Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2171

Dated: 03 Oct 2009



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No job is safe under Gordon Brown

New Labour is planning devastating public service cuts – to education, health, the civil service and firefighters. They say that the cuts will not have an impact on "front line" services, but they already are.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Five colleges strike over pay

Members of the UCU lecturers’ union struck at five colleges on Tuesday as part of their long-running battle over pay.

Solid First bus strikes continue

More than 800 bus drivers in Bolton, Bury and Wigan held their fourth day of strike action on Monday of this week.

Corus bosses blink over pensions

Steel producer Corus has put been forced to put back the closure of its final salary pension scheme to new members following threats of strike action.

Jim Board campaign continues

Despite his reinstatement last week, the threat of disciplinary action continues to hang over Doncaster council worker Jim Board.

Probation Officers congress meets

The National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO) meets for the union’s annual congress in Torquay this weekend.

Trinity Mirror bosses live it up

While journalists at the Trinity Mirror media group are fighting job losses and wage freezes, their bosses are living it up on the wealth the workers have created.

Attacks on car workers jobs - where’s the response?

The ongoing crisis in the car industry saw Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) announce plans last week to shut either its Solihull or Castle Bromwich sites in the Midlands.

Raise pressure on firm that sacked this cleaner

The Office and General (O&G) cleaning company last week offered dismissed worker Juan Carlos Piedra a job of three hours a day cleaning the UCL university, undermining its own reasons for making him redundant.

Docklands light railway control room staff to strike

Control room staff employed by the Serco company on the Docklands Light Railway in London planned to strike for 48 hours from 12.40pm on Wednesday of this week.

Victoria Line underground staff to strike

Members of the RMT transport union on London Underground’s Victoria Line are set to strike for 24-hours from 9.30pm on Monday of next week over the imposition of new rosters.

Eurostar strikers take further days of action

Cleaners on the Eurostar trains at St Pancras International have announced a further six days of strikes over their treatment at the hands of the Carlisle company.

Activists’ anger at ‘debate’ with BNP

Anti-fascist campaigners are promising a storm of protest in response to the news that Nazi leader Nick Griffin is to appear on the BBC’s flagship Question Time programme in London on Thursday 22 October.

Lying Nazi Richard Barnbrook gets punished by council

Most anti-fascists already know the BNP lies – but in the case of one high-profile Nazi, it is now official.

BNP members at German Nazi festival

A group of leading BNP members from the Midlands have been pictured speaking at a recent neo-Nazi rally in Germany. BNP organiser Mike Bell headed a group of British fascists, joining others from across Europe at a rock festival organised by the German fascist NPD group. This shows that the BNP is serious about building a network of fascist groups across Europe.

Banners on the demonstration at Labour Party conference

There were lots of campaign banners on display at the protest outside Labour’s conference in Brighton last Sunday.

Airline bosses emit more untruths

Just weeks before the Copenhagen summit on climate change, the aviation industry got the headline it wanted – "Airlines Vow To Halve Emissions By 2050".

Firefighters march to stop cuts

Some 1,800 firefighters and their supporters marched through Barnsley, South Yorkshire, on Monday to protest against fire bosses who want to rip up their contracts and impose shift changes.

Firefighter: ‘Let me be a parent and worker’

Many young workers brought their children to the protest.

Exposed: Post bosses’ secret scab operation

Desperate Royal Mail bosses are setting up secret mail centres around the country in an effort to undermine the highly effective strike action by postal workers.

Last push in Royal Mail national strike ballot

The ballot for a national strike at Royal Mail is entering its final phase, and each vote is vital.

Action is biting as Leeds bin workers fight back

The determination of Leeds council bosses to cut services is becoming clear after three weeks of an all‑out strike by refuse workers.

Tower Hamlets College: all-out strike beats the cuts

Militant action works. That is the lesson from Tower Hamlets College in east London, where lecturers have beaten the threat of compulsory redundancies after four weeks on all-out strike.

Police sergeant faces charges after G20 protests

The Territorial Support Group police sergeant who was broadcast on YouTube appearing to strike a woman at the G20 protests in London earlier this year is to be charged with assault.

Labour pressure groups think to the right

Labour’s pressure groups are looking to make new and strange alliances.

Labour conference: where are all the delegates?

While chancellor Alistair Darling was making his keynote speech complaining about the bankers, but promising to do nothing about them, the conference hall was half empty.

London postal workers vote to slash Labour’s cash

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

Dates for every activist to note

The protest outside the Labour Party conference last Sunday kicked off a calendar of resistance for trade unionists and activists for autumn and winter.

Rage at New Labour protest flares up in Brighton

Just as chancellor Alistair Darling was lamenting that Labour has "lost the will to live" last weekend, a vibrant protest outside the party’s conference showed that the movement for change is very much alive.

Democracy in the Labour Party is not revived

That Lord Mandelson was the darling of Labour conference this week is one sign of party’s decline.

Gordon Brown's conference speech gets nasty in his desperate ‘fightback’ bid

The media trailed Gordon Brown’s Labour conference speech this week as being about the prime minister fighting for his political life.

Unison activist Investigated for winning union election

John McDermott, a well-known Unison union activist, is under investigation by the union for trying to take up a national executive seat for which he won the highest vote.


International

Ireland to repeat Lisbon treaty vote

The people of Ireland were to vote again on the European Union’s neoliberal Lisbon Treaty on Friday of this week – despite voters rejecting it last year.

Have German voters shifted to the right?

Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party was re-elected in Sunday’s German elections.

Good vote for Portugal's Left Bloc

Portugal’s Left Bloc got 10 percent of the vote in last Sunday’s general election, securing 16 MPs.

Massacre in Guinea

Soldiers opened fire on an opposition rally in Guinea, West Africa, on Monday, killing over 150 people. Some 50,000 people were crowded into a football stadium in the capital Conakry, to hear Cellou Dalein Diallo, who had been prime minister until 2006.


Comment

Hypocrisy over threats against Iran's nuclear programme

The threat of war against Iran stepped up last week as Barack Obama warned he will not rule out military action unless Iran agrees to "come clean" on its nuclear programme.

As the sharks circle it's time to defend universal benefits

All of the main political parties have said they want to make cuts to universal benefits, such as child benefit, winter fuel allowances, bus passes and TV licenses for the over 70s.

G20: a bigger tent but no answers

Probably the most important thing about the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last week was that it is the third time it has met in the past year. What was a relatively marginal international body seems to be morphing into a significant institution.


Features

Is the Labour Party finished?

Elected on a wave of revulsion with the Tories in 1997, New Labour today is in crisis. The party faces wipeout at the next election. Opinion polls predict it could lose 17 of its 44 MPs in London alone.

The ‘cleansing’ of Calais

The victims of the West’s wars have become beggars on our doorstep. Desperate people trying to escape persecution on the other side of the globe saw their temporary shelters destroyed by the CRS French riot police last week.

Iranian refugees in Calais: ‘The Basij crushed my fingers’

One activist agreed to take us to a secret location near Calais university, where a group of Iranian students were hiding.

Refugee from Darfur: ‘I’m not coming for work but running from fear’

Abu Jabr is not someone you would normally find among the Calais asylum seekers.

Post strike diary: ‘This strike is about the manager/worker divide’

What a pathetic, spineless bunch our managers are.

The Vestas struggle has changed the debate about green jobs

The occupation in August and ongoing campaign by the Vestas workers has electrified both the climate change movement and the struggle for jobs.

Does the blame for sexism lie with men?

After a particularly messy break up, a close friend phoned me to gleefully request I buy her the "All men are bastards" knife block, which she had discovered when typing the phrase into Google.


Reviews

Egypt: the moment of change - book launch

The launch of this new book on Egypt will be introduced by acclaimed author Ahdaf Soueif.

World Day for Decent Work

In a surprisingly bold move the TUC has invited Linton Kwesi Johnson to headline an event for its World Day for Decent Work. The day will focus on the impact of the international financial crisis on workers’ rights.

The Soloist: a tale of mental illness with surprising integrity

This is the story of the unlikely relationship between journalist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr) and homeless cellist Nathaniel Avery (Jamie Foxx).

Gandhi: how he came to see the true horror of the Empire

How was it that an Indian, whose loyalty to the British was so great that he became a recruiting sergeant for a colonial war, could turn against his masters and lead a rebellion that would bring the Empire to its knees?


What We Think

Don't fall for Labour's rhetoric: act now to shape the future

The only argument left to justify a vote for Labour at the next election is to warn that a victory for the Tories will mean a return to the brutal policies of Margaret Thatcher.


Other Categories

Will Fancy 1933-2009

Will Fancy, who died on 29 July aged 76, was a life-long socialist and trade unionist.

Leon Kuhn: "My chopper's bigger..."

Letters

It’s hard times for sick and disabled people Social Security rules are forcing genuinely ill people off disability benefits using so-called "medical services".

Quotes from Labour's conference

"But who?"Neal Lawson, head of Compass, the soft left think-tank, heckles at a fringe meeting when someone suggests Gordon Brown is replaced



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