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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 September 2019

Leeds pensioners occupy BBC to save free TV licenses

Pensioners occupy Leeds BBC office in protest at TV license attack, photo Iain Dalton

Pensioners occupy Leeds BBC office in protest at TV license attack, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

"BBC, shame on you" was the chant as around 50 pensioners from across Yorkshire, including as far away as Scarborough, occupied the reception area of the Leeds BBC offices.

Their plan had been to hold a rally outside with speakers. But after being kept waiting half an hour for someone to accept a letter from the Yorkshire and Humber Pensioners Convention, then told no one was actually going to do that, they decided to go in to make sure management knew they were there and what they were campaigning for.

Speakers were careful to highlight that the proposal to scrap free TV licenses for over-75s was due to the government removing funding to the BBC for this a few years ago.

Unions

There was a strong presence of retired trade union members, especially from general union Unite. Gerry Lavery, secretary of Leeds Unite Community branch, commented: "Given the increased loneliness in society, it's crucial this remains a universal benefit for over-75s, and the government must take responsibility for funding it."

Dave, a Unite Community member from Leeds, told us: "We're here primarily because we don't want to see free TV licenses taken away from over-75s. But this could be followed by the abolition of other things. In the past there's been talk of removing the concessionary travel pass or the winter fuel allowance."

Socialist Party members in Yorkshire have been campaigning on this issue, linking the need to defend free TV licenses for over-75s with reversing the increasing commercialisation and outsourcing of the BBC. We fight for a publicly owned, fully funded and democratically controlled BBC.

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In The Socialist 11 September 2019:


International socialist news and analysis

Far right makes gains in Germany

South Africa: Xenophobic violence - a product of failed capitalist policies

West Papuans demand self-determination in London


What we think

Tories in tatters: Corbyn must seize the time


Opinion

Capitalist 'democracy' v socialist democracy


Workplace news

TUC: Lost opportunity to organise a united struggle

NSSN lobby of TUC: Upbeat meeting calls for trade union lead to boot out Tories

Fighting PCS general secretary needed - Marion Lloyd: Why I am standing

End austerity in the civil service: General election now

PCS strike at BEIS: "The life we live is not liveable"

Unions must fight to make bus drivers and passengers safe

Asda workers protest against worse contract

UCU ballots - yes to strike action on pensions, pay, workloads and equality

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Students and workers unite against fees, low pay climate change

Tory meltdown - Organise to finish them off

Another London block of flats destroyed by fire - remove unsafe cladding now!

Leeds pensioners occupy BBC to save free TV licenses

Frimley hospital staff fight back-door privatisation

Leicester Kashmir protest rejects religious smokescreen

Salisbury welcomes Socialist campaigners

Socialist newspaper sales round-up

Coventry: 100 pack meeting against congestion charge

Climate strikes: trade union round-up


Scotland

Scotland and Brexit: Developing threat to the capitalist union


 

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