Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2085

Dated: 26 Jan 2008




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Northern Rock rescue plan is daylight robbery

We are being robbed by speculators of billions of pounds and the Labour government is driving the getaway car.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Reports round-up

BBC workers need action over cuts The strike ballot of up to 10,000 BBC workers in the NUJ, Bectu and Unite unions was set to end on Wednesday of this week.

Health workers lobby for Karen Reissmann

Mental health workers in Manchester plan to lobby health minister Ivan Lewis MP this Friday as part of their campaign for the reinstatement of nurse and union activist Karen Reissmann.

Unite national executive elections

Nominations have now closed for elections to the Unite national executive council and the right wing have failed to contest a number of seats.

Union recognition won at Photronics

Members of the Unite union at Photronics UK’s site in Trafford Park, Manchester, have won a ballot for union recognition, overturning the company’s derecognition of the union in late 2006.

Action over pensions at Goodrich Actuation Systems

Workers at aerospace company Goodrich Actuation Systems are set to strike on Monday of next week over the closure of the firm’s final salary pension scheme to new workers.

Call for industrial action at Reuters

NUJ members at Reuters have called for the union to begin an industrial action ballot following the company’s refusal to hold meaningful negotiations over changes to journalists’ job roles, which it imposed on Monday of this week.

Strike at Milton Keynes Citizen

Journalists in the NUJ union at the Milton Keynes Citizen newspaper struck from Monday to Wednesday of this week after management refused to recognise their pay claim.

Brighton and Hove bus drivers reject deal

Bus drivers in the Unite union at the Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company are moving towards industrial action after voting to reject a pay offer that would amount to only 1.1 percent for new drivers.

Demonstration against Jamie Pearce's death in custody

Just two days before the anniversary of her daughter’s death in Styal Prison in 2003 Pauline Campbell was at HMP Holloway to demonstrate over yet another self-inflicted death inside its walls.

Vote over strike action at Merseyside Remploy

Disabled workers for Remploy on Merseyside are being balloted for industrial action over the closure of their factories with the results expected at the end of next week.

Love Music Hate Racism carnival against the Nazis

The campaign against the British National Party (BNP) received a boost last week when two major unions pledged substantial sums to the Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) carnival set for Victoria Park in east London on Sunday 27 April.

HE lecturers ballot on pay negotiations deal

Lecturers in the UCU union in higher education (HE) are to be balloted from Friday of this week on whether to accept a deal on national pay negotiations. This would implement single-table bargaining, allowing all unions within HE to bargain collectively with the employers, which the left is in favour of.

Defend Yunus Bakhsh

The campaign against the victimisation of leading health trade unionist Yunus Bakhsh received a boost this week.

Fights to come on London Underground

Workers in the RMT union on London Underground are heading towards a number of disputes. One of them is over management’s plans to close a number of ticket offices and on issues that have arisen from the transfer of Silverlink services to London Overground.

Lecturers to protest at changes to funding

The London region of the UCU lecturers’ union has called a demonstration in protest at government changes to higher education funding, which were announced without consultation last September.

Waltham Forest street wardens strike over unsocial hours payments

Street wardens in Waltham Forest, east London, struck for half a day on Wednesday of last week in a dispute over unsocial hours payments.

Birmingham ballot over imposition of single status

Thousands of council workers in Birmingham are balloting for strike action against the imposition of their single status pay deal.

Action at Argyll and Bute over local government pay deal

Hundreds of workers at Argyll and Bute council are striking and working to rule over their single status pay deal.

Chickens, class and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

There was a rare display of class resentment on TV last week with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Chicken Run series on Channel 4.

Defend Council Housing lobby parliament

Teachers: ‘We’re undervalued and underpaid’

Teachers are livid that the government last week sought to push a below-inflation pay "rise" on them – not just for one year, but for three.

Thousands of civil service workers are set to strike

Along with tens of thousands of civil service workers in the PCS union I am gearing up for a major day of strike action on Thursday of next week.

Bigots’ anti-abortion tour faces tough opposition

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe is set to take part in an anti-abortion speaking tour across Britain in an effort to marshal opponents of a woman’s right to choose. She will face strong opposition everywhere she goes.

Royal Mail’s attacks on union hit a rock at Burslem

Royal Mail’s attempts to undermine the CWU postal workers’ union have come unstuck at the Burslem delivery office in Stoke-on-Trent.

TNT to launch mail delivery operation

Bosses at private mail firm TNT are planning to cherry-pick lucrative Royal Mail delivery contracts by competing with the company to deliver post in some business areas.

Military Families Against the War take fight to the law lords

On 11-13 February Military Families Against the War are taking their campaign to the House of Lords. The law lords will hear the case that will raise the question of whether the Iraq war was legal under international law.

Scottish Stop the War demo on 15 March

Stop the War has called an all-Scotland World Against War demonstration in Glasgow for Saturday 15 March.

Opposing war five years on

Anti-war activists are organising to ensure a huge turn out for the national demonstration in London called for Saturday 15 March, the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Stop the War groups in England and Wales are organising transport.

Remploy: Labour wants to throw disabled people out of work

Socialist Worker can reveal that the government is still pushing through its plans to close the Remploy factories that employ disabled workers.

Respect steps up the pace in Waltham Forest and Preston

Respect supporters were out in force at the weekend campaigning in two key council by-elections set to take place on Thursday 14 February.

Poor paying the price for inflation and wage cuts

The current prolonged economic crisis has increased Gordon Brown’s determination to cut wages for public sector workers.

Royal Mail bosses climbdown over Burslem

Around 100 strikers at Royal Mail’s Burslem office, who have been on strike since 18 December, have agreed to a deal to end their dispute.

Recession fears trigger chaos in global markets

Across the globe, share values were in freefall at the start of this week. The collapse was fuelled by fears of a recession in the US.

Teachers to ballot for action on below-inflation pay offer

The NUT teachers’ union will ballot its members for strike action over their below-inflation pay offer.


International

Palestine: Brutal blockade brings further devastation to Gaza

Gaza is full of tragedies.

Egyptian workers occupy to demand justice

Workers at the Suez Trust for Weaving Industries in Egypt entered their eighth day of occupying their factory as Socialist Worker went to press.

Opposition grows in Kenya election crisis

Three days of renewed protests in Kenya, east Africa, have seen more than 30 people killed by the police.

Mass arrests at Egyptian demonstration

Over 2,000 Egyptian activists were arrested today as they attempted to assemble a peaceful demonstration in front of the Arab League in downtown Cairo.


Comment

Even the cops say Gordon Brown’s robbing us

Some 15,000 police officers were expected to march through London on Wednesday of this week against plans to cap their pay rise at 1.9 percent this year.

How the “surge” in Afghanistan has spread the war

In public it’s the war that is being won, but behind the headlines there is a growing realisation that the battle for Afghanistan has been lost and a new phase in the "long war" is about to begin.

Police plod through London

A journalist’s lot is not a happy one. I like protests and I go to quite a few but I just wasn’t sure about this one.


Features

Simone de Beauvoir: fighting for change

This month marks the centenary of the birth of Simone de Beauvoir, the French writer and philosopher. She is best known for her feminist classic The Second Sex and her famous declaration, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."

Economic crisis: problems stored up in the way system works

Economic analysts and the media are frantically debating whether a recession in the US economy is inevitable or has already started.

How capitalism created the Mafia

The Sicilian Mafia and its US cousin are no Robin Hoods robbing the rich to feed the poor. They are all about personal enrichment. The Mafia were and remain a bunch of selfish, violent murderers.

Left wing challenge to the Mafia hitmen

The 1970s were known in Italy as the "years of lead". A huge upsurge in working class and student struggles began in 1968.

Taming the opposition

In Sicily in the early 1990s a mass movement against the Mafia emerged after the assassination of two magistrates investigating them.

Winning the working class to socialism

In the first column in this series we looked at how the Marxist Antonio Gramsci used the concept of hegemony to explain the continuing domination of capitalist ideas in Italy in the early 20th century.

Why police crackdowns will not cut knife crime

According to the press and politicians Britain is awash with gangs of knife-carrying young people, who respect no law and will slash anyone who gets in their way.


Reviews

Primo

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day this year the BBC is showing this film version of Antony Sher’s award-winning performance of the memoirs of Primo Levi.

Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool

Proof, if more were needed, that hip-hop has moved decisively away from the vacuous "bling" phase, comes in the form of Lupe Fiasco.

Anger as Arts Council funding cuts hit community arts projects

Last week saw a series of high profile protests against funding cuts announced by the Arts Council of England at the end of last year.

Metamorphosis: a dark parable of alienation brought to life on stage

"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin."

‘From Russia’ exhibition opens at the Royal Academy

Manifesto of 17 October 1905, painted in 1911 by Ilya Repin, is just one of a host of rarely seen Russian masterpieces being exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art in London from this Saturday.


What We Think

Build a political rank and file to beat Gordon Brown

The growing economic chaos in the system carries with it one certainty – the bosses and New Labour will try to make us pay for it.


Other Categories

Tim: 'We had to restore the power…'

Letters

A great result against the odds for Al Bangura It was announced last week that the 19 year old Watford footballer, Al Bangura, was to be finally granted permission to stay in Britain.



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