Previous | SchNEWS 163 | Next | Index | PDF




Issue 163, Friday 17th April 1998


"This is probably the most important struggle in a generation. If the right of workers to unite and bargain collectively goes, then hope for a just and decent Australia goes too"
Professor Donald Brook

"Workers are criticised for going on strike, but what else can we do? We don't have guns to protect our jobs, our families and our livelihoods. We try to be reasonable, we try to talk things through. But the people we are up against are gung-ho - they'll stop at nothing."
John Coombs National Secretary Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)

Australia was last week plunged into the middle of massive industrial confrontation similar to the British Miners Strike of 84/5. During the Easter weekend hundreds of police with dogs stormed the Port Botany docks in Sydney, in the middle of the night, to help give 1400 dockworkers their marching orders. One docker commented, "There were guards and dogs everywhere. It was like a military operation."

Ex-Merchant Banker and Chairman Chris Corrigan of the dock-owners Patrick Stevedores, said the men had to go because they were getting paid too much - a bit rich coming from someone who owns a villa and vineyard in Italy, and both a multi-million dollar waterfront mansion and Victorian mansion in Sydney. A sacked docker said "It's like World War Three."

Riot police with batons have broken up picket lines, which have also had scab trucks driven at them and mace sprayed in members faces. In Brisbane 20 sacked dockers chained themselves to a railway track to prevent a train from entering a dock, while in Melbourne, 2,500 protesters marched on the office of Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith, the man who announced the sackings in the first place.

Court injunctions are preventing dockers from being on the picketlines, so dockers' wives and girlfriends are forming picketlines with other union members, some from overseas.

In a parallel to the 28 month Liverpool dock dispute women have formed Women of the Waterfront (WOW). "We know the true picture, the shift work, the overtime, the dangerous and dirty conditions, the tiredness due to irregular work patterns, the disruption of family life and stress due to operating large machinery," said Janet Bevan of WOW.

Meanwhile industry is declaring the waterfront dispute near crisis point, with Toyota warning it will soon be forced to stop its Melbourne production line and lay off about 2,500 workers.

Some History

The dispute has been planned by Patrick Stevedores for months with help from the Federal government which promised to back the firm "to the hilt". Meanwhile the conservative National Farmers' Federation has been promising the dockworkers for some time to expect para-military mercenaries! Just like the dock dispute in Liverpool they want to smash the union, cut wages and increase casual labour. With $100 million to bankroll its operation, the company has been recruting strikebreakers including SAS soldiers (with adverts in the The Army newspaper), ex-police and martial arts experts.

In September last year the MUA got hold of a copy of a 'confidential' document being circulated by the Australian Chamber of Commerce. This talked of hiring private security firms to spy on strikers, sending threatening letters to employees' homes (in the hope of their families reading them!), and taking out endless court actions to cripple the unions finances.

  • Captain Bill Bolitho,critic of the government's shipping reform policy has warned "The world's shipping industry is run by pirates, taxdodgers and tyrants who shamelessly exploit crew and pollute our oceans and shores. That the Australian Government wants to invite them onto our coastline and that Australians knowingly charter their vessels is 'evil'."
Fab websites on:



With every hour that passed last year another three people were deported from the UK.

1997 saw the highest ever number of deportations (30,615 people) our democratic country has so far meted out. But statistics don't reveal the heartache of families torn apart with husbands separated from their families who are then placed in sex segregated detention centres (prisons). New Labour have proved to be no better than the Tories in their cold and heartless treatment of Asylum Seekers who in most cases have come here trying to escape from cold and heartless treatment by their own Governments. Many are traumatised by mental and physical abuse when they arrive and need to be treated with kindness and compassion, not the type of qualities yer average Group 4 prison warder is likely to possess. Since coming to power New Labour have been beefing up immigration laws. The latest horror story is a proposal by Michael O'Brian ( Minister for Immigration), dear old Michael wants to open up Reception Centres, the difference between these and existing detention centres is in the way arrivals will be classed. At the moment there are two categories, 'Asylum seekers', who are escaping a political situation and 'Refugees', who are escaping famines, civil war etc. Asylum seekers are put in centres if immigration has any doubts about their story but the new proposal is to lock up everyone as soon as they arrive regardless of their circumstances

Nine former detainees of Campsfield Detention Centre in Oxfordshire were charged for riot and violent disorder, after being involved in a protest against the inhumane treatment they receive at Campsfield. Four of the nine have been on hunger strike. Two have been in suicide-watch "strip cells", one of whom is only seventeen.

  • Demos on 29 April 5.30 - 6.30 at 60 Ladgate Hilland the first day of the trial, 1 June at 8.30am at Oxford Crown Court, St Aldates.
  • Monthly demos also take place at Campsfield House. Contact 'The Campaign to Close Campsfield 'for more info, or to receive their booklet "Information on Campsfield" (£2 donation) on: (01865) 558145/ 557282/ 378734.
  • Britain's first "child jail" opened this week near the Kent village of Borstal. The "experiment" will keep 12-14 year olds "brisk and busy", according to Group 4 who will be running the regime. The Medway Secure Trainee Centre is likely to be the first of many children's prisons, with the Government already committed to building another four.



The Hemp Food Association are planning to tour the UK selling hemp ice cream from a bright yellow van painted with luminous green hemp leaves! Staff are to be dressed in hemp, with hemp and silk underwear. "It is obligatory that staff shall also wash their hands and face with Hemp soap, and their hair with Hemp shampoo. How else could we serve the public from our Hemp Shelves, standing on Hemp carpets?" The world's first Hemp ice-cream is sold in 'Mr Whippy' style cones using UK cold-pressed hemp as the base. Also a vegan hard ice-cream shall be sold in tubs with hemp milk as its base. It is not known if consumption of cannabis is also obligatory! To book the ice cream van contact Paul on 07000 436748.



Two leaders of the Sem Terra (MST) landless peasant movement were shot dead on 26th March by farmers attempting to clear 550 families from the Goias II farm in the northern region of Parauaupas. After MST negotiators agreed to end the occupation of the 1,487 acres of agricultural wasteland, 30 armed farmers opened fire on the crowds as military police looked on. Over the last two years 30 agricultural workers have been murdered by corrupt landowners and military junta over land rights. Demands for self recognition, agricultural reform and land settlements has seen 140,000 families occupy 200 stretches of land across Brazil in the last year alone. While 90% of Brazilians believe the Sem Terra struggle is justified, the military oligopoly are engaging in a campaign of state sponsored killings to stop them being heared. Contact:

Friends of the Brazilian landless: 0181 374 1290



Gay rights campaigners disrupted the easter service of the Arch Bishop of Canterbury Dr. Carey on the most important day in the Christian calender. Peter Tatchell and mates invaded the pulpit to inform Carey's congration about the anti-gay preachings of the Church of England which opposes, amongst other things, gay foster parents, equal opportunities at work and gay clergy. A senior cop and stewards manhandled the protesters off the pulpit showing true christian spirit by hammering on Peter's hands till he let go of a pillar. Tatchell has now been charged with violent behavior, while another man was arrested on suspicion of damaging a microphone.



  • Local Campaigners at North Muskham, Nottinghamshire, are to lose their local wildlife site to housing. There's 'a very squattable farmhouse is on offer in a desirable location'. Contact 01636 679977 / 0467 317649.
  • Two coppers, unable to prevent 800 people enjoying a free party in St Ives, decided if you can't beat em join and were seen dancing wildly to beats in excess of150bpm.
  • A camp has been set up in Cohb, Ireland, against the Electricity Supply Board and their plans to erect a fifteen mile ring of pylons around Cork harbour Electo magnetic fields could affect residents health and campaigners are asking them to lay the cables underground. To get to the camp from Cork follow signs to Footbridge Wildlife Park. A train runs from Cork to Foot Site. Mobile +353 (088) 2626377 Office +353 (087) 451065



  • St John Ambulance volunteers are outraged at the government's decision to introduce VAT on Resusci Annies, the dolls used in resuscitation training, on the grounds that they are no longer considered medical equipment. What they are now is anybody's guess!
  • Calling all FOOTBALL addicts: Between the Lines is holding The 1998 Loony Left Cup on Sunday 7th June on Clapham Common. The tournament will start at 11am, with two groups of 6 teams each, and was a huge success in September last year. 7-a-side teams wishing to enter this year should send a cheque for £14 asap to Between the Lines, Box no.32, 136 Kingsland High St, London, E8 2NS
  • 29 activists appeared for trial in Chesterfield on 7th April following an action at an opencast mining site owned by H J Banks. The defendants succeeded in stumping the prosecutor, embarrassing the local authorities and costing £350k so far!
  • The first issue of URGENT, newsletter of the Urban Regeneration and Greenfield Environment NeTwork - who are out to promote sustainable and appropriate housing policies which contribute to urban renewal - is out now and very reasonably priced at nothing. To get your hands on it though you should get on the network, £5 individual, £10 group. Write to: Urgent, c/o 26-8 Underwood St, London, N1 7JQ
  • Sunday 26th April sees a Chernobyl-Twelve Years On commemorative event at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. Call 01457 863534 or 01691 777318
  • For anyone concerned about the US's plans to legislate against existing organic standards, a world day for action has been set for Thursday 30th April. People are needed to picket US embassies everywhere under the slogan S.O.S. Save Organic Standards! Contact alliance@mr.net (sorry no 'phone no. included)
  • Brighton dance monsters should not forget The Dance Parade UK's benefit night at The Honey/Comber Club, Seafront Arches on the last Thursday of every month. Thursday 23 April hosts BOOTLEG - A Techno Special, 10 til very late, £3/£2concs, feat. Julia Decay, DJ New Labour, Da:Void, Cat Monsume & Nick Spice
  • Wolverhampton are holding their first Reclaim the Streets on May 9th. Meeting at 12 noon St Peter's Square near the Civic Centre. Contact 0961 838508 for more details. Expect a BIG party!
  • Another party is for the launch of Brightons' Alternative Market, Harvest Forestry. Music and circus performers will be there but any one who wants to perform is welcome. Festivities start 11.00am Sunday 26th April
  • Wolverhampton are holding their first Reclaim the Streets on May 9th.Meeting at 12 noon St Peters Square near the Civic Centre. Contact Victor on 0961 838508 for more details. Expect a BIG party!



A much loved activist, Dave 'Sorted' Richards died in his sleep on Saturday night. A commited and active campaigner Dave was very active at Manchester Airport, Faslane and Lyminge. The police and Highways Agency showed his fellow campaigners the depth of their compassion by having his house bulldozed 3 days after his death, presumably because it was full of lock-ons and tunnels and on the route of the B'ham. relief Rd.There will be a gathering to scatter Daves ashes at 2pm on Friday 24th April at the Greenwood camp. Contact 07970 93224/301978.



  • For suspicion of burgling an empty building using a three and a half k soundsystem. The usual over the top cops in a dozen vehicles with dogs raided a free party in Brighton on Saturday before a tune had even been played by Souler Soundsystem. SchNEWS asks are burglars now using soundsystems instead of crowbars to get into buildings?
  • For criminal damage to a microphone (see Tatchell in chapel).



Justice in the case of Metin Goktepe? A Turkish court found five cops guilty with torturing and killing the Journalist Metin Goktepe. He was arrested two years ago after he reported police brutality during a funeral of two political prisoners who died in police custody in Istanbul, and later found dead in a wood near a police station. A massive international campaign forced the Turkish authorities to take up investigations against police who at first claimed they were innocent, but later said his death was an accident - they had only wanted to torture him! Some officers got seven years each, five more walked free.

Meanwhile eight Turkish students are still in prison for unfolding a banner in the Turkish parliament against university fees. They were arrested, charged with membership of a terrorist organisation and received sentences of up to eighteen years! Nationwide student protests against this were met with massive police brutality, with 370 more students arrested.

Kurdish Information Centre: 0171 250 1315

  • In Salt Lake City, Utah, ALF activist Josh Ellerman pleaded guilty to three of sixteen charges relating to the bombing of a Fur Co-op and has received a 35 year sentence. If found guilty of all the charges he could have faced 175! Josh goes down on 6th May and his brother Colby is already serving 2 years for a mink raid. Write in support to: Clinton (Colby) Ellerman c/o Salt Lake County Jail, 450 South 300 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84111-3207.
  • Free to all prisoners, the new CONVICTION newsletter is out now and shouldn't be missed. The newsletter needs serious input so if you can offer DTP or sub-editing skills or ideas get in touch right away. Failing that, donate/subscribe! Send £5 (£3 unwaged) for the next 4 issues to Conviction, PO Box 522, Sheffield, S1 3FF E-mail: Conviction@rachelandrew.newnet.co.uk)
  • The Anarchist Black Cross' new prisoner list is out now (donations very welcome!), anyone wanting a copy should write to BABC, PO Box 2971, Brighton, BN2 2TT.
  • New ABC Group -Somerset ABC PO Box 478 Taunton Somerset TA2 7YR



In a bid to become "the world's first carbon neutral football club" Fulham have teamed up with the Environmental Task Force. The club aim to plant more trees around Fulham as a well as a planting a whole forest shaped to spell the letters FFC under the flight path into Gatwick airport! As the notes in the most recent programme say "The more trees planted, the bigger the logo".



The SchNEWS warns all readers not to take any notice of this weeks mitakes we just fucking tired. Just remember to fill your house and lives with endless consumer crap. Then you will feel content. Honest.


PLEASE send us news of your events at least two weeks in advance!

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send us first class stamps (e.g. 20 for the next 20 issues) or donations (cheques payable to "Justice?"). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "original" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners. You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.

SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Phone/Fax (call before faxing): 01273 685913
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.cbuzz.co.uk/SchNEWS

Last updated 18 April 1998
@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!
SchNEWS Web Team (schnews-web@brighton.co.uk)