#LockdownSolidarity- Tony Smith Hardship Fund

Wk17 of #lockdownsolidarity raised £430 for Leeds South and East Foodbank which I will send them over later.

Wk18 is a slight shift in emphasis, but is no less a vital act of solidarity than any other.

I’ll fill you in on the story.

A couple of years ago Tony Smith was at the heart of a hugely successful strike at the FCC refuse collection site in Hull. One of the lads had undergone extensive cancer treatment yet the company offered no sick pay scheme for its frontline workers forcing him into a choice between turning in for work mid-chemo, or losing his home on Statutory Sick Pay.

I first met Tony when I sang on their picket line, and I was proud as punch when that strike won Sick Pay, not just for the handful who’d fought, but for 2500 men and women nationally.

This was symbolic as it was the trade union movement on the offensive for once and making gains, not just fighting rearguard actions trying to stop pay and rights being taken away.

Since then Tony has been a target for a management revenge campaign which came to a head when he raised the issue of remnants of asbestos waste being declassified to allow them to be disposed of more cheaply by the company which was clearly putting profit before the wellbeing of its workforce.

Tony raised this, which as Health & Safety Officer he was duty bound to do, and FCC have responded by suspending and then firing him on manufactured charges to keep him quiet and get him out of the way.

This leaves a comrade, a brother and a friend without income from the middle of this month, and while we rally to his side with appeals and protests on one level, and lobby the council to not renew FCC’s contract on another, the immediate concern is getting him through and keeping his bills paid; in short #Wk18 of Lockdown Solidarity is raising money for a support fund for Tony Smith.

You take on one of us, you take on all of us.

You know the drill. All merch money from Bandcamp goes to a different cause every week, so all you need to do is bag CDs or downloads, t-shirts or tote bags, bundles, bandanas, artwork prints or mugs and I’ll do the rest. If you’ve got all that but still wish to donate to helping Tony, message me for PayPal details and it will all go to the same place.

We stand together and we fight for each other. It’s the only way we’ll ever win.


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