Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2289

Dated: 11 Feb 2012




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Stop Andrew Lansley selling off the NHS

They’ve pocketed billions in bonuses. They’ve wrecked the global economy. Now the fat cats want to bleed the NHS dry.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Setback in UCU over pensions fight - but the battle goes on

Lecturers in the UCU union met for a higher education sector conference on Tuesday of this week.

Barnsley trade unionists rally to support striking drivers

Bus drivers in Barnsley and Rawmarsh staged a town centre demo last Saturday to mark the start of four more days of strikes in their battle over pay.

Sparks vote to strike

Electricians in the Unite union at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) have voted for a second time to strike. A previous strike was called off after threats of an injunction in December.

Councils - action over pay cuts and privatisation

Council workers in Barnet were set to strike on Thursday of this week in the latest stage of their long-running battle against privatisation.

Fighting for decent housing

Defend Council Housing’s Housing Emergency campaign has launched an open statement against cuts to housing benefits and huge council rent rises.

Gallery workers stand up to cuts

National Gallery workers walked out for a third time on Thursday of last week over job cuts. The two-hour stoppage was followed by another last Saturday.

Occupying despite snow and threats

Despite a covering of snow and icy winds, over 100 Occupy protesters continue to camp out every night at St Paul’s cathedral.

Activists fight online clampdown

Activists are set to gather in London this Saturday to oppose the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta).

Does opposing war mean backing dictators?

Revolution is sweeping away dictators in the Middle East and North Africa. Now Western leaders are trying to use popular disgust with brutal regimes as an excuse to intervene.

Meet the fat cats who want to rob the NHS

Doctors, nurses, health workers and patients are lining up to defend the NHS from Tory minister Andrew Lansley’s privatisation plot. So just whose support are Lansley and his pals counting on?

New GPs’ group comes out against the health bill

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) became the latest group to oppose the Tories’ NHS privatisation plans on Friday of last week.

Bailout fund for PFI-hit hospitals

The government has created a £1.5 billion bailout fund for hospitals straining under the weight of private finance debts.

Wincanton drivers suspend strike

Oil tanker drivers have suspended their strike at three oil terminals pending talks.

Up to 440 jobs to go at Argos

Workers at Argos’s distribution centre in Corby, Northamptonshire, were shocked by the announcement on Tuesday of last week that the site is to close.

Reuters set for strike over pay

Members of the NUJ journalists union at the Thompson Reuters news agency were set to walk out for 48 hours from Thursday over a below-inflation pay offer.

Unions in talks with Unilever

Consumer goods giant Unilever has agreed to negotiate with unions over attacks on its workers’ pensions. It had previously refused talks through the Acas conciliation service unless unions accepted that the final salary pensions scheme would be scrapped.

BBC agrees to talks with Bectu

BBC bosses have agreed to talks with the Bectu union after a 24-hour strike.

Leicester anti-racists march against EDL

Anti-fascists took to the streets of Leicester last Saturday to make a stand against the racists and Nazis of the English Defence League (EDL).

Resistance to Nazi attacks in Glasgow

Nearly 100 people attended a mass leafleting and rally in the centre of Glasgow on Saturday called by UAF Scotland.

Victory saves Sure Start

Some 39 Sure Start centres in Manchester and two day care centres in Salford have been saved from cuts.

London sixth form colleges prepare for strike

London sixth form college teachers will walk out on strike on 23 February.

QC takes on Yunus Bakhsh case

Leading employment lawyer John Hendy QC is taking up the case of Yunus Bakhsh, the nurse and trade union activist unlawfully sacked by Northumbria Tyne and Wear NHS Trust.

Unions have no time to lose in pensions fight

All those unions that have rejected the government’s pensions deal held talks last week. These are set to continue to organise how to take the dispute forward—the talk is about striking at the end of March.

Bristol workers organise to take the fight forward

Some 250 people came to Bristol Council House on Monday of this week for a rally organised by Unite the Resistance and the Bristol And District Anti-Cuts Alliance (Badaca). Some 16 local union branches sponsored the rally.

Do the rich really expect us to stop being angry?

Time to reach for the world’s smallest violin. Bankers and their Tory chums are feeling sorry for themselves.

Police have no accurate record of deaths in custody

Police have been underestimating the number of people who have died in custody after being restrained by officers, according to a new report.

Ipads for MPs

All MPs should have top rate technology at their finger tips—paid for by us. This is according to a house of commons advisory committee.

Oil profits are a slick joke

Oil companies’ profits have rocketed in the last quarter.

Disgraced Chris Huhne resigns

Lib Dem environment minister Chris Huhne resigned last week following accusations that he tried to fiddle his speeding penalty points.

Tory family justice reform plans will put children at risk

The Tories plan to make bad changes to family law.

Tax deal for student loans boss

Student loans company boss Ed Lester has saved thousands of pounds through a tax deal with the Tories. It was signed between the treasury and Lester in 2010.

Tory treasurer is hedge fund boss

Michael Farmer, the new Tory party treasurer, is a hedge fund boss with a £100 million fortune.

Families in £8,000 debt

The average household debt is now £8,000. A report says that despite people making cutbacks and spending less, debts continue to rise.

Train bosses still get payouts

Train bosses were forced into a climbdown last week when it was revealed they were poised to get six-figure bonus payments.

London demo recalls 34 massacred by the Turkish military

Kurdish activists and their supporters marched in London yesterday (Tuesday) in protest at a massacre carried out by Turkish government forces.

Football fans in Britain send solidarity messages to Egypt's Ultras

Football fans in Britain have reacted with horror to the deaths of 74 football fans in Port Said, Egypt, last week.

Unite backs further action over civil service pensions

The Unite union’s committee for civil service workers today agreed to organise further industrial action over pensions, in coordination with other unions.

PCS and NUT unions choose 28 March as next pension strike day

Two unions unanimously voted at their executive committees today, Thursday, to back a coordinated strike on 28 March over pensions.

Unprecedented general strike in Greece

Workers in Greece began a 48-hour general strike today, Friday. This is the second general strike in just one week.

Release Revolutionary Socialist and university lecturer Sameh Naguib in Egypt

UPDATE at 5.40pm: News from Egypt, Sameh has been released

Lecturers to join 28 March coordinated pensions strike

The UCU lecturers' union has voted to back more co-ordinated strikes beginning with a strike on 28 March. Lecturers in the TPS pension scheme will strike alongside teachers in the NUT union and civil service workers in the PCS union.

Internet freedom activists protest in central London

Campaigners against a treaty which would seriously limit internet freedom swarmed through London today (Saturday) as part of a global day of action.

London protest pledges solidarity with Arab revolutions – and debates the way forward

Around 1,000 people protested in London today in solidarity with the revolutions in the Arab world.


International

Magistrate to rule in Zimbabwe socialists' trial

The trial of six socialists in Zimbabwe may be finally coming to a close after almost a year of delays.

Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt call for workers to support a general strike on 11 February

After the blood of 100 martyrs has been spilled: Workers of Egypt – rise up and save the revolution! Last 11 February we kicked out the tyrant, but today we’re still living the same old way—and our demands are still the same. We won’t accept statements and promises any more—while every month more revolutionaries are dying. The latest massacres that the military organised against the Ultras who took part in the revolution, gave 100 martyrs after the Egyptian people rose up across the country against military rule.

New threats to Iranian people

The US and the European powers have introduced sanctions against Iran—dropping any pretence that they are not targeting ordinary Iranians.

Courage of the Ultras inspired Tahrir Square

The massacre of 74 fans of football club Al-Ahly in Port Said was not an example of Egyptian football hooliganism, as it was first portrayed. Its target was the organised fans known as Ultras.

Determined Russians demand the removal of Putin

An angry crowd of more than 100,000 people surged through Moscow last Saturday demanding fair elections.

Greeks walk out on snap general strike against austerity measures

The European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank are demanding a massive cut in Greece’s minimum wage before they release bailout money. This so-called "troika" is charged with stabilising the euro.

Syrians can bring down this regime

The barrage of bombs on the Syrian city of Homs is a desperate attempt by Bashar al-Assad’s regime to crush a ten-month long uprising against him.

How Syria's uprising began

The movement in Syria started when people called for long‑promised reforms.

Who are the opposition forces in Syria?

The opposition in Syria is made up of three broad formations.

Exclusive: Egyptian Ultra speaks out

Mostafa Fouly is one of the Ultras fans who support Cairo’s Zamalek football team and a Revolutionary Socialist. He spoke to Socialist Worker


Comment

Tories' dependency culture is in crisis

Anyone in any doubt that the Tories are still scum should listen in on the House of Commons debates on the Welfare "Reform" Bill. The sheer callousness with which government backbenchers dismiss critics of the Conservative-Liberal coalition’s attacks on benefits is enough to make the blood boil.


Features

The day we shut the gates at Saltley

Forty years ago this month, a mass picket shut down Saltley coking depot during a miners’ strike—and turned the tide in the dispute.

1972 - how workers broke a Tory government

The battle of Saltley Gate is one of the high points of working class struggle in Britain.

Fighting for LGBT liberation against Tory hypocrites

The Tories have boasted that they now have more out MPs than any other party.

Oppression in numbers

Working class LGBT people in London face 43 percent funding cuts to health support organisations. Even benefit claimants with HIV are being forced into work Even before the crisis unemployment for trans people was triple the national average. In Brighton and Hove, 26 percent of trans people are unemployed. And 60 percent earn less than £10,000 a year Fifty percent of LGBT people work over the age of 70, compared with 6 percent of heterosexual people

Tories' asylum attacks

When the Tories say that they condemn countries that don’t respect the rights and liberties of gay people, they are hypocrites.

Are foreign workers to blame for lack of jobs?

The editor of the right wing Spectator magazine has disgracefully claimed that foreign workers in coffee shops are the cause of youth unemployment.

Holocaust survivor Esther Brunstein speaks out… ‘I have a mission to bear witness’

Esther Brunstein, a Holocaust survivor and anti-fascist campaigner who died in January 2017, talked to John Rose and Jan Ladzinski in 2012 about her earliest memories

Refusing to forget the horrors of Auschwitz

Below is an extract from Esther Brunstein’s speech at an Anti Nazi League meeting at the National Union of Teachers conference in 1992

Witnesses to the abyss with the strength and courage to resist

In the 1990s Esther was a strong supporter of the Anti Nazi League—one of the organisations that later launched Unite Against Fascism.


Reviews

The Simpsons - a double edged tale of the ideal nuclear family

If you draw some vertical lines on a blackboard and ask a group of kids who it is, of course they won’t know. But add a horizontal zigzag line at the top and someone will swiftly pipe up "Bart Simpson!"

It's OK to censor the word 'Palestine', BBC Trust rules

In an astonishing decision the BBC Trust’s editorial standards committee has ruled that it is acceptable for producers to bleep out the word "Palestine" in music shows.

The Lost World of the Suffragettes

This radio programme looks at the history of the suffragette movement through the voices of the women involved.

Competition - win tickets to The Bomb—a partial history in two parts

The Bomb—a partial history in two parts

The Occupied Times at Arcola Theatre

The Occupy movement comes to the Arcola Theatre in London for one night only.


What We Think

Greece in eye of eurozone storm

All eyes are on Greece. The ruling classes of Europe plan to save their system and their banks by driving through devastating austerity across the eurozone.

Workers hold the key at this critical time for pensions dispute

Public sector workers can stop the government from attacking their pensions. Some 2.6 million workers struck together on 30 November. The powerful strike brought many public services to a standstill.


Other Categories

Tim's view

Tim: What can possibly go wrong?

Letters

Hitting kids won’t help

Quotes from the week's news

‘Preventive war can be a lesser evil than a policy of appeasement… It feels like the eve of some creative destruction’



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