Socialist Worker

Reports from a national day of protest against Vodafone

As protesters target Vodafone shops across Britain, in protest at its £6 billion legal tax dodge, Socialist Worker provided updates of the protests as through the day

Published Sat 30 Oct 2010
Issue No. 2225

Maria, a student,  at Speakers

Maria, a student, at Speakers' Corner in London, explaining why protesters are about to march up Oxford Street to Vodafone stores (Pic: Socialist Worker)


We have reports of protests in Sheffield and Edinburgh, as well as those listed below. Protesters held picnics outside several stores.


Brighton

Two branches of Vodafone closed by protests.


Bristol

Socialist Worker sellers and Right to Work protesters came together outside the Vodafone store. The town's mood lifted as bystanders watched the shop close. After the protest Vodaphone stayed shut, putting up a sign saying 'Closed unexpectedly—please shop on internet'!

Linda Nunns


Glasgow

Protesters have shut down a Vodafone shop in Glasgow in protest at the company's legal tax dodge. The company has legally avoided paying £6 billion in tax at the same time as ordinary people face huge cuts to their services, benefits and jobs.

In Glasgow protesters chanted, 'Tax dodgers go to hell – take your Tory mates as well!'

Mahmoud, a student at Strathclyde University, is on the protest. 'Rich bankers and corporations are avoiding tax while we face the prospect of tuition fees being imposed in Scotland,' he told Socialist Worker.

'The working class won't have any opportunities to do anything. The Tories want to ghettoise us while the rich just get more powerful.

'David Cameron is gutting the working class.'

A support worker in the Unison union also on the protest added, 'It's disgusting what's happening. We're facing massive cuts where I work.

'We support adults with learning disabilities and used to provide one-to-one care. Now that's going down to two people supporting four.

'The tax these companies aren't paying could be funding our welfare state. We need to keep protesting.'


Hastings

Many people who had attended a 100-strong Fight the Cuts Rally in central Hastings with union speakers and local activists, went on to Vodafone Hastings. We closed it down with noisy chants reverberating through the shopping centre, and quickly ran out of leaflets because so many people were interested.

Sam


Leicester

Protesters occupied Vodafone earlier today, chanting, 'Where's the money gone?'


Liverpool

Protest closes Vodafone shop.


London

Up to 70 protesters marched up Oxford Street—London's busiest shopping street—chanting 'Tax dodgers go to Hell! Take your Tory mates as well!'

Donna has recently graduated. She told Socialist Worker why she was on the demonstration, “The government seems to be trying to claw back money from those who don’t have it. They are demonising people who need assistance. We need more protests like this. A lot of people want to do something, but don’t know what. Concerted action by trade unions could give people a focus.”

Protesters stopped outside the first Vodafone shop, which shut its doors, putting up a pre-prepared sign announcing that it was closed. Demonstrators sang, 'If you wanna sell your phones, pay your tax'.

Sam, a teacher, said, “We need to expose the myths behind the cuts. They are unnecessary and unfair. Boardroom pay went up 55 percent in the last year. There’s no need for any cuts. It took generations to build up the welfare state. And now the Tories want to destroy it. But there are so many people against them, they are starting on the back foot. It’s not like Thatcher.”

Groups proceeded up Oxford Street, and by 12.20pm all Vodafone's banches on it had been closed, including their flagship store.

Alex, is a student, “I’ll avoid the fee rises as I finish soon. Then I’ll be in the job market and there are no jobs. I live in London at the moment, but I won’t be able to afford to after I graduate. So many cuts are ideological. We need to fight like they have in France.”

Protesters continue to fan out across the centre of the city.

Sadie Robinson


London: Brixton

Some 150 people marched through Brixton, south London, to “Save our Services”. Pensioners, housing activists and other local workers joined council workers, including those facing immediate job cuts in Children and Young People’s Services and in Housing.

One Unite union member from King’s Hospital described how the cuts are being brought in there by stealth. 'They're not filling vacancies when people leave' he said, 'and then the people who are left are under so much pressure, what do they do? They leave too.'

A worker from a local one o'clock club, a children’s service, was outraged to hear about the Vodafone tax dodge of £6 billion – she got a £30 fine for paying her council tax late! After the march twenty protesters moved on to an impromptu rally outside Vodafone which forced it to close.

There was a strong mood to build the campaign further and an open meeting has been called for 20 November.

Grace Lally


Manchester

A demonstration of 70 people closed the store on Market Street. People attending a Labour Representation Committee rally came to support them.


Oxford

Vodafone store closed with protesters in occupation.


Worthing

Right to Work demonstration shut the Vodafone store this morning.


York

Protest closes Vodafone shop.

Do you have any reports or photos? Email to keno@socialistworker.co.uk

A closed Vodafone store today in Brighton (Pic: Alan Kenny)

A closed Vodafone store today in Brighton (Pic: Alan Kenny)



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Sat 30 Oct 2010, 09:42 BST
Issue No. 2225
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