Trams halted in tracks by strike
Drivers on the tram service in Croydon, south London, halted the service for 24 hours on Tuesday of last week in a strike over pay. The workers, members of the TGWU union, refused to accept the bosses' pay of 6 percent, as it would only take their pay to £8.75 an hour.
Tram Operations, which is part of the First Group empire, opened nearly two years ago and has 18 million passenger journeys a year. However, the tram drivers get less pay than tube drivers. A 48-hour strike is planned for Monday and Tuesday of next week.
Demo says cuts bad for health
Around 150 local people joined a protest outside Solihull Hospital in south Birmingham on Friday of last week. They were demanding that the accident and emergency unit is kept open.
The NHS trust wants to shut the service and turn the hospital into a minor injuries unit. That would mean people travelling seven miles further to the nearest accident and emergency facility.
Police face court case over Alder
Five police officers are set to stand trial on charges of manslaughter arising from the death of Christopher Alder. Christopher was a black former army Paratrooper who died in the charge room of a Hull police station.
A judge last week ruled that a trial could go ahead, and five officers will appear in a case due to start at Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough next Wednesday.
Justice for Christopher Alder Campaign, c/o Red Triangle Cafe, 106 St James Street, Burnley BB11 1NR.
Palestinian MP in London meeting
Hundreds of people crammed into a lecture theatre at London's School of Oriental and African Studies on Wednesday of last week to hear a talk by Palestinian MP Azmi Bishara.
Bishara, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, has spoken out in support of the Palestinian uprising, or intifada. Ariel Sharon's government is trying to remove his parliamentary immunity so he can be prosecuted for representing the views of the people who elected him! Bishara demolished the idea that there are two equal sides to the conflict in Palestine, saying, 'Our morality comes from the fact that we are an occupied people fighting against the occupier.'
Refugee centre a target for protest
Some 70 people attended a protest outside Yarls Wood refugee detention centre in Bedfordshire last Saturday. The aim was to expose the lies about the fire at Yarls Wood propagated by the government and Group 4, which runs the centre.
The protest then transferred to Bedford town centre. New Labour has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn over Yarls Wood. It closed the centre this week after the insurance ran out. Campaigners are concerned refugees will be housed in prisons.
Leaders of the MSF section of Amicus have finally given in and allowed Sue Michie to hold office in the union. Sue was suspended from the MSF's national committee and her position as president of the London regional council in November 1999.
This was after she and two other union officers prepared a legal challenge to New Labour's decision not to allow MSF members a vote over Labour's candidate for London mayor.
Sue won a ruling that she had to be reinstated, but it took until last week before the MSF executive took the last obstacle away from her regaining the positions she was elected to.