Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2114

Dated: 16 Aug 2008




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Caucasus conflict: Bloody cost of the new world order

The outbreak of war in the Caucasus over the past week has stunned the world. More fighting, more bombing, thousands dead and tens of thousands of refugees are the daily scenes on our television screens.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Nuclear workers reject pay offer

Some 10,000 members of the GMB, Unite and Prospect trade unions at the Sellafield and Capenhurst nuclear power plants were to start balloting this week after pay talks broke down.

Welsh Country Foods workers to strike over pay

Factory workers at Welsh Country Foods on Anglesey have voted by an overwhelming majority to strike over a below-inflation pay offer.

Bristol paramedics must dial 999 for support

Paramedics on emergency callouts in the Bristol area have had to phone 999 to demand back-up.

Shop Direct call centre workers vote on strike

Some 1,100 workers in the GMB union at a Sunderland call centre are voting on whether to strike over low pay.

Sheffield journalists have no confidence in their editor

Journalists in the NUJ union at Sheffield Newspapers have launched a campaign to fight back against redundancies after passing a vote of no confidence in the newspaper’s editor.

Network Rail maintenance workers keep up the action

Around 12,000 maintenance workers in the RMT transport union at Network Rail are to escalate their strike action this week in their dispute over the harmonisation of pay and conditions.

Eurostar cleaners: ‘We want to clean up in our pay fight’

How many people know that the plush Eurostar trains and stations are cleaned by people who get paid just £6.37 an hour? And that rate stays the same however long you stay in the job, and whether you work nights or days.

Growing industrial battle on London transport

While Tory mayor Boris Johnson celebrated his 100th day in charge in London last weekend, transport workers who keep the capital running are gearing up to fight for better pay and conditions.

Reports round-up

Acas ballot at lack of talks Over 630 PCS civil service workers’ union members at the Acas conciliation service are balloting for strikes over pay.

Strike at East North East Homes to reinstate union steward

Workers in East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) were set to take a second day of strike action on Thursday of this week. The strike is in defence of their trade union rights and Unison union convenor, John McDermott.

Glasgow care workers strike called off after improved offer

A strike by residential care workers in Glasgow due to take place on Wednesday of this week was called off after workers in the Unison union voted to accept an improved offer from the council.

Privatisation firm Serco gets grant to set up in Scotland

A company that profits from the privatisation of public services has been awarded over £5 million in a government grant to set up a base in Scotland.

150,000 Scottish council workers fight against below inflation pay

Scotland’s public sector looks set to be brought to a standstill when up to 150,000 local government workers strike against below-inflation pay offers on Wednesday of next week.

Bury council: cutting wages by a quarter

Up to 1,200 council workers in Bury were left stunned and angry last week after being told their wages will be cut – by as much as £7,500.

Care workers’ one hour strike at Fremantle

Some 200 Fremantle care workers in the Unison union in Barnet, north London, struck for one hour on Thursday of last week in their continuing campaign against the company’s attacks on their terms and conditions. The workers were outsourced to private company Fremantle from Barnet council. In early 2007, Fremantle bosses sacked the workers and re-employed them on worse terms and conditions. The new contracts meant that workers’ pay was cut by roughly a third

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Witness to the Gulag

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian writer who died this month, was an unparalleled witness to the Gulag – Joseph Stalin’s system of slave labour camps.

Repossessions soar as housing crisis worsens

The number of house repossessions hit a 12 year high last week, leaping 48 percent in just six months.

Price rises fuel Scottish strike

The official rate of inflation soared to record levels this week at the same time as millions of workers across Britain are told they have to "tighten their belts" and swallow below-inflation pay deals.

Unions throw their weight behind protest to stop Nazi BNP rally

Trade unionists and other anti-Nazi activists will be gathering in Codnor, Derbyshire, on Saturday of this week to protest against the "Red, White and Blue" event being held there by the fascist British National Party (BNP).

Royal Mail’s new assault on post

Royal Mail has launched a vicious assault on the postal service, threatening to axe up to 35,000 jobs and close dozens of sorting offices.

More support for People Before Profit charter

Support is continuing to build for the People Before Profit Charter, a set of demands put forward by trade unionists and campaigners to improve the lives of working people in the face of rising prices and an economic crisis.

Food and water prices up again

Workers are facing even more devastating price rises on essential foodstuffs, according to figures out this month.

Sacked head chef cooks up protest for four star hotel

Protesters called for the immediate reinstatement of Virgilio Teixira, a member of the GMB union, at Heathrow Arora Hotel on Friday of last week.

Climate protesters defy police at Kingsnorth power station

The week-long climate camp in Kent climaxed last Saturday with mass civil disobedience at the Kingsnorth power station, in which some protesters managed to enter the station’s site.


International

Mahalla trial is adjourned in Egypt

The trial of 49 Egyptian workers in Mahalla opened last Saturday, with 25 of the accused in a cage in court. The trial has been adjourned to 1 September.

Nigerian teachers win their dispute

An all-out strike by state sector teachers in Nigeria has ended after four weeks with a government recommendation that teachers get a 27.5 percent pay increase.

General strike sweeps South Africa

South Africa was brought to a standstill on Thursday of last week by a one-day general strike demanding government action over rising living costs.


Comment

Olympian hoo-hah over China power

I find the Olympics irritating at the best of times. Two weeks of corporate-sponsored flag-waving in honour of a bunch of muscle-bound dullards is not my cup of tea.


Features

What sort of society can save the planet?

There is no doubt that capitalism is bad for the planet. Multinationals exploit natural resources in the interest of profit, pumping their waste into our rivers, oceans and atmosphere.

Nationalisation: governments are not as helpless as they claim

New Labour chancellor Alistair Darling explained last week that he was unable and unwilling to bring in a windfall tax on the fuel companies. His explanation was that these companies made a lot of their money outside Britain – and therefore paid taxes in other countries.

A year of economic crisis: crunch time for capitalism

The Global economic crisis known as the "credit crunch" reached its first birthday last week – and it’s a long way from being over. The anniversary coincided with new figures showing home repossessions, unemployment and food prices all rising fast.

A system built on a shaky foundation of debt

The current credit crunch was triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis in the US. But how did the global economy become so reliant on consumer debt in the first place?

The 1930s revival of US working class struggle

The Great Depression of the 1930s dealt an incredible blow to US capitalism. Industrial production fell dramatically. By 1932, one quarter of the US workforce was unemployed.

War in Caucasuses is result of imperial game

War has torn apart yet another region of the world in the last week, as Russia and Georgia clashed over South Ossetia, a breakaway province that lies in the Caucasus mountains between the two countries.

Scramble for resources is destabilising the world

The global system of competition between rival power blocs has transformed the Caucasus – with its myriad of ethnic and historic rivalries – into a surrogate test of will between the US and Russia.

Deepening unease with US strategy

The recent fighting between Georgia and Russia has revealed splits in the Western ruling class over whether or not to turn up the heat on Russia.

Ossetia - a history of division and war

The Caucasus region is populated by a patchwork of different nationalities and ethnic groups that have been caught for centuries in wars between rival empires.

Maps of the region of conflict in the Caucasus


Reviews

No Such Thing as Society

This photographic exhibition takes its name from Margaret Thatcher’s famous right wing statement.

Persepolis

Persepolis is the cinematic adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel, which is based upon her life growing up in Iran.

CND: From Fear To Sanity

This exhibition focuses on the early years of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). It combines photography, cartoons and posters with talks from those involved in CND at the beginning and film showings.

Trevor Griffiths: Celebrating sedition and Tom Paine

Acclaimed radical playwright Trevor Griffiths spoke to Socialist Worker about his work on the life of the revolutionary Thomas Paine.

Shelley’s plays still emit the light of freedom

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s plays have not enjoyed the same popularity as his political poems, yet they show his attempts to reach the wide theatre audience that existed during his lifetime of 1792-1822.


What We Think

A hot autumn of class struggle ahead

Socialist Worker readers may have noticed the start of the "silly season" in the mainstream media, where relatively irrelevant stories are bumped up to the front pages.

Institutional failure over rape compensation

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has been reducing the amount of compensation it gives to rape victims by up to 25 percent if it judges that the woman was drunk when she was raped.

Labour’s crisis: ‘Dream ticket’ will not improve party’s woes

The trade union leaders who back New Labour are now so desperate that they are touting health secretary Alan Johnson and former Labour deputy leader contender Jon Cruddas as a "dream ticket" to win the next general election.


Other Categories

Bernard McKenna 1915-2008

Bernard McKenna, a lifelong socialist, anti-fascist and International Brigader, died on 31 August, aged 92.

Tim: ‘Invading countries is wrong’

Letters

The West, China and hypocrisy It really does irk how Western governments are acting in a superior manner over China’s human rights abuses. It sounds like something from our colonial past – the moral West versus the uncivilised East.

Who says?

"If, God forbid, we live to see Mr Obama president, we will live through a socialist era that America has not seen before, and our country will be weakened in every way." Right wing actor Jon Voight attacks Barack Obama and supports John McCain for US president



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