Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2290

Dated: 18 Feb 2012




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We won’t pay for the crisis - strike on 28 March

It’s on. Three unions have named the day for their next joint strike—Wednesday 28 March.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Barnet council workers strike against big sell off

Striking Barnet council workers bellowed out a determined chant from their picket line on Thursday morning, "Say no to easyCouncil".

NHS bill ‘could be the next poll tax’

Anger at the NHS privatisation bill could be fatal for David Cameron’s government—according to Tory cabinet ministers.

Private firm McKinsey helped write Tories’ privatisation plan

Management consultancy firm McKinsey and Company have spent thousands of pounds on lavish events for top NHS regulators.

Sun arrests shed light on police corruption

Police arrested five senior figures on the Sun newspaper last weekend.

Investigative journalism – or a stinking swamp?

Trevor Kavanagh, the Sun’s associate editor, wrote on Monday, "The Sun is not a ‘swamp’ that needs draining."

‘What we’re doing is illegal, isn’t it?’—meet the crooks who bribed the cops

In 1999 Metropolitan police chief Sir John Stevens declared, "We now realise that while we did deal with the ‘rotten apples’, the approach did not destroy the tree from which they had been picked.

It’s on! Trade unions build for mass walkout on 28 March

Unions have proposed a new date for their joint strike over pensions.

Unions dismiss government’s lousy pensions ‘deal’

The decision to name 28 March as a date for a joint pension strike breaks the stalemate that followed the government’s "heads of agreement" deal.

Do we really need to mind our language?

Bigots use obnoxious language to parade their obnoxious views. They spit out vile words that demean women, black people, people with disabilities, lesbians, gays—or anyone else they want to target.

Workers need to fight, says Arthur Scargill

Arthur Scargill led the National Union of Mineworkers during its epic strike against Margaret Thatcher’s attempts to smash the union in 1984-85. For this he remains a heroic figure to a generation of activists.

Academies: Education secretary dismisses school’s improvement

Downhills Primary School in Haringey, north London, is "failing", according to Ofsted, the hated schools inspectorate.

Teachers to walk out in 12 London sixth forms

London teachers in sixth form colleges are preparing to strike for half a day on Thursday of next week.

James Watt College strike back on

Lecturers at James Watt College in the West of Scotland have voted for more strikes against job cuts.

Education union elections

Ballot papers in EIS elections go out this week.

Shaker Aamer protest

Supporters of Shaker Aamer—the last British resident in Guantanamo Bay­—marched last Saturday in south London.

Oil at the heart of Falklands tensions

Tensions between Britain and Argentina increased last week as Argentinian foreign minister Hector Timerman accused Britain of "militarising" the Falkland Islands region.

Barnsley bus workers: ‘We can keep fighting’

Barnsley bus drivers finished their twelfth strike day on a high note. Some 70 of them were on the picket line from 5.30am until lunchtime on Friday of last week.

St Pancras cleaners to strike

Cleaners at London’s St Pancras station are set to strike for 48 hours this week over pay. They are currently paid £6.76 an hour and are demanding £8 plus sick pay.

Fighting to save our hospitals

Prince Philip hospital Hundreds of people marched through Llanelli, South Wales, on Saturday to protest at threats to downgrade the town’s Prince Philip hospital.

Council round-up

Cheshire West and Chester Workers in the Unison, Unite and GMB unions struck for three hours this Tuesday against worse contracts at Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Talks collapse in signalling dispute

The West of Scotland signalling centre dispute is back on after talks collapsed. RMT members at the Glasgow centre struck for 24 hours on Tuesday this week and plan to strike for a further 24 hours on Friday 2 March.

Jobcentre staff to stop work

Jobcentre workers in the PCS union in Merseyside have voted to strike over compulsory job transfers, it was announced last week.

Strikers fight cuts to Hackney drug service

Staff at the Lifeline drug treatment centre in Hackney, east London, are set to strike against service cuts on Thursday of next week.

Disabled people protest over cut

Around 30 activists from Disabled People Against the Cuts protested against the closure of the Independent Living Fund on Monday.

Strike vote on Heathrow Express

RMT workers on London’s Heathrow Express service have voted by 80 percent for strikes against the sacking of driver Zahid Majid and victimisation of RMT rep Liaqat Ali.

LGBT activists discuss theory

Around 100 activists attended a day school on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues on Saturday.

Bakers ballot to stop attacks

Around 800 food workers in the BFAWU union are balloting to strike over attacks on their terms and conditions at the Gunstones bakery in Sheffield.

Action called off at Reuters

Journalists at Thompson Reuters news agency have called off their strike following a new deal.

Socialism for young workers

Forty people attended the SWP’s day school for new members and young workers last Sunday—to discuss the tasks ahead for revolutionaries in the workplace. 

Electricians battle building bosses over pay and the right to strike

A court decision over Balfour Beatty’s challenge to the Unite union’s ballot for strike action was due on Thursday of this week.

Sold-off GP surgery shuts

A doctors’ surgery in central London is set to close in April—after being sold twice in four years.

Tory deputy chairman pockets £27,000 in fees from healthcare film

The Tories’ deputy party chairman Michael Fallon MP has pocketed more than £27,000 in fees from private healthcare firm Attendo, he has admitted.

More cuts to come at Hinchingbrooke hospital

The new private bosses of Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire will need to make cuts of £10 million in order to turn a profit, a report says.

NUS calls national student walkout

The National Union of Students (NUS) has called a national walkout on Wednesday 14 March against the government’s attacks on further and higher education.

Tories splash out for party fundraiser

Austerity and crisis didn’t stop top Tories from having a lavish time last week.

Shot man fit for work, says Atos

Another shocking case of private firm Atos declaring people "fit to work" when they are clearly sick or disabled has come to light.

More tax breaks for rich proposed

David Cameron’s latest wheeze for kickstarting the economy would be funny if it wasn’t so obnoxious.

Bigger bonuses for BAE bosses

Senior executives at BAE Systems were set to receive multi-million pound bonuses after the group received a £200 million tax rebate from the government.

Cleaners strike to demand the London Living Wage

Cleaners formed a noisy and lively picket outside the new St Pancras International Station today, Thursday.

Balfour Beatty court defeat gives green light for electricians’ strike

Electricians at construction firm Balfour Beatty are set to strike officially, after bosses’ attempts to use the anti-union laws to stop them failed.

Victory for electricians as Balfour Beatty forced to back down

Electricians scored a major victory today as Balfour Beatty withdrew from its plan to force through pay cuts under threat of strikes.

Court dismisses acquittal application by Zimbabwean activists

Six Zimbabwean socialists have lost their application to have charges of "conspiring to commit public violence" dismissed.

Video: Sparks disrupt Electrical Contractors Association’s posh Park Lane dinner

Up to 300 construction workers took their fight to the building bosses at the Electrical Contractors Association’s annual black tie dinner, held at the Grovesnor hotel on London’s posh Park Lane, 15 February 2012

Scottish teachers set to join next round of strikes

Scottish education workers are moving to join the next round of pensions strikes.

Protesters occupy Tesco after 'work for no pay' adverts

The Right to Work Campaign occupied a Tesco Express store opposite the Houses of Parliament today (Saturday).

After electricians' victory over Balfour Beatty - the protests continue

Electricians protested outside several Morrisons stores across Britain today, Saturday.


International

Video: Hossam el-Hamalawy on the workers' movement in Egypt

Revolutionary Socialist Hossam el-Hamalawy talks (in English) at the American University in Cairo, 12 February 2012

Egyptians resist army offensive

Workers and students in Egypt’s state and private universities held a national strike last Saturday, 11 February.

‘Homs is under siege, but we are determined’

Civilian casualties mount in Syria as Bashar al-Assad’s forces try to smash the revolutionary movement there.

Egypt: Generals fear mass resistance

Trade unions and activists in Egypt called for mass strikes on Saturday of last week.

Fury in Greece against Euro bailout blackmail

The Greek government has come out badly shaken by three days of workers fighting back.

Portugal: mass protests against IMF

More than 300,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Portugal last Saturday to take part in the country’s biggest mass protest for decades.

Maldives: US backs right wing coup

A right wing coup deposed the first democratically elected president of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean last week.


Comment

Labour splits over Glasgow cuts vote

The Labour Party suffered another blow in Scotland last week as it struggled to force through a cuts budget on Glasgow council.

Obama’s recovery is far from certain

"It's halftime in America, too… This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. Our second half is about to begin."


Features

Syria’s Revolution

For Western rulers Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has gone from reformer to war criminal. At the same time his repression of protests against his regime is threatening to drive large numbers of Syrians into the arms of the West.

Greek activists speak out: ‘We want workers’ power’

Panos Garganas, Editor of Workers Solidarity The experience of 15 general strikes over two years has resulted in a high level of radicalisation.The employers are on the offensive. The IMF and EU say the government must cut wages to be more competitive.


Reviews

Charles Dickens’ literary war with the real life Ebenezer Scrooge

Jeremy Hunt, a man laughingly known as the minister of culture, celebrated Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday last week by giving Dickens novels to his cabinet colleagues.

Dickens bicentenial round-up

Here’s a selection of what’s on offer. For more details go to <a href="http://www.dickens2012.org">www.dickens2012.org</a>


What We Think

Rulers want to scare us into submission

For the ruling class, the economic crisis is an opportunity. Politicians may talk a lot about the debt—but their austerity policies are not really driven by a burning desire to bring down the deficit.

Racism in football must be fought—but Tories have no answers

The footage of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez refusing to shake hands with Patrice Evra, the black player he had previously racially abused, has reignited the row about racism in football.


Other Categories

Rej Jones 1947-2011

Rej Jones, an internationalist and socialist to his core, died a few days before Christmas. He will be greatly missed by socialists and trade unionists in Swansea and across South Wales and beyond.

Tim's view

Tim: Back in the gutter with the Sun

Letters

Football fans in Britain send solidarity to Egypt Numerous football fans in Britain sent messages of support for Egypt’s Ultras after the massacre at Port Said. We print some here

In their own words

‘It is important that we do not jump to conclusions. Nobody has been charged with any offence, still less tried or convicted’



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