Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2183

Dated: 09 Jan 2010




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Fight for jobs, pay and pensions

Hundreds of IT workers at Fujitsu services are to start five days of strikes this week.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Solid strike of North Devon health workers despite the snow

Over 200 low paid hospital workers started two days of strike action on Tuesday, following the refusal of their employer Sodexo and the local NHS trust to implement a pay agreement dating back to 2006. During the day, with heavy snow falling, nearly all of those on strike attended the picket.

Right to work: ‘We must prepare now for attacks we all face’

The credit crunch, the economic crisis, and now the deep recession have ravaged working class people’s lives. But importantly, resistance during the recession has shown the power of workers to fight back.

Copenhagen: repression but no climate progress

The UN’s climate talks in Copenhagen last month were a bitter disappointment for millions of people around the world who are concerned about the future of the planet.

Health service workers to strike in North Devon

More than 200 hospital domestics, catering staff and porters in North Devon were set to strike for two days as Socialist Worker went to press. This follows a 97 percent vote for strike action.

Barnet council loses cuts case

The High Court has ruled against plans by Barnet council in north London to cut the jobs of sheltered housing wardens. The decision gave campaigners cause to cheer in the run-up to Christmas.

Refuse lorry drivers strike over pay

Refuse lorry drivers in Chester employed by the private contractor FOCSA struck for a day against a derisory 1 percent pay offer at the end of December.

Hackney housing activist is sacked

Housing activist Nicola Winters has been sacked by the Castle Point Voluntary Network in Southend, Essex.

Fujitsu workers prepare for five days of strikes

Workers at the Fujitsu services company are stepping up their fight for jobs, pay and pensions this week with the start of five days of strikes on Thursday and Friday. More action is set to follow on Monday, Thursday and Friday of next week.

South Yorkshire firefighters could strike

Strikes by fire crews in South Yorkshire could be back on after FBU union members rejected a deal on new shifts recommended by union negotiators.

Mark Serwotka re-elected as PCS union general secretary

Mark Serwotka has been re-elected as the general secretary of the PCS civil service workers’ union for a third term. Some 37,866 PCS members voted for Serwotka and 21,883 voted for his right wing challenger Rob Bryson.

Post workers demand a good, national agreement

Rank and file postal workers in the CWU union have produced a statement on the state of the dispute, which lays out the type of deal the union should be fighting for.

Unite should re-ballot BA cabin crew for strikes

A court injunction stopped a planned strike by some 14,000 cabin crew workers at British Airways (BA) from going ahead last month.

London meeting plans fight to defend higher education

Over 90 workers and students from universities across London and beyond met at King’s College on Tuesday 15 December to discuss ways of giving a united focus to the fight to defend jobs and education. Activists came a variety of institutions including UCL, Westminster University, Westminster College, London College of Communication, Tower Hamlets College, Queen Mary University, Goldsmiths, London Metropolitan University and Sussex University.

Firm convicted over death of London bus driver

Britain's largest bus operator has been convicted of breaching health and safety obligations over the death of one of its London drivers.

Kevin Courtney interview: ‘Teachers must fight against privatisation’

Why are you standing for deputy general secretary?

Who makes up Britain's ruling class?

The Economist magazine recently ran a particularly excruciating image on its front cover.

UCU NEC elections

Elections are coming up for the national executive committee of the UCU lecturers’ union. They come at a time when we are facing the biggest onslaught on post-16 education in decades.

Strikes over Christmas on London Underground

Two groups of workers on London Underground struck over the Christmas period. Around 120 workers employed by EDF Energy Powerlink struck for 28 hours from 8pm on 22 December and for 12 hours from 8pm on Boxing Day.

Network Rail signal staff on strike for six days

Signalling staff in Wales and the Marches area are striking for six days this week against the imposition of rosters at the South Wales Control Centre.

Second CT Plus bus strike

Bus workers at CT Plus in Hackney, east London, struck for the second time on 16 December.

ELGB bus drivers throw out deal

"Insulting." That was the most common response from workers at East London Bus Group (ELGB) as they voted by a huge margin to throw out a new pay offer in December.

Protests and solidarity in support of Palestine

There were protests around the world last month on the anniversary of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

‘Truth and justice’ at the Mikey Powell inquest

The family of Mikey Powell, who died in police custody in 2003, say the verdict of the inquest into his death has given them "truth and justice".

Yemen is latest target in US war

Yemen has become the latest "rogue state" to be targeted in the US-led "war on terror".

How Western imperialism has shaped this war-torn country

Yemen has been ripped apart by decades of war waged by British colonialism, US imperialism and the Western powers’ proxy forces in the region.

CIA and drone attacks spread the conflict

Reading the news over the past couple of weeks, you would be forgiven for thinking that a major terrorist attack had killed many Americans on a flight to Detroit.

Work - but not as we know it

The number of women taking part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time work has increased by 123,000 in recent months, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Crisis is hitting the vulnerable

Despite Gordon Brown’s prediction that the worst of the recession is over, it is continuing to blight the lives of millions of people across Britain.

University cuts: pricing the poor out of education

As if the crisis in education wasn’t bad enough, business secretary Peter Mandelson announced millions of pounds worth of new cuts just days before Christmas.

PCS union prepares for national action to save jobs

The PCS civil service workers’ union is gearing up for national strike action over a huge attack on redundancy terms that it sees as preparation for job cuts.

General election: nasty campaign lurks beneath the surface

It is the ultimate indictment of more than a decade of New Labour government that David Cameron’s Conservatives can pose as a cuddly, progressive alternative.

Outrageous result of Blackwater mercenaries murder case in US

A US court has thrown out the case of five US mercenaries who confessed to shooting Iraqi civilians in September 2007.

Egyptian riot police attack Viva Palestina convoy

Around 2,000 Egyptian riot police have attacked members of the Viva Palestina aid convoy at the port of al-Arish – on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza – after the convoy was refused entry to the crossing.

Impressive turnout on first day of national Fujitsu strike

Striking workers at IT company Fujitsu services braved snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures to hold pickets today, on the first of five days of national strike action over jobs, pay and pensions.

Photos of Fujitsu picket lines on 7 January 2010


International

Iran's movement is back on the streets

The opposition movement that emerged after Iran’s presidential election last June has defied the government clampdown by using official events to organise mass demonstrations.

Britain's hypocrisy over Iran

Foreign secretary David Miliband has posed as a friend of the movement, calling on the Iranian government to "respect human rights".

Video of Gaza Freedom march

The video (in French) shows Gaza Freedom March in Cairo at the end of December


Comment

How to make learning science fun

A recent report condemning British schools for damaging learning reminded me of a great educational project I took part in last year.

Copenhagen deal exposes the real climate culprits

The United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen last month proved to be a historic watershed. This isn’t because of what it achieved.


Features

William Morris: Victorian artist and revolutionary

william Morris is known today for his exquisite patterned wallpapers, his famous chair design, and his rule, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

The uprising of the twenty thousand

On 24 November 1909, over 20,000 garment workers walked out of hundreds of workshops in New York. This strike has become known as the "Uprising of the Twenty Thousand".

Europe - the gathering economic storm

Corporate chiefs and political leaders around the world have welcomed 2010 with a growing sense of foreboding as economic crisis continues to stalk the globe.

How strikers took on the British state - and won

It’s the winter of 1978. The prime minister is keeping a panicked watch on strikes—in incredible detail.

Thatcher behind closed doors

The newly released archives from 1979 give an insight into Margaret Thatcher’s thinking. They also show that, in private, Tories are even more reactionary than they are in public.


Reviews

Big Red Christmas Competition winners

Congratulations to Phil Johns of Plymouth, Heather MacBryde of Greenock and Keith Shilson of Penzance who were the winners of the Socialist Worker Christmas competition.

A Very British Coup - Chris Mullin

Independent publisher Serpent’s Tail is bringing MP Chris Mullin’s 1982 political thriller back into print.

The City and the City - China Miéville

Yes, this is a murder mystery – but it is also much more than that.

Radio: This ‘God spot’ has no right to think on our behalf

Every morning of the week, in the middle of the Today news programme, Radio 4 offers its "Thought for the Day" – a reflection on ethical questions of the moment.

If We All Spat Together... We’d Drown The Bastards - Mick Mulcahy

Mick Mulcahy is a mental health education development worker in the NHS and an active member of the Unison union and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).

The Miners’ Campaign Tapes: shocking film of the war waged against Britain’s miners

After the G20 protests last year, the initial media response was that the police had done a marvellous job.


What We Think


Other Categories

Frank Henderson 1925-2009: A remarkable and revolutionary life

I first came across Frank Henderson in the Wolverhampton branch of the SWP in 1987.

Tim: bears in the woods

Letters

Letters

Quotes from the week’s news

‘If this is global warming, heaven preserve us from the opposite.’The Daily Express newspaper greets snow with a limited grasp of climate change



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