Sunday, 9 July 2017

Housing Crisis Meeting

In the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster, Leicester AF sees a real need for genuine working class organisation against the worsening situation for those of us who have to rent there homes. With this in mind, we have called a meeting to look into the possibility of organising a local radical housing group or network in the area, leading eventually to the possible setting up of renters' unions.

The meeting takes place next Tuesday 11th July at 7:30 pm at 
The Secular Hall
75 Humberstone Gate
Leicester LE1 1WB

Friday, 17 March 2017

IWW meeting 27/03/17

The next IWW Leicestershire meeting will be held on the 27th of March at 19:30 in the the Secular Hall (75 Humberstone Gate, LE1 1WB). An open meeting for IWW members and anyone interested in getting involved in the Leicestershire IWW group. For further comments and discussion please see the event's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1476754389011022/

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Leicester IWW Meeting - 9th March

Recent meetings of local IWW members have increasingly favoured reestablishing a Leicester union. As the standards of living and satisfaction with the current economic paradigm fall locally as well as nationally and internationally, and the appetite for a revolutionary union grows, building a Leicester IWW has never appeared more necessary.
We encourages people from across the city and the county to join us at the next IWW meeting to share their knowledge of local issues and share their experiences. The meeting is planned for the 9th of March, with preliminary time and location of 19:30 at the Regent Sports & Social Club, 102 Regent Road, Leicester LE1 7DA.
The group is in the process of finding a more suitable venue. More information will be provided here until a suitable medium is established for distributing information on group activities.

Libertarian Socialist Discussion Meeting - 29th of March

The next Libertarian Socialist Discussion Meeting is entitled 'How could a libertarian communist society meet people's needs and desires?'
How would the economy of such a society work? How much work, and what kind of work, is required from each person? Who decides this? How are scarce resources divided, and who has access to what? What are the objections to a communist/anarchist/socialist society and how can they be responded to?
The event will take place at 19:00 29/03, at the Regent Sport & Social Club, 102 Regent Road, Leicester LE1 7DA.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Libertarian socialist discussion meetings

The next Libertarian Socialist Discussions meeting is entitled 'Is the working class movement dead? What is the role of pro-revolutionaries in the current social, political and economic climate?' This meeting will be at 19:00 at the Regents Club (102 Regents Road, Leicester, LE1 7DA).

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

LSG Meeting Next Week

The Leicestershire Solidarity Group will be meeting next week on Wednesday the 2nd of November at 7:30 in the Regents Club. Anyone in the Leicester area with an interest in left libertarianism and working class action is welcome to attend.

New proposals for useful activity locally will be discussed at the meeting, feel free to bring along any information that may be of interest to the group. Topics at previous meetings have been highly diverse, including existing and proposed union action, discussion of revolutionary activity internationally, news about local film screening and book publications, and involvement in immigrant solidarity networks. If any of these or related subjects are of interest to you, come along and tell us about your experiences. We'll see you there!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The stuff your landlord doesn't want you to know


Some key housing rights


Housing status

There are many types of housing status, your rights as a tenant often depend on what your housing status is. “Regulated tenants” have very strong rights whereas “excluded occupiers” (such as lodgers) have few rights. Most renters now are “assured shorthold tenants”, and have some rights and protection. Before taking action against your landlord on something like repairs you should check your security of tenure and read your contract.

Implied terms

No matter what your tenancy is or what your contract says, your landlord has obligations which are given by law and are implied into all tenancy agreements.

Some of the most important implied terms are:
- your landlord must carry out basic repairs (damage is called disrepair).
- your landlord must keep the installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating and heating water in good working order
- you have the right to live peacefully in the accommodation without nuisance from your landlord (Your landlord is required to give you 24 hours’ notice in advance of any visit, with the possible exception of emergencies.)
- In most cases, your landlord must not discriminate against you.
There may be some exceptions, for example, if you live in the same accommodation as your landlord. 



Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Your landlord needs to pay your deposit into a Government approved deposit protection scheme, and return it to you at the end of your tenancy – unless there’s a dispute about your tenancy.

Your landlord must give you details of the scheme they are using to protect it. It is also important that you and your landlord agree, in writing, what condition the place is in when you start renting it, including a list of the furniture and fittings (known as an inventory).

You should get your deposit back within ten days if you and your landlord agree about how much you should get back. If, for whatever reason, your landlord withholds all or part of your deposit, then s/he needs to provide an itemised invoice of all of the costs deducted from it, including receipts for any repair or cleaning work.

Landlord Harassment

Harassment by a landlord is an offence and can take a number of different forms, for example:

- removing or restricting access to services such as gas, electricity or water, or failing to pay the bills so that these services are cut off
- visiting your home regularly without warning, especially late at night
- interfering with your post
- threatening you
- sending builders round without notice
- entering your home when you are not there, without your permission
- allowing your home to get into such a bad state of repair that it’s dangerous for you to stay
- beginning disruptive repair works and not finishing them
- harassing you because of your gender, race or sexuality

The Eviction Process

If you’re a private tenant, your landlord needs “grounds” (a reason) if they want to evict you before the end of a fixed-term contract. Councils and housing associations also need grounds to evict most types of tenants. This could be due to something like 8 weeks rent arrears or breaking a term of your tenancy agreement.

To be evicted your landlord first has to give you a written notice that complies with particular legal requirements depending on your tenancy. You don’t have to leave at this point.

The next step for your landlord is to get a court order (saying when you should leave the property or pay rent), you can put your case across in writing and by going to the court hearing.

If your landlord or anyone else tries to evict a residential occupier without following the correct procedure (written notice > possession order > court bailiffs) this is an Illegal eviction and is a criminal offence. 



Going into dispute

Any dispute with your landlord needs to be carefully considered. Here’s some things you can do to help you through:
- Read your tenancy agreement to find out your contract rights and responsibilities.
- Research your housing rights from Tenants’ Handbooks, specialized housing websites and legal advice centres. (See back of leaflet)
- Record and copy any and all correspondence (and photographic evidence) sent to your landlord to create a “paper trail”.

There are a number of groups that exist to resolve or arbitrate issues between tenants and landlords. Shelter and CAB will give you good advice about your rights but if you need to teach your landlord a short, sharp lesson in their responsibilities you might want to contact LSG to discuss taking Direct Action.

Direct Action

This could mean:

- Delivering a demand letter to the landlord’s home or work address
- Publicly ‘outing’ the landlord to their neighbours
- Bombarding their telephone or email inbox
- Occupying your local housing office

These are just examples, anything that gives you leverage over your landlord works; challenging their reputation or hitting them in the pocket is advisable.

All of these actions are best taken in conjunction with your family and friends, or – even better – other tenants!

Standing up for ourselves

It can be useful to know the law because many landlords don’t follow basic legal requirements. But we also need to remember that the law is not going to be on our side most of the time. We shouldn’t rely on it to make sure we’re treated fairly.


Direct Action and Solidarity

If you’ve rented, you’ve probably discussed with other tenants how best to deal with a landlord or how to survive in a renting market that seems stacked against us. Perhaps you’ve even gone with one of your fellow tenants to speak to your landlord about a problem in your building. These conversations and actions form the basis of solidarity. 


What next?

Fighting a legal battle can be costly, take a lot of time and require specialized skills. Direct action doesn’t. Anyone can take direct action and win. Instead of relying on courts and lawyers, direct action means that we win through organising ourselves and confronting landlords collectively. It could be something straightforward, like going down as a group to demand your landlord complete unfinished repairs. Or it could mean creating a tenants’ union and organising a rent strike. Defending our rights is just the beginning. Once we achieve this, we can start to take the initiative.

Who Are We and Why Do We Care?

Leicestershire Solidarity Group (LSG) is a group of people living in both the city and wider Leicestershire County who see a real need for genuine working class organisation in the area.  LSG encourages self-organisation and collective action. In other words, it is the kind of organisation that means ordinary people stick together to get things done and defend ourselves from the powers that be - whether unscrupulous landlords, employers, national or local government, or anyone else who tries to divide working class people according to our race, sex, age, disability, employment status, sexuality or cultural background.

We are looking to set up a Tenants’ Union in Leicester.
If you’d like to get involved in this, then get in touch! 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Whoever you vote for, the bosses win…Let’s do things differently.


Another 5 years have passed by, and once again we are being treated to the spectacle of a General Election. And that’s all it is, really – a spectacle, a circus, a placebo, a safety vent. The ‘Political Class’ justifies its existence with claims of democracy and a mandate. This fa├žade needs to be carefully maintained, and to do this they need to make a regular public display of ‘big-P Politics.’The promises are made, posters are put up, hands are shaken, babies are kissed (is that even allowed anymore?) – but the whole process has more to do with securing the interests of the wealthy and powerful than providing representation of our needs. 

And we know this! Over and over again the Political Class are exposed as corrupt and self-serving – expenses scandals, MPs voting themselves a pay rise while wages stagnate for everyone else, the revolving door between Parliament and the City, ‘favours’ for powerful corporate sponsors. None of the major parties standing in the 2015 election are any different. Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour, and now UKIP, all rely on money from corporate sponsors for their election campaigns, and all of them sign up to the same economic world-view, which prioritises profit over people, and makes excuses for the increasing inequality all around us. And we’re not stupid, we see all this happening, we sense the growing distance between ‘Politics’ and our daily lives, alongside the growing gap between rich and poor. A choice between two (or three, or four) shades of the same shit is no choice at all! General Election voter turn-outs have been falling for decades. We are not apathetic – we’re angry, we’re unrepresented, and it can’t go on. 

We can do so much better than the farce that passes for democracy at Westminster and Council meetings. We can take power back by organising ourselves and making decisions within our local communities and workplaces. Direct democracy means keeping our own mandate for self-government, instead of giving away power to the Political Class. Every time we organise for ourselves instead of relying on the government we undermine their legitimacy, and bit-by-bit, little-by-little, we can build effective alternatives to the systems of exploitation and unfairness that exist all around us.We can build and organise a better world ourselves – or at least, we can’t do any worse than the status quo! 


That’s what Leicester Solidarity Group is all about – building community level networks to improve things for ordinary people. As isolated individuals we’re vulnerable to the actions of unscrupulous landlords and exploitative bosses, but together we can resist these injustices.



Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Jelly and Ice Cream... Post-Thatcher Party

You are cordially invited to an impromptu gathering tonight (Tuesday 9th April) at 6pm at the Clock Tower to celebrate the demise of Margaret Thatcher.

ding_dong

Yes, we know it's all a bit personalised and we shouldn't substitute 'The Evil Thatch' for capitalism, but sometimes, you've just gotta party.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Smash workfare!

MEET AT the CLOCKTOWER
9.30 am, this Saturday 10th November 

We'll be out in town this Saturday 10th November to put pressure on comp[anies and charities that are taking advantage of the free labour provided by workfare.  Several companies have already been forced out of the scheme by public pressure.  We can increase that number and make the government's workfare scheme more difficult to implement.

Workfare, and You...

Workfare: It means people like you forced to do unpaid work, for up to six
months, for multi‐million pound companies. Politicians wouldn't work for six
months for no pay, so why should you?

Forced unpaid work means taxpayers subsidizing rich companies, and threatens
to lower wage rates. But It will not provide you with a job. Why?

By forcing people to work for no wages, multi‐million pound companies such as
Asda, Pizza Hut and British Heart Foundation use workfare to replace paid
positions. They can now get staff for free, so why pay for them?

But people across the country are finding ways to challenge workfare. Look after
yourself and stay in touch with us! Tell people you know who might be affected
that we exist, that we are working on ways to help. Share information with us. The
more we know, the stronger we all are.

As a result of our campaign 'sanctions' for leaving unpaid work placements on the
Work Programme, Work Experience, and Sector‐based Work Academies have
been temporarily suspended.  We aim to make that permanent.  


Know your rights!
Fact: The only personal data you need to share with a Work Programme provider (such as A4e) is your referral letter and signing on book
Fact: You don’t need to give them your bank details, passport, driving licence or utility bills
Fact: You don’t have to sign any Work Programme provider documents  or forms, apart from the action plan
Fact: You are entitled to a copy of anything you do sign
Fact: Your CV is personal data and you don’t have to give them a copy
Fact: The JobCentre can postpone starting the Work Programme for 90 days if you have a
job interview, or are expecting to work soon
Fact: If you are on another JobCentre scheme, pregnant or a survivor of domestic violence
you do not have to do the Work Programme

Visit the consent.me.uk website 
for more info on your rights

If you are on a workfare scheme and have a complaint, first take it up with the provider.
Every organization should have a formal complaints procedure, which you can ask to see.  If
you are not satisfied with the response you can then take it up with the JobCentre.

Don't volunteer for “Work experience”!  There is a risk that once you volunteer for JobCentre 'work experience' it becomes
mandatory. Although the government appear to have made some concessions on this
scheme, there are still sanctions ‐ direct and indirect ‐ that you may face.


Make sure this doesn't happen to you:
  • Do not agree to volunteer for the JobCentre's “work experience”: It can quickly become forced unpaid labour.
  • If you want to do work experience, find something that really is voluntary.
  • If you are sent on the scheme, you must turn up on the first day - but you should not face sanctions if you leave within the first week (unless due to misconduct).

Avoid Mandatory Work Activity!
We have seen people referred for this just because they have challenged their advisor. But
there are strict DWP guidelines on this, which you can use to challenge referral.  You do not
have to go on this scheme if:
  • you are currently working (paid or voluntary)
  • you are undertaking employment related study or training
  • you are taking part in, or recently completed, another “employment measure”
  • the only reason given is you have a lack of recent work experience or because your advisor thinks you haven't been meeting your jobseeker's agreement.
Even if you are already on workfare check out the website and get informed.
www.boycottworkfare.org

Email: info@boycottworkfare.org
Twitter: @boycottworkfare.org
Facebook: Boycott Workfare