Socialist Worker


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Health, justice, food, peace - Not profit!

Over 5,000 people marched through London last Saturday in protest at the way the world trade system works against poor people and the environment. The demonstration was young-about half were under 30 and a significant number under 20. It was also very lively and angry. Sara Henderson, a 17 year old from Walthamstow in London, told Socialist Worker:

Stop the war: Worldwide Movement

Major mobilisations against the war were due to take place across the world this weekend and next. In Italy three days of action described by the Il Manifesto newspaper as "against the war and the World Trade Organisation" were planned, culminating in a national march in Rome.

Taking on Blair's strikebreaking

Strikers in the government's new Pathfinder job centre and Benefits Agency offices are continuing their determined action. New Labour has launched attempts at strikebreaking and union busting. Around 2,500 civil servants in the PCS union are on all-out strike against the government's plans to remove screens in the new amalgamated offices. Screens are important for staff supplying benefits because of the increased harshness of the government's system.

Postal workers: Striking back at harassment

Postal workers across much of east London poured out in an angry unofficial strike on Tuesday. By midday workers at the giant EDO mail centre in Whitechapel, and at offices in Bethnal Green, Hackney, Homerton, Bow, Clapton, Poplar and elsewhere, were out in a brilliant act of solidarity with strikers at South Woodford.

Council workers

Council workers in Newcastle have been boosted in their fight to beat off threats of privatisation. One of the key companies involved in the privatisation has pulled out.

UNISON United Left

Up to 150 members of the UNISON public sector workers' union met in Manchester last weekend to launch UNISON United Left. The organisation brings together all those on the left within the union, and represents a significant step forward. There were speakers from Sefton, where union members have won a victory in a fight over care home closures, and from the Glasgow medical secretaries' strike.

In brief

Stewards reject deal Shop stewards at Scottish Power have rejected management's latest offer. However, the new offer will be put to a ballot of union members. The workers, who are members of the AEEU, GMB and TGWU unions, have been fighting management's plans to transfer workers in the "wire business" to a new company.

Medical secretaries: Back on all-out action

Furious medical secretaries in Glasgow have walked out again on indefinite strike action after management reneged on their recent offer. The 300 secretaries, all low paid women workers, had unanimously voted to suspend their strike two weeks ago.

Bus workers

Anger is bubbling among Stagecoach bus workers, who face long hours and low pay while the company reported an operating profit of £197.8 million earlier this year. Over 100 Stagecoach workers in Hastings went on a one-day strike on Friday of last week to fight a management-imposed 3 percent pay rise. The workers, members of the TGWU union, had demanded a 10 percent rise and a reduction in shift hours.

Socialist Alliance

The Socialist Alliance is to contest a by-election in Ipswich. The parliamentary seat was made vacant by the recent death of Labour MP Jamie Cann.

We suffer while bosses coin it in

Job cuts and pay cuts for us, bonanza for the bosses. That's the reality of what's happening across Britain as the recession gathers pace. Thousands more workers learned last week that they face the dole. Tens of thousands more were told their pay will be cut. Yet Britain's bosses were celebrating a year of record pay rises, and City money men cheered as shares in many firms pushing through job and pay cuts surged upwards.

World Turned over to Business

US and British government representatives will make decisions this week which will kill poor people as surely as they are doing in Afghanistan. The key votes will come at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar. This is a meeting designed to defend and extend the multinationals' stranglehold on production and trade.

Asylum: Vouchers go but harsher rules to come

New Labour finally caved in to pressure over one of its key policies towards asylum seekers this week. The home secretary, David Blunkett, announced the government is planning to scrap the voucher scheme that forces refugees to live off just £26.54 a week, plus £10 cash.

Institutionalised racism let Surjit's killer stay free

The Scottish legal system was slammed as incompetent and racist by two official reports last week. The reports gave damning evidence of the way the police and courts failed to bring justice to the family of a young Sikh murder victim in Lanarkshire, Surjit Singh Chhokar.

Milburn's answer? More privatisation

Patients are waiting longer than ever to be seen in hospital accident and emergency departments. That is the shocking state of the NHS after five years of the New Labour government, according to official figures released last week. Health secretary Alan Milburn's equally shocking response was to signal a major drive to privatise healthcare in Britain.

Afghanistan: Their blood on Blair's hands

As Blair demands support for US war Picture of slaughter At last this week some sections of the British press gave a glimpse of the real horror of the war on Afghanistan. The Mirror, the Herald and the Daily Record showed pictures of the slaughter in Kabul when Gul Ahmed and his seven children were killed. Two youngsters were also killed in a nearby house.

US refuses to condemn Israel

A brutal massacre carried out by a death squad. That is the only way to describe the Israeli army's attack on the Palestinian village of Beit Rima last week.

Urgent appeal to all readers

The rising opposition to this war has forced itself even into sections of the mainstream media. That should encourage everyone to redouble their efforts to build the anti-war movement.

Strong roots can feed mass protest

Some 1,700 people marching through Sheffield, 2,000 demonstrating in Glasgow, 500 on a Preston march, around 1,600 at a public meeting in Birmingham. Those are just a few of the anti-war protests that have taken place in the last week.

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