NEW LABOUR failed to push through attacks on internal democracy at last week's National Union of Students conference. It also suffered an unprecedented defeat when it tried to pose a graduate tax as an alternative to progressive taxation.
OVER 2,000 people marched in support of the Palestinians in Birmingham last Saturday. The march was organised by the newly formed Birmingham Joint Committee on Palestine. It was even bigger than the march and rally in Birmingham last December against the war in Afghanistan.
Victory against Labour flagship
COUNCIL WORKERS at New Labour's flagship council in Newham, east London, were celebrating a victory on Monday of this week. The victory came the day before the 2,500 workers were set to strike because the council had derecognised their Unison union. But on Monday the council backed down and signed an agreement to negotiate with the union.
POSTAL WORKERS' union leaders were poised this week to call national strikes. The action will officially be over pay and conditions. But it will also focus the bitter anger against job losses, speed-up, harder working and privatisation. Delivery, sorting and driving workers voted overwhelmingly for national strikes over pay nearly three months ago.
PRESSURE FOR action over pay next month is spreading to major groups of workers. Council workers in the Unison union are balloting for strikes over London weighting, the payment to cover the extra cost of living in the capital. This would begin with a 24-hour stoppage on 14 May. Post workers are pushing for strikes in pursuit of their national pay claim (see left).
BOSSES OF three train operating companies have retreated after strikes or the threat of strikes. Silverlink, which runs trains in north London, upped its pay offer to 4 percent for this year, with a 35-hour week from this winter. Freight company EWS agreed to cut the length of its drivers' shifts.
Sharon ordered massacre Bush sent weapons Blair looked the other way
CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown's budget promises are smoke and mirrors. He says he will save the NHS and continue the fight against poverty. But we've heard these promises before, and they don't add up. New Labour's says, for example, that it "lifted 1.2 million children out of poverty" from 1997 to 2001.
They made Jenin a slaughterhouse
"A TERRIBLE crime has been committed by Israel in Jenin refugee camp, and the world is turning a blind eye." That was how journalist Justin Huggler, writing in the Independent, described what happened in Jenin last week.
NHS BOSSES in the north east of England have been forced to back down one by one in the face of strikes, and the threat of strikes, by low paid women workers. Medical secretaries have shown it is possible to take on trust managements and win. At Sunderland City Hospitals Trust, workers voted to end their indefinite strike on Wednesday of last week.
THERE IS a major debate inside the three main teachers' unions in England and Wales about merger. Leaders of the NUT, NASUWT and ATL unions are looking to merge. There is a parallel process of an increasing desire for unity among rank and file teachers.
BOSSES AT Manchester airport reneged on a promise to meet with workers' representatives last week. TGWU union officials had suspended planned strike action by the 350 security workers after management insisted they would not negotiate unless strikes were called off.
OVER 1,000 people attended the Socialist Workers Party convention in London on Sunday. It took place the day after the magnificent demonstration in London in solidarity with the Palestinians. That march underlined the central message from the convention-that the political situation has been radically transformed. Speakers who became active socialists in the late 1960s, when the last worldwide upsurge against capitalism took place, described how a similar international revolt was unfolding today.
Sacking follows unofficial strike
BOSSES AT the Airbus plant in Flintshire, North Wales, have sacked a worker who was at the forefront of leading an unofficial dispute at the plant last month. Up to 2,000 workers staged an unofficial strike on 14 March in protest at huge payouts to bosses while workers' pay was being cut.
SOCIALISTS IN Zimbabwe need your support as repression continues.
BLUE AND white collar workers united in solidarity last week at two Clyde naval bases, Faslane and Coulport. Around 1,000 white collar staff struck officially on Friday of last week against plans to privatise naval support jobs.
A CONFERENCE of the RMT rail workers' union has voted unanimously to stop paying money to New Labour nationally. It was one of a string of resolutions attacking the government passed by delegates at the RMT's train crews section at a conference in Portsmouth last week.
MORE THAN 700 contract construction workers at the Sellafield nuclear power plant in Cumbria walked out unofficially last week. The workers are furious that they are being laid off and replaced by agency staff who will be paid 50 percent less.
ENGINEERING AND electrical workers at two power stations in Kent are poised to push for strikes. Around 200 workers involved in maintenance at the Kings North and Dungeness B plants want their work to be upgraded.
TRAM DRIVERS in Croydon, south London, suspended strikes planned for this week after they forced management to offer a much improved pay rise. The drivers, members of the TGWU union, struck recently. That has led their bosses, part of the giant First Group corporation, to make an offer which would raise minimum pay above £20,000.