Dem assault on the unions, demonstrated by the fact that the appointed chairman is the former QC for British Airways who led the attack on Unite the Union during the previous dispute between Unite and BA in 2011.
As millions of people face falling real wages, unemployment, part time or casualised low paid work, and the rapid destruction or privatisation of the welfare state they stand in need of trade union organisation and the right to protest more than ever.
We pledge ourselves to resist this attack. The right to protest is a fundamental civil liberty. The right to join an effective trade union is the product of generations of working class resistance. We have no intention of relinquishing it to a Government with no interests in the needs of working people.”
Len McCluskey, Unite the Union, Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union, Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers, Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists, Manuel Cortes, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, Billy Hayes, Communication Workers Union, Matt Wrack, Firebrigades Union, Mick Whelan, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, Ian Lawrence, NAPO, Tony Benn, Maxine Peake, Actress, Sam Fairbairn, Secretary, The People’s Assembly, Steve Turner, Unite the Union & Chair, The People’s Assembly, Romayne Phoenix, Co-chair, The People’s Assembly, Owen Jones, Journalist & The People’s Assembly, Jeremy Corbyn MP, John McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Murad Qureshi, London Assembly Member, Cllr Rania Khan, Mark Steel, Comedian,Francesca Martinez, Comedian, Roger Lloyd Pack, Actor, Carolyn Jones, Institute of Employment Rights, Andrew Murray, Unite the Union, Dave Smith, Blacklist Support Group, Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary, Zita Holborne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition, Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Lee Jasper, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Aaron Keily, Black Students Officer, NUS, Alex Kenny, NUT national executive, John Rees, Counterfire, Paul Mackney, former General Secretary, UCU,Salma Yaqoob, James Meadway, Senior Economist, New Economics Foundation,John Hilary, War on Want, Rob Griffiths, Communist Party of Britain, Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper, Andrew Burgin, Left Unity, Roy Bailey, singer / songwriter,Mark Barratt, Occupy campaigner, Clare Solomon, former president, ULU, Fred Le-Plat, Socialist Resistance
Friday Night. Nick Clegg. Probably not everyone’s ideal combination to start the weekend! But what happens in Clegg’s Sheffield constituency this Friday could be crucial to the future of our democracy. Can you help by signing the petition against the gagging law before then? https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/fix-or-scrap-the-gagging-law
This Friday evening, there’s a big public meeting happening on the gagging law in Nick Clegg’s constituency. It’s our chance to take the campaign to protect democracy right to his doorstep.  Please can you add your voice by signing the petition?
If the worst parts of the gagging law are to be scrapped, Nick Clegg needs to shift position. But so far he’s refused to listen to the warnings from charities, campaign groups and voluntary groups.  So let’s use the next 48 hours to make our opposition louder.
The petition is already over 160,000 signatures. Tomorrow evening 38 Degrees members will deliver a copy to his office, and hand another to his representative at the meeting. Can you add your name now and get it past 200,000 before then?
Nick Clegg is still bullish in his support for a law that could silence charities and campaigning organisations. Just yesterday he said:
“I am unapologetically enthusiastic about a measure that will do a great deal to safeguard the integrity of the democratic process.” 
This reads like something from George Orwell’s 1984 – the current draft law would do pretty much exactly the opposite! The Commission of Civil Society and Democratic Engagement, supported by over 60 charities and organisations, and chaired by the former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries, says:
“There is no doubt that…part 2 of the Lobbying Bill risks profoundly undermining the very fabric of our democracy and significantly limiting the right of organisations – from charities and community groups to think tanks and blog sites – to speak out on some of the most important issue facing this country and the planet.” 
Other Lib Dems, particularly in the House of Lords, do seem to be starting to listen.  But Nick Clegg is the party leader. For us to win, he needs to change his mind. This Friday is our best chance yet to put pressure on him, with a public meeting in his backyard and a massive petition signed by hundreds of thousands of people.
Please add your voice here:
Thanks for being involved,
Becky, David, Robin, James and the rest of the 38 Degrees team
PS: Nick Clegg is refusing to attend Friday’s meeting and is sending a “representative” instead. That probably says a lot about how much we need to up the pressure on him! So let’s make sure his “representative” reports back to him how big the petition has grown – please sign now: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/fix-or-scrap-the-gagging-law
More information here