A MAJOR demonstration and rally are planned in Newcastle upon Tyne in suppport of public services and against privatisation. GMB union general secretary John Edmonds and CWU union general secretary Billy Hayes are among the speakers.
Probation officers have backed a plan to strike over staff shortages and workloads. Delegates at the probation officers' Napo union conference in Eastbourne, East Sussex, last week overwhelmingly agreed on a one-day strike, boycotts and work to rule action.
AROUND 60 people attended the Unity Conference called by Ealing National Union of Teachers (NUT) last Saturday and heard an inspiring set of speakers. The conference was introduced by Christine Blower, secretary of Hammersmith and Fulham NUT, and ex-president of the NUT.
STRIKES BY drivers in the Aslef rail union on First North Western last weekend were solid again. The Aslef union is asking all drivers to put £5 into a FNW disputes fund. Drivers on the Merseyrail company have offered to put in £10 each. More drivers are discussing escalating the dispute.
AROUND 200 European activists gathered in Barcelona two weekends ago to make final preparations for the European Social Forum (ESF) in Florence from 6 to 9 November. The ESF will be a festival of resistance. Every aspect of the new movements will be debated out at huge meetings, self organised seminars and workshops. The assembly in Barcelona agreed that the main demonstration in Florence on Saturday 9 November should focus against an attack on Iraq.
MORE THAN 500 protesters marched against war and nuclear weapons in Plymouth last Saturday. The protest was called by the Nuclear Free Coalition in Plymouth and included a mass sit-down blockade of the main gate into the nuclear dockyard in the city. Devonport dockyard services Britain's nuclear fleet, including those carrying Trident nuclear missiles.
LONDON firefighters are in explosive mood. Firefighters across east London only took 999 calls on Tuesday of last week. They were defending the FBU's policy of not cooperating with the government's so called independent inquiry into firefighters' pay.
SOME 500 porters, telephonists and cleaners in the Unison union at Swansea's Singleton, Morriston, Hillhouse and Cefn Coed hospitals were on the verge of escalating strike action as Socialist Worker went to press. The issue is resistance to poverty pay levels.
OVER 450 people crammed into a Globalise Resistance and Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign hosted meeting on "Do we need a global intifada?" in Glasgow on Thursday of last week. The reception for Haidi Giuliani, the mother of Carlo Giuliani who was murdered by the police during the G8 protests in Genoa last year, was electric.
AROUND 350 people attended the Socialist Alliance conference on the euro last Saturday. There were four different motions put to the conference. Most of the speakers in the debate agreed that the euro project was not about a convenient currency but was about making privatisation and attacks on workers easier.
STRIKING WORKERS who were sacked by their millionaire boss took their case to an industrial tribunal last week. The 87 workers were employed at the Friction Dynamics car components factory in Caernarfon, North Wales. They went on strike in April 2001 when boss Craig Smith imposed a 15 percent pay cut.
CIVIL SERVANTS working in the new Job Centre Plus offices were kicked in the teeth last week by the government's announcement that 20,000 jobs will go in the next four years.
POSTAL WORKERS across Britain will soon start a strike ballot over their bosses' plans to privatise the Cash Handling and Distribution (CHD) section. The Post Office wants to sell CHD to Securicor, a full privatisation that will affect 3,000 workers.
GEORGE W Bush's press secretary said last week, "If the UN fails to act against Iraq we will work with our coalition." There is only one leader who the White House can point to as loyally backing the war drive - Tony Blair. It would be a great blow against war if Blair had to pull back from supporting Bush.
Bush wants war within weeks...with Blair in tow
"IT'S THE world we live in. It is the nature of modern business." That was the callous reaction of Tony Blair to the news that 1,000 workers, many his own constituents, are to lose their jobs. Black & Decker announced the cuts at its Spennymoor plant, right next to the prime minister's Sedgefield constituency in County Durham. The company claims it can't afford to keep production of power tools going at the plant. It is shifting operations to the Czech Republic to take advantage of cheaper labour.
DAVID BLUNKETT, the home secretary, kept up his attacks on refugees as the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill went to the House of Lords for its third reading this week.
DAVID TOVEY was convicted last week for stockpiling an arsenal of explosives and guns. Police believe he wanted to launch a one-man race war against black people. All the evidence points to Tovey, from Swindon, seeking to copy the Nazi nailbomber David Copeland, who killed and maimed with three attacks in London three years ago.
THE TRIAL of six Asian men from Burnley who defended their community against racists was set to finish this week. The court in Preston has heard powerful arguments about how Nazi British National Party members terrorised Burnley in June last year. Tariq Saddique, Mohammed Bashir, Asif Khan, Mohammed Nawaz and a 17 year old who cannot be identified are pleading not guilty to the charge of violent disorder. One 18 year old has felt forced to plead guilty.
WHAT YOU THINK - a forum for activists to discuss the struggle