Supporting Refugees in Calais

*Convoy to Calais 23rd January 2016* On January 23rd another group from Newham crossed to Calais to deliver support to the refugees in The Jungle, this time including members of Newham Labour Party & Newham Pakistani Forum, Dost Young People’s Refugee Project (East Ham) and Newham Stand Up To Racism. As before we visited the Care4Calais warehouse from which aid goes into the camp and then went on to The Jungle itself where we helped with a food distribution. We also attended a demonstration by the refugees and French supporters. Some of us attended the press conference in the camp given by Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot, who visited Calais and Dunkirk camps on Saturday. A large strip of The Jungle has been bulldozed flat, destroying all the tents and huts which were next to the motorway. The French authorities have provided shipping containers with bunks, though no cooking facilities, toilets or communal areas. Some refugees have moved into these. There is going to be space for 1500, which is about a quarter of those currently on site. Many more either can’t because there’s no space or won’t because it means much tighter control and the possibility of deportation. Workers were collecting rubbish in the camp – the result of a court ruling won by Doctors Without Borders which obliges the authorities to do this. The other big change seems to be a rise in the violence against the refugees. They talked about tear gas being fired regularly into the camp and incursions by the police and racists who attack them. Certainly the police presence was much higher: the motorway exit to the camp was sealed off and there were convoys of CRS riot squads moving around it. This time we took 930 euros to Care4Calais. The NUT rep at Woodbridge High School in Redbridge had produced a badge with the support of Redbridge NUT. This has the image of Paddington Bear, from a Bansky mural in the camp, with the slogan “Everyone Needs a Refuge”. Students and staff had raised 520 euros selling these. (Bulk orders are available!). A housing worker had collected £87 round her office and individual donations via SUTR came to 300 euros. See her post at www.facebook.com/lois.browne1/posts/10153402868742029 In terms of material, we took mostly winter clothes and blankets. Particular mention for these goes to Dost, the Wapping GP practice in Tower Hamlets and Elmhurst Primary School in Upton Park, as well as several families. We have some extra things, less suitable for Calais, which will be donated to the Renewal Programme’s Refugees and Migrants Project in Manor Park, which works with refugees here who have no access to state support. Thank you to all who came to Calais and to all who donated. Newham convoys have now taken over 6000 euros in cash plus ten car loads and a transit van of material donations. 48 people have visited the camp with us to do this. *The next convoy is in the February Half Term, from Saturday 13th onwards.* Please let me know if you’d like to come, or to donate money or goods. Drivers are especially welcome. ​ ​ ​


London Recruits – This film needs you!

Urgent appeal for Kickstarter funding for the film!

Deadline 23rd December 2015.

The Union nationally is supporting the production of this film.

London Recruits tells the story of the young women and men, including NUT members, who undertook undercover missions for the ANC. With your help their inspirational story of solidarity and high adventure is coming to the big screen for the first time.

To donate please follow this link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1987345935/london-recruits-the-movie?ref=category_location

Refugee Week Poetry Competition: Book Published

I visited the NUT Newham office where the Division Secretary gave me copies of two booklets that were produced as part of a competition the Division had run in previous years to mark Refugee Week.

I read the poems on the tube later that evening and was astounded by the quality of the poetry and the feelings that were portrayed by the children. I grew up in Belfast during the troubles and could relate to the fear and insecurity that is described.

I congratulate the Division, Newham Schools, the children and their teachers on such a wonderful initiative that allows the voices of the young to be heard so powerfully through the forum of poetry.

Pauline Buchanan NUT London Regional Officer

Live From The Field

*Rokeby School NUT members on the picket line* ​ ​ Our members were on strike today against a change of employer as Rokeby is proposing to become part of a Multi Academy Trust. The NUT is opposed to academies and the action by NUT members at Rokeby show the strength of feeling against the school converting and moving away from the Local Authority to an unaccountable Trust. Well done to all the members who took action today.

Join the NTA banner on Pride In London Parade 27/06/2015

Pride In London logo.
Pride In London

Arrangements have now been made for the NTA banner to be carried on the Pride in London parade on Saturday 27/06/2015. The NTA contingent will march behind the NUT float. Members of the NUT in Newham are asked to contact Peg Probett, NTA’s President, if they wish to join the contingent. All Newham Members are actively encouraged to join this important event. The Pride In London website is at:
http://prideinlondon.org/

May Day March

The president, secretary and membership secretary carried the NTA banner, alongside the banner used in the film ‘Pride’, at the annual TUC May Day March.

They were encouraged to also take the NTA banner to the London Pride March on June 27th.

It would be great to see other NTA members marching with us on the day. Details to follow soon!