Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2115

Dated: 23 Aug 2008




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Fighting to put food on the table

Everything is going up in price. Inflation is up to 4.4 percent, even on the figures that the government uses. That’s more than twice what Gordon Brown insists public sector workers’ pay rises should be.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Blow for health privatisation

Health workers in the south west of England were celebrating last week after government plans for further health service privatisation were dealt a blow.

CWU to strike over mail centre closures

CWU union reps have reacted with outrage to the decision by Royal Mail to shut ten mail centres and axe thousands of postal worker jobs across Britain.

London bus workers to walk out over pay

Bus workers at two companies owned by the First Group – First Centrewest and First Capital – have voted resoundingly for strike action over a 3.5 percent below-inflation pay offer.

Migrant workers: why were two tube cleaners deported?

Thursday 3 July was no ordinary day for the mainly migrant workers at the contractors that supply cleaning services to London Underground.

Tube cleaners’ striking back for a living wage

Tube cleaners are set to step up their fight for fair pay with a 48-hour strike from 5.30am on Thursday of this week.

Reports round-up

Technicians begin rolling strikes Over 150 workers at the Nortel company in Monkstown, County Antrim, struck for half a day on Monday of this week over pay.

Post protest for Simon Furze

Postal workers in Leicester at the North Delivery Office held a gate protest on Friday of last week over the sacking of Simon Furze, their CWU rep.

Socialist Peoples Party stands in Barrow

The Socialist Peoples Party in Barrow will be fighting a by-election in the Newbarns ward of Barrow in Cumbria on 4 September.

Unofficial walkout over suspensions in Haringey

Around 60 council workers in the Unison union in Haringey, north London, walked out of work on Tuesday of last week after two union activists were suspended.

Day of action at East North East Homes

Workers in East North East Homes Leeds held a successful day of strike action in defence of their Unison union convenor John McDermott, who has been suspended from work.

Bank holiday baggage handlers’ wage strike

Baggage handlers and check-in staff working for Swissport have voted to take strike action after workers rejected a below-inflation pay offer.

5,000 civil service workers out over pay

Around 5,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union are to join the Scottish local government workers in striking over pay on Wednesday of this week.

Local government action spreads to Scotland

Up to 150,000 council workers in Scotland were to stage a one-day strike on Wednesday of this week.

NEDL electricity workers show their power

Up to 1,200 electricity workers in Newcastle could strike for ten days in a row over pay.

Back the Eurostar cleaners in crucial pay battle

Cleaners for the Eurostar trains in London are set to strike on Monday of next week after they voted 100 percent for action over pay. They work for the OCS contractor and get just £6.37 an hour.

Southeastern trains ballot for action

Over 1,000 workers in the RMT transport workers’ union at Southeastern Trains are to begin a ballot for action this week over two different issues. Almost 500 guards, drivers and customer service hosts are to be balloted over management plans to reduce the safety role of the guard and extend the driver-only operation.

Tube maintenance workers’ strike will shake the bosses

This week sees a major battle on London Underground as around 1,000 maintenance workers strike over pay and conditions at the privatised Tube Lines consortium.

Rejecting the right in Bolivia

It is impossible to visit Bolivia and not be marked by the heady atmosphere of solidarity and popular political engagement. These elements continue to dominate the mass of the oppressed majority.

Missile system turns Britain into a target

George Bush’s plans for a "missile defence shield" have already played a major part in goading Russia and destabilising the Caucasus. Now it could turn Britain into a target in any future nuclear confrontation.

Step up fight for People Before Profit Charter

Supporters of the People Before Profit Charter held a protest at St Pancras International station on Friday of last week to highlight the low pay of Eurostar cleaners, who are set to strike this Bank Holiday Monday, (see picture, page 14).

Affordable homes attacked

In a landmark decision, Tory-run Hammersmith & Fulham council in west London has given the go ahead for a major private housing development to be built in the White City area – scrapping plans to provide new homes for working people at "affordable" rents.

Premier football and the minimum wage

The Premier League kicked off last week. Its highest paid player, Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, has won a new contract paying him £151,000 a week, or £3,775 an hour.

Campsfield hunger strikers fight deportation

Nearly sixty asylum seekers detained at the Campsfield House detention centre, in Oxfordshire, went on hunger strike last week in protest at the brutal treatment they have suffered and their looming deportations.

Angry protest against the BNP’s Nazi ‘Red, White and Blue’ hate-fest

Over 500 anti-fascist activists and trade unionists marched in Codnor, Derbyshire, last Saturday in opposition to the British National Party (BNP) and its "Red, White and Blue" Nazi hate-fest that took place in the area.

London tube workers hit back at profiteers

The threat to strike by 1,000 workers at the Tube Lines consortium on the London Underground over pay and conditions this week has won a new offer from bosses as Socialist Worker went to press.

Solid council workers' strike shuts down Scotland

Today, in the latest challenge to Gordon Brown’s curbs on wages, over 150,000 council workers in Scotland are striking against a below-inflation three year deal.


International

Afghan insurgency builds and moves on Kabul

The uprising against the Nato occupation of Afghanistan has gathered pace over the summer. Fighting has spread across a number of regions – and is now moving towards the capital Kabul.

Key Bush ally Musharraf forced out of power in Pakistan

One of George Bush’s favourite dictators fell on his sword this week. Pervez Musharraf, the former general and president of Pakistan, resigned rather than face impeachment by the country’s parliament.


Comment

David Miliband is playing a dangerous game

British politicians love playing Winston Churchill. Tory leader David Cameron was at it last week when he flew to Georgia. According to the Guardian, Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili invited him after he compared the situation there to "the appeasement of Hitler".


Features

The US and Russia: the limits of a superpower

Internationally the war is a big blow for the US, at least in Central Europe and the Caucasus. It has suddenly shown that the influence and control of the sole superpower is limited. There are situations when the superpower cannot protect its client states such as Georgia.

A Georgian tragedy

Almond argues that the Western media has tried to portray Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili as a modernising democrat.

The Notting Hill riot and a carnival of defiance

The establishment and the media are never quite comfortable with the Notting Hill Carnival, which is held this weekend, but they are generally happy to praise it as an annual celebration of Britain’s diversity.

Imperialism’s unstable world order

There is one fundamental thing that is common to capitalism in every age that makes it a uniquely violent system. It is not a marginal or accidental part of the system but something that is part of the very definition of capitalist society. That thing is competition.

Nato moves east (map)

Polish activists: ‘We’ve had Moscow, we don’t want Washington’

The US and Poland’s leaders have escalated the militarisation of Europe and the tensions between the West and Russia.

It’s not Czechoslovakia 1968

In the Czech Republic, just as in most European countries, we have been watching television pictures of Georgia’s "brave" president Mikheil Saakashvili "defending his small country against imperial Russia".

Thousands thrown out of work by the crisis

Over the last three months, 60,000 more people in Britain have become unemployed. This massive rise takes the unemployment total to 1.67 million.


Reviews

Portsmouth Multicultural festival

This celebration features music and food from many different cultures and traditions.

Festival of the Tree

Held in a beautiful forest, this festival celebrates all things wooden.

Monkey, Journey to the West

This album is the soundtrack that Damon Albarn composed to accompany his ground-breaking opera of the same title.

The Sixties: Photographs by Robert Altman

Nas Untitled: Racism and Obama inspire politically charged hip-hop

"Although it seems heaven sent, we ain’t ready to have a black President… some things will never change", argued the rapper Tupac Shakur in 1996. Twelve years on it would seem things have changed as White House braces itself for a black occupant. This change has not been lost on Nasir "Nas" Jones, one of rap music’s favorite sons.

The Fugs: proto-punk and the 60s sound that echoes today

"This is the era of the civil rights, sexual and consciousness expansion revolutions, and those are the banners under which The Fugs are going to present themselves to America."


What We Think

Teenager’s conviction on ‘terrorism’ charges shows threat to civil liberties

Hammaad Munshi became the youngest person convicted under the Terrorism Act this week. He was under police surveillance from the age of 16 and was found guilty along with two other men of "making a record of information likely to be useful in terrorism".

Buying Olympic gold medals

The bosses’ Financial Times newspaper is very clear that "Team GB’s" success in the Chinese Olympics shows "you can, literally, buy gold metals". Britain’s Chinese haul of medals has come in what the paper terms "elite sports".

Scottish Labour leadership contenders stick to Brown’s script

The spin from inside New Labour is that the party leadership accepts that it will lose the forthcoming Westminster by-election in Glenrothes to the Scottish National Party (SNP). It would be a shocking indictment of New Labour to lose yet another rock solid Labour seat.


Other Categories

Bill Moore

Socialist historian, peace campaigner and Communist Party (CP) member Bill Moore died last month aged 97 after a lifetime of activity on the left.

Tim: gold medal for hypocrisy

Letters

We need renewables – not coal or nuclear The idea that "the lights will go out" unless we have the Kingsnorth power station or nuclear power is wrong.



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