Correspondence: We will not be silenced
8 September 2007
The campaign we launched a little more than a week ago in support of low-paid workers in care homes in north London has generated more support than any other campaign we have ever done. Already, well over 8,100 messages have been sent to the employer. This is even bigger than our 2005 campaign in support of the Gate Gourmet workers, which was a much more widely publicized dispute in the mainstream media.
As we mentioned in this week's message, the employer reacted swiftly and brutally -- first threatening us with a libel action in the English courts and then sacking a union rep. And then on Thursday, in an unprecedented move, the employer (Fremantle Trust) contacted our internet service provider and demanded that they shut down the campaign or else face a lawsuit themselves. We were contacted by the legal department of the internet service provider and told that we had until noon on Friday to close down the campaign or else the entire LabourStart site would be shut down. We worked very hard over those 24 hours to attempt to get our provider to back down, and had the full support of Unison (Britain's giant public sector union, whose members are at the centre of the dispute) but were not successful in doing this before the noon deadline on Friday. As a result, at 11:59 on Friday we were compelled to shut down the campaigns.
But -- we instantly revived the campaign in nine languages on a different server, in a different country, with a new name that reflects our feeling at this time. The new site is called "We will not be silenced!" and is located, appropriately enough, at http://www.wewillnotbesilenced.org If you have not yet sent off your message of protest to Fremantle, please do so from the new page. Remember that you can use our system to send out your own message to the chief executive of Fremantle Trust -- and you can tell her, if you wish, what you think of this attempt to silence our campaign. Please also inform all your lists and every trade unionist you know to use the new site to send a loud and clear message to this employer.
If Fremantle Trust were unhappy to receive 8,000 emails, how are they going to feel about getting thousands more in the next few days? Because that is exactly what is going to happen. We will not be intimidated, we will not be bullied, and we will not be silenced. The campaign continues.
Enjoy your weekend.