Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2145

Dated: 04 Apr 2009




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'The rich want me to pay for their crisis'

Claudia Campbell is one of millions of people working in Britain forced to live on very low pay.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Gordon Brown's bid to save the world falls flat

Gordon Brown's plans for a "global new deal" to save the world economy came badly unstuck long before this week's summit of G20 world leaders.

Anger in Irish Republic as general strike is called off

The leadership of the Irish trade unions has called off the general strike that was set for Monday of this week.

Loyalist bigots whip up race attacks in Northern Ireland

Some of the festering sectarianism that still dominates Northern Ireland came to the fore last weekend with more than a dozen racist attacks on migrants' homes in Belfast.

An Olympic event causing injuries in east London

Battle lines are being drawn at the Olympic construction site in east London. A deal between the TUC and the Olympic Development Authority (ODA) claiming to give unions influence in the building of the Olympics was announced last week.

Offshore workers need a union to get bosses over a barrel

With safety of paramount importance, the battle to build effective union organisation in the offshore industry can be a matter of life and death. Jake Molloy, Neil Rothnie and Mike McCaig of OILC, the energy branch of the RMT union, spoke to Socialist Worker about the challenge.

Workload soars at DWP as unemployment claims rocket

The group executive committee of the PCS civil service workers' union in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) met last week against the background of management attacks on terms and conditions.

Jobs fight spreading among newspaper journalists

The Daily Record and Sunday Mail Scottish newspapers are the latest battleground in the fight against bosses' attempts to make cutbacks.

Time to take action to protect bus drivers from assaults

More than 20 drivers at the Brighton & Hove Bus Company have been assaulted by members of the public while at work over the last year. Recent evidence shows that this situation is only getting worse.

Delegates gather for NUS's final democratic conference

This year's NUS student union conference will be the last one where elected delegates have the power to directly determine the direction of the union.

Firefighters to ballot for action over shift changes

Firefighters in the FBU union in Humberside and South Yorkshire are holding ballots for industrial action short of a strike in two separate disputes over imposed changes to work patterns.

London Metropolitan unions set to meet management for talks

The staff unions at London Metropolitan University were set to meet with management as Socialist Worker went to press.

Rail strikes set to shunt bosses

Around 100 train conductors in the RMT union working at London Midland depots at Bletchley, Northampton and Watford are set to strike for two days from Sunday.

Unite suspends Kevin Coyne

The Unite union has suspended three high profile figures, including one of the candidates in the recent general secretary election in the Amicus section. There is now an investigation into a series of leaks to the media.

PCS to ballot over job cuts at equality commission

Members of the PCS civil service workers' union are continuing their fight against job cuts and attacks on services at the crisis-ridden Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Don't let the authorities deport the Thulambo family

Over 100 people joined a protest in Sheffield on Friday of last week to show support for the Thulambo family – Privilege and her two daughters, Valerie and Lorraine – who are threatened with deportation.

Demand justice for Yunus

High profile union activist Yunus Bakhsh continues his fight for reinstatement to his job as a nurse this week.

Education round-up

Head goes after strike threat An attempt to take schools out of community control has run into problems in Waltham Forest in east London.

Step up fight against Nazi BNP

With two months to go before the European elections on Thursday 4 June, anti-Nazi campaigners are stepping up their attempts to block the fascist British National Party (BNP) from grabbing seats in the European parliament.

More council workers in Glasgow to be balloted on pay

Community service supervisors in Glasgow are entering their 13th week of indefinite strikes over single status grading – and their action remains solid.

Prisme factory occupation enters its fifth week

Workers at the Prisme packaging plant in Dundee are entering the fifth week of their factory occupation.

Humbling the hawks

The pro-imperialist liberals, once vociferous and united in defence of US wars, are in a mess. The invasion of Iraq, on which so many of them waged their moral and intellectual credibility, has led to horrifying bloodletting.

Thousands march to demand that people are put first

More than 40,000 people converged on central London last Saturday for the opening protest in a series of demonstrations focused on this week's meeting of the G20 world leaders.

State responds with fear ahead of G20 summit

Police created a climate of fear in the run up to the G20 protests in London. Workers in the City were advised to "dress down" and to hide company badges to avoid being attacked by protesters.

Voices from the Put People First protest

Arthur Shaw from the RMT transport union We're here to try and change things, but maybe we'll need more direct action. We don't demonstrate enough. People are moaning about everything when they watch the news – but they need to be on the streets. This is not just about the bankers – it's about the war in Iraq, about Palestine and the greed of the rich.

Seize the chance to rage at job losses on 16 May

Unite, Britain's biggest union, has called a march for jobs in Birmingham on Saturday 16 May.

MPs have their snouts in the expenses trough

New Labour's home secretary, Jacqui Smith, is overseeing the repressive security at the G20 summit.

Food parcels doled out for the jobless in Ipswich

Unemployed workers in Ipswich are being forced to live off food parcels as local services struggle to cope with growing job losses.

OECD predicts another bad year for British economy

The global club of rich nations that is the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has predicted that the economy of its 30 members will contract by 4.3 percent this year.

Pakistan: Nato's war escalates

US president Barack Obama was meeting with representatives of 70 countries in the Hague on Tuesday as Socialist Worker went to press.

Anti-war campaigners help force out Czech PM

The Czech Republic's prime minister Mirek Topolanek was toppled last week by a parliamentary no-confidence vote.

Iraq: British troops withdrawal does not mean peace

The British occupation forces in southern Iraq passed military command of the region to the US Army this week.

Thousands to strike for jobs at the BBC

Thousands of BBC workers across Britain are set to strike on Friday of this week. This action will have a severe impact on broadcasting.

Tube workers' battle can boost resistance to the recession

Workers on London Underground are pushing hard to win a strike ballot taking place among 10,000 RMT union members over pay and job cuts. They know the stakes are high.

Mood grows in Royal Mail to fight against post cuts

The possibility of a London-wide strike at Royal Mail grew this week after bosses refused to back down from plans to slash jobs at offices around the capital.

Solidarity for sacked Woolwich postal worker

Postal workers in Woolwich, south London, delivered a massive show of solidarity to a sacked colleague by taking strike action on Tuesday this week.

The G20 summit in figures

The government claims that the G20 summit will cost about £20 million The police operation will cost £7.2 million Labour claims it is a good investment for London Newham is the sixth most deprived local authority in England Some 69 percent of children in Newham are in low income families Some 8,737 people in the borough are on unemployment benefits, with 739 new claims in February

G20 protesters converge outside Bank of England

Thousands of anti-capitalist and anti-war protesters converged on London's City financial district today to demonstrate ahead of the G20 summit that starts tomorrow.

Protesters tell G20 leaders end the 'war on terror'

Some 5,000 people joined the anti-war demonstration in central London on Wednesday to call for troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, freedom for Palestine, and an end to nuclear weapons.

Anger and solidarity at Visteon Basildon protest

Up to 100 sacked workers from Visteon in Basildon, Essex, protested outside the Visteon Customer and Technology Centre (VCTC) this morning.

Police tactics questioned after man dies during G20 protests

Questions are being raised about the police tactics being used in London against G20 demonstrators in the wake of the death of a man caught up in the protest.

Occupation to stop council selling empty homes

Defend Council Housing (DCH) activists have occupied a flat in Streatham, south London, in protest at Lambeth council’s policy of selling off its housing stock despite the chronic shortage of accommodation in the borough.

Glasgow parents occupy primary schools to stop closure

Parents of children at Wynford and St Gregory's primary schools in Glasgow have occupied the school buildings to protest over the threatened closure of the schools.

Hundreds join Visteon solidarity rally in Enfield

Hundreds rallied at the Visteon car components factory in Enfield, north London, this morning in support of workers who have been occupying the site since being sacked on Wednesday.

Marchers condemn police G20 tactics

Around 200 people gathered outside the Bank of England at lunchtime today to march to Bethnal Green police station to protest at the police tactics on the G20 demonstrations and the media coverage of the protests.


International


Comment

Decent state pensions are a right, not charity

Around a sixth of Britain's population – some 11 million people – are pensioners. Yet the basic state pension is just 15 percent of the average wage, down from 25 percent when pensions were first paid in 1909.


Features

Nato's role in promoting Western imperialism

Anti-war activists from around the world will converge on the city of Strasbourg in France this week to protest at the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), the military alliance headed by the US. Nato was formed 60 years ago on 4 April 1949.

Gaza: a journey to defiance

Nothing shows the brutal power of Israeli weaponry better than the piles of rubble that greeted us as we crossed into Gaza.

Too much production or too little consumption?

The world is overflowing with products that people aren't buying. The World Trade Organisation predicts that global trade will drop by 10 percent this year. Exports from Japan, the world's second largest economy, have nearly halved from a year ago.

Too many parties, not enough socialists?

You have decided that you want a revolution to overthrow capitalism. You turn up at a protest or left wing rally and are confronted with a barrage of different socialist publications and organisations you can join.

Visteon car workers in Belfast occupy against cuts

Some 200 workers have occupied the Visteon car parts plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland, against job cuts.

Visteon protests spread as Enfield and Basildon workers occupy

The occupations and protests against job cuts at Visteon spread this morning from Belfast to sites in Britain.

Picture of workers' occupation at Visteon Enfield

Interviews with sacked Visteon workers in Enfield

Elma Walker and her husband Paul have both worked at the Visteon car components plant for over 20 years.

A day in occupation: report from Visteon's Enfield plant

Workers at Visteon's Enfield plant who went into occupation on Wednesday are furious at the way they have been treated by their management.

Lifting the lid on Visteon, KPMG and the fat cats behind the cuts

The company that summarily sacked 600 workers leading to occupations in Belfast, Basildon and Enfield is Visteon UK. It a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based Visteon Corporation.

Thursday morning at the Visteon occupations

Enfield The occupation of workers at the Visteon plant in north London entered its second day on Thursday morning. The occupation continues, despite an overnight attempt by police and bailiffs to evict the workers.

Visteon occupation into third day

Workers at the Visteon plant in Enfield, north London entered their third day of occupation today. They have occupied the site for the past two nights after being sacked on Tuesday afternoon with no notice, no redundancy package and no pay for their last week's work.

Visteon workers occupy against redundancies

Workers at the car plant manufacturer Visteon have responded magnificently to being summarily sacked.

Video interviews with Visteon occupiers in Enfield

The footage shows interviews with workers occupying the Visteon car components plant in Enfield, North London, Saturday 4 April 2009


Reviews


What We Think

Put People First: Trade unions show glimpse of their power

Last Saturday saw the biggest trade union protest in years. Thousands of workers marched through London as part of the Put People First demonstration before the arrival of the G20 leaders for their London summit.

Dunfermline shows there's nowhere to hide from crisis

The Dunfermline, Scotland's biggest building society, is the latest victim of the recession. The Nationwide, which is the largest building society in Britain, has taken over the Dunfermline's healthier assets in return for £1.6 billion from the government.

Time for a major programme of council housing

Figures released last week show that the public sector is now funding almost half of the new homes that are being built.


Other Categories

Vall Midson 1949-2009

Socialists and trade unionists in Manchester were saddened to hear of the passing of Vall Midson, who died last week after a long battle with cancer.

Tim: Adult entertainment

Letters

Poverty pay lives on New Labour introduced the minimum wage ten years ago on 1 April 2009. A number of unions and charities are celebrating its tenth anniversary this week, while calling for it to be improved and extended.



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