The Govan branch of Living Rent Tenants’ Union and cleansing workers from GMB Union smell a rat. While the council dithers and delays, council-tax-paying tenants and residents in Govan, and across Glasgow, are facing mountains of rubbish on their doorsteps, backcourts and streets.
Living Rent members from across Greater Govan came together this week to discuss what issues local tenants contend with and how they could build power for Govanite tenants to tackle these issues head on.
From shocking rent increases to pigeon invasions, the conversation was far ranging but there was unanimous agreement that by uniting the thousands of tenants all facing the same problems that huge victories can be won for the community.
The group together drafted the following call to action to be broadcast far and wide in doorstep conversations, street stalls, kitchen meetings and public events.
Rent going up year after year?
Feeling isolated under the weight of bills, arrears, a lack of work?
Sick of being ignored anytime you speak up?
Living Rent Govan is the newest branch of an independent tenants union which across Scotland has challenged rent increases, resisted evictions and won millions of pounds in repairs. As local tenants we are uniting to demand better, more affordable housing across Govan, Linthouse, Drumoyne & Ibrox.
Govan’s past tells us when we come together we are strong. Through collective action we will hold every landlord, housing association and local authority to account, and through solidarity, not charity, we will build a better life for everyone.
We are organised, we are determined and have the backing of a national union. But we need to hear from and we need you to get involved. Whether you're renting privately or in social housing, speak to us and join the struggle so that together we can build a group to fight for all of us.
Block by block, street by street!
Over the course of the next few months these Living Rent members will be undertaking a hugely ambitious neighbourhood drive to bring the strength of the union to every street and close in the area. Through doorknocking and outreach the aim is to speak with every one of the thousands who rent their home in the district and in regular meetings the group will strategise exactly how they will win victories over the things that matter most to local people.
Living Rent Govan member Seamus O'Ceallaigh had this to say:
"Our meeting followed several weeks of door knocking and speaking to people about the numerous problems in the area. From the start it was lively and analytical, good ideas were shared and built upon right there and then. This is a promising start to working class organising in Govan, where residents are treated as second-class citizens; forced to live with broken doors, rats and rising rents. It's so encouraging to see a union of tenants being built where it's needed most."
Any Govan, Linthouse, Drumoyne or Ibrox tenant that's struggling with an issue or interested in the progress of Living Rent Govan is encouraged to get in touch with the group by emailing email@example.com.
There you can hear about the regular area meetings which will be held every two weeks and are welcoming to anyone wanting to get involved. Food is provided at meetings along with childcare upon request (ideally with a few days notice!)
Mary Barbour and the rent strikers showed the world would could be achieved when the tenants of Govan decide they've had enough. We're a century on but but once again something is stirring on the Clydeside...