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Socialist Worker

Issue: 1993

Dated: 25 Mar 2006

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Strike: for pensions rights and for all our futures

Tuesday 28 March can be the start of a new chapter in British workers’ history. We need it to be as exciting and militant as the revolt we’ve seen in France.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Stop the War demonstration: ‘Justice is coming for Britain’s war criminal’

More than 100,000 anti-war protesters from across Britain marched in London last Saturday against three years of occupation in Iraq and the threats of a military attack on Iran.

Huge demonstrations rock the French government

The movement against a youth employment law – know by the acronym CPE – in France has been on the rise for the last week with huge demonstrations and more and more universities on strike, blockaded and occupied.

French student: ‘We are part of a united front against this law’

Every morning at 7am students arrive to blockade our university. We put desks and chairs across the entrances.

The spirit of ’68 returns to France

French youth are in revolt. From the poor suburbs to the elite universities, young people have taken to the streets, occupied universities and closed schools in protest at new employment laws that will trash their rights at work.

Daniel Bensaïd: ‘This movement is directly based on a social question’

As someone who took part in the mobilisations of May 1968, what do you think are the principal similarities and differences between those events and what’s happening today?

Leeds students campaign to kick out the racist lecturer Frank Ellis

The campaign against Dr Frank Ellis, lecturer in Russian and Slavonic studies at Leeds University, is growing. He has a history of racism, homophobia and sexism.

New Labour’s assault on adult education

New Labour is cutting funding for adult education by 4 percent nationally – cuts that will cost thousands of jobs and courses.

Kelly’s schools bill gets thumbs down in Bolton

Teachers from 29 schools in and around Bolton, in education secretary Ruth Kelly’s own constituency, have shown that they are willing to take strike action against New Labour’s education bill.

Education round-up

Nine year wait for pay The five schoolkeepers at South Camden Community School in Camden, north London, were set to take strike action on Wednesday of this week in support of their pay dispute with the council and the school.

College staff need students’ backing

The AUT and Natfhe lecturers’ unions have been continuing their exam and marking boycott this week.

Reports round-up

Blair's 'visit' to Matthew Boulton college Over 200 students from Matthew Boulton College, and Aston and Birmingham universities demonstrated against Tony Blair’s planned visit to Matthew Boulton College on Thursday of last week. For "security" reasons Blair stayed away, but the students demonstrated all afternoon to make sure he didn’t sneak in, and finished with a victory march.

Jobs axed as trusts flounder in NHS market

The announcement of 1,000 redundancies – 15 percent of the workforce, including 370 nurses and midwives – at the crisis-hit University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) is the first volley in a new barrage of NHS cuts that will run into the new financial year.

Asda depots balloting for action

Members of the GMB union at more than 21 Asda depots are balloting on strike action in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Problems with Cottam Power station deal

Construction workers at Cottam power station near Nottingham were discussing a deal about returning to work as Socialist Worker went to press.

Postal workers in Plymouth

Plymouth postal workers are awaiting results of talks before preparing for further strikes. Protracted negotiations last week got close to a settlement over the initial issues over conditions and staffing which led to the dispute.

Manslaughter conviction over rail workers' deaths

A privatised rail contractor was sentenced to nine years imprisonment last week for the manslaughter of four maintenance workers near Tebay in Cumbria in 2004.

Government interferes in Health Service pay review

The chancellor Gordon Brown is attempting to hold down health service pay, interfering with supposedly independent pay review bodies.

School caterers

School caterers and cleaners covering around 50 schools in Aberdeen are set to go on strike this Thursday and Friday unless a new deal is offered by the local council.

Fight for union recognition at Fujitsu Services

IT services company Fujitsu Services (formerly ICL) is facing a strike ballot over attempts to derecognise the Amicus union at its Manchester offices, which employ about 800 people.

Solidarity can help to win this crucial pensions fight

What can you do to make 28 March a day which shakes the government?

Government rejects official report criticising its pension handling

The government last week arrogantly rejected an official report which called for it to compensate 85,000 people who have lost all or part of their company pensions.

Firefighters to make decision on pensions

Firefighters in the FBU union were due to meet on Wednesday of this week to vote on a deal over pensions recommended by the union’s leadership.

Rich Britain

In the last two decades, a remarkable revolution has been occurring in Britain – a great surge in both the numbers of the very rich and in the level of their wealth.

Women workers will be central to this action

Over two-thirds of those striking on 28 March will be women. Most get smaller pensions than average because they get lower pay, often work part?time, and, in many cases, have breaks from paid work to care for children or other family members.

Geoff Hoon faces workers’ wrath

It's not often that trade unionists get a chance to make their points about pensions directly to government ministers. But it happened recently in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.

Uniting against the attacks on pensions

The government and the press have tried to divide today’s pensioners from future pensioners and workers in the private sector from those in the public sector. But there are strong forces pushing for unity.

France: the workers and students unite

Trade union leaders in France have called a one-day general strike for Tuesday of next week.

Challenge for the French left

For the past ten years various French governments have been trying to break with what they call the "Juppé syndrome".

‘This revolt has become much more than a battle about the laws on youth employment’

The French government has decided not to negotiate, so we have called a general strike. The call has come from the trade unions, the youth trade unions and the national coordination committees of students.


Protest against the repression of Korean anti-war activists

The Korean anti-war movement is organising a demonstration outside a court hearing for eight anti-war activists, scheduled for 2pm on Monday 27 March.

Greek general strike

A banner denouncing attacks on pensions leads Greek workers, marching during a general strike against attacks on collective pay bargaining last Wednesday.


Anti-war movement must intensify pressure

The magnificent demonstration last Saturday was the best possible answer to a warmongering government and its many allies in the media.

Get ready to finish off the Blair premiership

Tony Blair is in the final days of his premiership. The crises that are now swirling around him are multiple – and that’s always a sign of the end of a parliamentary regime.


The politics of the new rank and file

In May this year we will be marking the 80th anniversary of the General Strike of 1926. It was one of the struggles that, during the 20th century, marked out the British working class as having tremendous strength and combativity – but also craven and incompetent leaders.


Assassins: a musical that asks why people try to kill presidents

Stephen Sondheim’s musical Assassins is a nightmarish vision of a US system which generates inequality and despair. Originally performed as George Bush senior attacked Iraq in 1991, the show was condemned by many theatre critics as sinister, dangerous and of glorifying terrorism.

Pinochet In Suburbia

This docudrama looks at the attempts, between 1998 and 2000, to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain to face trial for the torture and murders that took place under his regime.

Charlie Whitehead: rediscovering the righteous anger of a forgotten hero

The annals of US soul music are littered with singers who should have been contenders. With a voice that had echoes of Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, Charlie Whitehead ought to have made the breakthrough.

Reviews round-up

Witness: Highlights of First World War ArtImperial War Museum North, Manchesteruntil 23 April

What We Think

The rich give happily to New Labour, but why do the unions?

It is easy to see why you would want to bung New Labour a million pounds if you were a billionaire. A dozen of them lent £14 million to fund Tony Blair’s general election campaign. Rod Aldridge, chief executive of Capita, was one. By sheer coincidence Capita gets lucrative contracts from the government.

Other Categories

Ken Orrill 1931–2006

My father Ken Orrill died on 10 March, aged 75. He died after a long fight against cancer, possibly asbestosis from working as a heating engineer.


Problems on Italian left On Saturday 11 March, Italian police authorised a march by a section of Alternativa Sociale in Milan. This is an openly fascist coalition whose members include Allesandra Mussolini and Roberto Fiore, a suspect in the 1980 Bologna station bombing who fled to London.

Who says?

"The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. I made it clear, I’ll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel."George Bush

Meetings, events, demonstrations and film showings

Meetings And Events

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