Dated: 28 Sep 2002
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He is the threat to peace
TONY BLAIR'S dossier to justify war against Iraq is a rehash of well worn lies, baseless speculation and exaggerated claims. It has taken his government a year to come up with this document. Nothing in it adds one ounce to the weight of the warmongers' case.
RAIL WORKERS on two major companies are stepping up strike action over pay and looking to coordinate their disputes. Drivers in the Aslef and RMT unions on First North Western (FNW) are to strike for 48 hours every weekend from now until the end of November. Guards and station staff in the RMT on Arriva Trains Northern struck for the 19th time on Saturday. Action by both groups of workers will hit services across the whole of the north of England.
THE POST Office has announced it is going to privatise another major section. Management wants to hand over the CHD cash handling and distribution business to Securicor. The move will affect 3,000 workers. Around 200 CHD staff at Canning Town in east London walked out in protest on Monday after the plans were unveiled.
HOSPITAL cleaners, porters and receptionists employed by private contractor ISS Mediclean in the Swansea NHS Trust have voted by 96 percent to take strike action. They are fighting for a pay rise that would give them the same pay deal as colleagues employed directly by the NHS.
AN INDEFINITE strike by bus drivers was set to begin in the Edinburgh region this week. Over 1,300 drivers are facing a hostile management that is determined to defeat the workforce.
LIVERPOOL council lifted the suspensions and the threat of sacking to a Unison union convenor and a senior shop steward last week. This was a terrific victory. The convenor and steward were both suspended two weeks ago and this was seen as a direct attack on union organisation.
OVER 100 members of the GMB union at William Freeman Ltd in Barnsley struck for their second one-day strike on Thursday of last week. They are demanding a 4 percent pay rise. This is the first strike in the company's history.
A HOT autumn of strikes could be shaping up. All the dates are subject to change depending on decisions and votes of workers in each industry and their trade union leaders.
PAUL FOOT, the Socialist Alliance candidate for mayor of Hackney, was one of the speakers at the borough's 200-strong anti-war meeting last week. The campaign continues to gather pace, and this week stepped up another gear with the start of the mass delivery of an eight-page newspaper to every Hackney household.
AROUND 350 people crowded into the friendship centre in Burnley on Thursday of last week to protest against an attack on Iraq and for freedom for Palestine. They heard George Galloway MP, Dr Siddiqui from the Muslim Parliament, John Rees from the Stop the War Coalition, Norma Wilson from CND, and Asad Rehman from the Newham Monitoring Project.
AROUND 160,000 low paid workers employed by private companies that run many local government services are set to start ballots for strikes over pay. The GMB union is campaigning to get contractors to implement the pay rates which have just been agreed for directly employed council workers.
TUBE DRIVERS and station staff struck for 24 hours from Tuesday into Wednesday of this week, and are to strike again next Tuesday. The action is over pay. But it has brought to the surface increasing arrogance and bullying by management as the government prepares to privatise the tube through its PPP scheme.
SOME 55,000 firefighters and control room staff were to receive ballot papers on Friday of this week for the first national strike in the fire brigade for 25 years. Union activists are organising to return the highest yes vote they can. Stations and appliances across Britain are festooned with flags, posters, stickers and other pay campaign material.
MANY WORKERS across Britain who are fed up with low pay are preparing to go on strike. They do vital jobs. These workers put out fires, help schools and hospitals to run, and teach students at further education colleges. But their pay has not increased alongside the soaring rents, mortgages, bills and travel costs.
THE RE-ELECTION of Gerhard Schröder as German leader on Sunday was bad news for George Bush and the warmongers. Schröder staged a remarkable recovery to narrowly clinch the election for one central reason - his stated opposition to a US war on Iraq, even if it gets the blessing of the United Nations.
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HUNDREDS OF thousands of school leavers have been left bewildered by the scandal surrounding A-level results. Growing evidence shows that a government quango fixed the exam results to lower students' grades.
AN IRAQI child is lying in a Baghdad hospital bed being treated for leukemia. Ali Hussein is eight years old and can't get the treatment he needs because of US-imposed sanctions on Iraq. Bush and Blair's war will bring more horror to this devastated country.
"Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world. The US wants to restore this enormous prize to its control"
A "rogue state" is threatening the world. It possesses weapons of mass destruction, and has used them. It has attacked, bombed and invaded more countries than any other state.
FIFTEEN million people are starving in southern Africa. More than 30,000 children die every day around the world from preventable diseases. Five times as many people die from AIDS every day as died in the World Trade Centre. So world leaders are getting ready to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on a war to crush Iraq. These are the two faces of imperialism - war and hunger.
FIVE SOCIALISTS and trade unionists spoke to Socialist Worker about how the movement to stop the war is connected to the fight they face against bosses at work and the government.
THREE MEMBERS of the Fire Brigades Union explain why they oppose the war and why people should back their crucial pay campaign as they begin voting next week for the first national firefighters' strike for 25 years.
The anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s was a turning point, but today's movement is even bigger. We now face the fourth war in ten years. And when the war against Iraq is over, the madmen in the White House are planning to set their sights on new targets - Iran, North Korea, perhaps even China.
OPPOSITION TO launching a military attack on Iraq is growing in Britain, according to the latest opinion polls. The feeling against war has led to a significant drop in Labour's support on the eve of the party's conference.
THERE IS a massive potential for a serious fight to tackle low pay. The strikes and ballots called by trade union leaders we report on these pages are a reflection of a deep anger among ordinary workers. The immediate battles are concentrated among workers in public services.
DUNCAN HALLAS, who died last week, was a lifelong fighter for revolutionary socialism. A whole generation of supporters of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) remembers him as an inspired speaker and teacher of Marxist ideas. Year after year he would fill halls with hundreds of people at the SWP's annual Marxism event as he spoke about a range of topics - historical materialism, the struggle of the working class in Britain, the revolutionary tradition, the origins of humanity.
LISTENING TO David Blunkett advocating that Asian families should speak English at home infuriated and disgusted me. As a nursery teacher in a multi-ethnic school I have responsibility for coordinating support for children when English is their additional language.
IT'S AMAZING how differently the media and police treated the rural rich's march through London last Sunday compared to protests over real horrors like war. The police closed down central London for the march. They eagerly accepted the organisers' claim of how many marched and policed the demonstration with a tiny number of officers.