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Socialist Worker

Issue: 2047

Dated: 21 Apr 2007

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Make Blair pay in May

We are in the last days of Tony Blair’s regime, and that government of war and privatisation cannot go quickly enough. But Blair is determined his legacy will live on, and Gordon Brown is ready and willing to help him.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Over one million workers could unite over pay in NHS

The prospect of the first national strike action in the NHS in Britain for nearly two decades took a step forward this week. The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) conference voted to clear the way for its members to take industrial action.

Irish nurses’ action shows way to fight

As British health unions consider taking industrial action over pay and the state of the NHS, some 40,000 Irish nurses and midwives are in their third week of industrial action.

May election – time to elect fighters from Respect

Birmingham Respect had an excellent day’s campaigning in the Lozells & East Handsworth ward in Birmingham last Sunday.

Royal Mail thinks postal workers are ‘overpaid’

Postal workers were waiting this week for details of a new pay offer from Royal Mail. As Socialist Worker reported exclusively last week, bosses wanted to impose a freeze in basic pay and ram through 22 attacks on conditions.

Threat of strike by Milton Keynes civil servants defeats job cuts

The threat of strike action by the PCS civil service workers’ union in Milton Keynes has won a victory against job cuts.

Online petition from Defend Council Housing

Defend Council Housing has set up an online petition on the prime minister’s website to show the depth of anger at the government’s policy of handing over council homes to private landlords.

Norwich bus workers to strike

Around 250 bus drivers at First Eastern Counties in Norwich were set to strike on Friday this week.

Grampian Foods meat workers take joint action across six plants

Over 1,400 workers at Grampian Foods, one of the country’s biggest food producers, struck last week.

City College Manchester lecturers to strike

Lecturers at City College Manchester have voted to strike. In an 85 percent yes vote for action, members of the UCU union have shown their anger at new contracts with fewer holidays and increased teaching hours for new lecturers.

NUJ conference: vote for action over pay

The National Union of Journalists’ (NUJ) annual delegate meeting in Birmingham last week voted for the union to organise a day of action on 5 November over low pay.

Call for left vote in the PCS executive elections

The ballot opens this week for the elections to the national executive of the PCS civil service workers’ union.

Defend Esol and the right to learn English

If the government’s plans go ahead, free Esol (English for speakers of other languages) classes will be a relic of the past come September.

Vote left in Unison national executive elections

Voting has started in the elections for the Unison national executive.

Wage protection deal for Southampton Care workers

Care workers in Southampton have voted to accept a wage protection deal from the council. Workers in the Unison and T&G unions struck for four days in February against proposals to sack 370 care workers for refusing to accept pay cuts.

OCS 'supermop' leads to NHS walk-out

Cleaners and catering staff at Neath Port Talbot Hospital in Wales went on strike for 24 hours last Wednesday in protest at a decrease in working hours.

Defend Yunus Bakhsh

The extent of the witch-hunt against leading NHS and union activist Yunus Bakhsh by both his management and the Unison union has been further revealed this week.

Reports round-up

Oxford park and ride strike Security staff at Oxford city council’s park and ride on the picket line on Monday of last week. The workers, members of the T&G union, held a one hour strike from 7.30am to 8.30am. Further strikes are set for Wednesday and Friday of this week. The action is about safety. New rotas would have car park staff working alone at night up to 11pm

Time to debate Israel

An angry debate at the recent conference of the National Union of Students (NUS) failed to stop delegates adopting a dangerously misleading definition of antisemitism promoted by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).

London Respect members select candidates

Around 300 Respect members in London attended a meeting on Monday to select the Respect candidates for the mayoral and London Assembly elections in May next year.

A daily struggle to survive in Iraq

Life in Iraq is steadily becoming worse, according to a new report released by the International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC), and is affecting, directly or indirectly, all Iraqis."

US army admits Afghan murders

The US military has admitted that its troops in Afghanistan went on a three mile killing spree on 4 March after one of its vehicles was hit by a suicide bomb.

Close vote over Labour support at Scottish TUC

The Scottish TUC conference, which met in Glasgow this week, showed the growing disillusion with Labour in the trade union movement.

First victory for Wembley Park anti-academies campaign

An occupation of the proposed site of an academy on Wembley Park Sports Ground has claimed a victory – the withdrawal of "sponsor" Andrew Rosenfeld.

RMT beats back the privateers on London tube

The front page of the Evening Standard newspaper on Friday of last week said it all – "Tube Strike: Bosses Cave In." The editorial was headed, "RMT 1, Tube 0."

Tommy Sheridan on Solidarity's campaign in Scotland

With just over two weeks to go to the election for the Scottish parliament there’s no doubt that Labour is panicking.

Planning to make this a May Day of resistance

The revolt against Gordon Brown’s cuts and pay freeze in the public sector is fuelling the feeling that Tuesday 1 May should be a day of resistance.

US kidnaps 9 year old Iraqi

It’s "business as usual" – that’s the message Gordon Brown had for US president George Bush during their "surprise meeting" in Washington last week.


Mining giant Anglo American faces the wrath of the poor in South Africa

Phillipos Dolo travelled from South Africa to London this week to confront the giant Anglo American mining corporation at its annual general meeting.

Striking car workers defy repression in West Bengal

Car Workers taking part in an indefinite strike at the Hindustan Motors factory in Uttarpara, in the Indian state of West Bengal, were brutally assaulted by police last week.

Torture videos spark outrage across Egypt

Shocking details – including video footage – have come to light of the brutal torture methods routinely used by Egypt’s security services.

Outrage after Mogadishu carnage by Ethiopian forces

Over 1,000 people are reported killed during the recent assault on the Somali capital Mogadishu, by US-backed Ethiopian forces.


A bad week for Bush’s Iraq surge

No one could miss the symbolism of the suicide bomb that went off inside the Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad on Friday of last week. There is nowhere, even in the heart of the Green Zone, that is safe from the resistance.


Michael Foot and the left

A new biography of Michael Foot, the former Labour leader, lays open the contradictions at the heart of the Labour Party. During his long career Foot was a founding member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), a journalist and pamphleteer, and a cabinet minister.

How the capitalists make their profits

Last week I showed how the value of a commodity is a reflection of the labour time required to produce it. The commodity is produced by "living labour" (fresh labour put in by workers) and "dead labour" (the old labour embodied in raw materials, machinery, etc).

The demonisation of young people over gun and knife crime

"Tony Blair’s comments about how black families have a special responsibility for solving knife and gun crime outraged me. Blair said he was "lurching into frankness", adding that violence would not be stopped "by pretending it is not black kids doing it."

Young people on their experience of gangs and violence

A group of young people on the Morningside estate in Hackney, east London, spoke to Socialist Worker about knife crime.

Racism has destroyed my boys’ hope

Antonia Michel is a single parent living in Westminster, central London. She spoke to Socialist Worker about the pressures facing black boys at school and college – and how racism in the education system and job market impacts on their lives.

Newham Respect councillor rejects media onslaught on crime

Asif Karim is one of three Respect councillors in the Green Street West ward of Newham, east London.


Change Is Gonna Come album | Cabaret Mechanical Theatre | 5th London African Music Festival

Change Is Gonna ComeVarious artistsKent Soul CD out now This album brings together two dozen examples of how black America conveyed its fight against racism to the world in the 1960s and 1970s.

A Fine Balance on stage – warmth and solidarity in a state of emergency

On 26 June 1975 Indira Gandhi, then Indian prime minister, declared a state of emergency. She told the nation that it was threatened by "internal disturbances".

Fast Food Nation film serves up the flipside of the US burger industry

Mickey’s, a US fast food giant, has reaped stupendous sales from its new burger, The Big One. The trouble is, there’s shit in the meat.

What We Think

Graft begins at home

Corruption, poor governance and cronyism are supposed to be the evils that keep the Global South in poverty. Nobody has underlined that message more strongly than Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank.

Other Categories

Tim: Why am I still here?


The myth of intervention The Oxfam charity last week released its report, A Fair Foreign Policy, calling for British foreign policy not to shy away from humanitarian intervention after the debacle of Iraq.

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events

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