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((i)) West Country Independent Media Centre.

Published: 2006-11-14T20:59:59+00:00


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Strike for union rights at Rolls Royce


Workers at the Bristol Rolls Royce plant have voted for an indefinite strike, starting on August 22nd, until their dismissed colleague, Jerry Hicks is fully reinstated. Jerry was "probably dismissed on trade union grounds", the employment tribunal found, for supposedly organising unofficial action, influencing the decision of the disciplinary panel (both to support two sacked colleagues), and standing on the way of normal working practices [more details]. The aim of the strike and campaing is nothing short of unconditional reinstatement. But the real target are the anti-union laws that allow employers to criminalise "unofficial" actions. They have been on the law books since Thatcher introduced them, but have also survived two terms of Labour government. Yet when faced with pressures from employers, as Jerry Hicks said, "we never balloted, we always walked out!" [see also Heathrow Airport strikes background].

[Bristol IMC: Updates logo background | Unions: Amicus labournet | Talk in Cambridge: text photos call | Solidarity: photos | The arms trade: RR demo CAAT report | Latest reports 1 2 3 | Video 1]

Westcountry Indymedia Is Closed


For quite a while now West Country Indymedia has had no active collective taking care of its newswire or creating features. For quite a while it has seemed sensible at this stage to simply disable West Country IMC until a new collective comes forward willing to take responsibility for maintaining it.

Contact or perhaps imc-uk-process to express your interest or views on this issue.

Westcountry IMC is effectively closed!

Indymedia Bristol Server Seized by Police


On Monday, June 27th, Indymedia Bristol's server was seized by the police. An Indymedia volunteer was also arrested during the raid on suspicion of incitement to criminal damage. Last week, police demanded access to the server to gain the IP details of a posting. The alternative media outlet is receiving advice from civil liberties organisations and the NUJ. Before being legally forced to hand over the server, Indymedia Bristol stated: "We do not intend to voluntarily hand over information to the police as they have requested". Bristol Indymedia see the seizure of their server and the arrest of one of their volunteers as an attack on the freedom of speech. A further statement from Bristol Indymedia volunteers is expected soon.

This is the second time that law enforcement authorities have attacked Indymedia servers in the UK in the run up to a major event. Last October, just prior to the European Social Forum, Indymedia servers in London were seized in an international law enforcement operation - prompting a wave of protests and solidarity statements from a wide range of organisations [report]. This time, events are unfolding one week before the G8 Summit begins in Scotland.

In order to provide grass-roots non-corporate coverage during the G8 protests and events, Indymedia UK needs additional http mirrors to help decrease bandwidth costs. If you would like to help, please contact us at (image) or donate here.

Iron Age hill fort faces destruction in Cornwall


Cornish Iron Age hill fort faces destruction!

Eviction Alert - Two Mile Coppice, Weymouth


We only just heard that there has been a camp set up, adjacent to the old teddy bear woods & pink castle site, Weymouth, Dorset. The eviction hearing is on Thursday.

Sainsburys Blockaded Nationally [updated]


Sainsbury's chilled food distribution centres were blockaded across the country on Thursday in protest against GM feed being fed to dairy cows. Sainsbury’s five biggest UK distribution centres were shut down as evironmentalists and consumers simultaneously blockaded the supermarket chain's chilled-goods depots in London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield. They were chained together through steel tubes, or sat up scaffold tripods, blocking the depot gates. The co-ordinated action was intended to halt distribution of Sainsbury's dairy products that come from cows fed GM animal feed.

The protest follows Sainsbury’s failure to provide non-GM fed milk as standard, despite rivals like Marks and Spencer and the Co-op doing so. The action was taken in solidarity with farmers, demanding they get a fair deal of 2p on the pound for non-GM milk. The coalition of groups campaigning on this issue includes Farmers for Action, the Small and Family Farmers Alliance, The Small Farms Association, the Wholesome Food Association, the Institute of Science in Society, Genetic Food Alert and the Genetic Engineering Network (see GM animal feed campaign PDF). Also see National press release

Local reports: Birmingham report, photos and video | London
Yorkshire | Liverpool [ 1 , 2 ] and photos [1 | 2]
Bristol report and photos
Sainsbury's Essex Waltham Point Depot Blockade Report
See also Genetic Engineering Network

In a related action, farmers in Barnstaple blockaded a Sainsbury's store, while consumers and campaigners labelled GM milk inside the store: report and press release here.

Latest news:
Cows leaflet shareholders are Sainsbury AGM - Monday 12th July
Store demo in Plymouth - Saturday 10th July
Farmers vist Welsh store - Saturday 10th July

Where have all the GM trials gone?


Hot on the heals of Bayer's withdrawal of Chardon LL GM maize comes yet another confirmation that all is not well for the UK GM crops industry. For the first time in over 10 years, research reveals that none of the Gene Giants (Syngenta, Monsanto and Bayer) are conducting any UK field trials of GM crops.

This year sees a massive reduction in the total number of GM field trials in the UK from a peak of 159 in 2000-2001 to 42 in 2002-2003 to just 1 in 2003-2004.

This may have something to do with the fact that 91 trials out of 476 have been damaged or destroyed in the last five years. This has had a significant impact on the industry because the majority of those targeted were the national seedlisting trials, which are compulsory for the seed licensing process .

Bayer Come a Cropper


Bayer have withdrawn the only GM crop with (partial) commercial approval. They blame government regulation and caution for holding up the crop which is now technologically and economically obsolete. However it has taken five years to get just one crop this far, which has been the result of the delays caused by the many crop trashings, lobbying, blockades, research and not a little consumer pressure.

When a government announces commercialisation of a GM crop, and then three weeks later, the very large multinational company responsible withdraws it from commercialisation, it would be a fair assumption that someone, somewhere, has put a spanner in the works.

Blackwood Tree Camps Evicted - Campaign Continues


Update: 29th March: The Campaign Continues! There are still around 50 trees to be defended, and there are still camps, tree houses being built, and actions taking place - read Blackwood Protest Continues and Status Report. Contractors Costain will also be holding a public meeting to address concerns and answer questions from local residents regarding the Sirhowy Enterprise Way, at 7pm, on Tuesday, March 30, at the Costain's site office, Cwm Philkins, Oakdale.

Early in the morning on Tuesday 23rd March, around 70 Police, Bailiffs and specialist climbers and tunnellers began evicting the tree camps at Blackwood in South Wales - where locals have been campaigning against a new road for over a decade [Pics]. Around 10 people were arrested as they resisted in the trees, on walkways, in nets and in a tunnel, some after breaching cordons. At Camp Kerry, one brave activist still remained at the end of the day, and was able to climb down without being arrested. Most of the trees were destroyed, but campaigners say they will continue to resist.

See Report and Pictures | 1 | 2
Also see collected reports (and pics): Bristol | UK

Evictions continued throughout Wednesday as Bailiffs cut people out of lock-ons and most of the remaining trees were destroyed. Some campaigners remain camped on private land next to the road route and are determined to continue opposing the road scheme. See Report | 2 | 3

Meanwhile in London an attempted eviction was also taking place in Kentish Town. At mid morning bailiffs arrived at several flats that have been home to a group of squatters for some months. Some of the occupiers took to the roof, whilst a crowd of around 100 people gathered in the road in front of the building.

GM Activists - what next? ...Get Sainsbury's.


With the commercialisation of the first GM crop, currently dormant activists maybe wondering what to do next...Well, activists all over the country (especially in Devon!) have been targeting Sainsbury's GM-fed dairy products. This has been done by bandit labeling, crazy giant maize, and dancing on the roof almost a whole herd of crazy gm-fed cows...

Travellers Oppose Proposal for New Transient Sites in Devon


Devon Travellers are opposing plans by Devon County Council who are proposing two new transient sites in Devon. One on Telegraph Hill, near Exeter, and one on the A381 near Totnes. In a new campaign driven by local travellers, concerns are being raised about the unsuitablility of plans, including traffic worries and the fact that that those without vehicles are totally ignored.

Pink Castle Now Guilty!


On 15th December 2003 a District Judge in Weymouth, Dorset found four anti-GM activists guilty of aggravated trespass for attaching themselves to tractors. The activists were attempting to prevent the sowing of a trial of GM maize near Weymouth in May 2002.

This marks the end of a drawn-out and contradictory legal process which saw all four activists cleared of aggravated trespass by the same District Judge in March 2003. The Crown Prosectution Service (CPS) appealed and had the verdict overturned by two High Court Judges who ordered a retrial, with instructions that the defendants should be found guilty. The four now face prison for refusal to pay the punitive costs.

Full Report | video | audio | earlier verdict one two | background history | Pink Castle website

Campaign launched to prevent Swindon teenager being deported


A broad based community campaign is promised to defend Swindon teenager Inna Haville from deportation to the Ukraine. Swindon Trades Union Council (TUC) are calling on all Swindon Trade Unions, political parties and faith communities to support the campaign, and to write to the Home Office asking that Inna be allowed to stay in Swindon on compassionate grounds. The Haville family are backing the campaign.

When 'David' Took On Goliath - One Dying Worker Challenges The Corporate Giants


Nibby David was poisoned by DU whilst working in the aerospace industry and is now very ill. He has a court case coming up in the west country next year to try and get compensation. Basically this case will question the legality of DU and is of international importance. If he wins many poisoned by DU - Gulf War Veterans, workers, and civilian populations of Iraq, Afgahistan, Kosovo, Bosnia -stand to benefit.

Bushwhacked Aerospace worker fights for life / Flash movie of the effects of DU in Iraq ( 9oo K - strong content)/ The Pandora Project - DU research project