Sacked Friction Dynamics workers deserve better
The 87 members of the TGWU 4/550 branch at Friction Dynamics, Caenarfon, Gwynedd, were sacked after eight weeks locked out by their employer for going on strike. They are still picketing the plant. Their strike committee chair, Gerald Parry, knows what determination their stand has shown.
Message from the West Bank
SOMETHING important happened last night. We were watching MBC, an Arab TV station seen by millions of people in the Middle East. News from London was shown, with people demonstrating at Selfridges, the big store in Oxford Street.
Labour selection row
THE BLAIRITE Huw Irranca-Davies was last week selected as the Labour candidate for the Ogmore parliamentary by-election in South Wales. As a local Labour Party member I am disgusted that left winger Mark Seddon, clearly the most outstanding candidate, was excluded from the shortlist. A panel headed by the chair of the Labour Party, Charles Clarke, excluded Mark. Mark opposed the war in Afghanistan and Labour's Private Finance Initiative privatisations.
THIS IS a wake-up call to all trade unionists. Over the last year I have been working for First Great Western trains at Intercity House in Plymouth, but employed by the Manpower agency. First Great Western set up the operation in Plymouth by sacking staff in Bristol and Paddington and inviting Manpower to set up at Intercity House, where they opened an office and brought in a management team.
THIS government's announcement that it is negotiating with private health providers to treat NHS patients doesn't just highlight the crisis in the NHS. It is a grotesque illustration of what the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) means to the NHS.
Socialists teach Blunkett lessons
David Blunkett and Tony Blair would have got a good lesson in citizenship and breaking down language barriers at a "Winter Welcome" party for asylum seekers organised by Dulwich Socialist Alliance.
Wrong strategy to take on PFI
Health Secretary Alan Milburn's announcement that private company BUPA is to be given a key role in the NHS has shocked many health workers. It was also cynically timed to overshadow the TUC's Positively Public rally against privatisation in central London on the same day.
War against world's poor
We are again seeing the big powers trying to sort out the world's problems through military force. More and more countries are on George Bush's list of targets – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, North Korea and others.
If you have been impressed by headline news that the government is going to let parents with kids opt for "family friendly" shifts at work, look again. This is a measure that is supposed to help working mothers the most.
I am Somali woman living and working in London who decided to join Health Workers Against the War. I took that decision after my seven year old daughter came home from school and said it is not right that poor children should be bombed in Afghanistan. If only Bush and Blair had the same morality as a child!
Here in Ipswich in Suffolk we're campaigning in the first by-election since the general election in June. I'm standing again for the Socialist Alliance. In the general election the main plank of our campaign was opposing privatisation. Now it is opposing Bush and Blair's war.
I will be on the anti-war demonstration in London on 18 November, and I hope there are tens of thousands of others who will be as well. This is not just some routine march. I really feel that this is a crucial moment for all of us to do something about the war.
David Blunkett has finally been forced to accept that the government can't control people smoking cannabis, so he has had to make concessions. Stamping down on drugs hasn't worked. New Labour have now reclassified cannabis from a category B drug to a category C.
THE ONCE-pacifist German Green Party held a conference two weeks ago where the leadership announced its support for Bush's war against Afghanistan. Green Party leader and foreign minister Joschka Fischer's speech echoed the war hysteria and propaganda of Bush, Blair, and German chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the Social Democratic Party.
EDUCATION secretary Estelle Morris announced last week that the government is going to change the arrangements for university fees and grants. There will, at a minimum, be grants for some students, and possibly all fees will go, to be replaced by a graduate tax.
AS A lawyer specialising in human rights, civil liberties and asylum, I am extremely concerned about the climate of intolerance, fear and racism which surrounds our government's declaration of a "war on terrorism." We cannot claim to be fighting for democracy and human rights if we start off by abrogating basic freedoms and perpetrating injustice. Proposals to bring in even more draconian terrorist laws and laws against asylum seekers will carry with them expectations that this will somehow result in the identification of terrorist suspects.
I WORK at a school in north west England. I was very shocked by the deaths at the World Trade Centre and I still feel horrified whenever I see the pictures on the television. But I am also very determined that this horror should not lead to others, such as the further destruction of Afghanistan.
THE struggle to free Satpal Ram continues, despite the home secretary's decision to overrule the recommendation of the parole board for him to be released immediately. On only three occasions in the last 20 years have home secretaries overuled recommendations by the parole board.
Workers fight the BNP in Oldham
WE MET last week to launch Oldham Trade Unionists Against Racism and Fascism. Around 20 people, mostly local union reps and shop stewards from a range of unions including MSF, AEEU, UNISON, NUT, PCS and others, attended our inaugural meeting.
FOLLOWING recent events here in Burnley, readers may be aware that Lancashire police-unelected members of society-have decided to call upon home secretary David Blunkett to ban the planned anti-Nazi demonstration and carnival on 1 September.