Dated: 18 Feb 2006
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Around 1.5 million workers in the local government pension scheme (LGPS) are scheduled to start ballots next Tuesday for strikes over pensions.
Some 20,000 protesters filled Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday of last week for a rally against Islamophobia and incitement. The event was called at short notice by the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and others in the wake of the cartoons row.
"Condoleezza Rice is a liar. The US secretary of state blamed Iran and Syria for inciting violence over Danish caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.
Paper vendors strike in Graz Sixty two street vendors of the Kleine Zeitung newspaper in Graz, Austria, went on strike on Monday of last week after a paper reprinted the offensive caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. For days they had tried to convince the editors that they should avoid such an offensive act.
I was a Labour Party member for many years and I always used to tell people to vote Labour. I quite liked John Smith and would describe myself as Old Labour.
Crofton School About 50 teachers joined the picket line outside Crofton School in Lewisham, south east London, last week as they struck for a day over pay cuts. The cuts are a result of the implementation of new allowance payments for teachers, which means some face the loss of thousands of pounds a year. Strikers then travelled to Woolwich to join a protest outside the town hall against New Labour’s education White Paper. BBC Radio strike is called off Media unions at the BBC have called off strikes at BBC Radio after a new offer from management over changes to job descriptions.
Tube drivers in both the RMT and Aslef unions have voted by six to one for strikes over a range of attacks by management.
Dinner ladies who work for catering contractors Scholarest and Caterhouse in Hackney, east London, are being underpaid.
Campaigning by the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in a council by-election in Milton, Glasgow, has been lively.
Liverpool City Council is planning a massive privatisation drive covering all of its 18,000 council houses. The Liberal Democrat controlled council wants to transfer ownership and management of its housing to a mutual company.
Cleaners at the Houses of Parliament have won their campaign for a living wage of £6.70 an hour, sick pay and 28 days holidays. The cleaners held two one-day strikes – the first strikes ever seen at the Houses of Parliament.
More than 250 council workers, members of the Unison union, picketed Stroud district council, Gloucestershire, on Wednesday of last week for their second one-day strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.
Some 300 youth workers, including delegations from Liverpool and Birmingham as well as local supporters, marched through Northampton town centre on Saturday of last week fronted by the CYWU union banner.
Construction workers working for Laing O’Rourke at the Heathrow Terminal 5 site have settled their bonus pay dispute after several rounds of strike action.
Some 50 campaigners attended a national coordinating meeting of Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) last Saturday.
Around 150 teachers, parents, local residents and school students attended a meeting against the government’s education White Paper in Hackney, east London on Wednesday of last week.
Representatives from most PCS civil service workers’ union branches in the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) met in Leeds last Saturday.
Post office counters workers struck at 42 sites in and around London on Monday against privatisation and closures of crown offices (high street offices owned by the Post Office).
A national CWU forum last week saw around 400 delegates discussing the future of the postal industry.
Last week saw the leak of a secret 10 Downing Street report into British drugs policy that casts a harsh light on the cynical politics at the heart the government’s drugs strategy.
About 240 people packed into Lambeth town hall on Thursday of last week for the local launch of the book Tell It Like It Is: How Our Schools Fail Black Children. Among the speakers was Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen, who was murdered in a racist attack 13 years ago. She called for action to address the scandal of black children’s experience of education. She said she would back various initiatives that parents and campaigners are discussing.
Labour Party members have got used to passing policy at conferences that is then ignored by the government. But for the government to turn around and tell them the vote never happened is a novel departure even by New Labour’s standards.
Myth one: the "rule of 85" is illegal according to the European Union (EU)
Talks were continuing over the firefighters’ pension scheme in the run-up to a special conference of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) on Thursday of this week.
The White House is preparing to extend its war to Iran.
The scenes of troops brutally assaulting people in the streets of southern Iraq show the reality of occupation by British troops.
A British resident who has been detained by the US military in Guantanamo Bay since 2002 has been transferred to Uganda by the US – and the British government has done nothing to help him.
Campaigners for Babar Ahmad, who has been detained for 18 months in Woodhill prison and faces extradition to the US on trumped up terrorism charges, will meet in the Houses of Parliament on Thursday of this week.
"It is rather important that the government of Venezuela realises that if they want to be respected members of the international community, they should abide by the rules of the international community."Tony Blair, ticking off Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez
Over 3,000 people took to the streets of Belfast on Tuesday of this week in support of an unofficial strike by 800 postal workers.
Belfast is one battle in a growing conflict.
After a peaceful demonstration on 13 Feb in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, 120 Women of Zimbabwe Arise members and students were arrested by riot police. Their leaders have been separated from them. The demonstration was demanding bread and roses - affordable food, human dignity and respect.
The threat of firefighters joining united strike action in the run-up to the May council elections has forced the government to make some concessions over its attack on pensions.
"It's a complete climbdown, a total capitulation, we’ve won!" Speaking surrounded by cheering mates, a Belfast postal worker told Socialist Worker on Friday afternoon that the 18 days of inspiring struggle had forced Royal Mail to concede practically all their demands.
Around 400,000 people demonstrated across France on Tuesday of last week against the right wing government’s plans for a neo-liberal "contract for young people".
A rolling programme of strike action by public sector workers across Germany, which started on Monday of this week threatens to destabilise the neo-liberal agenda of the country’s recently elected "grand coalition" government.
Trade unionists and activists across the world are calling for the immediate release of hundreds of bus workers being held in Iran’s capital Tehran.
Representatives of the Zapatista group are currently touring towns and cities in Mexico, as part of their "other campaign" – an attempt to build an anti-capitalist Mexico.
Students in Baghdad have called a strike in protest at the murder of Dr Ali Abdul Razaq al-Naas, a journalism lecturer from Mustansiriya university and popular TV commentator.
I think there is at least a 50:50 risk of some sort of real crisis, probably with military action, in Iran before the end of next year.
You may not have noticed it, but poverty has become history. Or so one has to presume, since at the end of last month the campaigning coalition Make Poverty History (MPH) decided to wind itself up.
Postal workers across Northern Ireland have given a marvellous glimpse of how to stand up to the bosses and defeat bigotry. Protestants and Catholics have struck together, marched together and stood united against attempts to divide them along religious lines.
Each morning the striking Belfast postal workers have gathered in Custom House Square. The last time Protestant and Catholic workers marched together through the Falls and Shankill and rallied outside the Custom House was in 1932.
Anyone who doubts postal workers’ claims that Royal Mail management is characterised by offensive arrogance should ponder the statement issued in relation to the Belfast dispute.
Political speeches are usually one-day wonders. Fifty years ago next week, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev made a "secret speech" that was very different. Late in the evening of 24 February 1956 delegates to the 20th congress of the Soviet Communists were called back from their hotels to the Kremlin in the greatest secrecy.
Gladiator Games tells the story of Zahid Mubarek, who was murdered in his cell at Feltham young offenders institute in March 2000 by his cellmate, a known violent racist.
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Government ministers have condemned the video that shows British troops beating Iraqi teenagers – talking about "a few rotten apples".
At Saturday’s Unite Against Islamophobia rally in Trafalgar Square, London, over 900 copies of Socialist Worker were sold.
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