Dated: 08 Mar 2003
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Heavy bombing has already started. Blair has claimed his latest victims. Full coverage of the war on Iraq and the global movement to stop it
"WE'RE ASKING the members whether they support the claim for £4,000 London weighting and also whether they are prepared to take whatever action is necessary to win it. Unfortunately the national union leaders are refusing to sanction such a ballot, despite us asking them to do so.
SCHOOLS AND libraries in parts of London faced possible closure this week because of a strike by council workers in a long-running dispute over pay. Caretakers and other support staff at 70 schools in the capital walked out on Monday for a week as part of a union campaign for the London weighting allowance to be raised to £4,000.
AROUND 3,500 workers at the massive Ryton Peugeot plant in Coventry were set to walk out for 24 hours this week. The shift systems mean the plant could be closed from Friday 7 March to Monday 10 March.
ONE NOTABLE absence from the growing list of unions officially opposing Blair's war on Iraq is the NUT teachers' union. We need to build up a grassroots demand to put an emergency motion to the NUT annual conference in Harrogate at Easter.
RAIL WORKERS in the RMT union on First Great Eastern have voted by four to one for strikes over pay. The strikes have been set for 17 March and 31 March after the company refused to treat all grades of its workers equally.
THE CHORUS at the English National Opera (ENO) staged an unprecedented strike on Tuesday of last week. The chorus singers were protesting against ENO managers' plan to sack 20 of the 60-strong chorus.
SUPPORT HAS been growing for the campaign to reinstate two leading activists, Candy Udwin and Dave Carr, to the Unison union. The recent expulsion of Candy and Dave has created shockwaves within Unison and beyond.
MEMBERS OF the civil servants' PCS union have massively voted for more democracy in their union. They voted by 31,322 to 18,926 in favour of annual national executive elections. This is an overwhelming endorsement of general secretary Mark Serwotka's stand against the abuse of power by the right wing "Moderate" dominated national executive.
Around 120 staff and students came to an anti-war meeting on one site of London's Metropolitan University on Friday. The speakers included Tariq Ali, Paul Mackney, leader of the Natfhe lecturers' union, and Jean Geldhart, a local Unison branch secretary.
FOR THE first time in 18 years a proportion of the Sun and News of the World will be printed by unionised labour. This follows a great victory by print workers in the GPMU union at Newsfax International in east London, who have won trade union recognition.
CONTROL STAFF in the London Fire Brigade have voted unanimously to ballot for a work to rule and strike action over congestion charges. An angry mass meeting last Sunday left GMB and Unison union officials in no doubt of the strength of feeling. A claim was submitted for compensation for congestion charges over a year ago.
THE CAMPAIGN against racism and the victimisation of union stewards in Hackney, east London, received a boost on Tuesday of last week. Hackney council has lifted the suspensions of two of the three Unison union stewards.
WEST MIDLANDS fire bosses have taken an incredibly spiteful decision to victimise not only a well known union activist but to make his three year old son suffer too. Fire chiefs have ordered toddler Connor Godward to quit his nursery.
THERE IS growing evidence that the BBC is slanting its key news programmes to minimise anti-war views. The BBC has ordered employees to censor "extremist" anti-war people from phone-ins and live debates.
THE government's vendetta against the firefighters was poised to come to a head at the end of this week. Labour ministers told fire authority employers to table demands for swingeing cuts and worse working conditions on Thursday after weeks of talks with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
THE DRIVE to war has caused many people to demand that Tony Blair should go. But there are many other reasons why he should be toppled. Blair is also leading a war against workers in Britain. Outrageously this week Blair suggested that people might have to pay to use vital public services.
'I AM 50 years old and have never taken part in any sort of political activity. But this is about life and death and nothing is going too far." That comment came from Angela Wilson, who joined the anti-war demonstration in Swindon last Saturday.
IN A shock move Turkey's parliament last weekend refused to allow the US to use the country as a launchpad for war. This is a stunning achievement for the global anti-war movement. As MPs met to discuss a deal between the US and the Turkish government, 100,000 people marched through the streets of the capital, Ankara. The demonstration was much larger than had been predicted.
WE'VE BEEN told this week that Blair's cabinet are 100 percent behind him. It may well be true that New Labour is splitting up faster than lovers in EastEnders, but no worries for Blair - he's got solid support where it counts.
"THIS IS a very important debate about the future of the labour movement. There are weeks when decades happen. I believe we are in the middle of such weeks. Our country committed a war crime today. Six Iraqi people were killed in an act that went far beyond the government's extraordinarily elastic definition of its legal position.
"THE IDEA for the assembly comes out of the historic demonstration on 15 February when two million people marched against the war. That protest made it clear that people are not only opposed to the war but that they also want to do something to stop it.
PARLIAMENT HAS refused to reflect the will of the majority on the question of war on Iraq. So the People's Assembly will convene in Westminster Central Hall, next to the House of Commons.
THOSE SEEKING to justify war argue that dictators like Saddam Hussein can only be overthrown by military intervention coming from outside their country. But there are many examples of tyrants being overthrown by their own populations.
THE PICTURE of Tony Blair being chauffeured away from parliament said it all. On Wednesday of last week, looking stunned and struggling to keep a stiff upper lip, Blair resembled no one more than Margaret Thatcher in November 1990, as she scuttled away after her resignation.
ON SATURDAY 15 February democracy came onto the streets to demonstrate against war and barbarism. The demos are part of a process where politics has become so generalised that a casual conversation about the weather becomes a full blown discussion about the lies and deceits of George Bush. Old-timers start to look for comparable events, to explain, in the words of Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On".
THE NEW film Frida explores the life of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist and socialist. Frida was an artist of startling power, and was married to the artist Diego Rivera.
INTENSIFIED BOMBING. B-52 bombers moved to Gloucestershire ready to rain death on Iraq. George Bush and Tony Blair are in the final stages of unleashing war. It must now be plain to everyone that United Nations resolutions and arms inspections are, for Bush and Blair, just camouflage. They are hellbent on war whether or not they can bully and bribe other states to back it.
I have listened with intrigue to Mr Blair saying, "It is the moral case for removing Saddam." I was one of the many people of Iraqi descent who campaigned against Saddam in the 1980s up to the present day. I don't believe that Mr Blair's morality lies in what is right or wrong for the Iraqi people.
MILLIONS OF people are poisoned by toxic chemicals which are sold for use as pesticides in the world's poorest countries. These chemicals are banned or heavily restricted for agricultural use in countries like Britain and the US because of their effects on workers who use them.