Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has launched its new Ban BAE counter-recruitment campaign at the start of the new university year. CAAT's Universities' Network is calling on anti-arms trade activists to take part in direct action against arms giant BAE Systems and stop their participation in recruitment events.
BAE is keen to recruit university graduates, especially in engineering and sciences. Each year they spend thousands of pounds on recruiting staff to research, design, build, market and sell the next generation of killing equipment. Dick Olver, Chairman of BAE, presents this as a national emergency, saying: "Without action, the UK's widening skills gap will have become an irreversible gulf." (Telegraph, 16 July 2010)
Recruitment fairs are the most straight-forward and visible approach that BAE uses to attract graduate talent. Yet students have been reluctant to join BAE, despite the rewards on offer. Many regard the arms industry as unethical and its output as unproductive and destructive.
CAAT has identified over 40 careers events in October and November 2010 where BAE or other arms companies will be present. CAAT is urging activists to ensure that BAE is met with campus protests every time it participates in career fairs or other recruitment events. The aim is to make BAE realise that attending such events is not worth their while, and to shut down their main connection with students.
Abi Haque, CAAT Universities' Network Co-ordinator says:
Education and arms companies should not mix. CAAT aims to widen the gap between universities and the arms trade. Previous student actions have been hugely successful, as well as very entertaining. Last year these ran from confiscating promotional materials and removing displays, to die-ins and and grim reapers looming over stalls. We expect this year to be equally interesting.
For more information on our Ban BAE campaign please contact our Universties' Network Co-ordinator or ring 020 7281 0297. For further information on CAAT please contact our Press Co-ordinator or ring 020 7281 0297 or 07990 673 232.
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade together with progressive demilitarisation within arms producing countries. Around 80% of CAAT's funding comes from individual supporters and CAAT is strictly non-violent in all its work.
2. CAAT has released a new action guide for students and activists, Disrupting Arms Company Recruitment, available to download from CAAT's website, together with a BAE Counter-Recruitment Campaign Pack. Further information on the campaign and the Universities Network is available here.
3. CAAT has compiled an initial list of dates when BAE is visiting universities which is availablehere. This is not a comprehensive list - check with your university careers service if your university isn't listed.
4. According to the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI), BAE Systems is the world's largest arms producer. It makes fighter aircraft, warships, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery systems, missiles and munitions. Its foremost overseas markets are Saudi Arabia and the United States, with large sales also to Australia, India and South Africa. In February 2010 BAE agreed to plead guilty to "accounting irregularities"in a 1999 sale of radar equipment to Tanzania and was fined £30 million, while being simultaneously fined $400 million by the US Department of Justice for conspiring to defraud the US and for making false statements under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.