Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2113

Dated: 09 Aug 2008

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Turn up the heat on energy bosses

Households will soon be paying £100 a month to heat and light their homes – thanks to the decision by energy bosses to raise utility bills by over 50 percent this year so far.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Demonstrate against the war at Labour Party conference

The Stop the War Coalition has called a national demonstration at the Labour Party conference in Manchester on 20 September to protest against the continuing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Scottish Labour candidates have no solutions

The position of leader of the Scottish Labour Party is up for grabs – in a tightly controlled internal election.

Reports round-up

GMB ballot shakes Sellafield Some 2,400 workers in the GMB union at Sellafield in Cumbria will begin balloting for industrial action from 11 August over a below-inflation pay offer of two percent.

Employment tribunal for Karen Reissmann

Sacked trade union activist and nurse Karen Reissmann is taking her employers to an employment tribunal.

Fightback growing over pay changes

Around 180 Unite union members at two hospitals in Merseyside are set to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week over changes to their pay structure.

HSBC bank profiting by attacking pensions

Some 91 percent of Unite union members at HSBC bank have said they want to be balloted for strike action over bosses’ plans for their pensions.

Postal workers march to support the Bristol 3

Over 300 postal workers and their supporters marched in Bristol on Monday in support of the "Bristol 3" – CWU union members who were sacked after last year’s national strike.

London rail workers on track for action

Workers in the RMT transport union in London are involved in a number of disputes on London Underground and on the rail.

Anti academies protesters occupy Ark

Anti-academies protesters occupied the London headquarters of Actual Return for Kids (Ark) on Thursday of last week, to protest against a proposed academy in Wembley, west London.

LDA workers fight to defend funding

Trade unionists at the London Development Agency (LDA) are organising to defend the vital funding they provide to different groups in the face of new mayor Boris Johnson’s cost-cutting agenda.

Journalists’ secondary picnicking at the BBC

Left in DWP build up for action

PCS civil service workers’ union activists in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) met at the Left Unity socialist group conference in London last Saturday.

Scottish civil service workers strike against low pay

Some 5,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union at the Scottish government and Registers of Scotland struck on Thursday of last week over a below-inflation pay offer.

Trowbridge parks, gardens and street cleaning strike

Street cleaners and grounds staff in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, staged a one-day strike on Friday of last week at council contractor English Landscapes.

Fremantle care workers set to strike next week

Some 200 Fremantle care workers in the Unison union in Barnet, north London, were set to strike on Thursday of this week in their continuing campaign against the company’s attacks on their terms and conditions.

Care workers stand up for rights against council attacks

Residential workers in Glasgow have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action in a dispute over their pay review grades and council plans to "modernise" residential services.

Mobilising to stop the BNP’s hate-fest

Trade unionists and other anti-fascist campaigners across the Midlands region are gearing up to protest against a fascist rally due to be held by the British National Party (BNP) in Derbyshire next Saturday 16 August.

Support Egyptian workers facing trial

Egyptian opposition groups and workers’ associations are calling for international support for 49 people arrested during the state crackdown on protesters in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla al-Kubra in April.

Don’t mourn collapse of neoliberal Doha trade talks

The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) international trade talks in Geneva collapsed last week. This has led to howls of despair from the media, which says it will damage the economies of developing countries.

Engineers join bus workers’ pay fight

The battle for decent pay for bus workers across London takes another step forward this week as around 200 bus engineers working for Metroline join the campaign. They are set to hold a consultative ballot on industrial action on Friday of this week.

Rolling strike by Argos workers defies management

Warehouse and distribution workers in the Unite union at retail giant Argos took part in rolling four-day strike action from Thursday of last week after dumping an improved pay offer from management.

United public sector action to hit Scotland

The latest front in the war against Gordon Brown’s public sector pay curbs was opened last week after 150,000 council workers in Scotland voted to strike. They are set to take action on 20 August.

Figure it out

$90bn – amount injected into the money markets by the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank on 9 August last year as interbank lending dries up – signalling the start of the "credit crunch"£314m – funds borrowed at a penalty rate by Barclays Bank from the Bank of England on 21 August last year. Barclays borrowed a further £1.6 billion just nine days later$47bn – money pumped into the banking system by the Federal Reserve in November as the crunch bites£100bn – the amount added to the national debt when stricken bank Northern Rock was brought into public owner

Thousands at Pride in Belfast

Belfast saw its biggest ever Gay Pride event last Saturday as thousands of LGBT people and their supporters took to the streets to protest against the anti-gay Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Iris Robinson.

Edinburgh plans council housing

Edinburgh council has announced proposals to build 1,100 new council homes in the city. This represents a major breakthrough for the future of council housing in Scotland.

Pensioners and postal workers rally to the People Before Profit charter

The scale of the economic crisis, which has seen rising prices and attacks on workers’ living standards, is leading to increased support for the People Before Profit Charter.

Anger as police crack down on climate camp protesters

Hundreds of police officers in riot gear launched an attack on climate protesters in Kingsnorth, Kent, on Monday of this week.

Tube poster workers on strike across London

Workers for CBS Outdoor usually spend their time putting up advertising posters in London’s tube and train stations for multinational companies. This week they were putting up strike posters instead.


Turkey: cracks in the state monolith

Over the past 15 months a fight between the Turkish government and sections of the state apparatus has revealed deep cracks in the official ideology of the country and its monolithic state structures.

Pakistan military submits to US orders

The government of Pakistan has agreed to US demands to send its army into the restive border areas with Afghanistan. But it claims it will limit its actions to "special forces" operations involving assassinations of rebel leaders.

Serbia’s nationalist forces in disarray

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the former leader of Bosnian Serb forces during the Yugoslav civil war of the 1990s, marks a serious downturn for Serbian nationalism.

South Koreans protest at George Bush

Thousands of protesters greeted George Bush on his arrival in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday of this week.


A change in direction for Labour is not on the table

New Labour is collapsing into civil war. Gordon Brown’s premiership is surrounded by turmoil and the party’s poll ratings seem to be entering freefall.

What’s behind the return of Tories?

"So are we all Tories now?" asked the lead article in the Observer Review last Sunday.


The oil industry: capitalism and conflict

Oil drives the global capitalist economy. It is a vital ingredient in everything from transport through to petrochemicals and agriculture. A handful of massive corporations and producer countries control the global oil and gas industry.

Ruthless and corrupt drive to make oil dominant

The oil industry has been ruthless in its pursuit of markets. But a combination of state backing and corruption were at the heart of the industry’s dominance.

Multinationals’ scramble for Africa fuels new conflicts

The high price of oil is driving a new scramble for Africa that will bring more misery to the continent.

Are there alternative sources of oil?

High demand for oil is pushing the US Congress to rip up legislation that protects the Alaskan wildlife reserve, which holds between 5.9 billion to 13.2 billion barrels of oil.

Oil: 'The real price' and 'Who has it?' graphs

The 1920s were a decade of defeat for working people

Last week we saw how protests, strikes and socialist organisation spread across the US working class during the early years of the 20th century.

Sport’s race to the bottom

This week the Olympic games open in Beijing in China. They will be the highlight of yet another much hyped "summer of sport" we are encouraged to watch and enjoy.


Seeking Asylum: Life After Iraq

Since the war on Iraq began in 2003, nearly five million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes.

El Bano del Papa

This film is set in 1988 in Melo, a small Uruguayan town, as the inhabitants are awaiting the visit of the Pope.

Gone Too Far!

Gone Too Far! explores identity, belief and racism through the prism of two teenage black brothers in London.

Blood Wedding: love, passion and betrayal

The Scoop is an outdoor sunken ampitheatre by Cith Hall in central London, which has run free theatre performances throughout the summer for the past six years.

Youssef Chahine: remembering Egypt’s greatest film maker

The death of Youssef Chahine on 27 July means that Egypt has lost the last great director from the 1950s generation.

What We Think

Squeeze the rich

Worried about paying your gas bill? Losing sleep over debt? Well there’s another world not so far away where such petty worries keep no one from their slumber.

British ‘justice’: rounding up the usual suspects

Barry George didn’t kill the television presenter Jill Dando. A judge and jury has said so and the media and police now reluctantly agree.

Labour’s tumbling membership: thousands have lost their political home

New Labour admitted in a submission to the Electoral Commission that, at the end of last year, its official membership was 176,891 – the lowest figure since 1900.

Other Categories

Dave O’Connell 1961-2008

It is with sorrow that I have learnt that Dave O’Connell, sometime SWP member and formerly an activist in the Aslef train drivers’ union, was found dead on Monday 28 July.

Harold Rosen: A rebel from the East End

‘My mother was on the committee of Stepney’s CP. Before the First World War my grandfather had been a member of the Social Democratic Federation, which was about as left as you could get then. Later he supported the CP but wasn’t a member.

Tim: gas prices


Northern Irish need Abortion Act Diane Abbott MP has tabled an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. This long-overdue attempt to give equal rights to women in the North almost didn’t happen, despite it being Labour Party policy to support extension.

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