Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2219

Dated: 18 Sep 2010

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Start the fight now

A significant shift in the battle against the Tories took place this week.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Teachers at St Aloysius school set to strike

Teachers in the NUT union at St Aloysius school in Islington, north London, were set to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week.

First ever strike hits Astra Zeneca

Workers at Astra Zeneca in Macclesfield, Cheshire, struck for the first time ever last week to fight attacks on their pensions.

BBC workers name four days for national strikes to defend pensions

The NUJ, Bectu and Unite unions representing workers at the BBC have announced dates for strikes against attacks on their pensions.

London Underground strikes put pressure on bosses

The solid 24-hour strike by around 10,000 workers on London Underground last week put pressure on management.

Unite BA workers to beat Walsh

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of the Unite union, has indicated that the dispute between cabin crew at British Airways and bullying boss Willie Walsh could be spread across the company.

Justice 4 All campaign is launched

Around 40 people attended a launch meeting of the Justice For All campaign in London last week.

Coca-Cola workers set to strike over pay

Workers at the Coca‑Cola plant in Edmonton, north London, were set to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week over pay.

Get behind Jerry Hicks for Unite general secretary

Jerry Hicks, the rank and file candidate in the Unite union’s general secretary election, is urging people to pull out all the stops to get him the biggest possible vote.

Firefighters in a battle for us all

Firefighters from across Britain were set to descend on the capital on Thursday of this week with a simple message: London’s battle is everyone’s battle.

TUC sees confusion at Labour leadership hustings

Some 300 delegates at the TUC came to the penultimate Labour Party leadership hustings on Monday night.

TUC delegates join Unite Against Fascism fringe meeting

Some 60 people attended a lively and serious fringe meeting organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) at the TUC on Monday night.

A sea change on fighting anti-union laws at the TUC

The TUC passed a motion for the repeal of the anti-trade union laws.

TUC calls for an end to blacklisting

The TUC condemned the blacklisting of trade unionists.

Union leaders at TUC back right to march past Tory party conference

Leading trade unionists have signed a statement calling for marchers to be able to protest outside the Tory party conference on 3 October.

TUC exposes true scale of Tories' jobs massacre

Some 150,000 jobs are being slashed in the public sector—and that’s before George Osborne’s spending review—according to a study by the GMB union.

Stick it to the fire bosses

A fire boss came a cropper last week after he ordered a London firefighter to take off a sticker with the slogan "Sack Coleman, not firefighters".

‘Livid’ firefighters in Essex resume action

Essex FBU will be resuming its industrial action against cuts on Monday of next week.

Birmingham council threatens to sack 26,000 workers

Birmingham council bosses have sent some 26,000 council workers official letters threatening them with the sack.

Anti-cuts protest at Barnet council

Barnet council workers and supporters protested on Tuesday of this week against cuts and the North London council’s plans for mass privatisation.

Support bus drivers’ protest against cuts

Bus drivers in the Unite union were set to hold a lobby at London’s City Hall against bus cuts on Wednesday of this week.

Royal Mail sell-off takes coalition beyond Thatcher

Government plans to sell off Royal Mail have got the Dracula-like bosses of private mail firms licking their lips.

Hundreds join rally against easyCouncil in Barnet

Around 200 workers employed by Tory-controlled Barnet council in north London joined a lively town hall lobby on Tuesday of this week. They are angry at plans to slash services and privatise whole departments.

Bus drivers demonstrate at London's City Hall against cuts

More than 200 bus workers demonstrated outside London's City Hall today over Mayor Boris Johnson's attacks on London's bus service.

Picket lines fizz as Coca-Cola workers walk out

Workers at the huge Coca-Cola bottling plant in north London struck today (Wednesday) – the first in a series of planned walkouts in their fight for a fair pay rise.

3,000 angry firefighters march in London - and prepare for strikes

More than 3,000 London firefighters surrounded their bosses’ headquarters today (Thursday)—as their union called a strike ballot.

Birmingham Labour councillors and trade unionists back Right to Work march

Right to Work—supported by local trade unionists, anti-cuts campaigners and the Birmingham Council Labour Group—held a press conference yesterday to demand the right to march past the Tory Party conference in the city on 3 October.

Video of support for anti-Tory march in Birmingham

Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham Council Labour Group and Caroline Johnson, assistant secretary Birmingham Unison, 16 September 2010

London firefighters vote 95 percent yes for industrial action

Firefighters in London today (Friday) overwhelmingly voted yes in their ballot for industrial action short of a strike.

Telford protest is a model of how to fight Tory cuts

Around 1,000 workers at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Telford, Shropshire, downed tools on Tuesday of last week to join a demonstration amid fears that the government is about to slash their jobs.

Students boost Socialist Worker Appeal to £43,856

The Socialist Worker financial appeal is now on £43,856—nearly 30 percent of our £150,000 target.

Do individuals make a difference in history?

We are bombarded with the idea that history is made by great individuals. Our past is told as the history of great men and our present is often reduced to passively watching the decisions of our "betters".

Southampton strike to save libraries and jobs

Southampton library workers were set to strike on Wednesday of this week against the closure of libraries and using volunteers to replace staff.

Sandwell bins walkout over pay

Bin workers in Sandwell, near Birmingham, struck on Wednesday of last week in a long-running dispute over pay.

PCS demo planned for sacked rep Sam Buckley

The PCS civil service workers’ union has called a demonstration in support of Sam Buckley, its sacked branch secretary at the Child Support Agency (CSA) in Hastings.

Anti Academies Alliance produces new newspaper

The Anti Academies Alliance has produced a new newspaper, available for activists to order.

Campaigners at the cutting edge


Hundreds march against cuts in Kirklees

Over 300 people defied the rain in Huddersfield last Saturday to march against

Stevenage mail centre to fight closure threat

Royal Mail’s threat to close Stevenage mail centre is going to face resistance.

Fresh attack on union activist John McDermott

Many Unison union activists in Yorkshire and Humberside were shocked last week when John McDermott, a leading Unison union activist for many years, was barred from holding office in the union for three years.

Bus drivers at Stagecoach Merseyside set to strike

Bus drivers working for Stagecoach Merseyside plan to hold a one-day strike on Monday of next week.

Kenny Bell drops a clanger over Yunus Bakhsh

Kenny Bell, the branch secretary of Newcastle City Unison and deputy regional convenor of the Northern region, has made an extraordinary intervention in the case of Yunus Bakhsh.

New convoy setting out to break Israel's siege of Gaza

Activists will set out from London this Saturday on an aid convoy to break the blockade of Gaza.

Rampaging racists of the EDL are still a threat

Hundreds of racist English Defence League (EDL) thugs were out on the streets last weekend attempting to intimidate anti-racist and anti-fascist activists.

War round-up

Bad week for bomber Blair Protests forced Tony Blair to back out of a series of events last week.

Two thousand at Love Music Hate Racism gig in Margate, Kent

Around 2,000 people turned up to enjoy the brilliant Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) festival in Margate, Kent, last Saturday.

Activists ready to march on Tories’ conference

Support for the right of anti-cuts protesters to march past the Tory Party conference on Sunday 3 October in Birmingham is growing by the day.

London meeting rallies the resistance to cuts

Some 150 people packed into a Right to Work meeting in London on Thursday of last week.

Dundee LMHR festival

LMHR held a successful all day music festival in Dundee last Sunday at Dukes Corner with a host of local bands. Seven local trade union branches sponsored the event.

Why I’m joining the march

Mary Brodbin is a retired member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). She told the meeting last week, "Pensioners are furious—we are confident, militant, vibrant and up for action.

There's all to play for in the UCU

The decision by the Higher Education Committee (HEC) of the University and College Union (UCU) to postpone balloting over jobs and pay was a serious error.

Poor hit hardest by Tory scum

Jobless don’t choose poverty Tory toff George Osborne called unemployment a "­lifestyle choice" as he announced plans to slash another £4 billion from benefits last week.

Further education lecturers may hold national ballot over pay

UCU members in English further education college branches are deciding whether to ballot for strikes over a 0.2 percent pay offer.


Turkish vote marks decisive victory

The referendum for democratising changes to Turkey's constitution has been passed by a higher than expected margin, with 58 percent voting yes.

French workers take on Sarkozy's cuts

Around three million workers took to the streets of France on Tuesday of last week in a huge day of action over attacks on pensions.

Harassed and raided: another day under occupation in Afghanistan

It was 1am and 64-year old Mohammed Akram was playing chess with a family friend when 30 soldiers came crashing through the door of his Kabul apartment.

100 million strike against privatisation in India

Huge numbers of Indian workers joined a 24-hour strike last week against rising prices and privatisation. Action by around 100 million workers shut banks, power plants, telecommunications, airports and schools across the country.

Strikes resume in Greece as crisis deepens

The resistance to the Greek government’s austerity programme is on the rise again, with protests and strikes breaking out across the country.

New York stands together against Islamophobia

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in New York on 11 September to demonstrate against Islamaphobia and racism. Their counter-demonstration was called in response to a racist rally against the proposed building of an Islamic community centre, held in the city on the same day.

Car workers bring industry to a halt in South Africa

A strike by some 70,000 South African car component workers has brought car manufacturing plants in South Africa to a standstill. The firms hit include Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, General Motors and Mercedes Benz.


Phone hacking: Murdoch's control is a true scandal

The row over Tory spin doctor Andy Coulson should not be mistaken for one of those long running and complicated arguments that are of interest only to fellow media types.


Travellers wrenched from their homes at an hour's notice

You can hear the bulldozers from Mary McCann’s caravan. They are digging trenches and raking dirt over ground that, just days before, was home to seven families.

Pictures from Traveller sites in Essex

'We face bigotry from the settled community.'

"In all the time I’ve lived here we’ve never had peace of mind. There’s always been the threat of eviction.

Constant & Co - the notorious bailiff that evicted Hovefields Travellers

Constant & Co is the bailiff that evicted Travellers at the Hovefields site last week.

The Chainmakers’ Strike: Nothing to lose but their chains

A century ago the streets of Cradley Heath emptied of smoke—and filled with joy. Some 1,000 women chainmakers stopped work and marched with their children through the Black Country town, singing, smiling and waving flags.

Underpaid and underfed: life for the poor in 1910

To fully appreciate the significance of the chainmakers’ victory, we need to understand the social conditions that existed 100 years ago.


Los De Abajo interview - Latin American ska bursts out from below

Actitud Calle means "street attitude"—why are the streets important?

Alan Davies’ Teenage Revolution—excruciatingly whimsical

The middle classes have a talent for whining and fake rebellion. They also have a remarkable ability to see everything through the prism of their own supposed struggle.


This film deals brilliantly with institutionalised racism and the police—shown through the arrest of a young black man on the night Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.

Walking with Tears - Tracey Emin

Say the name Tracey Emin and many people will immediately think of her bold pieces "My Bed"—the most visited exhibition in the history of the Tate—and "Everyone I Ever Slept With".

Carol Ann Duffy and friends

Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s first female Poet Laureate—and the first lesbian to hold the title—is hosting a series of evenings of poetry and music in Manchester.

What We Think

Union leaders open door to resistance

When the head of the TUC, Brendan Barber, says that the Tory cuts could be like the poll tax he is right. The coalition is attacking everyone, and there is the chance to create a united resistance that can beat them back.

The West's abuses fuel Muslim anger

The media rightly vilified right wing evangelist Terry Jones over his plan to burn Qurans on the anniversary of 9/11.

Other Categories

Tim: stayed awake

Leon Kuhn: BP 'Won't wash'

Tim: Dinosaurs



Quotes from the week's news

"We have a cabinet of millionaires who don’t use public services. This is a war on the entire population in the interests of a tiny minority."General secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, Matt Wrack

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