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PEEL HOLDINGS EJECT OFFICIAL PICKETS FROM MEDIACITYUK
 

Star date: 30th November 2011  

A Salford Star Exclusive

UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD STRIKE PICKETS KICKED OFF MEDIACITYUK

Early this morning, as part of the Day of Action against the ConDem Government's attack on pensions, members of the UCU – University and College Union – intended to picket staff going into the University of Salford's new campus at MediaCityUK. Instead, they have told the Salford Star, they were met by security staff working on behalf of Peel Holdings who said they would use "reasonable force" to remove them if they didn't leave Peel's `private land'.

It might be Peel's `private land' but public money paid for it to be made into a `public piazza'

Full story here…


All over the country today legal picket lines were being set up to ensure that union members abided by the national one day strike called in response to a democratic vote by their members to take action against the ConDem Government's attack on pensions. Everywhere, that is, except outside of the University of Salford's new campus at MediaCityUK.

Members of Salford University's staff union, the University and College Union (UCU), have told the Salford Star that Peel Holding's security staff threatened to remove activists "with reasonable force" if they didn't leave MediaCityUK this morning and abandon attempts to form a picket line.

Jim Atherton, a former UCU rep at Salford University and now Chair of UCU North West Retired Members' Branch, was one of the union activists on the MediaCityUK site this morning.

"At around 7:45 am, we were setting up placards outside the staff entrance to the UoS building, we were approached by two security staff acting on behalf of the Peel Group and we were told that we probably should not be doing what we intended as the land was owned by Peel and this situation would have to be checked out" Jim told the Salford Star

"Accordingly, one of them spoke by phone with the Head of Security at MCUK" he added "and he then came down to see us about fifteen minutes later and informed us that he had spoken with someone at Peel and they confirmed that `demonstrations' are only allowed on Peel land if authorised in advance.

"We then stated that, at worst, we might be `guilty' of common trespass and that we would be more than happy to discuss the situation with the police. The Head of Security then told us that the police would not be involved as they (the police) are only allowed onto Peel property when invited! He went on to say that they (the security staff) were allowed to remove us from MCUK and that they would use `reasonable force' if they thought this was necessary!"

"At this point, being somewhat outnumbered as other security staff were now present, we took our leave. In fact, we were required to go beyond, not just the Metrolink tram lines, but actually to the other side of the road opposite the no. 9 bus stop (alongside dock 9)."

Off site, the UCU members, joined by other colleagues, continued their attempts at picketing away from the threats of Peel's private police. 

"Interestingly we found ourselves very well received by the majority of people passing by" said Jim "and consider our activities at MCUK to have been a success prior to the rally at Bexley Square and the subsequent incredible march to Whitworth Park."

Months and months ago, Salford Star asked Peel Holdings how many trade union members it has within its staff and its attitudes towards trade unions. We're still waiting for a reply but this story kind of answers it.

Meanwhile, no-one can dispute that the MediaCityUK land is owned by Peel Holdings but a phenomenal amount of public money has been poured into its private MediaCityUK enterprise.

The University of Salford is paying Peel Holdings over £2million a year of public money in rent. And the so-called `public piazza' of MediaCityUK was almost entirely paid for by public money too – part of a £30million grant from the North West Development Agency which also went towards the Metrolink extension, a pedestrian bridge over the Ship Canal, canopies over public walkways and the soon-to-be-installed `media wall'.

People might well be asking why all this public money has been spent with absolutely no public control or accountability over the land's use. And private security guards ejecting trade unionists going about their lawful business.

• We asked the University of Salford for a comment but its press officer wasn't at work today. Perhaps he was on strike, although we hope he wasn't intending to picket at MediaCityUK...

• See also previous Salford Star articles about the revolving door between Peel Holdings and the NWDA… click here

* See also full report and photos of the Salford Manchester march against pension cuts - click here

 


 

Anthony wrote
at 14:53:12 on 02 December 2011
I doubt the police are only allowed on with permission which leads me to doubt that the "security" were telling the truth about anything. Run it past legal and see what comes up but it sounds dodgy to me. Security do not have vigilante style powers.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 14:53:05 on 02 December 2011
If it's so marvellous working in the public sector why don't you try it? Neither private or public sector workers caused the economic crisis yet they are the ones picking up the tab. If you want to piss & moan about those who are not feeling the cold have a go at the bankers & politicians. The ordinary working people of this country need to stand together & fight this evil. Hopefully the fightback has begun & politics might just lean slightly more towards the left.
 
TheFunkyGibbon wrote
at 21:18:02 on 01 December 2011
Please don't get me wrong, I acknowledge that the government squander millions on schemes, I am far from a fan of the way that many politicians do business. However I don't understand why the public sector feels wronged to the point of strike when private sector workers are shouldering exactly the same changes to working conditions and pension provisions. Why should the public sector not feel the cold of the real world?
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 15:07:02 on 01 December 2011
'Platinum plated' are you living in some kind of alternate reality? The only thing that is 'platinum plated' is the sheds full of public money this grubby company is carting of. Then again I doubt that an employee of such a bunch of highwaymen would be able to say or even think otherwise. Here's another thought for you. Why do ordinary, hard working people feel they have to take such action?
 
Billy Boyle wrote
at 15:06:40 on 01 December 2011
FunkyGibbon . If you joined a trade union and joined the fightback you might be part of improving conditions for the masses , and yourself. No employer or government ever gave the masses anything .Any improvements the masses have gained were hard fought for , and well deserved . Perhaps you are a torybastard apologist who would like a return to Victorian working conditions ?Just a thought .
 
Fadge wrote
at 15:06:13 on 01 December 2011
FunkyGibbon . 'grabby' strikers ? These people are fighting to maintain their contracts of employment , not 'grabby' at all . The corrupt torybastard government is 'grabby' for changing the rules and forcing them into taking industrial action . Why don't you comment on the vast amounts of taxpayers money thrown away at Peel Holdings ? THE CORRUPT BANKSTERS AND CORRUPT POLITICIANS , THATCHERITE POLICIES AND AN INEPT FSA caused this crisis . THEY CAN PAY FOR IT .
 
Billy Boyle wrote
at 11:08:30 on 01 December 2011
Anti-union Peel needs a visit from the Anti-Capitalist Alliance . Peel will be an excellent location for a tent city .
 
TheFunkyGibbon wrote
at 11:08:19 on 01 December 2011
It's funny you should use the phrase 'grubby' as from what I can see the lawfull, democratically voted picket lines were organised to protect the platinum plated pensions which elevate the 'grabby' strikers above the standards of the masses. Just a thought.
 
Fadge wrote
at 00:08:11 on 01 December 2011
Typical how a grubby company like Peel , stuffed with taxpayer's money , ably assisted by a grubby council , uses bullying anti-union thicko thugs to deter legitimate pickets and strikers . Perhaps we taxpayers should use 'reasonable force ' to stop OUR money being thrown away at anti-union companies like Peel .
 
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