Thursday, 18 October 2012

Stay of execution and promise of a great legal battle for refugees threatened with eviction and absolute destitution

Below is an update from the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees outlining the result of yesterday’s hearings into the forced evictions of asylum seeking families in Glasgow. The STUC has been supporting this campaign and is appalled that our asylum system works in such a way that people are systematically and routinely left destitute on our streets. We are glad that yesterday some progress was made in tackling this issue, although much is still to be done. We are also glad that the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees will be joining the march for a Future that Works on Saturday.

Refugees and campaigners who attended today's first court hearings in Court 14 in Glasgow Sheriff Court brought by the YMCA to evict the remaining refused refugees, witnessed a remarkable event. While a number of undefended cases went through on the nod, 8 of the cases were defended and the case for eviction challenged. The first effect was to extend the cases into December, giving the refugees at least a stay of execution, the longer and more significant outcome could be to develop a group of test cases which will challenge the legality of the use of absolute destitution as an arm of government policy. Some of the cases were defended by an advocate, an unusual enough event in the eviction courtroom, but an indication of how seriously the refugees' lawyers intend to pursue these cases.

As one of the legal firms involved put it, in more measured terms:

"Latta and Co. Solicitors represented several clients who were faced with eviction at Glasgow Sheriff Court today. The cases were successfully continued to consider challenges raised to the lawfulness of the eviction proceedings. Additional challenges were also raised in respect of potential human rights breaches involving destitution issues. These will be considered at an evidential hearing which has been set for December. The clients are allowed to remain in the accommodation until the matters are fully considered."

Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and numerous other organisations will continue to campaign until our society is rid of this barbarity. Not only out of sympathy with refugees but for ourselves too for what governments can get away with doing to demonised refugees today they can do to the demonised "undeserving poor' tomorrow.

Jock Morris

Friday, 5 October 2012

Black Workers are suffering because of austerity and will be marching on 20th Oct.

The STUC is having its 16th Annual Black Workers Conference this weekend in Glasgow. Black Workers from a variety of workplaces and sectors across Scotland will be gathering to discuss issues that are important to them in their workplaces and in their daily lives.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Our Scotland ....Beyond Colour’ which represents the sort of Scotland we want to create. Too often we hear politicians saying ‘we’re all in this together’ but this phrase rings hollow. We want to see a Scotland were everyone truly is valued, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality or disability and we want to make sure that Black and Ethnic Minority people feel that their contribution to our country is recognised.

As chair of the Black Workers Committee and from work within my own union, I know that Black Workers are suffering in the current climate. Too often we hear stories of Black Workers being the last to receive their shift allocations, and the first to have their hours cut. We also know that racist bullying and harassment is a part of many workers daily lives and that tensions in workplaces often rise as cuts begin to bite.

It’s not right that Black Workers should have to bear the brunt of this crisis. Nor should we allow the Government’s policies of austerity to divide us. All workers Black or White, old or young, public or private sector, need to stand up to this Government’s ideological and damaging economic policy.

That’s why I’m marching on the 20th October, and why I’ll be proud to carry the STUC Black Workers’ banner. It’s our Scotland and we need to fight for it.

Nazerin Wardrop – Chair, STUC Black Workers’ Committee