Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2138

Dated: 14 Feb 2009




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Tell Gordon Brown: ‘Scrap bank bonuses, save our jobs’

Have the priorities of the system we live under ever been more clearly exposed than by the events of the past week?


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Capital problems for NHS PFI privateers

The recession is spreading fear through Whitehall as it threatens the government’s plans for the NHS.

Vultures want to use the NHS to save their profits

As one part of NHS privatisation hits the rocks, the government is ploughing ahead with others.

Focus construction industry anger over jobs on bosses and Brown

Workers protesting at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire returned to work on Monday of this week after management promised an additional 102 jobs would be made available to "British" workers.

Analysing the fallout from the Lindsey dispute

The walkouts at Lindsey Oil Refinery have set a number of precedents – both good and bad.

Use of subcontracting is a scandal

The European Union (EU) Posted Workers Directive allows foreign contractors to hire staff from overseas for temporary projects, provided they are granted the same legal rights as British workers.

SWP National Committee meets to discuss fightback

The national committee of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) met last weekend to discuss the economic crisis and the party’s response to it.

Strike threat at Thames Water

Workers at Thames Water in the GMB union may be balloted for strike action over job cuts and a threat to outsource call centre work to India.

Snowfall prompts threats over pay

Unions have responded angrily to managers threatening to withhold pay or deduct holidays from employees who couldn’t get to work last week because of heavy snow.

Get delegations to the DCH inquiry

Defend Council Housing (DCH) is calling on its supporters to come to parliament and give evidence in favour of fully funded council housing on Wednesday 25 February.

FE strike across eight colleges

Further education lecturers in eight colleges across Britain took part in a solid one-day strike over pay on Thursday of last week.

Action to block Brent academies

More than 40 teachers in Brent, north west London, met on Friday of last week to discuss how to resist plans to turn two of the borough’s schools into academies sponsored by Edutrust.

Cambridge University Press workers challenge redundancies

This year is the 800th anniversary of Cambridge University and the 425th anniversary of Cambridge University Press (CUP).

Journalists at the Independent to ballot over redundancies

Newspapers and magazines across the country are looking to cut jobs and wages – but journalists are fighting back.

Media round-up

BBC petition for Gaza appeal Staff at the BBC have launched a petition campaign against director-general Mark Thompson’s decision not to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee’s humanitarian appeal for Gaza.

16,000 postal jobs at risk - if we don’t fight

Postal workers woke up to shocking newspaper headlines last week that talked of 16,000 job losses at Royal Mail.

A week of fury will greet G20 in London

The leaders of the world’s most powerful nations will meet in London in April.

Afghanistan: war is ‘tougher than Vietnam’ for US

The US has admitted that winning the war in Afghanistan will be "tougher than Vietnam".

Student rebellion spreads across campuses

The past week has seen the 27th occupation start on a university campus in as many days. For students across Britain, the first weeks of term in 2009 look set to shape the politics on campus for many months to come.

Students are building a new resistance

The wave of occupations of British universities in solidarity with Gaza over the past few weeks has electrified the student movement. We now may be witnessing the rebirth of that movement.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn: Thai socialist writer escapes to Britain

The dissident Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn has fled to Britain to avoid censorship and imprisonment in Thailand.

Sleazy does it

£116,000 in a spare bedroom This week New Labour minister Yvette Cooper complained about the "moral irresponsibility" of bankers and condemned their bonuses.

Crisis hits the car industry as companies cut jobs

There is a dramatic crisis sweeping through the car industry in Britain. New car registrations dropped by 30 percent in January alone.

‘Ford bosses are rewarding us with a kick in the teeth’

Over the last year we’ve done everything that Ford bosses have asked of us in order to secure the future of our plant. But our efforts have been rewarded with a kick in the teeth.

Anti-Nazis protest at hearing of BNP former teacher

Anti-Nazi protesters held a lively protest outside the General Teaching Council in Birmingham on Tuesday of this week.

Transport round-up

Arriva Wales An unofficial strike by drivers at Arriva Trains Wales forced the cancellation of more than 100 trains last Sunday.

Strike ballot as 700 jobs threatened at rail freight company

Over 700 workers at DB Schenker (formerly EWS), Britain’s biggest rail freight company, are to ballot from Wednesday of this week for strikes over jobs, pay and conditions.

Bus round-up

London Sovereign strikes suspended Strike action by bus workers at Transdev Sovereign in north west London planned for Wednesday of this week has been suspended.

Movement of solidarity for Gaza grows

Activists across Britain have been stepping up activity around Gaza. Local initiatives have included meetings, collections in workplaces and street stalls to raise awareness and money for the people of Gaza.

Glasgow council workers’ strike still solid

Some 21 community service supervisors employed by Glasgow council are now entering their sixth week of indefinite strike action over single status grading.

Council round-up

Nottingham Nottingham city council has deferred a decision to axe hundreds of jobs after protests by workers. Over 200 Unison, GMB and Unite union members rallied in the city as councillors were due to discuss plans to slash up to 800 jobs.

The case against Yunus Bakhsh may be coming unstuck

The witch-hunt in the Unison union that aims to expel leading activist Yunus Bakhsh is showing signs of coming unstuck, with allegations of racism in the union continuing to cause a storm.

More than two million jobless

Official figures to be released on Wednesday of this week are expected to reveal that the total number of unemployed topped two million at the end of last year – the highest figure since Labour came to power in 1997.

Support statement saying 'Fight job cuts with unity'

Hundreds of trade unionists have signed a broad-based statement calling for a united fight over jobs and pointing to the dangers of targeting "foreign workers".

Waterford occupiers keep factory alive

Noel is part of a group of workers who are keeping the Waterford Crystal flame burning.

G20 leaders will face mass protests

We have an opportunity to come together in our thousands next month to say "Put People First".

The racist truth about Dutch film maker Geert Wilders

The banning of Dutch film maker Geert Wilders from Britain has led to renewed arguments about free speech. Last year Maina van der Zwan from Socialist Worker's Dutch sister organisation examined his Islamophobic film, Fitna, describing it as, "a disgusting piece of racist propaganda which resembles Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew), a film Nazis used in 1940 to 'expose' the Jews of Europe".

Video of stormy union meeting as BMW Mini workers hear about redundancy

A Unite union meeting with agency workers who produce minis at BMW's plant at Cowley, Oxford. The workers of shift C "yellow" have just heard they are to be sacked in 30 minutes, 16 February 2009

Video of management sacking agency workers at BMW Cowley

Management tell the workers of shift C "yellow" Mini production at BMW's Cowley plant that they are sacked at the end of a night shift on the morning of 16 February 2009. This video immediately precedes the one circulating yesterday


International

NPA: A new party in France against war and neoliberalism

Following huge strikes and demonstrations on 29 January against the French government’s response to the recession, last week brought further indications of the potential of the developing movement in France.

French activist: ‘Now we have a real left’

‘In our areas we haven’t known the Marxist or Communist or social-democratic left that existed before.

Campaigning for Venezuela's referendum

Last Saturday two marches started in the huge barrio of Petare, in Venezuela's capital Caracas.


Comment

Giles Ji Ungpakorn’s Red Siam manifesto

The enemies of the Thai people and Democracy may have their army, courts and prisons. They may have seized and rigged parliament and established the government through crimes like the blockading of the airports and other undemocratic actions by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

The free market vs protectionism

It’s a bit rich that politicians and big business lined up to lecture us on the virtues of racial tolerance and international solidarity during the recent wildcat strikes.

An urgent fight to stop the Nazi BNP

The British National Party (BNP) is aiming to win seats in the European parliament in June. The Nazis believe they have the wind in their sails following the walkouts at the Lindsey Oil Refinery.


Features

Charles Darwin’s discovery

Alex Callinicos looks at the political controversies that still surround Charles Darwin, who was born 200 years ago, and founded modern biology with his theory of evolution

Nationalism: Who really benefits when ‘we’re all in it together’?

The slogan "British jobs for British workers" gained widespread notoriety during the recent unofficial strikes by construction workers.

Eastern Europe: a return to crisis

Twenty years ago the countries of eastern Europe were rocked by a series of revolutions that brought down the Communist dictatorships that ran them. Many commentators claimed at the time that the transition to free market capitalism would lead to prosperity for all.


Reviews

Media Revolution: Title Fight

This documentary looks at the future of the book industry and the effect of the abolition of the old Net Book Agreement.

Reel News benefit

With the King Blues headlining and a variety of bands and DJs playing, this political benefit gig will be a great night out.

The Handmaid’s Tale DVD

This 1990 adaption of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel is finally being released on DVD.

Guess Who Is Coming To Dinner: photographs of mixed race Britain

This exhibition tells the stories of black mixed race families in Birmingham in the 1950s and 1960s.

England People Very Nice: why racism and comedy do not mix

I wasn’t surprised by Carol Thatcher making racist jibes. She is after all the daughter of Margaret Thatcher, who once declared that immigrants were "swamping" Britain.


What We Think

The cost of Tony Blair bringing 'peace' to the Middle East

The carnage in Gaza is the latest reflection of Tony Blair’s "success" in his role as Middle East peace envoy.

The left must always organise to raise politics in strikes

Recent construction walkouts have raised many arguments about who is to blame for the jobs crisis and how the left should respond to strikes that wrongly target "foreign workers".

Whoever wins the Israeli elections will oppress Palestinians

Whatever the outcome of the elections in Israel, one thing is guaranteed – the Palestinians will find no respite from the endless war and oppression they face.


Other Categories

Tim: Signs of Depression

Leon: 'I've got the wheel!'

Letters

Letters

The week in quotes

"It wasn’t until we signed our last bits of paper that we thought, why did we go quietly? Why did 30,000 of us go quietly?"Jayne Maltman, a former Woolworths shop worker interviewed in the Guardian



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