EDINBURGH COUNCIL AND THE LEAK - TWO AND A HALF YEARS, A COLLAPSED CEILING, AND STILL LEAKING….

MUCH of old Muirhouse is gone now, blitzed in advance of the ill-fated Waterfront Project in an orgy of city council vandalism remembered as ‘the Muirhoose Clearances.’ The empty acres that once held hundreds of families in social housing were sown with wild flower seed and hilariously rebranded as ‘the Meadows.’ But this fly-tipper’s dream is soon to be developed with new-builds – over half private and for sale, and only 30% genuine social housing for rent.

The rump of the remaining Muirhouse of old is the cluster of high rises, all named after islands in the Forth - Oxcars, Inchmickery, Birnies, Gunnet, Fidra . . . When Holyrood decreed that all kitchens and toilets in Scottish homes must meet a certain criteria the contract for the Muirhouse high rises was handed to the Mitie mega-corp and the result was a mighty shambles of exploding boilers, broken flushes and leaking pipes until a flood of tenant complaints saw Mitie kicked off the job, though years later council plumbers are still repairing the mega-company’s shoddy work. One 14-story block, Birnies Court, which suffered from the Mitie shambles, then had the further indignity of having the lovely shrubbery at its foot, against the protests of its tenants group, bulldozed and replaced with a ‘recycling depot,’ which soon become little more than a communal rubbish dump.

But 150 feet above the dumped mattresses and cookers and burst bin-bags, things are little better. On the block’s top floor council tenant Eddie M, who has lived in Birnies Court for almost 20 years, has spent the last two and a half years fruitlessly trying to get its leaking roof fixed. ‘The leak was first reported on the Easter Weekend of 2014,’ he says. ‘That was the start of a long, frustrating process of complaints that were ignored or met with lies and deceit. Nothing was done.’ Nearly two years after his initial report the sodden ceiling in the small bedroom came down. Subsequent investigations found that the whole roof was rotten and would have to be replaced.

SOLIDARITY WILL BEAT THE DWP BULLIES

solidarity at high riggssolidarity at high riggsDemonstrators from round Scotland besieged High Riggs Jobcentre on 3rd October to insist the DWP bosses recognise that all claimants have the right to be accompanied to all benefits-related appointments by the person or people of their choice.

This followed the appalling treatment of an ill and vulnerable claimant on 1st September when the management at High Riggs Jobcentre called the police to deny this man his right to be accompanied to a Job Seekers Allowance appointment by his father and an advocate from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty.  

Members of Dundee Against Austerity, Glasgow Anarchist Collective, Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, and the Revolutionary Communist Group joined Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh at the protest. Speakers denounced the brutal benefits system, designed to make life on benefits so intolerable that workers will be forced to accept really bad wages and conditions – the attack on benefits is thus an attack on the whole working class, and all need to get involved in resistance. The escalating attack on recipients of Employment and Support Allowance was highlighted, as increasing numbers of very ill people are found “fit for work” and the numbers qualifying for ESA Support Group fall drastically.

ADVOCACY IS NOT A CRIME!

DEFEND THE RIGHT TO BE ACCOMPANIED

BESIEGE HIGH RIGGS JOBCENTRE

MON 3rd OCTOBER  12 NOON – 2PM

Police preventing advocacy

DWP AND POLICE DENY CLAIMANT'S RIGHT TO BE ACCOMPANIED - ACTION NEEDED!

The DWP staff at High Riggs Jobcentre in Edinburgh are up to their old tricks again in denying claimants' their right to be accompanied to interviews. On 1st September staff not only refused to allow an Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty volunteer to accompany an ill and vulnerable young person to an appointment, but also turned away the claimant's own father. The result was a stand-off with Jobcentre staff who refused to acknowledge the right to be accompanied, the use of the police yet again to enforce their bad management, and the claimant being forced to complete an important hour-long interview by himself.

Tony Cox sentenced - No Justice, No Peace!

On 21 July Dundee sheriff court sentenced Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox to 150 hours community work.  In a classic example of class justice from the biased sheriff, Tony had earlier been found guilty of "threatening behaviour" following his arrest while accompanying a claimant to a work capability assessment at Maximus in Dundee.

People demonstrated in solidarity with Tony on 21 July, both at Dundee Sheriff Court and then at the Maximus assessment centre - Maximus had called the police to arrest Tony after denying the claimant her right to be accompanied by the advocate of her choice.

People came from round Scotland to assert that Advocacy is not a Crime, with ECAP represented and folk present from Glasgow, Stirling, Fife, Edinburgh as well as Dundee.

People declared that we would not be intimidated by this clamp-down, and that the best response was to step up frontline advocacy and collectively fight back against the so-called welfare reforms, which as Tony says are really " an attempt to transform the welfare state into a form of disciplining and controlling workers, both employed and unemployed."

SOLIDARITY WITH TONY COX – ADVOCACY IS NOT A CRIME – 21 JULY

We call on all to join the demonstration at Dundee Sheriff Court this thursday 21 July as Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox appears for sentencing.. The solidarity protest will develop from 10am onwards at the court at 6 West Bell Street, DD1 9AD Dundee.

Tony faces sentencing after being found guilty of “threatening behaviour” - he was arrested while accompanying a woman to her Work Capability Assessment at Maximus, Dundee. This is a clear attack on claimants' rights and solidarity is vital..

 Facebook events page   

 You have the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews - full info here 

SUCCESSFUL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST UNFAIR PIP ASSESSMENTS

The successful day of action against the unfair assessments for Personal Independence Payment saw demos in 17 different areas on 13 July.  In Edinburgh ECAP and others leafleted the ATOS PIP assessment centre at Argyle House in the morning, speaking to several claimants attending assessments. In the afternoon we were joined by people from Black Triangle, Disability History Scotland and other groups, including activists from Fife, in a demo around 40-strong at the Scottish Parliament.

With PIP being devolved, a petition was presented to the Parliament calling on the Scottish Government to cover the loss of DLA/PIP for all whose medical status has not changed according to the clinical opinion of their own GPs and specialists, pending the creation of the new Scottish system.

Photos and tweets from actions round Britain here

Edinburgh report and photos here 

Glasgow report and photos here  

Dundee report and photos here  

UK-wide Day of Action Against Unfair PIP assessments

Join us in our demo against unfair assessments for Personal Independence Payment at the Scottish Parliament  on Wednesday 13 July.  We will be there from 12.30 - 2pm along with our friends in Black Triangle and Disability History Scotland.

Earlier, from 10.15am - 11.15am we will be leafleting the ATOS PIP assessment centre at Argyle House, 3 Lady Lawson Street.

This is part of a UK-wide Day of Action - details of different demos here

If you cannot reach any of the demos you could join the online protest.

If you have to go to a PIP assessment get support and advice asap, and take someone with you to the assessment - more info here - and also here

 

WELFARE ACTIVIST IN COURT AT DUNDEE - “ADVOCACY IS NOT A CRIME”

Solidarity demonstrators will greet the appearance of Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox at Dundee Sheriff Court this Thursday 23 June. 

Supporters denounce Tony Cox's arrest while he was accompanying a claimant at a disability benefits test.   “'This is an attack on the right to be accompanied to a benefits appointment, and accompanied by a person of one's own choosing,” declared SUWN spokeswoman Sarah Glynn. 

 ECAP urges everyone who can to join the protest, from 10am on 23 June at Dundee Sheriff Court, 6 West Bell Street, DD1 9AD Dundee.   People are travelling from Edinburgh.  Groups unable to reach Dundee on the day are organising solidarity in their own areas, from Doncaster to Kilburn, London.

Advocacy is STILL NOT a crime -Solidarity with Tony Cox June 9th.

 
The right to be accompanied is still under attack and yet again it is Scottish Unemployed Workers Network(SUWN) activist Tony Cox who is the scapegoat in this charade.

On Thursday 9th June at 10am, please come to Dundee Sheriff Court  and show your support for Tony Cox – arrested for trying to accompany a woman to her Work Capability Assessment and now on trial for 'Threatening Behaviour' for insisting on her right to have him accompany her.

 

When Tony was up in court before in October 2015 ,SUWN and ECAP called for a Britain wide day of action which involved groups from London, Wales, Dorset and Liverpool and others. Again we call for another day of action across the entirety of Britain. We are inviting groups to protest on the 9th of June at their local job centres for the right to be accompanied and in solidarity with Tony.

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty(ECAP) will hold a protest on Monday 6th June at 2pm outside Highriggs jobcentre, a notorious jobcentre famous for abusing claimants and accompaniers.

Last time, the DWP brought Tony to court, they had to drop the charges as their evidence fell apart. Their evidence amounted to the pointing of a finger. Now they're trying again.

 

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