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CAMPAIGNERS are organising a conference in Brighton next week over safety at work. Among those backing the conference is the Simon Jones Memorial Campaign. Simon was killed on his first day at work as a casual worker in Shoreham docks. His death led to a long-running campaign and court cases against the company he worked for.

Prepare for new strikes


CIVIL SERVANTS who work in Britain's job centres and benefits offices are preparing for their next round of strikes on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 January. The action, by members of the PCS union, is a great opportunity to turn up the heat on New Labour and civil service management. New Labour increased its intimidation of strikers last weekend with the threat that people will not receive promised promotions if they continue to strike. "The decision makes clear the contempt in which management holds members' concerns," said Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary elect.

Thirst for debate on political fund


"IN JUST three days we've had 78 emails from trade unionists wanting to take part in and sponsor the conference."

Caterpillar


THE FIRST strike for over 20 years hit the Caterpillar plant in Peterlee, County Durham, last week. Workers at the US multinational owned firm walked out for a day over a pay freeze and attacks on conditions.

Goods protest at Selfridges


PRO-PALESTINIAN activists returned to top London store Selfridges last Saturday. Before Christmas the store agreed to stop stocking goods labelled "Made in Israel" which had been made illegally in occupied Palestinian territories. The store's bosses came under huge pressure to restock the goods. The Israeli ambassador in London toured the shop.

Council


PARENTS, STAFF and the local Socialist Alliance are set to fight against New Labour's plans to close nine council nurseries across the west London borough of Ealing. Four of the nurseries cater for under-fives with special needs. Ealing council is viciously hacking back services. The closures will hit voters in key Labour wards in Acton and Southall.

Defend Council Housing


A PARLIAMENTARY committee heard last week that the private housing companies lining up to take over council homes face a growing cash crisis. The House of Commons public accounts committee heard how 13 housing associations had to be taken over by rivals to avoid going bust.

Argentinian protest


SOME 150 people joined a lively and noisy protest outside the London offices of the World Bank last Saturday in solidarity with the uprising in Argentina. Interest payments on the country's $140 billion debt are a key factor behind the crisis gripping Argentina.

Students


THE NATIONAL Union of Students has called a national demonstration on the theme of "Grants not fees" for Wednesday 20 February. Some 20,000 students joined a similar demonstration in 2000. NUS leaders have tried to channel the anti-fees campaign into small local actions and lobbying activity.

Bradford


NATIONAL UNION of Journalists members at a series of Bradford-based papers have voted to take strike action. The journalists, who have only recently won union recognition, planned to strike on three days this month.

And they dare to blame the workers


And they dare to blame the workers

Rich rob poor of treatment


WEALTHY PATIENTS are jumping the NHS waiting list because they can afford to pay. That is the reality of New Labour's market forces in the NHS, revealed in the Observer last Sunday. The rich were treated by NHS doctors, in the same wards and with the same equipment as NHS patients.

Attack on refugees 'sneaked through'


THE GOVERNMENT quietly pushed through changes to immigration rules last week. Now when an appeal against deportation has been dismissed only the home secretary will be told of the decision. Before last week the asylum seeker and his or her representatives or solicitors were also informed.

Boycott rattles Israeli embassy


BOSSES AT top London store Selfridges were forced to run around taking goods off the shelf just before Christmas after a successful boycott campaign. The goods are marked "Made in Israel". But they are manufactured in Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israel. The sale of these products directly contravenes European Union customs regulations.

Drugs slur


DEPUTY BRITISH High Commissioner to Jamaica Phil Sinkinson has made outrageous claims that one in ten people on flights from Jamaica are smuggling cocaine. He used this to justify his demand for a crackdown and harsher sentencing. British customs and excise officials rubbished Sinkinson's comments. They revealed that there were no figures on the number of "drugs mules" to support Sinkinson's claims.

We can beat the house wreckers


THE government faced humiliation after anti-privatisation campaigners won two important victories. In the last few weeks tenants in Dudley and on Southwark's Aylesbury estate have decisively voted against plans to privatise their homes. These votes and recent government retreats show that New Labour's privatisation plans can be stopped.

PCS


ACTIVISTS IN the PCS civil servants' union who work in job centres and benefits offices are gearing up for their next major strike for safety at the end of this month. Around 40,000 civil servants struck in December against the removal of safety screens.

Vote for Bob Crow


INTERFERENCE BY the Tory press in the election for general secretary of the RMT rail union began even before the ballot papers went out this week. There was a torrent of stories at the end of last week directed against left wing candidate Bob Crow, who is currently an assistant general secretary.

All out on the Humber


RIVER PILOTS on one of Britain's busiest waterways are continuing their all-out strike. The strike by the 130 pilots, all members of the TGWU union, centres around a dispute with the giant ABP firm which runs ports along the Humber.

Cruel blow for a crucial fight


TOP TRADE union officials have dealt a shattering blow to striking Scottish Power workers. They have conspired to wrap up strikes and allow management the chance to claw back important gains.

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