Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2068

Dated: 15 Sep 2007



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Welcome to Gordon Brown’s Britain

Gordon Brown used his speech at the TUC conference in Brighton this week to lecture workers once again on the need for pay restraint to ensure economic stability.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Post strikes back on after talks break down

The CWU postal workers’ union announced this week that it will resume strikes at Royal Mail after management walked out of talks aimed to settle the dispute over pay. It is now likely that the union will call action before the end of September.

Street fair hits out at military recruitment in schools

Anti-war school students held a vibrant and successful street fair in Edinburgh last Saturday.

The Metronet strike was a fantastic victory for tube workers

The strike by tube workers over jobs and pensions in London last week brought the capital to a near standstill, and forced London Underground bosses to back down.

Media smears fail to stop RMT strike success

Despite the clear gains made by the RMT in negotiations, management, the media and Ken Livingstone all claimed that the union accepted the same deal that was on the table a week earlier.

Report blows apart Israel’s Lebanon lies

Israel repeatedly lied during its war on Lebanon last summer to justify airstrikes on civilians, their homes and their neighbourhoods. That is the conclusion of a year-long investigation by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) group.

Reports round-up

Banner making in Cambridge Cambridge Stop the War group got a great response to its banner making session in the city centre last Saturday.

Respect Stonebridge council by-election campaign meeting

One railworkers united against the sacking of a guard

Over 800 rail workers in the RMT union at One railway are set to strike on Saturday of this week and Monday of next week, in support of a guard sacked following an incident with a violent and abusive passenger.

Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to strike

Around 120 members of the PCS union at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in London were set to strike on Wednesday of this week over restructuring.

PCS ballots for strike

The national executive of the PCS union agreed last week to hold a consultative ballot of 270,000 members on whether to stage further strikes over attacks on services, privatisation, job cuts and pay.

Huge DWP rejection of pay insult

Members of the PCS civil service workers’ union in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have overwhelmingly rejected a below-inflation pay offer.

Student Respect organising meeting

Over 30 delegates attended the Student Respect organising meeting last Sunday to discuss and debate our campaigns in the coming term.

Workers walk out at ‘horrible’ hospital

NHS staff staged a second unofficial walkout on Tuesday of last week at Morriston, Swansea’s busiest hospital, over "horrible" working conditions.

Strike ballot for Islington refuse workers

Refuse workers in Islington, north London, are balloting for strike action over changes to recycling and collection rounds.

Day care workers in Glasgow ballot for indefinite strike

Workers in six day centres for disabled people in Glasgow are balloting for an indefinite strike.

Stop the War student activists meet before the new term

The student Stop the War conference last weekend saw over 100 students from more than 25 universities attend the meeting at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

Taking on Stagecoach bus barons over pay in Chesterfield

Around 200 bus drivers from the Stagecoach depot in Chesterfield held a strike and demonstration on Friday of last week. The action was over pay and was jointly organised by the Unite and RMT unions.

Managers hit the highway as posties vote to strike

Royal Mail bosses who slashed overtime payments to postal delivery workers, saying that the extra work could be done in far fewer hours than claimed by the CWU union, are now having to do the overtime themselves.

Targeting 'problem families' is an attack on the poor

With the publication of the government’s Respect Action Plan in early 2006, the then prime minister Tony Blair reaffirmed that his government was to "bear down uncompromisingly on anti-social behaviour".

General Petraeus can’t disguise grim truth about Iraq

George Bush is trying to sell his "surge" of US troops in Iraq as a success. General David Petraeus, the US commander tasked with assessing the occupation, this week painted a glowing picture of the situation to the US Congress’s house committee on foreign affairs.

Map showing sectarian cleansing of Baghdad’s neighbourhoods

Solid strike against pay cuts at Sheffield hospital

"If they want to make pay cuts – they should start at the top!"

Union delegations join march for Karen Reissmann

Delegations of Unison union members from across Britain helped to form a confident and determined 500-strong march through Manchester city centre last Sunday.

20,000 march for Vale of Leven hospital

Up to 20,000 people marched last Saturday to save services at the Vale of Leven hospital in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. There is a widespread feeling that the "substantial downgrading" that is expected to result from a pending report will put people’s lives at risk.

Standing up for health services

Health workers in Manchester who care for people with mental illness are this week taking part in their second three-day strike in defence of their Unison union branch secretary, Karen Reissmann.

TUC round-up

Unions call for EU treaty vote Opposition to the neoliberal agenda has pushed trade unions into calling for a referendum on the European "reform treaty" – a rehash of the European Constitution – despite attempts by TUC leaders to get them to soften their position.

Anger at pay restraint may lead to coordinated strikes

Gordon Brown steadfastly refused to give ground on public sector pay restraint in his speech – prompting further anger from workers at the TUC in Brighton.

Disabled workers hit out at Hain’s job transfer plan

As part of their month-long series of protests over the closure of Remploy factories, disabled workers attended the TUC Congress in Brighton on Tuesday of this week.

Brown’s TUC speech goes down like a lead balloon

Gordon Brown took a mixture of neoliberal waffle and soft racism to the TUC’s annual Congress in Brighton this week – and got a frosty reception.

Respect comes third in Stonebridge by-election

Respect supporters were celebrating a strong showing in a council by-election held in the Stonebridge ward of Brent, north west London, on Thursday of this week.


International


Comment


Features

Striking back: the return of industrial action

Old headlines have suddenly reappeared over the last few weeks. They refer to the "craziness" of workers going on strike. Sometimes, as with the prison officers, there are suggestions that the workers may have a case, but they are ruining it by "heedless action".

Migrant labour: a grim reality of poor pay and insecurity

"I hate white vans," said Alek. Around 5am every day, groups of young men and women huddle on street corners in towns across Britain. There they wait for a white van or minibus.

Migrant labour: organising the unorganised

Thousands of eastern European workers are being brutally exploited at work, according to the TUC.

Ken Loach interviewed about his new film, It's a Free World

"They call it ‘flexible labour’," says veteran left wing film director Ken Loach. "What that means is its good for the employers but not good for the people who work. And I think this shift from stable employment to casual labour has not been explored significantly yet."

War and capitalism go hand in hand

Much of the developed world saw a massive growth in industrialisation and militarisation in the early 20th century.


Reviews

The Protestant Revolution: the rival religions of princes and peasants

"Whosoever can, should smite, strangle and stab, secretly or publicly, and should remember that there is nothing more poisonous, pernicious, and devilish than a rebellious man."

2 Days In Paris

Julie Delpy and Adam Holberg feature in this film as a pair of 35 year old professionals, two years into an intense relationship.

The First Black Britons

Another anti-racist resource for teachers is this DVD containing three 20 minute documentaries that trace the long history of black people in Britain.

Love Music Hate Racism CD and DVD for use in schools and colleges

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has teamed up with Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) and Unite Against Fascism to produce two new educational resources aimed at teaching school students about anti-fascist activism.


What We Think

The growing crisis of labour representation

A debate is growing within Britain’s working class movement. At stake is whether trade unionists maintain the support and funding which has been central to the Labour Party since its inception.


Other Categories

Letters

Prison officers and the fight for decent pay The recent unofficial walk out by prison officers, which forced an unwilling government into negotiations over pay, is a useful reminder of the power of organised workers.

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events



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