Mass Action Victory Scuppers E.ON Recruitment Plan

Tagged as: actions campaigns climate_chaos demonstrations flash_mobs protests
Neighbourhoods: london_olympia uk_wide

National wave of student protest forces energy giant to abandon recruitment tour

Anti-coal protests at graduate careers fairs around the UK have forced E.ON to cancel the remainder of its recruitment tour. The energy company, which is planning to build a new coal power station at Kingsnorth, Kent [1], has seen at least seventeen of its careers events disrupted over the last few weeks [2].

The Mass Popular Anti-Recruitment Actions have been a co-ordinated national effort from students involved in:

Leaflets, banners, fancy dress, conversations with attendees and eye-catching stunts were used to embarrass E.ON and dissuade graduates from joining the company [4]. The Royal Bank of Scotland, one of E.ON's main financial backers, were also targeted at the fairs over their role in providing loans to build the proposed new power station [5] ? see, eg: my 'Pix of Anti-RBS Action, London - Fri 10 Oct 08'

These tactics have been a resounding success. On Tuesday morning, student activists arrived at Loughborough University Graduate Fair to find the E.ON stall empty. Yesterday in Birmingham there were similar scenes, with
students dressed as elephants (because climate change is the "elephant in E.ON's boardroom") finding no target for their protest. Upon enquiry the organisers [6] informed Loughborough students that E.ON had cancelled their remaining graduate recruitment events this year, due to the level of protest they had received.

While E.ON has thus far failed to comment on their decision to pull out of the graduate recruitment fairs, Jane Benson of the Camp for Climate Action said today: "This is a great step for the campaign against a new coalfired power station at Kingsnorth. E.ON know they can't defend their plans in the midst of a climate crisis, so rather than be embarrassed in front of potential employees they've chosen to run away."

This victory for campaigners comes just two weeks before a planned 48 hours of Action Against E.ON and New C</strong><strong>oal [7]. The two days of action (Fri 28 and Sat 29 Nov 08) are being supported by:

The new government Department for Energy and Climate Change is currently deliberating over whether to give the go-ahead for a new coal power station at Kingsnorth, and an announcement is expected soon.

"E.ON think they are safe, because most people don't know they are the owners of Kingsnorth power station. These recruitment fairs have helped to out E.ON as the biggest climate criminal in the UK. After all, as they themselves boast, climate change lies at the heart of everything they do [8]. Everyone who cares about our future on this planet should join us for 48 hours of action against E.ON and new coal at the end of November."

Robert Jenkins, People & Planet Associated Network for Direct Action (PANDA)

If you'd like more details and/or to arrange interviews with activists who were at the events, call 07903 733262 or 07804 951217.


Chalk up one Big Victory for Mass Popular Action against a Climate Criminal Corporation ? WOO-HOO!

Now let's continue to drag E.ON's filthy brand image through the mud of opprobrium by encouraging as many folks as possible to partake in:

48 HOURS OF ACTION AGAINST E.ON AND NEW COAL
Friday 28 and Saturday 29 November 2008
See ? http://www.e-onf-off.org.uk

Some might say, "D'you know, it's awfully bad form to kick a chap when he's down." But the Received Pronunciation accent in which you're most likely to hear such sentiments being pontificated gives the lie to their ruling class origins. I say we take heart and courage from this magnificent victory in order to, as our sisters and brothers in the USA might put it, "Tear E.ON another asshole!"


Up the Revolution,

Tim Dalinian Jones


PS: As Tess said in the email via which I received this most excellent news, "well done to everyone around the country for such hard work and to Danny and Jess for writing such a great Press Release!" (on which the majority of this story is based). And thanks to all the othe Indymedia and People-&-Planet citizen reporters and photographers for your Action Reports.


Footnotes

[1] E.ON have applied for Government permission to build the first new UK coal-fired plant in thirty years at Kingsnorth in Kent. If built, this power station would produce the same amount of carbon dioxide as the world's 30 least polluting countries combined.

[2] Careers events at the following universities were targeted by student campaigners:

For more details, see ? http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/11/412804.html

This represents almost all of E.ON's planned 2008 recruitment events; for the full list see ? http://www.eon-uk.co/Careers/Graduates/807.aspx

[3] See:

?

[4] Here are some of the tactics used by campaigners at a few of the events:

  • Leeds: Leafleted, talked to students, dropped an "E.ON:F.OFF" banner from a balcony inside the fair
  • Bristol: Attended two fairs with leaflets, stickers and a polar bear, until thrown out by security
  • Liverpool: Leaflets, conversations with graduates and a banner drop
  • Glasgow: A team of Rebel Clowns invaded the fair
  • Nottingham: A gang of grim reapers flyered the fair and congratulated E.ON staff on the death rate from climate change
  • Manchester: A "Flashmob" wearing bright yellow "Leave It In The Ground"? T-shirts materialised at the fair, handed out hundreds of flyers and dumped coal all over E.ON's stall.
  • Kings College London: Flyered the fair and covered the backs of security guards in "No New Coal" stickers
  • Imperial: The fair was invaded and flyered, and E.ON were serenaded with a "soul power not coal power" song.
  • Cambridge: Invaded the fair with T-shirts and leaflets, and dropped "Make a Living - Not a Killing" banners outside.
  • Oxford: Flyered, presented E.ON with a "Best Greenwash" award and dumped coal on their stall.

In total, hundreds of activists were involved, and thousands of leaflets were distributed to graduates.

[5] In 2008, the report, 'Cashing in on Coal', showed that in the preceding two years, RBS-NatWest had been loaned an estimated $16 billion in 27 different loans to coal-related companies around the world, including taking part in loans worth $70 billion to E.ON at a time when it was announcing plans to construct 17 new coal and gas-fired power plants across Europe. See ? http://www.oyalbankofscotland.com/cioc/

[6] The Loughborough fair (and many of the others) were organised by AIESEC http://www.aiesec.co.uk/

[7] For more details, see ? http://www.e-onf-off.org.uk/

[8] The most prominent slogan on E.ON's recruitment stall was "Tackling climate change isn't something that's tacked onto our agenda. It's at the heart of our business". This was widely spoofed by activists at the events, by the simple removal of the word "tackling".