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Thousands meet in Florence this week to oppose war and capitalism


THOUSAND-strong British delegation - from union leaders to students. Up to 20,000 expected in all. Hundreds of debates and forums every day. First ever Europe-wide anti-war demonstration on Saturday.

New rules to call up 10,000


THE BRITISH government this week plans to issue a rarely seen Queen's Order to enforce the mobilisation of up to 10,000 armed forces reservists for war on Iraq. The procedure has not been used since the Korean War in the 1950s, and gives the government massive extra powers to call up reservists.

Asians get jail for self defence


THREE YEARS in jail. That is the shocking sentence Judge Boulton handed to 28 year old Tariq Saddique, who acted in self defence against a racist mob in Burnley in June last year. He was sentenced in Preston on Monday of this week, along with Mohammed Maroof Bashir who got two and a half years, a 17 year old who got a 12-month sentence, and Asif Kahn who got two years.

Workers occupy factory


WORKERS AT a swimwear factory in North Wales began an occupation last week in protest at the company's refusal to pay wages owed to them. The mainly women workers are fighting Fineline Cymru in Rhyl. Elaine Round is one of 30 workers who began the occupation on Thursday of last week.

NHS workers show they can cure low pay


PRIVATE FIRM ISS Mediclean has once again been forced to make an improved offer for low paid health workers because of threatened strike action. The firm has offered all ancillary workers at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride a minimum wage of £5 per hour - the rate the workers were demanding. ISS Mediclean has also offered workers improved weekend, night shift and sick pay entitlements - something it had previously refused to negotiate on.

Public Sector Alliance


STRIKING RAIL workers on Arriva Trains Northern led an 800-strong march in Newcastle on Saturday called by the Public Sector Alliance. Other delegations included firefighters, postal workers (with a significant delegation from Oxfordshire), GMB and Unison union members, further education college lecturers, university lecturers, anti-war activists and others.

Students


AROUND 350 students from around the country attended the Shared Planet conference last weekend. This is an annual event organised by student anti-corporate network People and Planet.

Should socialists support top docs' campaign?


What you think - a forum for activists to discuss the struggle

Workers pressing on with strikes


WORKERS ON the press and paintline section at Raven Manufacturing near Burnley were on strike again last Monday in their sixth week of action. The workers, who are paid only £5.08 an hour, are fighting for a decent pay rise. Management met the workers recently but refused to budge from its claims that no more money is available, despite a full order book. Meanwhile solidarity with the Raven strikers continues to grow.

London universities will strike on 14 Nov


UNIVERSITY staff across London have voted overwhelmingly for a one-day strike next Thursday, 14 November. The strike is the latest step in the campaign against the employers' ten-year freeze of the London weighting allowance. During this time transport costs in the capital have risen by over 50 percent and property prices by over 150 percent.

What a victory in Bridgwater


WE'VE WON a brilliant victory in Bridgwater, Somerset, after a seven-day unofficial strike. Around 130 of us walked out for a shorter working week, for overtime rates when we cover for workers in emergencies, and for an end to management bullying and harassment.

Arriva


RMT MEMBERS on Arriva Trains Northern struck for the 22nd time in their long-running pay dispute on Saturday. "We have issued four more strike dates for next month," one member of the strike committee told Socialist Worker, "21, 23, 24 and 31 December. "That is our answer to Arriva's attempt to break us. Our strikes in December are aimed to hit Arriva hard. But we will need financial support from other trade unionists to sustain such strikes so close to Christmas."

Union rights


MARK HARDING, a driver on London Underground and a member of the RMT union, won an important legal victory over union representation last week. The decision in favour of the RMT at his employment appeals tribunal has implications for members of every union. Mark explained to Socialist Worker:

Civil servants


CIVIL SERVANTS in the PCS civil servants' union in the Department of Work and Pensions in central and west London have voted by a 70 percent margin to take strike action. The strike is in defence of branch secretary Chris Ford and leading activist Phil Henry.

Anti-Nazi


THE NAZI BNP is standing in a council by-election in Blackburn, east Lancashire. The vote, in the Mill Hill ward, takes place on 21 November. During the campaign the BNP has been stirring up racism and targeting asylum seekers. This propaganda is particularly disgusting because it is going out in an area where three asylum seekers were attacked, two of them hospitalised.

Walkout beats bosses


BUS WORKERS in Orpington, Kent, walked out on strike on Wednesday of last week in solidarity with a fellow driver. They are employed by Metrobus, which covers routes in the south east and south coast of Britain. The management came down hard on a woman driver after a minor accident while she was driving.

Pensioners


AROUND 50 pensioners and trade unionists met in London last Saturday at a conference organised by the Greater London Pensioners Association. Pensioners were angry that restoring the link between pensions and earnings was not raised at Labour's conference.

Scottish lecturers


OVER 1,000 college lecturers, teachers and other trade unionists marched through Glasgow last Saturday demanding the reinstatement of Jim O'Donovan. Jim is the president of the college lecturers' section of the EIS education union. He was sacked from Glasgow's Central College following a campaign of victimisation against union activists by the management.

Chhokar family


OVER 50 people attended a very moving commemoration for Surjit Singh Chhokar, who was murdered by racists over four years ago in Wishaw. Scottish Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani and the family's lawyer, Aamer Anwar, addressed the commemoration.

Stand Firm To Force Blair To Pay Up


TONY BLAIR restated his hard line against the firefighters on the very day leaders of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) suspended another strike in the hope of getting a pay offer in talks. He said on Monday of this week, "If people make excessive wage claims we will have to resist them."

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