Women in Workers' Liberty are holding a socialist feminist conference on Saturday 28 February in London, and as part of that are hosting a social in the evening at The Union Tavern in King's Cross. There will be have spoken word poetry from Michelle Madsen, Janine Booth and Emily Harrison, feminist folk music from Karina Knight and "Thought Plane Theatre", a performance project from an interactiv
A poem on the occasion of the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Royal flag at half-mast flies
Forgotten victim sadly sighs
Only another despot cries
When a bloody tyrant dies
The great and good will eulogise
Sing loud his praise to blood-red skies
Soft-wrap his crimes in sweet disguise
When a bloody tyrant dies
Tuesday 25 November 2014 was the annual, international Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. RMT women held an event in London with speakers including a Kurdish campaigner, Unison women's committee chair, the International Transport Workers' Federation and the RMT National President. Around fifty people attended the event, and I was elased to be able to contribute by performing three of my poems on the theme of violence against women.
An ETF Women’s Committee meeting consists of the elected Committee members, representatives of each sector (railways, civil aviation, etc), guests from affiliated trade unions, local women trade unionists (this time, from Antwerp port), and ETF staff. At the next meeting, we will be joined by the newly-elected young women’s representative.
Women Working at Antwerp Port
Having begun working as a receptionist in 1975, Monique Verbeeck is the first female secretary of the Belgian port union, BTB. She is also the ITF and ETF women port workers’ representative. Monique introduced a deputation of women union activists from the Port of Antwerp, who addressed the meeting and took us on a visit to the port.
From 2007, the socialist government introduced equality legislation and a framework to demand action against sexism and harassment. But since then, the situation has been worsened by economic crisis, with equalities driven off the agenda, curbs on collective bargaining, crèches closed, and equality plans dropped.
When I visited the Port of Antwerp in October 2014 with the ETF Women's Committee, we were due to go to a particular terminal - but it was closed, after a seafarer was killed while a ship was being loaded the previous day. The port is staffed only by registered dockers, under rules similar to the UK's National Dock Labour Scheme, abolished by the Tories in the 1980s.