Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2192

Dated: 13 Mar 2010



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Unite the fightback

The battle against cuts is on across Europe—and Britain is no exception.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Workers occupy hotel in Pakistan

Over 150 workers at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi,Pakistan, are continuing an occupation against the sacking of four union reps and around 100 other workers. They have held the basement of the 5-star hotel for 15 days, despite police raids and bullying threats by security guards.

Leeds university lecturers set new strike date

Lecturers at Leeds University are set to strike on Thursday 18 March. They will be striking on the same day as lecturers at Sussex University.

Resistance escalates as Sussex students and workers fight cuts

Bosses have raised the stakes for students and lecturers struggling against cuts at Sussex university.

Police criticised in Paul Coker death-in-custody Inquest

"I have campaigned for justice from the day Paul died. Losing a child is heartbreaking enough, but losing a child while they are in the care of the state gives an added dimension to the grief.

Lord Ashcroft’s millions are the tip of the iceberg

Lord Ashcroft, who effectively owns the Tory party, hit the headlines as he admitted that he didn’t live here in order to avoid paying tax.

Leader of Glasgow city council resigns

The Scottish Labour Party has been shaken by the resignation of the leader of Glasgow City Council, Steven Purcell.

Sussex bosses wine and dine while they slash jobs

Management at Sussex university have been stuffing their faces in the company of high-paid business executives—while pushing through cuts that will devastate education.

Jail for British soldier who wouldn’t go to war

Anti-war soldier Joe Glenton has been imprisoned for his refusal to fight in Afghanistan.

Shocking birth defects in Fallujah

Children in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are still being born with severe birth defects.

Inquiry into torture claims begins

An inquiry into allegations that British soldiers tortured and killed people in Iraq began this week.

Meeting to build support for Gaza activists

Over 100 people met last Tuesday to build solidarity for people jailed after protesting at Israel’s assault on Gaza last year.

Evidence of torture haunts the British government

More evidence is emerging that the British government is allowing its territory of Diego Garcia to be used for torture.

New Labour wants to cover up Guantanamo links

New Labour is determined to continue its cover-up of MI5 collusion with Guantanamo Bay.

Ten thousand march against education cuts in Glasgow

Up to 10,000 teachers, pupils and campaigners poured onto the streets of Glasgow to protest against cuts in education on Saturday.

Hundreds meet to save Whittington Hospital

Four hundred people attended a meeting in north London to defend Accident and Emergency services under threat at the Whittington Hospital.

Welsh council workers march against job cuts

Around 250 council workers joined a march and rally in Neath, South Wales, last Saturday to protest at the New Labour council’s plan to cut more than 750 jobs.

Hundreds march for jobs and services in Brighton

Over 600 people took to the streets of Brighton demanding jobs, services and no bail outs for the rich last Saturday.

Rally in support of Leeds university workers

Around 150 workers and students rallied in support of Leeds university lecturers on Thursday of last week.

Anti Academies Alliance launches meetings

The Anti Academies Alliance is organising a series of meetings in the run-up to the general election.

Workers start overtime ban against pay freeze

Workers from AB Connectors at Abercynon in South Wales began a continuous overtime ban on Tuesday of this week over a pay freeze.

Cleaner Alberto Durango fights for reinstatement

The campaign for the reinstatement of sacked cleaner and Unite union activist Alberto Durango held a protest outside the UBS building in London last Friday.

Unison higher education conference votes for 4 percent pay claim

The Unison union’s Higher Education conference voted unanimously for a 4 percent pay claim.

Unite Against Fascism launch in Wales

Around 60 people came to the launch of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) Wales last Saturday in Cardiff.

Young not registered to vote

More than half of people aged 17 to 25 are not registered to vote, figures from the Electoral Commission revealed last week.

UAF week: pushing back the BNP in Barking

MondayOrganising meeting with people from the local theatre, trade unionists from the CWU and Unison, students and residents. TuesdayMet women representing Kosovan Albanian, Rwandan, Turkish, Chinese and Asian groups. We agreed to produce leaflets in different languages and speak at a 400-strong Kosovan Albanian meeting.WednesdayAttended a London Metropolitan University lecturers’ meeting. They agreed to organise support. Students there are organising weekly UAF stalls.ThursdayFifty students attended University of East London UAF meeting. The president of the Isla

Bolton calling anti-fascists

"We are writing to call upon all your readers to come to Bolton on 20th March and take part in a national demonstration against fascism and racism.

After EDL march in London: 'We’ll stop these racists next time'

The state allowed 250 followers of the racist English Defence League (EDL) to march on parliament on Friday last week.

Greek strikes show the way to resist here

Greek workers have stepped up their resistance to cuts while politicians and bosses are demanding more.

General strike rocks Portugal

Hundreds of thousands of Portuguese workers took part in a general strike on Thursday of last week.

Far right gain ground in Dutch elections

Local election results in the Netherlands are a serious warning to the left.

Total announced closure of refinery in Dunkirk

The French CGT union has threatened "fire and blood" after oil giant Total announced the closure of its refinery in Dunkirk.

Finnish dockers lead shut down

A dockers’ strike has paralysed large parts of Finnish industry.

New battles against cuts in Ireland

Trade union leaders in Ireland have been forced to announce a new series of strikes over pay cuts, job losses and attacks on pensions.

Icelanders vote against compensation

Voters in Iceland have overwhelmingly rejected the terms of a deal to compensate British and Dutch banking customers for their losses after the bank Icesave collapsed in 2008.

Pictures of the PCS strike

Sussex lecturers to strike next week

Lecturers at the University of Sussex are set to strike on Thursday 18 March.

Civil service workers plan budget day walk out

Over 200,000 civil service workers struck on Monday and Tuesday in the first major national battle against the government’s cuts programme.

Roy Mayall comments on new post deal

The new agreement is called, in a phrase both ominous and bland, Business Transformation 2010 and Beyond. It’s a dog’s dinner of a document—hard to make sense of, with strings of letters representing previous agreements, and a general attempt to hide its message behind obscure language.

Reports from PCS picket lines across Britain

Birmingham

Post worker comments on new deal

Senior reps meeting in Bournemouth this week will be told how significant the new national agreement is. They will be reminded that Royal Mail wanted to impose its own vision of the future without the union.

Left’s candidates are ready for election

Two new candidates have joined the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to stand in the upcoming general election.

Critical week at BA - will Unite set strike dates?

Crucial talks between British Airways (BA) bosses and the Unite union were due to end as Socialist Worker went to press.

Real wages for BA cabin crew have fallen

The bosses and right wing rags say BA cabin crew are well paid. They claim workers earn £29,000 a year.

Post deal: gains and loses at a glance

LOSS: Up to £30 a week for delivering junk mail, and £12 a week early shift allowance

Network Rail maintenance workers balloted

A ballot of 15,000 Network Rail maintenance workers ends this week. It follows a scathing official report into the company’s plans to change its structure and cut 1,500 jobs.

First Scotrail guards and drivers strike this Saturday over safety

More than 550 guards and drivers at First Scotrail were set to strike for the third time this Saturday against plans to impose driver-only trains on the new Airdrie-Bathgate line.

Virgin West Coast booking office staff balloted for industrial action

Booking office staff operating the new ticket issuing system on Virgin West Coast are balloting for industrial action.

Picture of police attack on Greek left wing politician

South Yorkshire firefighters vote to accept deal

South Yorkshire firefighters have accepted a deal after almost after two years in dispute.

Dawn raids by Unison on branch offices as four suspended

Unison officials raided the offices of the union’s Bromley, Greenwich and Housing Association branches without notice last Friday morning.

Yunus Bakhsh employment tribunal underway

An employment tribunal this week heard shocking evidence in the case of Yunus Bakhsh, a nurse and leading black activist in Newcastle.

Protest over Camden Council auctioning off council homes

Tenants and Defend Council Housing activists staged a mock auction of councillors’ homes last Saturday in Kentish Town, north London.

London underground engineering branch discuss how to organise a militant fightback

Around 45 members of the RMT union’s London Underground engineering branch attended a meeting last week to discuss the best way to organise a militant fightback in the workplace.

The BNP Nazi at the heart of the EDL

The man in this picture is Chris Renton. He was photographed on the racist English Defence League (EDL) march on parliament last Friday.

UCU lecturers union executive elections

Election results for the national executive committee and national officers of the UCU lecturers’ union are due on Wednesday. But elections for higher education members for London and the East continue until 17 March. Socialist Worker is backing UCU Left candidates Mark Campbell, Jane Hardy and Jim Wolfreys in this section.

Protests after deaths of Glasgow asylum seekers

Some 80 people demonstrated outside the UK Border Agency offices in Govan, Glasgow, yesterday after the deaths of three asylum seekers on Sunday. Up to 300 people joined a commemoration in the evening by the Red Road flats where the three died.

English Defence League thugs convicted

The leadership of the racist English Defence League continue to claim it is a "peaceful" organisation—but the arrest and conviction of key members paints a different picture.

Nick Griffin invited back by BBC

The BBC has announced that it is going to give another platform to Nazi British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin.

BNP uses apartheid tactics to keep party racist

BNP leaders are planning to introduce an apartheid-style membership system to keep ethnic minorities from being involved in key areas of the party.

Network Rail workers vote for strikes

Network Rail maintenance workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking against bosses’ plans to cut 1,500 safety-critical jobs. The RMT union members voted by 77 percent to strike over the cuts and by 89 percent for action short of a strike in a 65 percent turn-out. The TSSA union is also balloting its members for action at the company.

Sussex students defy ban and re-occupy

Around 200 Sussex students have occupied a lecture theatre demanding the reinstatement of the "Sussex Six". A high court injunction banning protest on campus has failed to crush militancy.

Civil service workers announce budget day strike

The PCS civil service workers’ union has set a further strike day on Wednesday 24 March, budget day. This follows a successful two-day strike on Monday and Tuesday of this week, when over 200,000 workers walked out, severely hitting government services.

Biggest general strike yet paralyses Greece

Union leaders hailed today’s general strike as a complete success. Public services ground to a halt in all major cities from Alexandroupoli in the north to Sitia in the south. Public and private sector workers both joined the action.


International


Comment

Is immigration destroying "British culture"?

Everything is changing. Many people worry that we’re "losing the British way of life".

Real agenda of climate deniers

We are witnessing a frenzy of climate "scepticism". Following the hacking of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, the right are arguing that the science of human-caused global warming is wrong.

BNP members should NOT be allowed to teach

Schools minister Ed Balls insulted all teachers when he agreed that it is OK for Nazi BNP members to teach in our schools.

Michael Foot’s nationalist spirit lives on in Greece's government

The hypocrisy of the British media can still surprise. Look at the warmth with which they bade farewell to Michael Foot when he died last week, after they had vilified him while he was leader of the Labour Party between 1980 and 1983.


Features

Chile: tremors of the past

Earthquakes are events that expose what is hidden in a society. They are crises that reveal the best and the worst of people.

Education: access denied

‘Thirteen years since Labour came to power promising ‘Education, education, education’ we face cuts of more than £1 billion in colleges. Funding for my college is being slashed by £2.5 million. English for Speakers of Other Languages (Esol) and Adult Education are particularly badly hit.


Reviews

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Guerilla artist Banksy has a film out, Exit Through The Gift Shop. It looks at the links between grafitti, art and advertising.

Blood and Oil

The Niger Delta in Nigeria is a battleground.

The White Ribbon DVD

This film is set in a rural German village on the eve of the First World War.

A Day at the Racists

This is a striking new play about the growth of the fascist British National Party (BNP) in an east London borough – a very thinly disguised Barking.

Carried Away - showcasing a history of working class struggle

A new exhibition in Manchester that focuses on the history of protest in Britain is a must-see.

Lack of politics at the cynical heart of Labour

The End of the PartyAndrew Rawnsley, Viking £25


What We Think

Unity, solidarity and action can stop cuts

DIVIDE AND rule is a key weapon in the bosses’ armoury. We must not let them use it in their battle to impose cuts.

Venables: media frenzy masks causes of tragedy

The return of Jon Venables to jail for breaching his parole licence has created a storm in the right wing media. Venables and Robert Thompson killed two year old James Bulger in 1993, when they were just ten.


Other Categories

Tim: Bankers get away with it

Tim: Extremists

Letters

BBC cuts: a victory for the bland and boring BBC director general Mark Thompson announced major cuts at the corporation this week. Rupert Murdoch and every other media mogul will be rejoicing.

The week in quotes

"As a director of Bond Street stationery firm Smythson and daughter of aristocrat Sir Reginald Sheffield, Mrs Cameron is not a natural Labour supporter—but she was a black-clad ‘goth’ in her teens."The Daily Mail newspaper’s sharp understanding of Labour voters helps it explain why David Cameron’s wife may have once voted for the party



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