Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2154

Dated: 06 Jun 2009




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Sorry is not good enough

Gordon Brown’s government is in deep crisis. Reports of various cabinet ministers expected to stand down or be "reshuffled" out of their jobs were mounting by the hour as Socialist Worker went to press.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Strike in defence of victimised union activist at Soas

Unison members at Soas university were on strike on Thursday in defence of victimised union activist José Stalin Bermúdez – and many other workers refused to cross the picket line.

Fight for the Right to Work conference to unite resistance against job losses

More than half of all workers in Britain have had a cut in their pay or hours, or lost employment benefits since the start of the recession, according to a new report.

Ford-Visteon workers want their pensions back

Former Ford-Visteon workers held a lively protest at a pension trustees meeting in central London on Monday of this week.

Linamar vote to defend rep

Workers at the Linamar (formerly Visteon) plant in Swansea have voted overwhelmingly to strike in support of their sacked Unite union convenor, Rob Williams.

New GM deal threatens 5,500 workers’ livelihoods

General Motors (GM), the US firm which owns Vauxhall, has filed for bankruptcy protection – making it one of the biggest corporate failures in US history.

Growing fears for the future at Delphi

Delphi, the car components firm spun-off from General Motors (GM), has emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the US.

Mistakes mean money at Financial Services Authority

The City watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), paid out £19.7 million in bonuses for the last 12 months, compared with just £13.9 million the previous year.

Rewards for failed BT bosses

British Telecom has paid out a massive £1.6 million "termination payment" to Francois Barrault.

Valerie Wise's electoral challenge to neoliberalism and war

Valerie Wise, the former leader of Preston council, is to stand as an independent candidate in the city in the next general election.

Fire cuts put crews in danger

Cuts in frontline fire crews will put lives in danger, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned.

Lincs Stop the War hustings

Around 50 people attended the North Lincolnshire Stop the War Coalition European election hustings meeting in Scunthorpe last week.

Bus workers must beat tendering

Bus workers at London’s biggest garage, Westbourne Park in west London, are facing job cuts.

Campaign beats NHS sell off

Campaigners are celebrating victory in a long-running effort to stop the privatisation of a GPs’ practice at the Laurels Health Centre in Tottenham, north London.

Nominations open for NUT positions

National Union of Teachers (NUT) branches are starting to nominate candidates for key leadership positions in the union.

Barrow students walk out

Hundreds of school students in Barrow staged mass walkouts on Monday of this week against a proposed academy in the town.

UCU Congress backs Palestinians

Lecturers at the UCU congress passed several motions in support of the Palestinians, including some in defiance of legal advice.

UCU Congress debates campaigns

This year’s UCU lecturers’ union annual congress was shaped by the impact of the growing recession and the fight for jobs and education.

UCU higher education sector conference

The UCU higher education sector conference focused on our current national pay claim, workload and redundancies. It also addressed issues of governance, bullying, funding, casualisation and privatisation.

Lecturers' tough stance against government’s immigration system

UCU congress took a tough stance against the government’s points based immigration system (PBSI), voting to boycott it and to campaign for it to be abolished.

Last push against BNP in European elections

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has produced an eve-of-poll leaflet for campaigners to use during the last hours of campaigning in the European elections.

Ministers desert sinking ship as Labour crisis grows

Gordon Brown’s government is staggering towards its grave. This is clear even before the European and local election results are known. The resignations of James Purnell, Hazel Blears and John Hutton – all supporters of former premier Tony Blair – were designed to provoke a coup to topple Brown.

Stead McAlpin workers reject offer

Workers at the Stead McAlpin textile factory in Cummersdale, near Carlisle, last week voted against a take-over plan that could have seen massive cuts in their pay and worse conditions.

QinetiQ workers vote for industrial action

Workers at defence research firm QinetiQ have voted in favour of taking industrial action in protest at a pay freeze.

Strike at Anglian Water

Workers at Anglian Water are to stage a 24-hour strike and a work to rule in a dispute over pay.

Refuse workers strike in Bristol

Strike at Falkland paper bag factory

Factory workers from Falkland based Smith Anderson Group Ltd, a major UK paper bag manufacturer, took 24 hour strike action from 7am on Wednesday of last week.

Camden housing activists survey councillors

Local authorities which are raising rents and selling off properties are facing growing oppostion from angry tenants.

TSSA conference abandoned

The recent TSSA rail workers’ union conference in Torquay was overshadowed by a debate about 17 branches having their delegate credentials removed by the union’s general secretary Gerry Doherty.

Glasgow council strike ends

After 21 weeks on strike, Glasgow community service supervisors have voted to accept an improved offer and end their dispute.

Massive vote to strike by London post workers

Postal workers in London have voted by 91 percent in favour of strike action as part of a fight to defend their jobs, their union, and the publicly-owned postal services they provide.

Why aren't semi-automatic hitches banned on olympic site?

Harry Sheridan was killed in December last year when an excavator bucket fell on him.

‘Inadequate’ fine for construction blacklist

One of the men behind a huge construction blacklist pleaded guilty last week to breaching the Data Protection Act.

Stoke festival rocks against the Nazi BNP

More than 20,000 people crowded into the Britannia football stadium in Stoke-on-Trent last Saturday for the Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) Festival.

Pictures of LMHR Stoke Festival, 30 May 2009

Anti-fascist campaigners out on the streets

Anti-fascist activists were out campaigning until the last minute to drive back the threat of the British National Party’s (BNP) in the European elections on Thursday this week.

BNP's ‘respectable’ veneer slips

The BNP’s attempts to pose as "respectable" took another battering last week as the Nazi party was forced to warn its members to "take care" when posting on web forums.

Massive vote for action shows the mood to fight in post

As Lord Mandelson toured television studios last week defending his plan to sell a share of Royal Mail to vulture capitalists CVC, we in the London division of the CWU union were totting up our votes for strike action.

Tube strike set to shut down London

London Underground and Transport for London workers are set to bring the capital to a grinding halt for 48 hours next week after voting to strike over job losses, pay cuts and management bullying.

Reshuffle won’t stop the rot at heart of parliament

The Labour government is making noises about reforming parliament to try and offset the fury over the expenses scandal.

Test your income against the sleaze-o-meter

Lucrative links between civil servants and business

It’s not just MPs who are raking in the perks, civil service mandarins are doing well out of lobbyists.

UKIP: no EU - but yes to EU expenses

"Say no to paying the EU £40 million a day," cry United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) billboards.

Same old sleaze of the Tories

The Tories are presenting themselves as the party of change – but some things remain the same.

Linamar workers set date for all-out strike in support of Rob Williams

Workers at the Linamar (former Visteon) plant in Swansea, south Wales, will take all out strike action from 6am on Thursday of next week in defence of their sacked Unite union convenor Rob Williams.


International

Pakistan army widens its offensive

The Pakistani army has widened its offensive against insurgents following battles in the Swat Valley in the north of the country.

More evidence emerges of atrocities in Sri Lanka

The final phase of the Sri Lankan army’s assault on the last strongholds of the Tamil Tigers led to more than 20,000 Tamil civilians being massacred, according to an investigation by the Times newspaper.

Egypt post workers strike defies state

Post office workers have struck in the latest wave of protests to sweep Egypt.


Comment

Policies are cause of Labour’s unpopularity

The knives were out for Gordon Brown even before the results of this week’s European and local elections were known.

Obama’s tortured logic on prisons

Within days of Barack Obama’s inauguration it was announced that Guantanamo Bay was to close within a year, along with the secret prisons that George Bush’s administration had set up around the world.

Electoral reform, crisis and the left

After the Second World War the Labour and Tory parties completely dominated British politics, sharing around 96 percent of the popular vote between them. According to some opinion polls, they will be lucky to get more than half the total vote in this week’s European elections.


Features

Popular democracy in revolutionary Chile

Between 1970-3 Chile entered a period of revolution. Workers began to take control of factories, the peasants were seizing the land and a vast movement of the oppressed was making its mark on shaping a new society.

Tiananmen Square, 1989: China’s uprising

The image of a single defiant protester halting a convoy of tanks captured the imagination of millions of people around the world 20 years ago. This lone man facing down the immense power of the army has come to represent the Tiananmen Square uprising of June 1989. It shook China’s rulers to the core.

China: the growth of global industrial power

China didn’t just face a political crisis in 1989 – it was an economic one too. The Chinese economy grew massively throughout the 1980s, but increasingly it grew out of the control of China’s leaders.

Trade unions' bizarre flirtation with ‘transformation’ (or ‘privatisation’)

The economic crisis has discredited the idea that the market is the solution to our problems.

The fight against ‘mechanical Marxism’

In September 1940 a German Jewish refugee committed suicide after he fled occupied France into Spain and was then told he would be turned over to Hitler’s Gestapo.

Pensions: A non-existent timebomb

Why is there such a battle over pensions?


Reviews

Sleep Furiously

This is a sublime and moving portrait of the decline of a small farming community of Trefeurig in mid-Wales.

Liberté - Khaled

This new album has Khaled, the king of Raï music, returning to the source of Algeria’s rebellious music.

John Bulmer: photographs from the north of England to South America

This new exhibition at the Hereford Photography Festival focuses on the work of John Bulmer from 1959 to 1979.

Nocturnes - Kazuo Ishiguro

These five short stories focus on unfulfilled dreams, compromises, frustrations and regrets – through the prisms of relationships and music.

Take this chance to catch Ornette Coleman’s jazz

There are moments of extreme beauty, moments of anger, bitter ­sorrow and sweet love. There are rhythms that thrill, surprise and fill you with joy.


What We Think

Vote left and build resistance

The right seems set to gain in this week’s European and local government elections.


Other Categories

Tim: 'I've cleaned up already'

Letters

Letters

The week in quotes

"Look forward to receiving the money – shall then be able to spend it on lots of booze so that the forthcoming election goes in an alcoholic blur."Cariole Dennet, partner and parliamentary assistant to Tory MP Andrew Turner, in her submission for expenses



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