Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2052

Dated: 26 May 2007




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Revolt over pay rattles Gordon Brown

As 150,000 postal workers started a strike ballot this week, prime minister-elect Gordon Brown showed his fear of a revolt over pay.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Growing disillusionment and fury at lack of Labour party democracy

The failure of John McDonnell to get onto the ballot paper for Labour leadership, and the lack of democracy in the Labour Party, has opened up a big debate among people in and around the party.

London Metroline bus workers reject pay offer

Over 94 percent of bus drivers at Metroline in London rejected the company’s pay offer in a ballot on Friday of last week.

PCS backs Yunus Bakhsh against management

The campaign in support of victimised Unison union health activist Yunus Bakhsh received a boost last week when the PCS civil service workers’ union conference voted overwhelmingly to back him against management.

TSSA conference demands defence of pensions

The TSSA rail workers’ conference took place in Southport last week. It came immediately after the first report of the Pensions Commission – a body set up by the rail unions and employers to review the current pension scheme.

PCS plans to extend make your vote count campaign

PCS plans to extend make your vote count campaign

Fight post office closures and pay cuts

The government announced last week that it was to close 2,500 post offices across Britain.

Reports round-up

Greenwich council workers single status protest Over 100 council workers protested last week against plans by Greenwich council in south east London to use the single status pay deal to attack wages and conditions.

Six colleges ballot for action against Esol cuts

The UCU lecturers’ union is balloting its members at six further education colleges in London that are facing cuts to English for students of other languages (Esol) and adult education.

Harlow lecturers defy their bullying bosses

Around 70 campaigners lobbied Bill Rammell, the local Harlow MP and minister for lifelong learning, last Saturday over attacks on lecturers at Harlow College.

Roger King stands as NUT vice president for Socialist Teachers Alliance

The Socialist Teachers Alliance (STA) is backing Roger King as candidate for the upcoming elections for vice president of the NUT teachers’ union. Roger is a leading activist in the NUT.

Outrage at Waltham Forest school dinner plans

Campaigners in Waltham Forest in east London are fighting to defend school meals. The council has decided to get rid of Waltham Forest Catering as a way of cutting costs.

Tower Hamlets Homeless Persons Unit workers protest during opening of new office

The opening of a new Homeless Persons Unit on Roman Road in Tower Hamlets, east London, on Monday 21 May was delayed for hours as council staff protested outside.

Anger as Margaret Hodge’s outburst boosts the BNP

Labour Party activists and anti-fascist campaigners in Barking, east London, have reacted with fury to comments from their local MP Margaret Hodge that sought to blame the lack of council housing in the borough on immigrants.

Challenging Remploy closures

Remploy was set up in 1947 to provide jobs for people with disabilities mainly as a result of the war. Remploy is not the only provider of supported employment in Britain, but it is the largest by far.

Trident nukes out of Scotland

The new Scottish parliament has a majority who support the removal of Trident nuclear missiles from the Clyde. That includes the new first minister, the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond.

George Galloway blasts MPs’ exemption from the Freedom of Information Act

MPs in the House of Commons voted on Friday of last week to exempt themselves from the Freedom of Information Act that gives the public the right to access information from public bodies.

Barking needs homes, not racist myths

Councillors, trade unionists and anti-fascists in the east London borough of Barking & Dagenham have refuted claims by Margaret Hodge, the New Labour minister and MP for Barking, that the borough’s housing crisis is caused by immigrants.

Eddie Stobart drivers refuse to break Tesco Livingston strike

Tesco’s attempts to break strike action by over 100 distribution drivers was beaten last week by an inspiring show of solidarity.

Solidarity at Sunvic takes bosses aback

Over 40 workers at the Sunvic Controls factory in Uddingston, near Glasgow, are in the ninth week of an all-out strike.

New Stop the War petition connects with mood

The Stop the War Coalition has launched a national petition to be presented to Gordon Brown as an open letter when he takes office.

Gordon Brown's roadshow can’t avoid Iraq

Gordon Brown could not ignore the question of the Iraq war as he faced protests, heckling and tough interrogation in Coventry last Sunday, at the first of a series of Labour Party leadership and deputy leadership hustings.

Teachers ready for pay battle

Teachers are also moving towards action over pay. Kevin Courtney is a member of the NUT teachers’ union national executive. He told Socialist Worker, "Teachers are in the second year of a two year pay deal. We received a 2.5 percent pay increase in September 2006 and are due to get 2.5 percent this September.

Local government: ‘Paltry pay will drive down morale’

Local government employers met trade unions this week – and reaffirmed that there is only a wage-cutting deal on offer for a million workers.

Health workers support call for joint action

Trade unionists in the health service greeted Unison union leader Dave Prentis’s call for united action across the public sector with enthusiasm.

Firefighters protest march in Cornwall

Firefighters in Cornwall will march in protest on Thursday of next week against plans by the county council to axe one in six full-time firefighter posts and cut night cover at Cambourne and Falmouth stations.

Union unity to break Gordon Brown’s 2% pay limit

The unity necessary to break Gordon Brown’s 2 percent public sector pay limit took a major step forward last week as Unison union leader Dave Prentis called for coordinated strikes.

Voices from the post

Postal workers from across Britain have been contacting Socialist Worker. Here is a selection of their views:

Postal workers ballot over pay and conditions

The Royal Mail strike ballot is on.


International

Student strike in Brazil

A two and half week occupation of the administration building at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil by over 500 students has sparked widespread mobilisations against José Serra's neoliberal state government. On 16 May the students and the 15,000 strong staff union at the university began an indefinite strike.

The long struggle for justice in Pakistan

The current political turmoil in Pakistan has its roots in the way the Pakistani state was constructed, and tensions that have been present since its birth.

State to blame for violence in Lebanon

The attack by the Lebanese army on the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon has left a trail of death and devastation.

Threatened strike by Iraqi oil workers wins big concessions

Iraqi union leaders representing tens of thousands of oil workers across southern Iraq are optimistic that a threatened strike last week has won significant concessions from the US-backed government.

Organising support for Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon

The continuing siege by the Lebanese army of the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp has created a humanitarian crisis. Lebanese and Palestinian organisations are appealing for aid. Go to <a href="http://www.nahrelbared.info" target = "_blank">&raquo;www.nahrelbared.info</a>

Eighteen arrested in South African platinum mine struggle

The brutal nature of the struggle over land and platinum mining rights was underlined in South Africa this week.


Comment

Questions for the left as John McDonnell's Labour Party leadership bid fails

Something historic happened last week. It wasn’t Gordon Brown’s coronation. That – and the inability of the Blairites to mount a serious challenge – was entirely predictable.

Fatah: Israel’s new found friend in Palestine

The Palestinian resistance movement is under attack once again, but this time the Israelis have been joined by a new ally – the Palestinian Fatah organisaition.


Features

The legacy of Frantz Fanon

The World Social Forum in Kenya earlier this year was marked by a resurgence of interest in the ideas of Frantz Fanon, a thinker whose works have for many years been neglected.

Gordon Brown has no solution to housing shortage

Gordon Brown, who is currently touring the country in the run-up to his anointment as Labour leader, last week outlined his "vision" for housing.

New Labour exploits myths about immigration

Many people were shocked when Margaret Hodge, the New Labour minister and MP for Barking in east London, called this week for "indigenous" families to be given priority over "new migrants" when it comes to allocating council housing.

Roma: blaming the victims in Slough

"A flood of Romanian gypsy children has left a British town facing financial crisis," screamed the Daily Mail last week. "Roma children flood into Slough," said the BBC.

How the counter revolution began in Spain

Barcelona, 3 May 1937, three o’clock in the afternoon – three lorry loads of police and Republican Assault Guards force their way into the central telephone exchange, beginning what became known as the "May Events".


Reviews

Merdeka | Marxism and Children’s Literature conference | Pink Martini on Later

Merdeka (freedom)Various artistsCD out now This compilation of music from around the world has been released in solidarity with the West Papuan struggle for freedom from Indonesian rule.

Mavis Staples – We’ll Never Turn Back

"If he can preach it, we can sing it." Those were the words of Pops Staples, the father of Mavis, after he heard Martin Luther King speaking in Alabama in 1963.

Angels in America: a meditation on Aids during the 1980s

If you only see one piece of live theatre this year, make sure it is Daniel Kramer’s production of Angels In America. Running to more than seven hours &#8211; including three intervals &#8211; this staging of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic play is powerfully engaging and deeply moving from beginning to end.


What We Think

Bosses celebrate fast track planning changes

Government proposals to "reform" planning regulations are being presented as making it easier for ordinary people to get their lofts converted, or as a blow against climate change by lifting restrictions on erecting wind turbines.


Other Categories

Bernard Herzberg 1909-2007

Bernard Herzberg, a member of the SWP, Respect and active supporter of the Stop the War Coalition, died in his sleep on Tuesday 15 May.

Tim: Party political broadcast for the BNP

Letters

Not licensed to kill I was recently arrested after calling Peter Hain a war criminal.

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events



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