Dis-Asda on the Old Kent Road: building re-squatted under noses of bailiffs

Mark Brown markibrown at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 26 15:59:14 GMT 2004

As of Monday afternoon (2pm), protestors are currently successfully 
resisting another eviction of the main building at the Ossory Road protest 
camp, where Asda/Walmart plan to build a supermarket, on the Old Kent Road. 
Having allowed baliffs and security to enter the building this morning and 
lock up doors etc, protestors yet again managed to regain entry into the 
building and climbed on top of the roof.

Protestors are calling it their “Last Stand against Walmart”, on the site 
otherwise known as "Ossory Lost!" They are planning to have an action on the 
site 2 weeks from now.

The building is due to be demolished quite soon. Asda/Walmart plan to have 
their supermarket built by January 2005.

Dis-asda on the Old Kent Road has a colourful history of succcessful 
resistance from Authorities/Walmart. Since a group of proestors first moved 
onto the site in October 2002, the building on Ossory Road has been boarded 
up, evicted, damaged by bailiffs and re-squatted several times. The Reclaim 
the Future party was held there on 01/02/03. The site has also been host to 
an urban graffiti project, and in another building on site at Malt Street, 
was host a further multirig party.

Plans by Walmart/Asda for final eviction/demolition was foiled by 
campaigners and supporters on Monday the 19th when bailiffs arrived to find 
barricades, overturned car, boobey traps, etc and a group of protestors who 
refused them entry. Later Walmart representatives and the police were 
refused entry as well. As of now Walmart/Asda have placed permanent security 
just outside the building. But the resistance is continuing.

Asda already has planning permission to build a superstore on the Old Kent 
Road, Southwark, South London between Ossory Road and Malt Street with over 
500 car parking spaces. The Old Kent Road already has Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, 
McDonalds, PC World, B&Q, Halfords and Toys R Us, but what the 100,000 
people who live within a one mile radius of this site do not have are decent 
community facilities. Traffic, pollution and respiratory disease are at an 
all time high along this most polluted stretch of road in London, which 
also, ironically, has the lowest car ownership in London.

Please visit and support if you believe in the campaign.
For more info please visit www.ossoryroad.org.uk

Why resist Walmart? Because the military economics of their continued market 
expansion has been achieved on the back-of driving down labour standards

70,000 grocery workers in California went on strike last October, fighting 
their employers’ demands for wage cuts and other contract concessions. The 
workers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), 
were employed by the Vons, Pavilions, Ralph’s and Albertson’s chains. The 
union called a strike and set up picket lines each Saturday night against 
Vons and Pavilions, both of which are owned by the Safeway supermarket 
giant. Walmart workers did not take part in any strike because their workers 
are ununionised. Wal-Mart's policy includes forbidding its workers from 
unionizing, bringing in workers illegally from abroad, and allegedly 
employing workers on wages below the minimum wage. At the core of its 
policy, Wal-Mart demands of its suppliers that they sell goods to Wal-Mart 
at such a low price, that they can only do so by outsourcing their work to 
low-wage factories overseas.

The drive by the supermarket chains to cut costs is fuelled by fierce 
competition and consolidation in the industry. Wal-Mart mega stores, for 
instance, are able to undersell the national chains by as much as 27%, 
largely because of their lower labour costs. Wal-Mart wages for grocery 
clerks average $8.50 an hour, with sharply reduced health and pension 
benefits relative to the company’s competitors. Profit margins have declined 
as Wal-Mart, Target and other nonunion entrants have captured market share 
at the expense of unionized chains.

The supermarket chains are using Wal-Mart as a pretext to slash their 
workers’ wages and benefits. Throughout the 1990s, the UFCW repeatedly bowed 
to the employers’ demands for wage and work rule concessions that have 
resulted in cuts in real wages and benefits and the slashing of jobs 

The grocery store employees are among the lowest paid and most oppressed 
sections of the working class in California. Most are forced to work 
part-time and never approach the top pay rates in their job classifications. 
Work rule changes which are being resisted include the permitting of 
outsourcing of stocking duties and allowing the operation of nonunion stores 
in some areas. Split shifts would be introduced for part-time workers and 
night shift premiums would be cut for all workers.

While the top hourly wage for a checkout clerk is $17.90, few workers reach 
that level and baggers earn as little as $6.75 an hour. The weekly pay for 
many grocery workers in California is not sufficient to rent a modest 
apartment, let alone raise a family.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is operating slave-labor camps overseas. It does this 
through its suppliers and, increasingly, in its own name. One of the most 
infamous slave-labor camps is that in American Somoa—the Daewoosa Factory, 
where 230 workers, mostly young women from Vietnam and China, worked under 
conditions of indentured servitude. According to records, they were cheated 
of their meager wages, beaten, starved, sexually harassed, and threatened 
with deportation if they complained. On Feb. 21, 2003, in a court in Hawaii, 
the proprietor of the factory, Kil Soo Lee, was found guilty of 14 of 18 
counts brought against him for indentured servitude. This factory sewed 
clothing for Wal-Mart, under Wal-Mart's "Beach Cabana" label (as well as 
producing for other retailers).

“In the name of free trade and globalization, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, and 
many other national and multinational food retailers have, with their supply 
chain partners, Tyson, Cargill, Smithfield,
and ConAgra, promoted and driven the unlawful, highly-concentrated, 
centrally-planned model of business that is steamrolling independent 
businesses and many economies around the world. These dictator merchants and 
processors are not only harvesting and processing the commodities off the 
land below the true cost, but are also destroying the independent 
businessmen, farm and ranch families, and their futures.” – taken from 

Visit: http://www.walmartwatch.com/
The Wal-Martization of America (New York Times, 11/15/03)
Wal-Mart: An Equal Opportunity Exploiter, (UFCW, 11/5/03)
David Vs. Goliath(Forbes.com, 9/15/03)
Mad in the US, (AlterNet.org, 9/8/03)
Leslie 'Buzz' Davis: Wal-Mart threatens our way of life, must be unionized 
(Captial Times, 9/1/03)
Wal-Mart opens wallet in effort to fix its image (San Francisco Chronicle, 
Check out: www.walmartvswomen.com
Thousands of people challenged Wal-Mart to live up to its responsibility as 
the largest retailer, private employer and corporation on November 21, 2002. 
Find out more at:

Please visit and support if you believe in the campaign.
For more info please visit www.ossoryroad.org.uk

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