Saturday, September 08, 2007

Fremantle attack LabourStart - ALL those concerned about Free speech read on!

Dear Colleagues

As you will know. LabourStart have been promoting our campaign at the request of UNISON HQ.

The response has been incredible and has demonstrated the power of the internet to support trade union members across the world.

To those of you unfamiliar with this organistion they provide information of campaigns across the world. Often they are exposing organisations/ governments who may have murdered, tortured , imprisoned Trade Union activists for going about their business, something which we all take for granted in this country. As with the Fremantle campaign, they will have a standard email detailing the issue and request readers to send the email off to the Head of the Organisation or Government.

Now here is the shocking bit.

LabourStart have never been threatened........................not until now!

Fremantle ( yes Fremantle a 'Not for Profit' organisation) threatened them last week with legal action. They have a different spin as to how their cuts have affected our members and were unhappy to see the real story exposed. When the legal threats did not work, Fremantle went to LabourStarts ISP and complained.

The ISP gave LabourStart notice to take off the campaign by Friday 7 Sept at 12 or be closed down. LabourStart were unable to get an assurance from the ISP that they would close them down so yesterday reluctantly on Friday 7 Sept at 12 noon they took down the campaign..........................

However the campaign has not gone away.........within minutes it was alive and and now very angry...............

I am proud to introduce you to.......

This link is being circulated worldwide as I am typing. I am sure those reading this BLOG will be adding it to their favourites and forwarding it on.

So, our campaign to restore the Single Status (Equal Pay) terms and conditions stolen from our low paid women care workers continues........................

We have another issue which ALL Trade Unions can not ignore and that is attempts of employers to silence dissent, something that is at the heart of a democracy.

Our Branch is already receiving messages of support and condemnation of the sacking of Andrew and the atttacks on LabourStart...details of these messages will be published over the next few days.


"The campaign we launched a little more than a week ago in support of low-paid workers in care homes in north London has generated more support than any other campaign we have ever done.

Already, well over 8,100 messages have been sent to the employer. This is even bigger than our 2005 campaign in support of the Gate Gourmet workers, which was a much more widely publicized dispute in the mainstream media.

As we mentioned in this week's mailing to our subscribers, the employer reacted swiftly and brutally -- first threatening us with a libel action in the English courts and then sacking a union rep.

And then on Thursday, in an unprecedented move, the employer (Fremantle Trust) contacted our internet service provider and demanded that they shut down the campaign or else face a lawsuit themselves.

We were contacted by the legal department of the internet service provider and told that we had until noon on Friday to close down the campaign or else the entire LabourStart site would be shut down.

We worked very hard over those 24 hours to attempt to get our provider to back down, and had the full support of Unison (Britain's giant public sector union, whose members are at the center of the dispute) but were not successful in doing this before the noon deadline on Friday.

As a result, at 11:59 yesterday we were compelled to shut down the campaigns.

But -- we instantly revived the campaign in nine languages on a different server, in a different country, with a new name that reflects our feeling at this time.

The new site is called "We will not be silenced!" and is located, appropriately enough, at

If you have not yet sent off your message of protest to Fremantle, please do so from the new page.

Please also inform all your lists and every trade unionist you know to use the
new site to send a loud and clear message to this employer.

If Fremantle Trust were unhappy to receive 8,000 emails, how are they going to feel about getting thousands more in the next few days? Because that is exactly what is going to happen.

We will not be intimidated, we will not be bullied, and we will not be silenced. The campaign continues.
Enjoy your weekend.

Eric "


Anonymous said...

I've worked in the medical field for years (now disabled and retired), and been fired for trying to unionize. I have a LOT of sympathy for these people. Thought I'd share to personalization of the letter to Carol Sawyers. Maybe someone else can add to it creatively.

To Carol Sawyers, Fremantle Trust Chief Executive

Dear Ms Sawyers,

There has been a movement of this sort by large corporations and the "Old Money" wealthy all over the world for a very long time, human greed being what it is. Lately, however, and to your misfortune, it has both gotten more open as they sense what may be ultimate victory, and it has received more general attention as communication technology has become cheap enough for even the lowest-end workers to possess it. That puts you and your bid for slave laborers squarely in the international spotlight. The more draconian your responses become, the more negative publicity you are bound to receive. At some point in the very near future it will, as a result, become impossible for you to do business unless you start taking the homeless in off the streets and trying to bill the government for them.

People who have to half kill themselves just to survive rarely make the best workers; nor do those who have just been, in essence, robbed at gunpoint, which is what you are attempting to do. This means that even if you win, you still lose. Your workers, if they are exhausted by working more than one job and resentful because they are denied even reasonable compensation and consideration, are simply not going to work well. Your operation will decrease in quality until, again, you cannot stay in business.

Then there are the considerations of simple humanity. It is utterly disgraceful that you can risk the loss, and attempt the harm, of such highly trained, experienced and committed care workers who provide high quality care and support to Barnet's elderly and vulnerable residents. These same workers are mostly women and many have to work part-time to balance their family and caring responsibilities. The UK Equal Opportunities Commission has recently warned of a 'caring time bomb' with poor pay and staff turnover undermining the caring professions. "Pocket money pay undermines care services." How in the world can you do this to other human beings, workers and patients alike? Exactly what kind of accounting system is it that you use in place of a conscience? I strongly suggest, for your own good as well as that of others, that you reverse your decision to reduce the terms and conditions of the Fremantle care workers or hand back the service for vulnerable elders to Barnet Council. You might also consider - though I understand that imagination is work you never trained for - what it might be like if you were forced to exist under the conditions you are attempting to create, either as a worker or as one of those they care for. Would you want a parent of yours, a sibling, a child, or even yourself, to have to try to live under such conditions? I seriously doubt it.

Most Sincerely,

Ian MacLeod
Oregon, USA
September 9th, 2007

Anonymous said...

I have just reading your stuff on the the Freemantle Dispute apparently it is really taking off, thats really good, but I do wonder though if it is because it is a largely migrant workforce. The left these days only seems to be interested in such disputes. If i see the same support for the thousands of Remploy workers I will put my doubts to rest.

Anonymous said...

Hello Brothers & Sisters!
My sympathy is extened as well, as I am a health care worker myself! I am wondering why no one here is mentioning the North American Union in regards to the Security & Prosperity Partnership Agreement.
It seems to me the the loss of canadian jobs is a direct result of this secretive agreement created by a committee of people that are the large corporations & old money elite?? Why is no one talking???

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