Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2055

Dated: 16 Jun 2007

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Pay: the fight is on... and this is why

Postal workers have voted by three to one to strike over pay, conditions and to defend a public service.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Council of Europe report says Britain signed-up to rendition and secret prisons

The British-controlled Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia played a critical role in the development of the CIA’s secret "war on terror" prisons, a new report shows.

Map of rendition flightpaths

Scottish teachers union bans army recruiters

Scotland’s largest teaching union has called for a block on army recruitment in schools.

Prospect union conference: ‘Our strike halted military shipping’

Delegates at Prospect’s special union conference last week broke into cheers when Nick Wadge, a delegate from Plymouth’s dockyards, described how a recent 24-hour strike had halted the movement of all military vessels in the docks.

Raytheon nine: Derry disarmers face court again

The Raytheon Nine appeared in court last week. The demonstrators stormed the Derry base of US arms manufacturer Raytheon in August last year, barricading themselves into the building.

Roadchef workers ballot for strike over transport

Migrant workers at Roadchef are balloting for strike action after the company threatened to withdraw transport to an M3 service station which has only motorway access and no public transport links.

BBC union reps vote to reject management pay offer

Workers at the BBC could join the pay revolt. A national meeting of Bectu, NUJ and Amicus union reps voted unanimously last week to reject the BBC’s pay offer.

Lobbying Gordon Brown and Labour hustings

London Anti-war protesters and workers from the threatened Remploy factories for disabled people lobbied the Labour Party hustings in London last week.

Mass walkout at Dragon Liquefied Natural Gas terminal over health and safety fears

Up to 1,000 construction workers walked out last week at the Dragon Liquefied Natural Gas terminal site in Waterston, Milford Haven, in south west Wales.

Reports round-up

Boost for Unique Care campaign The fight for reinstatement by 17 black women in Huddersfield received a massive boost last week.

Sheffield campaign blocks school closures

Campaigners in Sheffield are celebrating after forcing the council to reverse its plan to close two schools.

89% vote for pay strike in Breckland council

A series of one-day strikes could hit Breckland council in Norfolk.

Solid strike at Harlow college

Lecturers at Harlow college took three days of strike action on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in their ongoing fight against the imposition of a new, unnegotiated college plan.

Enough! demonstration shows solidarity with Palestine

Up to 20,000 people joined the Enough! demonstration in London last Saturday to demand the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Unison NEC elections show the mood to fight

The results of the Unison union national executive elections show the enthusiasm for a more active fightback.

Photos of the Enough! demo

Michael Rosen: There's no place like home

In a small block of flats a group of old people are becoming increasingly anxious. For years, they had been unable to get the council to do essential repairs and services. Then, seemingly out of the blue, came a solution – a housing association stacked with cash could take over the block, and all the jobs that needed doing would be done.

Michael Rosen wins Children's Laureate prize

Socialist Worker congratulates Michael Rosen on becoming Children's Laureate. He received the award at a ceremony in London on Monday.

Hospital nursery crisis leaves health workers holding the baby

Experienced staff at the Royal London hospital in east London are facing the possibility of being unable to continue work because of the closure of a scandal-hit private on-site nursery.

House of Lords vote boosts pensions compensation campaign

The government is under renewed pressure to improve compensation for the 125,000 victims of failed company pensions after it lost a vital House of Lords vote recently.

You can help stop Brown's pay assault

Gordon Brown has declared war on public sector workers. The first offensive battles have broken out in what could be the biggest pay revolt for decades.

Socialist Worker workplace sales are a winner

Socialist Worker supporters have thrown themselves into building support for the postal workers who have voted to take strike action.

Lords refuse to hear Babar Ahmad's appeal against extradition to the US

Campaigners for Babar Ahmad, the south London IT worker threatened with extradition to the US on trumped-up "terrorism" charges, have reacted with anger to a decision by the House of Lords to refuse him an appeal.

Postal workers set to take on Royal Mail's bosses

Who has voted for a strike?

Postal strikes break out in Derbyshire, Luton and Somerset

Postal workers in Heanor, Derbyshire, are to strike for seven days from next Monday, 18 June.

Postal workers round-up

Around 130 postal workers in Luton struck on Wednesday of last week for 24 hours after a delivery worker was sacked.

Health workers 'spitting mad' over pay

"Unison union members in the NHS are spitting mad about pay, and we want action as soon as possible." So says Paul Harper, who has just been elected to the national executive of his union.

PCS meets to mull next move

The PCS civil service workers' union was set to hold a special national executive meeting on Friday of this week to discuss the union's campaign over pay and against job losses.

Alan Johnson's insult to teachers

Teachers are also angry over pay. Kevin Courtney is a member of the NUT teachers' union national executive. He told Socialist Worker, "Education secretary Alan Johnson's evidence to our pay review body for September 2008 was insulting.

Police try to block anti-war demo

Gordon Brown will be crowned Labour leader and our next prime minister within an exclusion zone built to keep out any dissenting voices.

Protest against Wiltshire BNP councillor

Over 300 local people demonstrated in Corsham, Wiltshire, against a BNP member claiming a seat on the town council. BNP councillor Michael Simpkins took the ward of Rudloe uncontested in the May council elections. The protest, on last Monday, 11 June, received favourable media coverage. Local television covered it with the phrase, "when voting apathy became anger".

Manchester Unison activist Karen Reissmann challenges victimisation

Karen Reissmann, a nurse for 25 years and an elected member of Unison’s national health executive, was suspended from work last Friday, 15 June. That afternoon, an important outpatient appointment with a very vulnerable patient was interrupted and – on the direct orders of the chief executive – she was instructed to leave the out-patient consultation and the hospital.


Anti-Bush demos in Italy and Poland

Rome takes on Bush

Iraqi oil workers defy threats to win strike

Iraqi oil workers have won a victory in their strike against the US-backed government.

South Africa's strike movement provokes political crisis

The strikes which have swept South Africa for two weeks are causing a deep political crisis – and there may be much more to come.

Call for protests against the arrest of Farooq Tariq in Pakistan

Nine days after his arrest Farooq Tariq, General Secretary Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), was shifted from Central jail, Bahawalpur, to Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore, on Friday 14 June.


G8 protests: ‘We went to delegitimise the meeting of world leaders’

The media focused on the cat and mouse conflict between German riot police and a small section of protesters in Rostock. Meanwhile thousands travelled across Europe to make their voices heard and to underline the hypocrisy of the G8 summit.

Die Linke: high hopes for Germany's new radical left party

The German left is facing a historic chance. On 16 June, we will found a strong all-German party.

What Die Linke can achieve

Die Linke (The Left) party has entered a west German state parliament for the first time.

Blockading the Rostock G8

Despite the 16,000 police and 1,000 troops, the biggest security operation on mainland Germany since the Second World War failed to stop the G8 being blockaded by thousands of protesters intent on causing maximum disruption to the summit.

G8 summit voted to let planet burn

Bild, Germany's equivalent of the Sun, proclaimed the country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, "Miss World" at the end of last week’s Group of Eight summit. It’s hard to see why she is so popular.


A mass party born in the 1905 Revolution

In the first few years of the 20th century, Lenin argued the case for a democratic and centralised revolutionary party made up of committed activists who could bring socialist politics to workers' struggles.

BAE Systems and the Saudi arms deal: weapons, corruption and the British state

Defence companies such as BAE Systems are strategically important to the British state, but the exact nature of the relationship has changed over the last two decades as the domestic arms industry has been opened up to international competition.

Tests to judge any new Labour housing plans

Gordon Brown is coming under intense pressure to concede the "fourth option" for council housing – direct investment to fund improvements as an alternative to privatisation. This would challenge the other three options of stock transfer, arm’s length management (Almos) and the private finance initiative.

Facts about housing for the poor and the rich

Children One in seven children is growing up homeless or badly housed. There are 955,000 children trapped in overcrowded housing.

Ratio of house prices to earnings

The crisis in Britain's housing

The lack of affordable housing has become a political crisis for the main parties. For over a quarter of a century, the policies of British government have been geared towards a single goal – encouraging private home ownership.

Letter from Brazil

Maré is a favela (shanty town) perched on the hills above the city of Rio de Janeiro, and it is one of the poorest. Motorbikes race up and down the steep, pitted streets, and rap music thumps out from every corner bar; wires and cables snake over rooftops and hang above the street. Today, the square is full of the yellow flags of PSOL, the Socialism and Freedom party. They are there because Heloisa Helena, the party’s charismatic presidential candidate in last year’s elections, has come to speak. When she finishes, a crowd gathers to have their picture taken with her.

The US and cold war strategy

Recent headlines have warned of a "new Cold War" between the US and Russia. It is a chilling prospect. The Cold War, which began in 1947 with the US’s Truman Doctrine, marked a shift in US policy against Russia and brought the world closer to destruction than it has ever been.


Love Music Hate Racism at Glastonbury

If you’re heading to the Glastonbury Festival later this month, don’t miss what promises to be a superb night hosted by Love Music Hate Racism at the Left Field.

Playtime Is Over: grime star Wiley returns to his underground roots

Last week saw the release of the long-awaited album from Wiley, leading protagonist of east London’s "grime" sound.

John Pilger - In The Name Of Justice

The idea that the media, and television in particular, is just one giant propaganda machine is widespread.

What We Think

Labour is playing with fire by repeating racist ideas

If anyone thought that Margaret Hodge's recent jibes against immigrants were a one-off, a series of pronouncements last week by senior New Labour figures should tell you which way the wind is blowing.

Other Categories

Ousmane Sembène 1923-2007

A film maker, novelist and radical from Senegal in West Africa, Ousmane Sembène consistently opposed imperialism. A few themes predominate in all his work – hatred for the brutal way capitalist and colonialist society makes people behave, sympathy for the poor and dispossessed, and identification with and empowerment of women.


Health policy plastered by the booze industry In the government’s new alcohol strategy document, published last week, we learn that levels of consumption are no longer rising, but have instead stabilised at among the highest in Europe.

Who says?

"If post offices are shutting and job centres are shutting, if your pay is held down and our pay is restricted, then it’s time we thought about how to work together effectively."PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, speaking to post workers at a CWU union rally

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events

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