Socialist Worker


'I'm fed up with moaning-let's fight'

Students took action on Thursday of last week as part of a week of action called by the National Union of Students against top-up fees and student hardship.

Hackney council: £50 million cuts in next three years

Thousands of council workers in Hackney, east London, were to strike this week against cuts, redundancies and worse conditions. The action was planned for Wednesday, the local budget day as well as Gordon Brown's.

Blair gets an earful

Hundreds of sixth formers and other students greeted Tony Blair with a noisy protest against tuition fees outside the Welsh Labour Party conference in Swansea last week.

College victory

Trade Unionists at Basildon College in Essex have won a final victory over Basildon College Corporation, with the announcement of the resignation of the principal, Chris Chapman. He was responsible for creating a climate of bullying and intimidation. The resignation was the result of a determined struggle by students, trade unionists and local socialists.

'The grassroots are getting angry'

Exeter, in the south west of England, is the kind of Middle England town so beloved of Tony Blair and New Labour. Labour won the seat from the Tories in 1997, with a swing of nearly 12 percent. Many cheered when Labour's Ben Bradshaw, who is openly gay, beat Tory bigot Adrian Rogers.

Building an alternative in Scotland

Carolyn Leckie is branch secretary for North Glasgow Hospitals UNISON union and the Scottish Socialist Party's health spokesperson. She is a single parent with two children and will be an SSP candidate in the general election:

'I'm leaving Labour after 26 years'

Socialist Worker spoke to some of the people on last Saturday's demonstration against privatisation in Birmingham about why they're supporting the Socialist Alliance. STEVE GODWARD is the divisional secretary of the West Midlands Fire Brigades Union:

Now you can hit back at Tory Blair

The Socialist Alliance launched its general election campaign this week. People across Britain now have the chance to say a resounding no to Tony Blair's pro-market, pro-privatisation policies, and to vote for a socialist alternative.

Wide support

High profile figures like playwright Harold Pinter are backing the Socialist Alliance. He says, "There has to be positive and practical resistance to 'big business' government, and the Socialist Alliance has to be it. This country is doomed if we can't organise and support an energetic and determined alternative force, for which social justice is an aspiration which will not be surrendered." Film director Ken Loach is also offering his support.

Photo finish

Instant camera firm Polaroid plans to sack 235 workers at its Dumbartonshire factory in Scotland despite soaring profits. Polaroid's profits jumped from £5.2 million to £22 million last year. One worker facing the axe said, "They are throwing people on the scrapheap so the bosses can rake in cash." One of those who could be handing out redundancy notices is "human resources" director Alistair Liddell, who is married to New Labour Scottish secretary Helen Liddell.

Teachers: Action over shortages

Teachers in London and Doncaster voted by nine to one this week for action to end the scandal of teacher shortages. They will not cover for vacant posts and long term absences. There is a national shortage of supply teachers, who are meant to fill gaps caused by full time vacancies.

Sparks fly

Mean Peugeot Multinational car firm Peugeot is telling workers at its plant near Coventry to work harder, and is refusing to give them a decent pay rise. Yet Peugeot has just announced a leap in profits, up 80 percent to a huge £818 million. Last week Peugeot workers showed what they thought of that by throwing out the company's pay offer by an 82 percent majority.

Socialist election campaign

Two Socialist Workers Party national delegate meetings last weekend discussed the huge challenge posed by the election. Both were brimming with enthusiasm at the prospect of the biggest and broadest ever left wing challenge to Labour.

Get on board for protest at Genoa summit

Over 220 people attended a meeting in Conway Hall in London on Tuesday of last week to kickstart Globalise Resistance's mobilisation for the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. Everybody who was there is planning to travel to Genoa on 20-22 July to protest at the summit, where leaders from the world's eight richest countries will gather.

Say no to Record

The Daily Record, a Labour-supporting tabloid in Scotland, has organised a march against drugs on 1 April as part of its "war on drugs" campaign. Brian Souter, the anti-gay millionaire owner of Stagecoach, is supporting the march.

Sparks fly

Packed meeting Over 500 people packed a meeting last Saturday to look at what has changed two years after the Macpherson report into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. Labour MP Diane Abbott spoke, condemning Jack Straw's decision not to sack Paul Condon, head of the Metropolitan Police, after the Macpherson report. The number of people at this year's meeting rose sharply from last year. But many felt frustrated that their high hopes for change in the wake of the Macpherson report have not been realised.

Prepare for all out postal war

"Next time there's an unofficial strike in the post we will sack those who have led it and encouraged it." That is what Post Office bosses warned leaders of the CWU union at the end of last week.

Solid strike at Vauxhall: Now what next?

Vauxhall workers struck for the day last week against the closure of the Luton plant by giant US multinational General Motors. Luton strikers were joined by workers at the Ellesmere Port plant who also had a solid one-day strike. Socialists, the media, two local Labour MPs and the regional TGWU official swelled the small number of pickets at Luton. Workers argued, "You won't have a job if you keep on doing what management tell you to do!" with workers who crossed the picket lines, mainly MSF members who voted against action.

'We're worth less than the price of a T-shirt'

Protests are to hit the clothes chain Gap next week. Why Gap? Why next week? Because next Thursday, 8 March, is International Women's Day, a day established nearly 100 years ago, inspired by women workers in the New York garment industry, many of who were immigrants. They struggled to survive the horrible sweatshops but they also fought back and organised.

is ur brain 2 b fried?

Mobile phone companies all over Britain are taking part in a mad scramble to throw up transmitter masts before laws are passed which might inconvenience them. Soon they will need to apply for planning permission and-to their horror-possibly face some measure of democratic control over their activities.

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