Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2117

Dated: 06 Sep 2008

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Nato tries to hide Afghan massacres

Nato is attempting to cover up a series of massacres committed by its forces in a murderous campaign of airstrikes on Afghanistan.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Pirelli workers threatened with no pay for lay off

Over 1,000 workers at the Pirelli tyre factory in Carlisle have been asked to take unpaid leave.

CE Electric workers vote for strike over wages

Over 1,100 workers at CE Electric, in the Unite and GMB unions, have voted to strike for a 5 percent wage increase.

Sheffield journalists vote for action

NUJ members working at Johnston Press newspaper the Sheffield Star and its sister titles have voted to take industrial action over cutbacks.

Life is short - if you’re poor in Manchester

‘There can be no more chilling form of inequality than someone’s social status at birth determining the timing of their death," said the health secretary Alan Johnson in a speech on 12 September last year.

Outrage at Yunus Bakhsh disciplinary

Unison union activists were outraged to hear that their union leadership had commenced a disciplinary hearing into Yunus Bakhsh, the highly respected health worker and trade unionist.

Keighley post workers ballot for action

Some 140 post workers at Keighley delivery office in West Yorkshire are being balloted on industrial action over Royal Mail failing to stick to the terms of the recently signed Phase 3 of the Pay and Modernisation Agreement.

We need to organise against Royal Mail’s attacks

The next few months will be crucial for postal workers, as Royal Mail starts a new round of automation.

Cleaners leaflet Oval

Cleaners working for OCS on Eurostar leafleted cricket fans arriving at the Brit Oval for the one-day international last Friday.

Colleges return to ballot

Lecturers in the UCU union are returning to colleges and universities this week with a flurry of ballots for action over pay and conditions.

No more mediation over civil servants pay at Acas

Hundreds of workers at the conciliation service Acas have voted to go on strike over pay.

Scottish council workers must push for more action now talks have failed

Scottish council pay talks collapsed this week as it became clear that bosses from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) wanted to have their cake and eat it.

A culture of striking in Glasgow

Following on from the magnificent local government workers’ strike in Scotland last month, another group of workers have taken strike action.

Swissport accept deal

Workers at Swissport have voted to accept an improved pay offer of 4 percent for 2008-2009 backdated to 1 April.

This is an M&S victimisation

A worker at Marks & Spencer who revealed plans to cut redundancy pay for the firm’s 70,000 staff has been suspended and is facing a disciplinary hearing.

Industrial action on Arriva trains

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said 27 of its members at Arriva Trains Wales would start a work-to-rule from Thursday of this week.

Striking to fight attacks on pay

Workers at a South Shields double-glazing company went on strike last Friday over pay.

Stoke shows what happens when Nazis gain a foothold

Stoke resident Habib Khan was handed an eight year jail sentence last week for the manslaughter of British National Party (BNP) activist Keith Brown, his next door neighbour and a hardened Nazi thug.

TUC conference: don’t let workers pay for the crisis

The TUC conference next week will see major discussions about how workers can best respond to the looming economic crisis.

London bus workers stage mass pickets

A strike of some 2,500 London bus workers on Friday of last week saw mass picketing on the streets as strikers brought many bus routes in the east and west of the city to a standstill.

Bus workers campaigning for public transport not private profit

Thousands of bus workers in London have thrown their weight behind the Unite union’s growing pay campaign.

Housing plan is little more than sticking plaster

I’m writing this before the final announcement of the government’s plans to "revive the housing market" – but I’m already confident in predicting they won’t work.

Labour in turmoil as recession looms

New Labour has finally admitted what millions have known for months – that the country is sailing towards recession and government ministers have no solution to the crisis.

A rare chance to hear from John Pilger

Veteran journalist John Pilger will be holding a question and answer session at an event to help raise funds for this year’s Socialist Worker Appeal.

Social workers rally resistance

At a time when the public sector is under relentless attack from New Labour’s neoliberal policies, the Social Work: A Profession Worth Fighting For? conference will be a crucial event to rally resistance.

Campaigners strike a blow against NHS polyclinics

Campaigners against the privatisation of the NHS in north west England were celebrating last week as Preston council backed a motion that opposed plans to build a polyclinic in the city.

Karen Reissmann - campaign continues

The campaign continues to defend sacked nurse Karen Reissmann and the right to speak out in defence of the NHS – despite the postponement of her employment tribunal.

New Labour banging war drums - again

The new Labour government is leading the West’s war of words against Russia in its dispute with Georgia.

Reality behind the US rhetoric on Iraq

The US has made a great fanfare over the handing of control of Iraq’s Anbar province to its Iraqi allies this week.

Kaiser Chiefs rock against the BNP at 4,000 strong gig

Some 4,000 young people descended on the cavernous Magna Centre in Rotherham last Saturday to hear The Kaiser Chiefs, Reverend and the Makers, The Courteeners and other bands back Love Music Hate Racism’s message of opposition to the Nazi BNP.


War and poverty - faultlines in Pakistan

What was the reaction to Musharraf’s resignation?


Why no outcry from black leaders as police target black males round Notting Hill?

Picture this scene – hundreds of young black men, some appearing to be as young as 13, rounded up, surrounded and held for hours without charge by a cordon of police in body armour; parents standing outside the cordon demanding to be told what is happening to their children; dozens of officers with machine guns sealing off the area; simmering anger from those released from the cordon after being searched and finger printed.

Is Caucasus conflict a new Cold War?

For millions of people around the world, the crisis in the Caucasus has raised fears of a new era of war.

Academy programme: attacking the poor in name of justice

At the end of the last school year, schools secretary Ed Balls threatened nearly one in five secondary schools in Britain – 638 in total – with closure.

John McCain and Barack Obama are both caught up in the system’s game

After a week dominated by Barack Obama’s consecration at the Democratic convention in Denver, his Republican rival has succeeded brilliantly in upstaging him.


Oliver Cromwell’s legacy

The British establishment doesn’t often, even inadvertently, remind us of our revolutionary past. So every visitor to central London should be aware of a hidden treat that the area contains. Deep in the heart of modern government, half way down Whitehall, lies the Banqueting House.

Migrant workers: ‘We deserve to be treated like human beings’

Farming bosses have recently been bemoaning the lack of workers to bring in the harvest this year. While this is a refreshing change from scare stories about "floods" of migrants it still ignores the fact that conditions for migrant workers in Britain are appalling.

Britain’s big name companies that rely on the gangmasters

In agriculture, as in other low paid sectors, many workers are supplied by gangmasters or "mediators". They sometimes flout minimum wage legislation by deducting inflated sums for housing and transport directly from workers’ pay.

Domestic workers in private homes suffer a hidden misery of exploitation, poor health and abuse

Every year around 17,000 visas are granted to people from countries outside the European Union to come to Britain as domestic workers. The majority are women, carrying out jobs such as caring for children or other family members, cooking and cleaning.

The restaurants where the wine is worth more than the workers

A table at The Ivy restaurant in Covent Garden is, according to restaurant critic AA Gill, "one of the most sought-after pieces of furniture in London".

SW Appeal: help us raise £150,000

Socialist Worker is proud of the fact that – unlike the mainstream press – we don’t rely on the money of big business to survive. But that means do we rely on the support of our readers and the wider movement.

A briefing on the continuing crisis in Thailand

For the past two or more years – and especially since the September 2006 coup – Thai society has been hypnotised into forgetting about its real social and political issues. Instead, the whole of society – and, most tragically, the social movements – have been entranced by a fight between two factions of the Thai ruling class.


What We Think

As one prime minister resigns, Gordon Brown should be next

When the prime minister came to power, displacing an unpopular predecessor who had been forced to resign, many thought he could turn round the fortunes of his party.

Private Finance Initiative - fleecing our services

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI), which has been the main way the government has chosen to fund the building of new hospitals and schools, is wasting taxpayers’ money to line the pockets of greedy consultancy firms.

Unions must turn rhetoric into reality to beat the pay freeze

With poverty rising almost as fast as the pound is falling on the currency markets, the government has finally admitted that the economy is chaos.

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Who says?

"I’m not offended if someone earns large sums of money. Is it fair or not? It’s just a fact of life." Alistair Darling proving he’s not the man to talk to about equality

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