Great Britain: Countrywide action day on 25th February 2015 against arrest and legal proceedings against Scottish unemployment activists
"Active Unemployed Austria" demand discontinuation of the harassing, politically motivated legal proceedings and an end to harassments of the victims of David Cameron’s neoliberal economic policy!
(Vienna/Graz Feb 25th 2015) In Great Britain, where the government under the “liberal” prime minister David Cameron conduct a particularly repressive policy against the unemployed and the poor, there are cross-country protests of initiatives of the unemployed and the poor against harassments of “Jobsites”, that deny increasingly often the legal right of company and representation at official dates and put the victims of the neoliberal economic policy more and more under pressure. The harassing arrest of the unemployed activist Tony Cox and the trial starting today are triggers for cross-country protests in Great Britain.
Peaceful support of companions are punished by the state with police operation and trial in court
The triggering event of the protests are the arrest of the Scottish activist of the unemployed Tony Cox of the „Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network“. Tony Cox has accompanied a socially disadvantaged woman, who suffered from dyslexia and is an illiterate person, to a date at the Job Centre Arbroath on Jan 29th, 2015. The staff member at the Job Centre wanted to impose via contract the automatic placement service through skills matching („Universal Job Match“ - UJM) and prescribe the illiterate person 5 applications per day. Due to this harassment the lady suffered a panic attack and her companion Tony Cox demanded the cancellation of the UJC account (comparable with the eAMS), which was, however, refused.
At the subsequent visit of the lady with a companion at the manager of the Job Centre, the manager first insisted on a new date without a companion, however agreed then to a new date with a companion. The problem seemed to be resolved, however when leaving the Job Centre, Tony Cox was arrested by Police called behind his back, brought to the police station and released after protests.
Countrywide protests in Great Britain
Today, on February 25th, 2015 the first court hearing against the non-violent companion Tony Cox takes place in the court at Forfar (District Angus in Scotland), charged by the authorities with threatening behaviour, refusal to disclose his name and address, and even resistance against state power. Not only local groups like „Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty“ support the protests, but also the nationwide active action platform „Boycott Workfare“, that organize actions in front of the Job Centre in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Dundee and other locations.
Also in Austria the pressure on unemployed people is increasing - Active Unemployed Austra set up a companion service and increase consulting service
Also in Austria unemployed people mention again and again that some AMS employees are little informed about the right of companion and in a first reaction refuse it or want to see it limited to lawyers.
The efforts of AMS Austria as regards to automation like the extension of the eAMS account is to be seen critically. From a legal perspective, this account is voluntary, but is imposed by surprise tactics on affected people, without being informed by the AMS about their rights. Also the questionable „Skills Matching“, which needed so far 1 mio Euro of insurance money to develop without precise plan, makes it easier to automatically impose on people that cannot fend for themselves.
For that reason the association „Aktive Arbeitslose Österreich“ offers companions to AMS and is looking for people, unemployed or not, that accompany other people to AMS. Interested parties are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moreover, due to increased demand, the association Aktive Arbeitslose Österreich offers solidary legal information with a newly established consulting team by and for unemployed people every first and third Thursday each month from 5 pm to 8 pm in Café Müller, Yppenplatz 2, 1160 Wien.
The association „Aktive Arbeitslose Österreich“ supports fully the protests in Great Britain and calls for other initiatives to support them as well!
Some current news on the situation of unemployed people in Great Britain (small selection):