Posts Tagged ‘Lloyds’

Extinction Rebellion Tries to Persuade Insurers

Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

Extinction Rebellion Tries to Persuade Insurers – From 26th February to 3rd March 2024, Extinction Rebellion have been holding an ‘Insurance Week of Action’ with large peaceful protests and some non-violent direct actions directed at the insurance industry, particularly in the City of London,

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Only Fools Insure Fossil Fuels.

As the XR website put it:

“At the same time as Coal Action Network, Mothers Rise Up, Quakers UK, StopEACOP and Tipping Point, we will be targeting the global insurance industry – the people who could stop the fossil fuel crooks in their tracks overnight if they wanted to. 

Because no insurance = no more drilling for oil and gas.”

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Front of the march at Lloyds.

The City of London is still the world capital for the global insurance industry, with one company, Lloyds of London insuring 40% of the world’s fossil fuel production and it is also home to many other major global insurers.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Insure Our Future – Not Fossil Fuels.

Monday was a training day for XR, with lectures about the lessons which could be learnt from the West Cumbria coal mine campaign and the importance of the insurance industry in maintaining the fossil fuel industry and why it was important to try to convert them away from this and towards supporting a future for human life on our planet. There were also a workshop on non-violent direct action, examining the theories behind it and how to create support systems and keep safe.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024.

Nothing could be further from the comments made by the Prime Minister and other cabinet members about ‘mobs’. The protests are well organised and take considerable trouble to remain within the increasinly restrictive laws on freedom to protest. In contrast they make our government speakers seem a rabid mob, making hate speeches about hate protests and disruption. XR are trying to save our planet for future human life.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. A Faceless Financier.

I was unable to go to the events on Monday or Tuesday when as well as some highly targeted actions including small groups of protesters protesting peacfully inside the foyers of some city offices there was a large rally on Tuesday followed by a Community Assembly on the subject “How do we Insure our Future?

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. The march begins.

But last Wednesday I joined the XR supporters in Trinity Square Gardens at 10.30 for the start of the advertised “Insurance Mayhem – Wednesday Showstopper“. Some of them had followed the suggested dress code for the event, “business attire. Black suits with white shirts, preferably!” A group carried special and rather glossy small briefcases and there were banners and a few placards. Some in city dress had come with grey masks and labels as ‘Faceless Financiers’

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Extinction Rebellion supporters march

Little happened for the first hour or so, though there was a strong police presence in the area, and some officers came to talk with and warn protesters who told them they were not intending to break any laws.Finally at 12.15 the march moved off for a short march through city streets to the streets around the main Lloyds Building on Leadenhall Street and Lime Street. One man was arrested on the march, I think for setting off a smoke flare, which police left smoking on the ground.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Extinction Rebellion

Protesters joined hands to surround the Lloyds Building on three sides, some holding banners and flags. They let people in and out of the building and tried to engage them in conversation about the urgent need to end fossil fuels. A few stopped to say they agreed but most simply walked past and there were a few angry remarks. It was lunchtime and quite a few city workers were out on the streets and stopped to watch what was happening and were clearly entertained, taking pictures on their phones of the speakers and the various events.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. EACOP – the East African Crude Oil Pipeline is an environmental and human rights disaster.

These included protests by ‘workers’ in red boiler suits against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, a 900 mile long heated pipeline from Ugandan oil fields to the Indian Ocean in Tanzania which would cause “large scale displacement of communities and wildlife“, threaten water resources and contribution massively to global warming. 24 banks have already distanced themselves from financing the project, with only two remaining involved, and it will certainly not go ahead if insurers can be persuaded not to insure it.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. City dressed dancers outside Lloyds.

The ‘Faceless Financiers’ now all had their dull grey masks on and were standing together in a row in front of the building on Lime Street where most of the event was taking place, its closure causing little or no disruption to traffic. In front of them came a large troupe of dancers for their spirited performance and on the other side of the road was a washing line hung with items of children’s clothing letters on the garments spelling out the message ‘THEIR FUTURE’.

The “Insurance Mayhem – Wednesday Showstopper” was still continuing as I left for home. I was back for the next day’s very wet protest which I’ll perhaps write about in a later post.

More pictures of Insurance Mayhem – Wednesday Showstopper.

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Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail – 2016

Saturday, November 18th, 2023

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail – On Friday 18th November 2016 I went with members of the Independent Workers Union CAIWU to protests at three companies over their treatment of cleaners before a protest over the abduction by Israel, torture amd imprisonment of a British national father of five.

Cleaners In Lloyds Against Racist Sacking

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail

CAIWU, the Cleaners & Allied Independent Workers Union is an independent grass roots workers union helping to improve the lives of cleaners across the UK. Many of the workers who clean the offices of London’s many prestigious offices are employed by cleaning companies who pay minimum wage and treat their workers abdominally with bullying and arbitrary management and lousy conditions of service, often failing to provide safe working conditions.

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail

Respectable and prestigious companies who would never employ people on such terms nevertheless contract out their cleaning to companies who do so on their behalf. Many cleaners who tried joining our major unions found that these were more concerned with taking their union dues than fighting for their rights and set up several grass roots unions to represent them more actively in the workplace.

CAIWU is one of these and has had considerable success in getting workers a living wage and improving their conditions, as well as defending them against discrimination.

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail

Following the sacking of two members who cleaned Lloyd’s but were employed by Principle Cleaning Services, a company which Lloyd’s outsources its cleaning to, members of CAIWU went with posters, vuvuzelas and a powerful megaphone to protest noisily inside the foyer of the Lloyd’s building at lunchtime.

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail
The security officer who was pushing Alberto suddenly dives to the floor, pretending he has been hit

Two black workers were disciplined and dismissed from the site by Principle Cleaning Services following a window cleaning accident. CAIWU say that white workers involved in a similar accident were left off without even a warning and that this is a clear case of racist discrimination. They also say that another African worker, a CAIWU member, was also recently dismissed for trivial reasons because of his trade union activities.

After a brief protest inside the building in which a security guard began to assault some of them and then dived to the floor claiming falsely he had been hit they left and continued their noisy protest outside.

More at Cleaners in Lloyds against racist sacking

Cleaners at Mace protest Dall nepotism

Next the CAIWU group made its way to Mace in Moorgate, where they again rushed into the lobby for a protest against the cleaning contractor there, Dall Cleaning Services.

Here they complained about nepotism with a cleaning supervisor roster made up of five members of the same family. The also say that after Dall had promised cleaners the London Living Wage they promptly reduced the working conditions and also dismissed two cleaners without notice or proper procedures. They had come to demand the reinstatement of the two workers dismissed and also proper conditions of service and working conditions.

Again after a brief protest inside the lobby they left and continued the protest outside for a few minutes before catching a bus to Holborn.

More at Cleaners at Mace protest Dall nepotism.

Cleaners at Claranet for Living Wage – Holborn

Again at Claranet’s offices CAIWU briefly occupied the lobby for a brief protest leaving when security began pushing them around to continue their protest on the pavement outside.

The cleaners here are employed by NJC under a contract by Claranet, and both NJC and Claranet have ignored the union’s attempts to negotiate for the London Living Wage and have confirmed they have no intention of considering to pay this.

The union has called on Claranet which claims to be an ethical company to insist the cleaners are paid the London Living wage now.

More at Cleaners at Claranet for Living Wage.

Release British father from Israeli Jail – G4S HQ, Westminster

Protesters pose for a selfie with Laila Sharary, wife of the British father held by the Israeli military

Human rights group Inminds were protesting outside the headquarters of British security company G4S over the abduction by Israel and subsequent torture of British national and father of five, Fayez Sharary.

The protest took place at G4S because the company trains Israel’s police forces and was at the time responsible for the security of Israel’s prison. Protests like this and pressure by the BDS movement led to G4S ending its contracts with the prisons in December 2016 and in June 2023 the world’s largest private security company Allied Universal, which owns G4S, announce it was selling all its remaining business in apartheid Israel.

An image projected on the neighbouring building shows Fayez Sharary with his daughter

Sharary had gone to the West Bank for a family visit and was arrested by Israeli forces when leaving on 15th September and tortured for 3 weeks by Israeli secret police Shin Bet to force a confession.

Laila Sharary and their 3 year old daughter were also arrested but released after 5 hours

At a military trail an Israeli judge declared this confession worthless and pointed out that several of the charges against him were for activities which were not illegal, ordering his release. But he was instead held in a G4S secured prison and a few days later the military returned him to court and got the judge’s order set aside.

Torture is not a crime in Israel and the insist the UN Conventions Against Torture which they have signed do not apply to Palestinians. The UN treatment centre for victims of torture in the occupied Palestine territories treated 845 Palestinians in 2014, including 317 women and 135 children.

Laila Shahary reads out a statement

Sharary is a British citizen who has lived in this country for over 23 years but he has received no support from the British Embassy and had no legal support at either of his military trials.

More at Release British father from Israeli Jail.

City Heights, 1987

Saturday, March 13th, 2021
Throgmorton St, City, 1987 87-11a-66-positive_2400
Throgmorton St, City, 1987

The view from the west end of Throgmorton St has changed a little since 1987 but is still recognisable. Largely Victorian or Edwardian at ground level, but dominated vertically by the two towers, both technically on Old Broad Street, though the right hand one, then the Stock Exchange, had an entrance and a long frontage on Throgmorton St.

Stock Exchange, Throgmorton St, City, 1987 87-11a-62-positive_2400
Stock Exchange, Throgmorton St, City, 1987

The London Stock Exchange has a long history from its origins at Jonathan’s Coffee House in Change Alley (though presumably it only got that name later) in 1698. Even older was Stock’s Market, which the City of London plaque at Mansion House dates from 1282-1737, but despite that plaque being featured on the Stock Exchange web site, that was a food market which got its name from the wooden stocks where miscreants would have their legs locked and be subjected to insults and pelted with rotten food, stones and anything else that came to hand. Unfortunately despite being a hotbed of criminal activity there are no stocks at the modern stock exchange.

In 1972 the Stock Exchange moved from Capel Court where it had been since 1802 to a new building, the Stock Exchange Tower, at 125 Old Broad Street. This building with a squashed hexagonal floor plan had a long frontage on Throgmorton St and was 100m high with 26 floors. The Stock Exchange moved out to Paternoster Square in 2004, but the building is still standing, though in disguise, its concrete now hidden behind a glass wall, and with some added office space in new building at the side.

Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City, 1987 87-11b-55-positive_2400
Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City, 1987

Also still in place, though a little altered is the Nat West Tower, between Old Broad St and Bishopsgate, and in 1987 there was a highwalk underneath it that led to a pedestrian bridge crossing Bishopsgate.

The Natwest Tower, completed in 1980, was 183 metres tall, and was the talllest building in the UK until the Canary Wharf Tower was completed in 1990. It remained the tallest building in the City until 2009. It required extensive refurbishment over several years after being damaged by the IRA Bishopsgate bomb in 1993. Natwest moved elsewhere and in 1995 it was renamed Tower 42, referencing the 42 floors cantilevered out above its base. The highwalk was not replaced after the bombing.

Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City, 1987 87-11b-64-positive_2400
Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City, 1987

Although these walkways were open to the public, they were private property and although I photographed from them on several occasions, apparently photography was not allowed. On one occasion after taking some pictures I was approached by a very apologetic security manager in a suit and tie, who told me that photography was not allowed, before walking with me to the line on the pavement marking the the boundary to the property and inviting me to continue taking pictures from there.

Bishopsgate, City, 1987 87-11b-16-positive_2400
Bishopsgate, City, 1987

I think this was the door to a bank, and I’m sure it was on Bishopsgate or possibly its southern continuation, Gracechurch St. I’ve walked along there a few times in recent years and I think both the door and the building it was on have been replaced.

St Helen's Bishopsgate, Great St Helens, City, 1987 87-11b-32-positive_2400
St Helen’s Bishopsgate, Great St Helens, City, 1987

The bridge across Bishopsgate had steps down in front of an office building on the corner of Bishopsgate and Great St Helen’s, a short street leading to the church of St Helen’s Bishopsgate. This is really two churches and is one of the few churches in the City to have escaped destruction both in the 1666 Great Fire and the Blitz. The church (at left) was there before 1210 when permission was given to build a Benedictine nunnery at its right, the two parts almost but not quite indentical.

Interesting stories are told about some of the things the nuns and priests at times got up to, but it was more the marital activities of Henry VIII that led to him declaring himself head of the Church of England in 1536, following which this and other nunneries were dissolved with the wall dividing the two parts being removed in 1538. There have of course been various alterations since then, particularly in the Victorian era, and it required restoration after being damaged by IRA bombing nearby in 1992-3 providing an opportunity to reverse some of those Victorian changes.

Lloyd's, Leadenhall St, City, London, 1987 87-11b-21-positive_2400
Lloyd’s, Leadenhall St, City, London, 1987

Walking past the St Helen’s Bishopsgate leads to Undershaft, St Mary Axe and Leadenhall St, though much of the area that was back then open is now occupied by giant towers which hide the Lloyds Building until you are rather closer. Even back in 1987 it was a building I felt I’d photographed too much – though even now it’s difficult to resist yet another picture. But perhaps this one was just a little different.

More on page 7 of my album 1987 London Photos.

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