Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2110

Dated: 19 Jul 2008




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Strikers have the power to win

The pay revolt is on – and we have the power to win. That was the message sent out by some 650,000 council workers as they began two days of strike action on Wednesday this week.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Workers’ anger at BT pension scheme cuts

British Telecom (BT) workers are growing increasingly angry with company plans to cut back on their pension schemes. The company announced at the end of May that it intends to start a statutory review of the schemes to ensure that they are "sustainable".

London firefighters oppose pay cuts

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in London is gearing up to oppose management plans to cut the wages of some firefighters by up to £2,400 a year.

Trust boss who sacked Karen Reissmann quits

The health boss who sacked union activist Karen Reissmann for speaking out against cuts and privatisation has herself resigned following a damning report into mental health services in Manchester.

Zimbabwe refugees demand rights

Hundreds of Zimbabweans in Britain marched to parliament on Friday of last week, demanding the right to work while they are in exile. At the same time the government has gone ahead with moves that will allow it to deport "failed asylum seekers" back to Zimbabwe.

Campaign steps up to defend CWU union activists

The postal workers’ CWU union has signalled its intention to fight against attacks on its activists by calling a demonstration in Bristol, where three workers have been unfairly sacked for alleged incidents during last year’s national dispute.

Promens plastics workers strike over paltry pay offer

Some 140 workers in the Unite union struck at a plastic packaging manufacturers in Beccles, Suffolk on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week over a paltry pay offer.

Call centre workers’ protest

C Brown Steel strike

Over 80 members of Unite struck for a fourth day on Monday of this week at

Leeds housing workers strike to defend John McDermott

Over 200 Unison union members struck on Wednesday of last week in defence of their trade union and John McDermott, their Unison convenor, national executive and service group member.

London bus workers kick out pay offers

Thousands of bus workers in London are gearing up for a summer of discontent after drivers at four of the major bus operators voted overwhelmingly to throw out their managements’ pay offers.

Commons vote on abortion delayed

New Labour has announced that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, due to be debated and voted on in the Commons this week, will be delayed until the autumn.

Stoke scores against fascists

Anti-Nazi activists in Stoke-on-Trent are stepping up their campaign against attempts by the fascist British National Party (BNP) to target the city and whip up race hatred.

Biofuels to the flames

Biofuels may turn out to be one of the biggest and most dangerous con tricks of the modern age. Holding out the promise of cutting greenhouse gases and dependence on fossil fuels, biofuels have instead driven up food prices, raked in profits for agribusiness and caused serious environmental damage.

Brent anti academies protest continues

Brent council went to the courts on Tuesday of this week to win an eviction order against anti academies protestors occupying Wembley Park recreation ground. The protestors have mounted a long running campaign and occupation of the sight of a new City Academy.

Reports round-up

NHS protesters shame privateers The organisers of the North London Whittington Hospital’s annual oration were forced to allow protesters against privatisation into their talk last week.

Week of action in civil service

The PCS civil service workers’ union is holding a week of action over public sector pay this week, involving thousands of its members. This will see action in coordination with Unison and Unite members striking on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

School strikes against academies in Bolton

School support staff in the Unison union and teachers in the NUT union at Hayward and Withins schools in Bolton struck on Tuesday of this week against plans to transfer their employment to an academy and the failure to consult them.

Schools round-up

Rodillian High School Teachers in the NUT union at Rodillian High School in Leeds struck on Tuesday of this week against proposals to increase their teaching hours from 21 to 22 hours a week.

Nottingham Trent University to end union recognition agreement

Members of the UCU lecturers’ union at Nottingham Trent University are angry at management’s announcement that they are giving three months notice to end the current recognition agreement.

Durham miners’ gala

Around 50,000 people attended this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala – the premier labour movement event in the north east of England – last Saturday. Many there were angry with the government.

Argos workers store up anger for strike

A 24-hour strike by more than 1,000 Argos warehouse and distribution workers is set to hit the giant retail chain on Thursday this week. It will likely cause chaos as stores fail to receive their normal deliveries.

US pays the price for Afghan occupation

The battle for a military outpost in a forgotten corner of Afghanistan has vividly exposed the turmoil inside the Nato-led occupation of the country.

Now the war is threatening to spill over into Pakistan

The war in Afghanistan is spiralling so dangerously out of control that it now threatens to engulf Pakistan, in a process that is being actively encouraged by Nato.

Tube cleaners suspended after strikes

Several migrant workers who are fighting for decent pay and conditions on London Underground have been suspended by an employer.


International

Protests in Peru rock government

Thousands of people took to the streets in Peru last week in a series of strikes and demonstrations against the free market policies of president Alan Garcia.

Brazilian oil strikers take on their bosses

Some 4,500 oil workers at Brazil’s state-owned Petrobras defied a court injunction to start a five-day strike on Monday over pay and conditions.

Gordon Brown increases tension in Nigeria’s Niger Delta

Gordon Brown has caused controversy by saying that the British government will help Nigeria in West Africa to "tackle lawlessness" in the oil producing Niger Delta region.

Turkey: coup plotters forced out into open

There is an almighty struggle going on in Turkey. It is not a struggle easily recognisable as being between workers and bosses. There are no general strikes, no pickets, no scabs. In fact, the industrial struggle is at a low ebb.


Comment

Glasgow East: The part of town New Labour forgot

Jimmy Ross – Glasgow socialist Many facts and statistics about Glasgow East have been bandied about over the last few weeks since the by-election was announced.

Gordon Brown's tough talk won't stop knives

It seems that in the last week the entire political establishment has jumped on the issue of knife crime.

‘Searching school children will criminalise a generation’

As part of its crackdown on crime and "bad behaviour", the government announced last week that it wants to extend teachers’ powers so they can search pupils for alcohol or drugs.

Bank crisis is sign of wider problems

"The worst is over in the financial crisis or will be very soon." This is what Alan Greenspan, former head of the US central bank, said back in May.


Features

What is exploitation?

The term "exploitation" typically conjures up images of horrendous working conditions, perhaps sweatshops in China or India, or the child labour used by Western clothes manufacturers. We think of people working long hours for little pay in terrible conditions ruthlessly bullied by unscrupulous bosses or gangmasters.

Deaths at work: When health and safety no longer applies

Since the beginning of Labour’s second term in 2001, a relatively un-noticed government campaign has pushed the deregulation of worker safety far further than Margaret Thatcher ever dared.

Sign the People Before Profit Charter

Inflation and recession are now tightening their grip on the economy with every day that passes. Working people face rapidly increasing prices, especially for food and fuel; government led pay restraint; rising unemployment and a disastrous housing crisis.

People before profit: A charter for change

Deepening economic crisis is casting a shadow of fear and insecurity over millions of working people across the world.

Voices for the Charter

‘Stand up for workers’ rights’ ‘I support any campaign along this line. Workers in the Bfawu bakers’ and food workers’ union, just like everyone else, are facing tough times.

Public sector strikes across England and Wales, 16 and 17 July 2008

Reports of the magnificent public sector srikes

Magnificent solidarity piles pressure on bosses

Some of the lowest paid workers in Britain – from school dinner staff to classroom assistants and refuse workers, and other workers in local councils stopped work on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

United action is the key to beating back Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown’s government is determined to make working people pay for the economic crisis. His chancellor Alistair Darling declares,

North west England public sector strike reports, 16 July

Manchester The strike in Manchester shut down the central library and there were picket lines were on every entrance to the town hall.

London public sector strike reports, 16 July

Waltham Forest There was a decent early turnout of support for the Unison strike at Silverbirch House in Walthamstow, east London. Speaking to them it soon became clear why they had come out to protest at 7am.

Photos of public sector strikers in London on 16 July 2008

Midlands public sector strike reports, 16 July

Telford There was widespread support for the strike from the 2,200 Unison union members.

Yorkshire public sector strike reports, 16 July

Rotherham Gordon Jelley from Rotherham local government Unison said, "It’s been very good here. We’ve shut over half the primary and secondary schools in Rotherham. There are no bin lorries moving and both bin depots have been shut.

North east England public sector strike reports, 16 July

In Newcastle the city council admitted refuse collection was "severely disrupted".

South West England London public sector strike reports, 16 July

Cornwall Determined strikers picketed the entrances to New County Hall and Old County Hall, two major local government workplaces in Truro, from 7.30am.

South and East England public sector strike reports, 16 July

Norwich There were pickets at City Hall, Country Hall, the library and other key workplaces. Pickets were pleased that some people who had planned to go in were turned around. At City Hall a post office delivery van was also turned back.

Wales public sector strike reports, 16 July

Newport In Newport there was a lively picket line outside the civic centre. "The laundry hasn’t been delivered, the crematorium’s shut down and we’ve closed 16 schools in the area," one striker told Socialist Worker.

Photos of public sector strikers around the country on 16 July 2008

Public sector strikes making an impact on second day

The strike by the people who keep local services going every day continued into its second day in every town and city in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Classroom assistants, refuse collectors, admin workers, street sweepers, and other grades stopped work again.

Video of public sector strikes, 16 July 2008

Report from the march through central London during the public sector workers’ strike, Wednesday 16 July 2008


Reviews

Burn Up

This two-part conspiracy thriller written by Simon Beaufoy is set in the world of the oil industry, climate change, environmental activism and international politics.

Work And Dignity - Ned Ludd

Work And Dignity (Lavoro e Dignita) is the debut album from Italian band Ned Ludd and is now available in this country. It fuses radical politics with folk traditions and punk rock attitude.

The Story of The Supremes exhibition

The performance costumes of The Supremes, one of the most successful groups of all time, might not be seem a natural Socialist Worker review.

Little Platform, Big Stage: A glimpse of working life on the buses

BBC4 is showing this Arena documentary about life as a London bus conductor as part of its London Transport season.

Impressionist masterpieces come to Edinburgh

Edgar Degas’s 1873 painting In A Cafe: Absinthe is just one of over 100 impressionist masterpieces on show from this Saturday at the National Gallery Complex in Edinburgh.

The Road Home: Britain through the eyes of an outsider

Migrant workers make a huge contribution to life in Britain, keeping public services, industry and agriculture running. Yet they are generally depicted in the media as a burden on society – "undesirables" who clog up resources and hog public services.


What We Think

Genoa trials: Italian state is guilty

Prisoners forced to run between lines of baton waving police and chant in praise of Italy’s former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Profit from housing problems

Demand for rented property is rising because far fewer people can afford to buy a house as a result of the credit crunch. Many homeowners are being forced to sell up because they cannot afford their mortgage. Growing numbers face repossession.

Barack Obama is already moving to the right

US presidential candidate Barack Obama arrives in London to meet Gordon Brown next week. It’s part of his tour of key US allies, including France, Germany, Israel and Jordan.


Other Categories

Tim: peanuts

Letters

Letters

Who says?

"Some of the people who work in schools, like dinner ladies and cleaners, are refusing to go to work. They are taking part in something called a strike, which is when a group of people refuse to go to work, because they think they should be paid more."Children’s BBC Newsround explains the strike



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