Left meets in Manchester
The Convention of the Left was held in Manchester last weekend.
It aimed to bring together a coalition of forces to launch initiatives and activity. It discussed issues such as the trade union movement, campaigns against immigration controls and fighting women’s oppression. The convention agreed to organise local forums.
The event had an impressive line up of speakers, including Tony Benn, and received widespread publicity. However, regrettably, it did not succeed in attracting the wider forces it hoped for.
But there is a clear need for the left to come together in the face of the looming economic crisis.
The key thing for activists is to get out on the streets, workplaces and colleges and build resistance to the crisis. It is out of this activity that new forces that want to create a political alternative to Labour will emerge.
Tayside firefighters ballot over cuts
The FBU firefighters’ union in Tayside will ballot its members for industrial action against a “modernisation” plan being forced through by fire chiefs in the region.
The plans involve downgrading Balmossie fire station in the east of Dundee by removing the current full time night crew and replacing them with part timers.
The station covers a population of 30,000 and the restructuring move will lead to the loss of 16 posts. Jim Malone, secretary of the FBU’s Dundee branch, condemned the plans as “dangerous and retrograde”.
The ballot could lead to an official overtime ban starting in November, toughening up the union’s current unofficial ban.
Trinity Mirror vote for action
Members of the National Union of Journalists union at Trinity Mirror’s Midlands newspapers have voted for action against major job cuts.
The journalists at Coventry and Solihull, the Birmingham Post and Mail and Midland Weekly Media are planning a 48-hour strike on 7 and 8 October.
Trinity Mirror has announced a reorganisation of the titles that will see up to 70 editorial jobs go.
Coventry and Solihull voted by 85.4 percent in favour of strike action on a 79 percent turnout, Birmingham voted by 68.4 percent for strikes with a 71 percent turnout and Midland Weekly Media was 87.5 percent in favour on a 61.5 percent turnout.
Sellafield workers want better pay
Unite and GMB union members at the Sellafield nuclear power station in Cumbria started an overtime ban last week after rejecting a 2 percent pay deal.
According to the GMB, “Failure by the company to settle this dispute will inevitably lead to full strike action in October.”