Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2170

Dated: 26 Sep 2009

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As Labour cuts public services... Join our fightback

Gordon Brown plans to slash spending on our public services by billions of pounds. Cuts are already hitting working class people – but important groups of workers are fighting back.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Private halls firms rip off students

A new breed of shark is out to sink its teeth into students, hoping to fleece the young and financially inexperienced of their student loans before they’ve even started term.

Student loans: £6 an hour workers bear the brunt of broken system

‘I work for £6 per hour for Response Handling, an outsourced student loans call centre. We’re here to put out fires when raging students and parents phone to find out what’s going on with applications they made months ago.

Public spending: ‘If they cut any more then people will die’

Marie is a home help in Glasgow. She looks after all sorts of people in their own homes, from the frail elderly to younger people with mental illnesses who are unable to care for themselves.

Huddersfield factory bans music

Bosses at a factory near Huddersfield have banned music on the shopfloor – but workers say they won’t suffer in silence.

Education round-up

Doncaster College The national attack on further education has returned to Doncaster College. The first attack was repelled in early summer by determined action that resulted in the fall of the then principal Rowland Foote and the finance manager.

Stop the War Student conference: preparing for the year ahead

The Student Stop the War conference in London last Saturday brought 120 delegates from across the country together to discuss the tasks of the anti-war movement.

Union leaders at TUC can’t agree on Labour issue

The pressure on the union leaders over their loyalty to the Labour government emerged on the conference floor of the TUC last week.

TUC: Unions to boycott Israeli illegal settlements

The Trade Union Congress in Liverpool last week voted to support a boycott of goods from illegal Israeli settlements along with a call for an end to arms sales to the country.

Former aluminium workers march in Anglesey

Some 150 workers and their supporters marched through Holyhead to the Anglesey Aluminium smelter, last Saturday.

Corus workers will ballot over pension attack

Thousands of workers at Corus are to be balloted on industrial action over the steel group’s plans to close its final salary pension scheme to new entrants.

Bus drivers vote for strike action

Drivers at Travel London West’s Hayes garage have voted unanimously to reject a pay offer from management and by 41 to three for strike action.

Lancashire County Council attacks rights of union reps

The ongoing attack on local government workers across Britain took a dangerous step forward earlier this month as Lancashire County Council attempted to restrict the ability of trade unionists to represent their members.

Lockerbie facts are revealed

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man wrongly convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, has published documents on the internet to prove his innocence.

Omar Deghayes: Victim of Guantanamo faces racism

The family of Omar Deghayes, a former detainee in Guantanamo Bay, have endured a series of racist attacks in their hometown of Saltdean, near Brighton.

French authorities dismantle Calais refugee camp

French police took apart the refugee camp known as "the jungle", outside Calais this week.

Two failing strategies on offer in Afghanistan

The supreme commander of occupation troops in Afghanistan has opened up a serious rift between the military top brass and Barack Obama’s administration over the direction of the war.

BT workers reject flexible working

Workers at British Telecom’s Openreach company have decisively rejected a plan to introduce more flexible working into their contracts.

Stand down, Hazel Blears we’ve had enough

The latest meeting of the Hazel Must Go campaign took place against the backdrop of continued negative headlines about scandal-ridden New Labour MP Hazel Blears.

Strike planned at Capita Glasgow

Finance workers at the Capita company in Glasgow are set to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week over pay.

Protests continue at 2 Sisters as bosses discipline workers

More protests have been held at Smethwick chicken factory 2 Sisters, as 55 workers face disciplinary action over unofficial walkouts.

Construction: Deal sells struggle short

Shop stewards from construction unions have voted by a 25 to 20 majority to recommend that workers accept a new "Blue Book" agreement at a meeting in Manchester last Thursday.

Eurostar: solid pay strike is on track

Cleaners of the Eurostar trains at St Pancras International defied their union busting management at the Carlisle cleaning company when they struck last week.

‘I had a big run in with Justice for Cleaners and I sacked the rep’

Did the Office & General (O&G) company contrive a way to make cleaning activist Juan Carlos Piedra redundant because of his trade union activities?

Post bosses are running scared

Postal workers are facing a barrage of abuse from our bosses and the media because we dare to stand up for our jobs, our union, and for the public service that we provide.

Unofficial Post walkouts hit Glasgow

Post workers across much of the West of Scotland walked out on unofficial strike on Friday of last week after management punished drivers at Glasgow mail centre for refusing to cross their colleagues’ picket lines.

Post round up

Will workers ditch Labour? Postal workers in London will indicate whether they want to continue to fund the Labour Party in a ballot of CWU union members, the result of which was set to be announced this week.

This post strike is a fight we can win

At least 43,000 post workers across Britain will join regional strikes in a massive show of strength on Tuesday of next week.

Firefighters against the cuts

Firefighters are fighting a wave of cuts across Britain.

Tower Hamlets College strike is winning concessions

A month of all-out strike action by lecturers to defend education and jobs has forced concessions from management at Tower Hamlets College.

Leeds bin workers are all-out against council’s £6,000 pay cuts

Around 600 Leeds refuse workers have been on all‑out strike for more than two weeks in a battle against the Tory/Lib Dem council.

Mass pickets can win Leeds strike

The strike is solid—most bins in Leeds have not been emptied since the action started more than two weeks ago.

Where now for the Vestas campaign?

The Labour government has completely betrayed the sacked Vestas wind turbine workers.

Fast response gets Jim Board back

Union activist Jim Board was reinstated by Doncaster council on Friday of last week.

Blades moved after police smash Vestas camp

Police smashed up the "blockade camp" outside the Vestas wind turbine factory and held back protesting workers as the company moved wind turbine blades on Tuesday.

Tower Hamlets: Diary of an all-out striker

War, according to Wikipedia, is "an interaction in which two or more opposing forces have a struggle of wills". It is an apt description of what is happening between workers in the public sector and the government.

London postal workers vote to suspend funds to Labour

Postal workers in London have voted by a massive 96 percent to suspend funding to the Labour Party.

Send letters to support the Eurostar cleaners' strike

To: Mr Nicolas Petrovic,Chief Executive,EurostarEmail: <a href=""></a>

Tower Hamlets College lecturers win strike

Lecturers at Tower Hamlets College, east London, have won a fantastic victory against their bosses after four weeks of all-out, indefinite strike action.


Egypt’s new unions unite to back worker

Dozens of Egyptian workers’ and human rights’ organisations have rallied to support Kamal Abu Eita, the president of the independent tax collectors’ union, after a legal case was launched against him.

War intensifies in Somalia

A US airstrike on a suspected Al Qaida leader, Saleh Nabhan, in Somalia has triggered a new round of fighting in the east African state.

Thousands take to the streets in Honduras

For three days now, crowds have gathered around the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. On Monday night they were dispersed with tear gas and bullets in the air.


Our anger can beat back the cosy consensus on cuts

Just over a year ago, the collapse of Lehman Brothers bank ushered in the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s.

Remove poverty not the children

Martin Narey, the chief executive of the Barnardo’s charity, is rarely out of the headlines. His latest outburst is to demand the permanent removal of very young children from "dysfunctional parents".

Missile defence: Obama won’t drop US domination

Is Barack Obama’s decision to cancel the deployment of missile defence in central and eastern Europe another sign of how the US has been weakened by the Iraq disaster? In a very obvious sense, yes.


Venezuela: revolution stalled

Every Sunday at 11am, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez welcomes Venezuelans to "Alo Presidente" on the country’s state-run television and radio stations.

Is it only workers who can lead revolutions?

Marxism is not a rigid set of rules into which facts must be squeezed to fit­ – it is a tool for understanding and changing the world. Reality has always thrown up surprises and new challenges.

Paying for the recession: Save cash, cut the rich

Socialist Worker offers a guide to painlessly raising huge amounts of money and cutting costs.

Why Nick Griffin shouldn’t be on Question Time

No platform for Nazis Michael Rosen, broadcaster


Andrea Zittel - Spruth Magers gallery

US artist Andrea Zittel hates consumerism. Her work is a response to the financial constraints of everyday life and an expression of alternative ways of living.

The Daughter in Law

A welcome revival for DH Lawrence’s play, which is a family portrait set in a Midlands mining community at the beginning of the 20th century.

Goddess & Two Daughters DVDs

These two classic films by the Indian master of film-making Satyajit Ray are now available on DVD for the first time.

Radio: sharing secrets in the intimacy of a studio

Radio allows an intimacy that television can’t ever provide.

2nd May 1997 - Bush Theatre

Do you remember how it felt to wake up in 1997 with the bitter Tory years behind you?

Born in ’68: a world of possibilities reduced to pastiche

Promising a cinematic celebration of 40 years of riots and struggle, Born in ’68 manages only a pale reflection, says Jacqui Freeman

What We Think

This is how to beat their cuts

Like desperate poker players, the leaders of the three main political parties are trying to outbid each other as to who will make the cuts in public spending they claim are needed to bridge Britain’s budget deficit.

Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: No platform for fascists

Tim: 'Would you like your services devastated by…'


There are no ‘kind’ cuts As an admin worker at the London Fire Brigade, I am deeply angered by the threats of huge cuts in public services being made by all the main political parties. Politicians are focusing on attacks on so-called "back office" jobs like mine.

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