Socialist Worker


Palestine solidarity

19 July 2003
WORK ON a "wall" in Manchester to symbolise the wall of silence in the West over Palestinian rights started at 11am in front of the town hall last Saturday. Cardboard boxes were collected, banners were made and declarations, photos and Palestinian flags stuck onto the boxes. The demonstration started at 2pm. We carried the boxes to the square in front of Manchester town hall. Together we built the wall.


12 July 2003
SOME 80 trade unionists from Natfhe, Unison, PCS, FBU, Usdaw and Amicus marched with their banners in Manchester last Saturday. The march was over the bullying of staff at the Mancat college. One department with 20 posts has seen 35 pass through it in two years. The management made an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the branch secretary last year. Now the college has declared compulsory redundancies in the trade union education unit, which includes a number of union branch activists.

Defend asylum seekers

21 June 2003
OVER 300 people marched in Manchester last Saturday to mark the opening of Refugee Week. They demanded the end of the war on asylum seekers and an end to their destitution. Zeesham Mirza, ten years old and originally from Pakistan, told the rally, "On Wednesday we will be out of our house, there will be no social or anything. My dad is not allowed to work. We have nothing."


14 June 2003
OVER 100 Amicus union members at IT company Fujitsu Services in West Gorton, Manchester, attended a mass meeting last week. They met to discuss their pay claim, and the company's attacks on their long-standing union recognition and redundancy agreements.

March against BNP

14 June 2003
CAMPAIGNERS against the British National Party (BNP) are building support for marches on 28 June in the areas where 16 BNP councillors have been elected. Those who have signed the statement urging people to join these unity Demonstrations include trade union leaders, Labour Party MPs and MEPs, Manchester United football club and the band Heartless Crew.

Sell it like Beckham

14 June 2003
WILL DAVID Beckham leave Manchester United? That's the question every tabloid newspaper is asking. And in the chase to get the latest scoop, the exploitative world of big business and football is being exposed. One friend of Beckham says he feels Manchester United have betrayed him. He feels he is being "traded round like a piece of meat".


07 June 2003
CORPORATE conscience was switched off once more last week, leaving electricians in Manchester with no alternative but to take industrial action. Employers Crown House & DAF, who hold the lucrative construction contract for Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens and Court House sites, attempted to end a dispute by sacking skilled members of their workforce.

Council workers

31 May 2003
AROUND 140 council manual workers, members of the TGWU and GMB unions, met on Wednesday of last week in central Manchester to discuss resistance to the imposition of new contracts by Manchester City Council. Hundreds of cleaners and "street scene" workers face new duties and the loss of weekend working pay enhancements.

Recognising will to fight

24 May 2003
AMICUS MEMBERS at the Fujitsu Services site at West Gorton, Manchester, voted by two to one in an indicative ballot for action up to and including striking in support of their pay claim.

Defend council housing

24 May 2003
COUNCIL TENANTS and trade unionists face major battles in the coming months as the government presses ahead with its plans to privatise council homes. Some 125,000 council homes are targeted in the coming year in 17 major councils for straightforward transfer to housing associations, dubbed Large Scale Voluntary Transfers, from Manchester and Hartlepool to Lambeth and Islington.


17 May 2003
OVER 400 people packed into Friends Meeting House in central Manchester on Friday of last week for a Stop the War Coalition rally on the occupation of Iraq.

Campaigners take on the BNP threat

03 May 2003
"WE HAVE to stop the British National Party, make people more aware about the threat they are, and do much more campaigning." Those were the words of Darlington council worker Margaret Clemence, who joined 2,000 trade unionists at last Saturday's demonstration in Manchester against racism.

Mobilising against Britain's Nazi party

26 April 2003
TRADE UNIONISTS and campaigners were set to march through central Manchester on Saturday in a united protest against racism. The demonstration and rally was called by the TUC and the Unison union, and backed by the Anti Nazi League. It is a recognition of the danger posed by the British National Party (BNP), which has been targeting the north west of England.

'We've got to hit companies hard'

19 April 2003
GUARDS ON three more train operating companies have voted to join the campaign of strike action by the RMT union to defend safety. That brought the total number of companies involved in a strike called for Thursday of this week to 12. Delegates to the RMT's train grades conference in Manchester last week applauded news of the three latest ballot results and discussed the importance of the whole dispute.

Permanent protests

29 March 2003
THOUSANDS OF people who could not get to London last Saturday demonstrated in their own cities. Up to 2,500 protesters blocked roads in the centre of Bristol for the third day running while around 4,000 marched through Manchester. Some 1,000 protesters in Newcastle were physically blocked from marching by the police, and 1,000 demonstrated in Aberystwyth, Wales.

Guards strike to put safety first on the railways

29 March 2003
GUARDS IN the RMT rail workers' union on ten companies were set to strike for 24 hours on Friday of this week and Monday of next over safety. "It is the first effectively national strike we have had on the guards' side since privatisation," says Alex Holden, a guard and RMT safety rep in Manchester. "The fragmentation of the industry means we have had to have a series of synchronised ballots." The companies are:

Norma Wilson

22 March 2003
IT IS with immense sorrow that we record the death of Norma Wilson, for many years a full-time organiser for CND in Manchester. Norma died after a long, courageous and cheerful battle against cancer. Many readers will have heard Norma speak at Marxism.

Around the movement

15 March 2003
"NO WAR! Blair out!" was the chant as thousands of protesters converged on Manchester city centre from three separate starting points on Saturday of last week. Some 15,000 people defied appalling weather to join the protests, which coincided with International Women's Day.

From the front line

01 March 2003
"THE GREATER Manchester Coalition to Stop the War is coordinating an antiwar demonstration on 8 March. This will involve three separate marches converging on the city centre. On the city centre stall on Saturday 5,000 leaflets and hundreds of posters were distributed.

More barriers to working class children

01 February 2003
VIRGINIE is at Parswood Technical College in Manchester. "I want to study medicine so the idea of top-up fees really worries me. After three years you could have £20,000 of debt, but I might be at college for four, five or six years. I could be in debt for the rest of my life. I knew it would be hard just to live for three years at university-now it is worse, because it's not just living expenses but fees as well.

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