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Posted on 11 June 2013 at 11:39 GMT

Union condemns arson attack on Bromley school

The Unison branch secretary who represents school workers in the borough of Bromley issued the following statement to the press:

We utterly condemn the atrocious actions of those responsible for the arson attack on the Islamic school in Chislehurst at the weekend that threatened the lives of staff and pupils who were in the school at the time of the attack.

It is hard not to link this attack with the spate of anti Muslim attacks that have taken place in the last couple of weeks in the aftermath of the terrible attack in Woolwich.

This attack is the latest, and most serious, in a string of attacks on Muslims, their property and their places of worship following the horrific killing of Lee Rigby, attacks which the police are now saying are running at eight a day compared to the usual one a day.

Along with the vast majority of people in society - including Muslims - Unison condemns the killing of Lee Rigby.

However the recent vile attempts of the BNP and EDL to exploit the terrible attack in Woolwich for their own ends can give confidence to racist individuals to carry out attacks like this.

The trade unions rightly cannot afford to ignore attempts to whip up racism by these vile groups and their supporters.

The trade unions in particular have a key role to play in not only calling for unity of working people against this attack but also in identifying the main causes which lie behind this.

At a time when our communities are under an onslaught of government attacks on our services, on the welfare state and on our jobs and living standards we need the maximum unity of working people and we need to offer an alternative to the politics of racial hatred by building a mass campaign against the politics of austerity currently being practised.

In the absence of a strong and united working class opposition to the recent cut-backs, far right organisations can gain the ear of sections of the working class that feel a sense of despair and abandonment.

We must not allow these right wing forces to exploit a situation where many families are threatened with eviction due to the Bedroom Tax or who are suffering from cuts in their benefits or who are facing increasing debt and job insecurity.

All sections of working class people suffer from these attacks on their living standards regardless of colour, religion or gender.

They need to be brought together by the trade unions, not ripped apart by the racists. We in the trade unions also need to condemn this act, not just in words but also in deeds, by uniting the local community in protests, marches and where necessary strike action and even occupations to ensure that our hospitals, schools and fire stations are not allowed to be closed with the resultant loss of jobs.

For more information, contact Glenn Kelly on 0759 535 2795

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