112 Views
1 Comments

Sussex students join the anti-Vodafone campaign

A protestor is arrested by police outside the Vodafone store on Western Road. Photo: Tom Wills

On 30 October students from the University of Sussex were involved in a Brighton protest against the government cuts to public services, and a seperate protest against an alleged £6bn tax dodge by  Vodafone, organised by UKuncut and Brightstart.

In a recent exposé, published on 16 September, Private Eye magazine detailed that a longstanding tax dispute between HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Vodafone had been dropped by HMRC, the UK tax authority.  One HMRC senior official criticised the outcome of the dispute as “an unbelievable cave in.”

Vodafone officially deny the tax bills and the HMRC dismisses the figure of £6bn as an “urban myth” stating that Vodafone orginally owed £1.25bn and that the figure of £6bn is a fabrication.
Sam Baker, from UKuncut, expressed his anger: “As George Osborne cheerfully sets about slashing welfare and public services for the very poorest, the Vodafone case gives like to his claim that we are all in this together.” 

Tom Wills, former President of the Students’ Union, who was in town to photograph the demonstrations, told the Badger that the Vodafone march was initially meant to supplement the wider  march against government spending cuts.

However, as word began to spread through social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, that protestors were also gathering outside Vodafone stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Portsmouth, Hastings, Brixton, Worthing, Bristol, Birmingham, York, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, and five central London shops, protestors at the Brighton stores took encouragement.

He added: “At the Vodafone store in Churchill Square police seemed to be expecting the protest, the shutter to the store was half-down. But people ran into the store and did manage to get in to protest.

“It was a big scene: it was lively, loud, and people were reading the flyers that people were handing out. It was energetic.” Wills moved to re-join the government spending cuts march soon after.

Later, when he arrived at another Brighton Vodafone store, on Western Road, he stated that it was more “tense than the Churchill Square store because of the greater police presence. The police were physical and heavy handed, and dragged people to arrest them.”

Allie Cannell, one of the eight who was arrested at Western Road, told the Badger that “there was a good public response, and lots of support”. Passersby got involved: “[people were]offering to get us water, biscuits, even one guy offered to get us KFC”.

When asked to move by the police, Cannell chose to stay and was arrested under Section 14 of the Public Order Act of 1986.
Sussex police issued the following statement: “The police action was taken as part of our duty to balance the right to free speech and peaceful protest with the need to prevent disorder and breach of the peace.”

More protesters from the London stores have expressed outrage against the alleged tax dodge, one of the protesters said: “The cuts are not fair; we’re not all in this together, and there are alternatives.

“Why not start by collecting the tens of billions owed in taxes by wealthy corporations? The government is writing off the taxes from big business while treating normal people on benefits like criminals.”

Another protester said: “We will not pay for their crisis! The public need to join together and hit the streets to take concerted action to fight these cuts.”

This scandal is not only confined to the UK. Last week Vodafone was told to pay a 112bn rupee (£1.6bn) tax bill in India.
Unlike in the UK, the Indian Government has given Vodafone 30 days to pay the £1.6bn tax bill, incurred by company’s 2007 purchase of the Indian telephone assets of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.

As part of the wider protest, a conglomerate of independent shops, including the Costcutter group and Spar, went on stop the sale of Vodafone mobile phone top-up cards in their stores.

Others offered Vodafone customers free, alternate SIM cards and some even went as far as switching their corporate mobile phone account away from Vodaphone.

Sam Baker, commenting in the Guardian, said: “Vodafone’s own slogan, Power to You, couldn’t be more appropriate. Don’t wait for the unions, don’t wait for the next march, don’t wait for the politicians and don’t wait for us – take the initiative yourself. Get out on the streets and take action.”

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

One Comment

  1. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

    Dear Madam (Sir?)

    Sussex Students are to be greatly applauded, in a variety of respects, for their stance against the odious Vodafone – whose dominating business characteristic would appear an innate pre-disposition to greed (closely followed by hypocrisy of a very high order).

    In the writer’s experience, this reptilian organisation has proved as devoid of principle as it is unencumbered by conscience.

    Why do I say this? It is because I reside in a block of purpose-built flats upon which, in the not too distant past, Vodafone inflicted three masts/antennae (plus hundreds of metres of immensely fat cable [by domestic wiring standards] plus unsightly metal-cased cabinets (slapped tight against [ground floor apartment] bedroom windows) and ‘flower bed to roof’ steel trunking (colossal eyesore of a monument to greed) the whole as vastly disproportionate in size as totally out of keeping with its immediate environment (and with neither residents’ notification, consultation nor consent [an act as disingenuous as it was profoundly undemocratic]) yet have the bare-faced temerity to proclaim public interest is paramount and that they subsribe to ‘transparency’ in all their business dealings…

    Really? I would be as disposed to believe these hypocritical hyenas deliberate iambic pentameter and the nuances of 17c English metaphysical poetry during an average tea break.

    By way of background information I am retired, studying a BSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology; engaged in a range of unpaid charity work (including tutoring congenitally disabled youngsters [mental/physical]); 13,000′ sky dives; 30-mile (in one day) Southdowns trek and ‘cliff’ abseil’ plus former Press Officer activities(And, no, this is not an exercise in self-aggrandisement – simpy detail…)

    That I rely upon your integrity and professionalism in NOT referring this matter to a third party unless and until I come back to you (I would hope in the not too distant future) is implicit. In the interim, this most unsavoury concatenation of events will be presented to the CEO Vodafone (UK) by the writer.

    Once again, my admiration for all that ‘you and yours’ strive to achieve. If you are our Country’s ‘tomorrow’ – then it would appear the writer’s generation has every cause to view the future with equanimity!!

    With warm regards

    Yours sincerely

    David Roberts

    .

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
513 views1
Campus News
513 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
58 views
Arts
58 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
97 views
Arts
97 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
96 views
Arts
96 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
119 views
Arts
119 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
141 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
153 views
Arts
153 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
144 views
Arts
144 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
232 views
Campus News
232 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
109 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
215 views
Arts
215 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
143 views
Arts
143 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
213 views
Artist Focus
213 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
149 views
Interview
149 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
217 views
Arts
217 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
239 views
Arts
239 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
277 views
Arts
277 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
191 views
Artist Focus
191 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
201 views
Books
201 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
257 views
Science
257 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
267 views
News
267 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…