Yesterday (30/3/12) support workers were joined by supporters from around Merseyside in holding a demonstration at Lion Court, Alternative Futures Group’s head office.
Prior to the demo, AFG took out an injunction against Unison, claiming that the demonstration was tatamount to unofficial industrial action. This exceptionally silly claim led to the absurd situation of Unison being legally obligated to attempt to cancel a demonstration that it didn’t call for or organise. Support workers from Liverpool also report that management again threatened support workers with dismissal, this time if they appeared at a peaceful protest about their terms and conditions. Despite this, around 40 support workers and our supporters assembled at Lion Court for the demonstration as planned.
We arrived to find that AFG had taken the bizarre step of barricading off the building, hiring security and requesting a police presence, presumably frightened that we might storm the building and occupy it, despite a total absence of evidence that we had any plans to do so. One wonders how much these excessive security measures cost the company that claims to be in serious danger of bankruptcy.
After assembling in front of the building, which appeared to have been completely closed for the day in preparation for the demo, we decided to march around Kings Business Park, at which point a van full of police appeared and pulled up outside Lion Court. When questioned police were unable to provide any good reason for being there and left shortly afterwards, looking somewhat embarrassed.
After this, the demonstration moved to the verge outside Kings Business Park, where passing motorists beeped their horns in support. We remained there until shortly before 3pm, when we left to attend a somewhat lively Unison AGM.
All in all, yesterday’s demonstration was a success, showing AFG that we will not be intimidated and that we do not stand alone, we need to continue taking action to keep the pressure up.