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 the arms giant BAE Systems and to 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 straightforward 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."