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The weekly newsletter from Justice? - Brighton's direct action collective

Issue 628 Articles:


His Story Repeated

Free Space Not My Space

Squatters in Tabloid Shocker

Art Attack

Flight Riot

And Finally

 Home | Friday 11th April 2008 | Issue 628

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A decade since the death of Simon, we look back on the campaign to bring Euromin to justice. Simon was well known in the Brighton community – as well as a writer for SchNEWS - and it was this community who combined with his family to mobilise and form the Simon Jones Memorial Campaign...

In 1998 Simon Jones was sent to one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, one he had no training for. Simon had been killed by a profiteering gangster, James Martell, whose company, Euromin, ran the dock where he died. Complicit to the crime were the employment agency Personnel Selection which sent him to his death without any checks or references.

On 1st September 1998, which would have been Simon’s 25th birthday, the Simon Jones Memorial Campaign went into action. Thirty protesters shut down the dock where Simon was killed, climbing two 80-foot towers with banners reading “Simon Jones RIP” and “Casualisation Kills”.

That evening, a packed meeting in a Brighton pub decided it couldn’t stop there. “A lot of the people at the meeting had casual jobs,” said Emma, Simon’s girlfriend at the time of his death. “People were furious that employment agencies could get away with taking half your wages without even making sure the job they sent you to was safe.” Two days later Personnel Selection was occupied and a “Murderers” banner hung from its window.

In March 1999 the MP George Galloway gave a speech in parliament calling for the prosecution of Euromin over Simon’s death. Afterwards campaign supporters occupied the Department of Trade and Industry’s offices - those supposed to regulate employment agencies.

The campaign kept up the pressure by targeting the Health and Safety Executive a few weeks later. But this time security guards were waiting for an attempted occupation – and looked on while thirty members of the campaign turned round, walked onto Southwark Bridge and blockaded it for three hours.

The result of the campaign was a complete climb down by the state. The Crown Prosecution Service had refused to prosecute anyone over Simon’s death all along. In March 2000 two High Court Judges ordered the CPS to reconsider this decision - the first successful judicial review of a decision not to prosecute for manslaughter over a workplace death in British legal history. The judges described the CPS as behaving “irrationally”, “failing to address the relevant law” and adopting an approach that “beggared belief”. They told the CPS to review its decision “with dispatch”.

Nine months later, after a spirited picket of the CPS where a campaign supporter was arrested and locked up for demanding someone who had killed his mate got arrested and locked up, the CPS finally agreed to prosecute.

The trial of Simon’s killers took place in November 2001 and resulted in conviction on health and safety charges but aquittal on the charge of manslaughter. Following the verdict the campaign issued a statement saying:

We are painfully aware that in 21st century Britain the fight for the most basic of workers’ rights – the right not to be killed or injured at work – is still being fought. Without direct action James Martell and Euromin would never have faced prosecution in the High Court for Simon’s death. As long as this government and its agencies refuse to take action against companies that profit from casualisation at the expense of their workers’ lives we will continue, where necessary, to break the law so that justice will prevail.”

* Simon Jones Memorial Campaign

* See also SchNEWS 182, 333 and others...

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