Uncontrollable Women by Nan Sloane review—bringing to life working class women’s struggles

Posted on: January 27th, 2022 by TTE No Comments
A picture of Anna Laetitia Barbauld with a bonnet

Anna Laetitia Barbauld—campaigner against war

Uncontrollable Women by Nan Sloane is set in the period between the French Revolution in 1789 and the Great Reform Act in Britain in 1832. It tells the stories of women who challenged injustice at a time when protest could lead to revolution or to imprisonment, deportation and even death. 

One strength of the book is how Sloane has chosen examples of women whose heroism in the face of brutal state repression is inspiring. 

The opening chapters look at three radical middle class women who lived through the revolutionary times of the 1790s—Mary Wollstonecraft, Helen Maria Williams and Anna Laetitia Barbauld. 

Among British politicians, there was a terror that the revolution in France would spread across the English Channel. Sloane is particularly interested in exploring their political writing. Wollstonecraft wrote in support of the French Revolution. Williams was an eye-witness to the revolution and a prominent abolitionist at the height of the slave trade.

Barbauld attacked the British government for persecuting dissenting religious groups and for their war-mongering. She suggested that “when it came to setting the army and navy budgets, Parliament should be more honest about what it was doing”. 

Barbauld said it should “set down: so much for killing, so much for maiming, so much for making widows and orphans, so much for bringing famine”. “We shall know by this means whether we have made a good bargain,” she wrote. 

All three women shared the same radical publisher, Joseph Johnson, and left a considerable written record of their ideas and experiences.

However, most working class women at this time could not read and write and most of their stories were not recorded. 

Sloane’s detailed research is therefore refreshing. She has used many primary sources, newspapers, court records of trials and sentencing, prison records, letters and eye-witness accounts. They bring to life the working class women who participated in protest. Sloane uses powerful and evocative imagery which leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

The early 1800s in the northern weaving towns of England saw an increasingly hostile economic and political climate.

Sloane illustrates this with two starkly contrasting examples. Mill owner William Horsfall of Huddersfield had a cannon mounted on the roof of his mill. Many women, unable to feed their families, took part in food riots. 

During one riot, 54 year-old Hannah Smith ran off with an apron full of potatoes. She was charged with Highway Robbery, convicted, and sentenced to death. Hanged for being hungry. 

The book cover of uncontrollable womenDissatisfaction with the government also led to a growth in the parliamentary reform movement, culminating in the Peterloo Massacre in August 1819. Some 18 people were killed and 654 injured, including 168 women. 

It was widely reported that soldiers targeted women disproportionately. Their stories are both moving and shocking.

Despite this, women continued to play a key role in the struggle to give more people the vote and for social justice. The author highlights the case of Susannah Wright, a lace mender from Nottingham who was persecuted by the state for selling radical Tom Paine’s “seditious writings”. She took on the Lord Chief Justice in court and emerged triumphant after telling him that he was paid to listen to her. 

Also highlighted in the book is Anna Wheeler, a socialist feminist who linked women’s oppression to emerging socialist ideas.

Uncontrollable Women ends with the failure of the 1832 Reform Act to deliver anything for working class people or for women. This marks the end of the book, but it is not the end of the story. 

As the revolutionary Leon Trotsky noted, the extension of the franchise to propertied men in Britain “was carried out with the specific intention of separating the bourgeoisie from the workers”. This was to progress capitalist interests, which had relied on working class people in the fight for reform. 

Women continued to play a key role in the Chartist movement and in the Chartist revolts that shook the British state. 

I enjoyed reading this book and found in it a rich source on the involvement of working class women in the struggles of 200 years ago.


Uncontrollable Women by Nan Sloane, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2022. Available from Bookmarks—the socialist bookshop

Anti-racists demand Nationality and Borders Bill is scrapped

Posted on: January 27th, 2022 by TTE No Comments
A group of protesters, about 5 people, holding placards that read scrap the bill

Protesters rally outside parliament as Lords debate the Nationality and Borders Bill (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Anti-racists rallied against the Tories’ racist Nationality and Borders Bill on Thursday as the House of Lords began debating it. 

Around 150 people chanted at parliament, banged drums and blew whistles. 

Protester Harvey slammed the bill as “disgusting”. “This bill, as well as a number of other draconian ones including the police and voting bills will affect so many people,” he told Socialist Worker.  “In particular the most vulnerable, like refugees. 

“And they’re all designed to scapegoat minorities.”

Harvey thinks the Tories are pushing the anti-refugee rhetoric partly for “political reasons” as well as “a genuine belief and hatred for refugees”. “They’ve created a narrative of desirable and undesirable immigrants and put refugees in a different category,” he said. 

“And their rhetoric is to ‘keep people safe’—and borders and banning protests is their solution.

“It’s also to appeal to the most right wing backbenchers and win over voters. But they’re creating a problem to distract from their failings like Covid or now with these parties.”

Freya and Erica are law students who also attended the protest. “This bill is the tip of the iceberg,” said Freya. “They are pushing through so many terrible policies. “And on a human level we have to be against every aspect of the borders bill. My family could potentially have their citizenships removed if it passes.”

Erica said, “These powers will open the door for more and more. How we resist will affect what comes next.”

Speakers from the Sikh Council, Muslim Association of Britain, the RMT union and Jewish Voices for Labour addressed the rally. 

They pointed out how refugees are forced to leave their homes because of wars, poverty and climate change. And that it’s not people smugglers that are the problem, but a lack of legislation allowing for safe routes in Britain. 

During the demonstration, police warned organisers that a complaint had been made from House the Lords about the use of the microphone. 

This was met with drums and chants of, “Kill the bill,” and, “If they won’t give us justice, we won’t give them peace.”

Weyman Bennett from Stand Up to Racism told the crowd it’s “brilliant” that people are resisting. 

“In Number 10 there’s a criminal—Boris Johnson partied while black people disproportionately died in the pandemic,” he said. 

Weyman said that although Johnson was born in US, he won’t be deported like people who’ve been kicked out of Britain for minor offences. “We can defeat them,” he added. “An injury to one is an injury to all of us.” 

He urged people to join the SUTR demonstrations in London and Glasgow on 19 March and Cardiff on 20 March. “They use racism to divide and rule,” he said. “The only way to overcome this is unity and solidarity.”


Register for SUTR and TUC trade union online conference on 5 February. Go to standuptoracism.org.uk for details on the 19 and 20 March demonstrations. 

Cost of living crisis hits, so Tories attack unemployed people

Posted on: January 27th, 2022 by Charlie No Comments
Chancellor Sunak visits Soke on Trent where there is a wall sign "levelling up" during the cost of living crisis

Levelling-up? Don’t make me laugh. Chancellor Rishi Sunak (right) visited Stoke-on-Trent last week (Pic: HM Treasury on Flickr)

The cost of living crisis is hitting hard even before the scheduled tax rises and energy price surge set for April. Around 2.5 million households in Britain missed payments such as a mortgage, rent, loan, credit card or utility bills in January.

This was a big increase from 1.7 million in December last year according to the latest findings from Which?’s consumer insight tracker.

Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they had recently been affected by increased food prices, and well over half said they had been affected by energy price rises. Some 51 percent of those polled said they had been putting the heating on less often due to energy price rises, and nearly as many had reduced their usage of lights or appliances around the home.

Sandra, who works at a food bank in east London, told Socialist Worker, “We’re seeing new people coming to us who have been just about getting by but now can’t cope. 

“It’s not that they have had a great blow-out over Christmas, it’s because their benefits and low wages can’t cover rising prices. It will be an avalanche of need when the fuel costs go up.”

But instead of controlling prices and boosting wages and benefits, the government is attacking unemployed people. People on Universal Credit (UC) will have to look for jobs outside their chosen field after just one month under plans to push more people into low paid work.

If they don’t they will face punishing sanctions.

The government’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, found no evidence that benefit sanctions work. It concluded that they were as likely to force people to stop claiming benefits without getting a job as they were to get them into employment.

The last big sanctions drive occurred between 2010 and 2016 when, at its height, 1 million people a year were sanctioned, leading to widespread poverty and hardship.

Ministers now want 500,000 jobseekers in work by the end of June, with a campaign targeted at those on UC. This would also lessen labour shortages in some areas that can encourage workers to demand higher wages.

Under the “Way to Work” scheme, claimants will be forced to widen their job search outside their area of work after four weeks, rather than three months. So a skilled building worker will be told they have to go for a minimum wage job rather than keep looking for better-paid ones.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said, “Helping people get any job now, means they can get a better job and progress into a career.”

In fact it will spread fear and lock people into poverty wages. Coffey is infamous for saying that people facing a £20 a week cut in UC would only have to work an extra two hours a week to make it up. But because of the way benefits are deducted, An extra £20 would require £50+ worth of hours.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said Way to Work will “support employers to fill vacancies”. A fight for higher wages and against scapegoating of people on benefits is more urgent than ever 

Mobilise against environmental collapse in 2022

Posted on: January 26th, 2022 by Charlie No Comments
Huge number of young people with placard 'You're burning our future'

The Fridays for Future mobilisations in September 2019 were huge (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Climate group Fridays for Future has declared the next global climate strike for 25 March. 

It will be based around the slogan “people not profit”. 

At the high point in September 2019 the school strikes—and wider support—saw 4 million people take part in the global strike in 155 countries on a single day. That was repeated a week later when a similar number in different countries came out.

Crucially the strike brought workers and students together.

The pandemic has hit mobilisations in the last two years. But now there is a chance to reignite the climate movement in a mass response to the failure of Cop26 and the lack of action from politicians.

The group has outlined on its website how this March’s strike will carry an even more radical anti-capitalist message than before. 

It wrote, “The catastrophic climate scenario that we are living in is the result of centuries of exploitation and oppression through colonialism, extractivism and capitalism, an essentially flawed socio-economic model which urgently needs to be replaced.

“A system where rich nations are responsible for 92 percent of global emissions, and the rich one percent of the world population are responsible for double the pollution produced by the poorest 50 percent.” 

It goes on to make explicit that “climate struggle is class struggle”. 

Extinction Rebellion (XR) has also revealed its plan for 2022 with its next rebellion set to begin on 9 April in Hyde Park, London. 

It will carry three demands— no new fossil fuel investment, no new fossil fuel licences and an end to fossil fuel licences. 

In a new video, XR revealed a more radical plan for what needs to happen to combat the climate crisis. 

“We are in an unprecedented situation, one that our political system both created and is unable to deal with,” it says. 

“We need a political system that isn’t beholden to short term thinking or corrupted by fossil fuel interests.” 

“To do this we must put ordinary citizens at the heart of our democracy XR is planning to organise the largest act of civil resistance in British history.” 

The group added that it wants to support a minimum of 3,000 people taking part in non- violent civil disobedience. And it said activists must pile the pressure on local councils who have already declared a climate emergency to turn words into action. 

All these mobilisations are important and need support.

Every day that passes sees more evidence of systemic environmental collapse, and the links to profit. This week it was revealed that major corporate land grabbers have dropped pesticides from planes and helicopters to clear remote areas of the Amazon rainforest.

As Fridays for Future says, the capitalist elite must be confronted because “their profit is our death. Their profit is our suffering.”

Bloody Sunday—state terror used to crush dissent

Posted on: January 26th, 2022 by Sophie No Comments

British troops killed 13 people on Bloody Sunday in Derry on 30 January 1972. A 14th person died later

In a deliberate act of mass murder, ordered from the top, British ­paratroopers massacred unarmed civilians in Derry in Northern Ireland 50 years ago.
 
The Tory government wanted to crush the Civil Rights Movement, which had flourished in the late 1960s in protest at the second class treatment of Catholics.
 
British troops were sent into Northern Ireland in August 1969. The armed sectarian police force in the North could no longer ­contain an effective insurrection in Derry, the province’s second largest city.
 
People were fighting back against a system where access to jobs, housing, and effective votes depended on whether you were Catholic or Protestant.
 
The Labour government acted to prop up a Unionist government that ran Northern Ireland as a sectarian, one party state.
 
Just five months before the 30 January massacre, ­internment without trial was introduced. Hundreds of Catholics were rounded up, detained and tortured. A march was organised in opposition to internment—and was deemed illegal. 
 
It was scheduled to begin in the Creggan area of Derry and to weave through the Bogside before proceeding to Guildhall Square in the city centre. 
 
It never got that far. Soldiers went into the Bogside and opened fire. Thirteen died on the day and one more shortly after. A month earlier, General Harry Tuzo, the army commander in Northern Ireland, told the then Tory government it had to make a choice.  
 
It was “between accepting that Creggan and Bogside were areas where the army was not able to go or to mount a major operation which would involve, at some stage, shooting at unarmed civilians.”
 
On 7 January 1972 General Robert Ford declared in a memo to Tuzo, “I am coming to the conclusion that the ­minimum force necessary is to shoot selected ringleaders.”
 
Four days later prime ­minister Ted Heath told his cabinet, “A military operation to reimpose law and order would be a major operation necessarily involving numerous civilian casualties.”
 
Bloody Sunday meant the end of the Civil Rights Movement. The massacre drove young men and women to join the Provisional IRA. 
 
Within weeks of Bloody Sunday the government replaced the Unionist Stormont parliament with direct rule from Westminster.
 
The British ­government tried to cover up the truth of its butchery from the moment the last shot was fired. The army claimed it fired because it was shot at by the IRA and that demonstrators were armed with nail bombs. This was a lie.
 
Former head of the British Army, Sir Michael Jackson, was second in command in Derry on Bloody Sunday. He wrote entirely false reports of what the soldiers did on the day, including a number of alleged personal accounts of senior officers and a shot list. It describes unnamed people firing an inaccurate number of bullets at people who, in ­reality, were in completely different places.
 
Apparently bullets went through entire buildings. Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery, the highest judge in Britain, headed an inquiry. It was a whitewash. Successive governments continued to cover up the truth about Bloody Sunday.
 
It took long campaigning by relatives of the murdered to get their names cleared. Finally in 1998 the Labour government set up a new public inquiry under Lord Saville.
 
In 2003 Jackson gave ­evidence to it. He could remember next to nothing and could not explain why none of the shots described in his list appeared to match any actually fired.
 
Jackson agreed that he must have been ordered by someone to write down his fiction—but couldn’t remember who. But he said, “The ­requirement may have been instigated in London”. 
 
Jackson’s documents were at the time of the massacre used in press releases, in ­parliament and at the first inquiry to prove the army’s version of events.
 
But Saville concluded, “We have found no evidence that anyone involved in military information falsified any Army or government document relating to Bloody Sunday, nor any evidence that anyone involved in military information disseminated to the public anything about Bloody Sunday, knowing or believing that information to be untrue.”
 
The reality, was that ­evidence Saville showed revealed that the orders for the massacre of civilians came from the top of the British establishment with, at least, the connivance of the British government. 
 
Jackson ended up head of the British army.Bloody Sunday exposes the brutality at the heart of the British state. And it also shows that if anything critical of the state emerges, our rulers will try to convince us that it was an aberration.
 
Importantly there was a wave of revolt immediately after Bloody Sunday in both the north and south of Ireland. There were strikes, ­protests and riots across Northern Ireland. In every major town thousands stopped work, marched, and occupied British‑owned businesses. 
 
A week after Bloody Sunday, 50,000 defied a ban and marched in Newry. In Southern Ireland ­thousands immediately gathered in angry protest outside the British embassy in Dublin. Thousands of workers joined a general strike.
 
Marched
 
In Cork for three days ­running 10,000 people marched. Irish prime minister Jack Lynch was forced to declare 2 February, the day of the ­victims’ funerals, a public holiday. 
 
Some 100,000 people marched, burning the British embassy to the ground. Some 15,000 people marched in London.
 
Bernadette Devlin, now McAliskey, the socialist and Westminster MP, punched the Tory home secretary Reginald Maudling in the face.
At a protest afterwards she said, “Maybe you felt better after I had hit Maudling in the House of Commons. But if you think my fist is going to bring down the Tory ­government, you’ve got another think coming. 
 
“The Labour Party certainly isn’t going to do it, and the only people who can do it is you. Look around Britain today and you will see the miners being kicked on their picket lines. 
 
“It is not our function in life to die for Ireland. It is our ­function to live, work and ­struggle for a ­workers’ republic. 

“It is not sympathy or ­feelings of frustration that are needed now. You must go away ­determined to organise and act.”


‘It is what happens to people in a class society’
Eamonn McCann was one of the organisers of the civil rights march in Derry in 1972. He has campaigned for the truth to come out about the massacre ever since. He spoke at a rally organised last week by People Before Profit in Derry. This is an excerpt from his speech.
 
“The people who refuse to come clean about Bloody Sunday—the ruling class, the establishment, whatever you want to call them—are the same people who won’t complain about any other aspect of life.  
 
These are people who swear that they are in favour of equality and yet entrench the rotten rich above us all and concentrate on making the poor poorer.  
 
The people swearing that they were committed to the environment go round the next day with investments in fossil fuels, fuelling the fires that scorch the earth. Bloody Sunday is not just a discrete thing that happened in Ireland back in 1972. 
 
Remember 1970 in Kent State after Richard Nixon ordered the bombing of Cambodia. Students protested, and the National Guard killed four people.  
 
Eleven days later, protesting black students at Jackson State College were killed by the cops. Those things are connected. They are coming from the same root. They are all examples of what happens to people living in a class divided society. 
 
If they rise up, their lives count for nothing.  The Bloody Sunday committee produced a poster that said Jail Jackson. Michael Jackson was a captain on Bloody Sunday.  His career afterwards rose like a rocket. Eventually he was appointed Chief of the General Staff—number one soldier, right at t
he very top.
 
What he did on Bloody Sunday was to cover up murder and to tell lies about it. And he lied when he gave evidence at the Saville tribunal in London.  Saville rightly exonerated all the dead and the wounded. But Saville also exonerated Jackson, and that was part of the cover-up too.  
 
It was a triumph that the dead were declared innocent. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that it was based upon exonerating the British Army.  What Bloody Sunday illustrates is the way in which the state can murder its own. Bloody Sunday shows that the class which rules over us is rotten to the core.”

 
For more, go to pbp.ie and bloodysundaymarch.org
 
Hear Eamonn McCann speak on Bloody Sunday at a Socialist Worker online meeting on Tues 1 Feb, 7pm, details here

East London NewVic college strikers determined to beat academisation

Posted on: January 26th, 2022 by TTE No Comments
A group of strikers at NewVic college

‘Principles, not CEOs’—strikers don’t want privatisation in education (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Workers at Newham Sixth Form College (NewVic) in east London returned to picket lines for the eleventh day of strikes on Wednesday. 

It marked the second day of a three-day walkout in the NEU union members’ battle over academisation, workload and bullying. And more strike days are planned from Tuesday to Thursday of next week if management doesn’t finalise a deal. 

Simon, a teacher at NewVic, told Socialist Worker, “The local school here has been academised so NewVic is very important. Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds deserve better provisions. Academisation will never bring those to these students.”

Academies put profit before pupils’ education and school workers’ conditions. They bring the market into education—and demand schools prove they are “economically viable”.  

Many NewVic workers fear that, if their battle is lost, it’ll open the floodgates to more academies across Newham.

Simon explained that they’re willing to join the picket line for weeks to come because it’s such as important battle. “Privatisation affects those at the bottom of society much more than those at the top,” they said.

Jane, a teacher, told Socialist Worker, “We are getting close to an agreement. Management has said they’re going to hold off academising until 2025, but that gives them the go-ahead to do it then.” 

Picket lines are full of placards and banners. Last weekend the strikers leafleted the local market where Jane said they had “great feedback”. 

Parents and relatives supported the picket lines and have researched the dangers of academisation. “One woman who lives locally has two nieces and nephews at the college,” said Jane. 

“She saw our large picket line and asked what was happening. We gave her a leaflet and she went home, photocopied it and spread it around.”

Jane and Simon say management face a simple choice. If they don’t want strikes, they must stop academising.

Solidarity has boosted strikers’ morale on the picket line. “Listening to students explain why they support us and listening to our colleagues’ frustrations and passion at the rally’s has really lifted us up,” said Jane. 

Students have joined the picket lines, taken and shared leaflets and a handful have refused to enter the college. 

The determination and strength of NEU members at NewVic can lead them to victory. They should continue to strike and refuse watered-down deals until bosses dump academisation and guarantee students and workers proper conditions. And every trade unionist and campaigner should build solidarity for their fight. 


Workers’ names have been changed.

Reports round-up: more strikes at Preston school as academisation nears

Posted on: January 25th, 2022 by Nick No Comments
A redbrick primary school building

St Matthew’s Church of England primary school in Preston

Workers at St Matthew’s Church of England Primary school in Preston have completed nine days of strikes against academy plans.

The members of the NEU union are set to strike again for three more days from Tuesday of next week—the day the academisation begins.

Over 40 of the 65 workers have struck holding picket lines on the school gate and outside academy trust Cidari’s headquarters in Blackburn.


Messages of support to NEU rep Julie Copeland at [email protected]


Teachers at Abbots Hill School in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire struck for two days over pensions and against the threat of fire and rehire.

NEU and NASUWT union members were set to walk out again on Tuesday and Thursday of this week.

Teachers are angry at the school governors for removing their pension scheme and using fire and rehire tactics to achieve it.

Teachers at Gordano School in Portishead, Somerset, are set to strike from Thursday of next week over workload after an overwhelming vote for action.

NEU union regional officer Ian McCann said the workload level is “having a detrimental effect on our members’ welfare”.


Messages of solidarity to [email protected]


Strike threat gets results on pay

Vehicle technicians at Mercedes Benz Retail Group have won a 13 percent pay increase for 2022 after threatening strikes. Bosses previously offered no pay rise—effectively a pay cut.

The 185 Unite union members had planned four days of strikes this week before accepting the offer.


Workers show true grit to get new offer

Workers that grit roads in Carmarthenshire have suspended strikes after council bosses made a new offer.

The gritters struck for two days earlier this month over bad treatment by bosses.


Hospital cleaners hold off action

Security guards at Great Ormand Street Hospital in central London suspended strikes last week after members of the hospital’s boards announced improvements to terms and conditions.

Members of the UVW union want to be brought in house and receive the same benefits as staff directly employed by the NHS.

Workers say if they don’t receive a clear proposal from the hospital, they will strike for six weeks from Wednesday of next week.


Protesters support scaffolders’ fight

Supporters of the Scunthorpe scaffolders in their pay dispute protested on Monday.

The scaffolders are employed by Actavo. They were set to begin a continuous strike from Wednesday of this week.

The workers are being paid up to 15 percent below the nationally agreed rate for the job. One Unite member, Dayne,  told Socialist Worker, “We’re putting our message across that we’re not happy with what they are doing.

“All the other companies on the site are getting paid the rate that we want.”

He added, “We’ll be escalating things a bit more this time.

“We got a lot of support off a lot of people, but standing there waving a flag wasn’t getting the message across.


Coalition to fight cuts in Wirral

Wirral Council has proposed £19 million of cuts to services. It is set to make its final decision on 28 February.

Wirral trades council, and public sector unions are preparing opposition. A grassroots organisation Wirral Needs Action is also spearheading a broad campaign of activists to fight back.

Norman Meddle

Train cleaners across Britain fight for higher pay

Posted on: January 25th, 2022 by Nick No Comments
Striking cleaners in the RMT union picketing in Crewe

Atalian Servest cleaners picketed across Britain (Picture: RMT)

Outsourced train cleaners employed by Atalian Servest Limited are taking to picket lines in widespread strikes for higher pay.

Despite working throughout the Covid-19 pandemic many receive just £9.68 an hour and have no sick pay.

So far only workers outside of London have been offered a measly pay rise of 2p an hour. Bosses refuse their demands for £9.90 an hour.

Workers held picket lines between Thursday and Saturday in several towns and cities including Carlisle, Liverpool and Wembley, north London.

Strikers know there is money for pay. Their union the RMT, revealed that the company paid £10.8 million to its parent company last year.

This money would be able to give 300 cleaners £15 an hour three times over.

Another pay battle among hundreds of cleaners is brewing across the south east of England. Workers on four separate services provided by outsourcing company Churchill are balloting.

The cleaners work on Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern, Southeastern, High Speed 1 and Eurostar services.

Many of the cleaners are paid only £8.91 per hour. But Churchill paid a £12 million dividend last year which would be enough to rise all wages to £15 per hour.

“We’re having to literally fight with them when they could easily give a pay rise to us,” Churchill cleaner Bella told Socialist Worker.

“It comes from pure greed and they’ve got away with it for so long. Attacking our terms and conditions, keeping us on minimum wage and minimum everything, including uniform standards.”

Alongside pay Churchill cleaners are fighting for free transport, “It’s the guys in London I feel sorry for”, said Bella. “A lot of them are paying about £240 a month just to get to work.”


Hit hard to win on Tube

Workers on the London Underground have begun a work to rule against attacks on jobs, pensions and working arrangements.

Yet the workers—members of the RMT—voted by 94 percent to strike in a ballot that ended earlier in January. Bosses want to make workers pay for the fall in income from passengers during the pandemic.

The workers showed clearly they’re ready to strike. RMT should call strike dates immediately.


The RMT union has written to London mayor Sadiq Khan over suggestions that strikes could have forced a retreat over Night Tube working. Members of the RMT union are striking every weekend against plans to make every worker take at least one Night Tube shift a year.

Yet at a London Assembly committee, deputy mayor Seb Dance said, “It is not the case that drivers will have to work a night shift.” Strikes should not be suspended until the attacks are fully withdrawn.