Frontline

NUS conference 2015: has the left won control?


(Hattie Craig and Beth Redmond speak at an NCAFC fringe meeting at NUS conference)

Many on the student left, including us, have written about leftish shifts in the National Union of Students before. What happened at this year’s NUS conference (in Liverpool, 21-23 April), though still limited and contradictory, was of a different order.

At the National Union of Students conference (in Liverpool, 21-23 April), the right-wing Labour bloc which has run NUS for decades partially lost control to the left.

Strikes at National Gallery 21-25 April and 1 May

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens
PCS members fighting privatisation at the National Gallery are on strike for five days from 21-25 April and on 1 May.

PCS members fighting privatisation at the National Gallery are on strike for five days from 21-25 April and on 1 May.

The workers have already held 18 strike days over plans to sell off visitor services. The invitation to tender is due to be published just days before the general election.

PCS has published an open letter for supporters to sign calling on the outgoing gallery director to halt the privatisation process.

More information: facebook.com/nonationalgalleryprivatisation

NUS conference: what's coming up, what we're doing

Author: 

AWL Students


(Our comrade Beth Redmond, who is standing for NUS President, leading the
November national demonstration for free education)

The National Union of Students conference takes place 21-23 April in Liverpool.

The National Union of Students conference takes place in Liverpool, 21-3 April. It comes after a series of important student actions and struggles.

Trade Unions: 

Orthodox economists think Osborne is wrong

Author: 

Martin Thomas

The Centre for Macroeconomics asked professional economists - almost all orthodox, mainstream people - whether "the austerity policies of the coalition government have had a positive effect on employment and GDP in the UK?".

This was the result:

economist judgement on Osborne

Ignoring those who sat on the fence, 19% thought the policies had had a positive effect, and 81% disagreed.

In a survey of economic experts, almost all very orthodox, 81% said clearly that Osborne's cuts have not helped growth or employment.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Only 30% in UK think themselves religious

Author: 

Martin Thomas

A survey reported in the Guardian of 13 April has found that the UK is one of the world's least religious countries, as measured by people's opinions.

Only 30% of those surveyed in the UK said they were religious. 53% said they were not religious, 13% said flat-out that they were atheists, and the other 4% "didn't know".

Apart from China, where there would be government pressure against calling yourself religious, the only other countries to report smaller numbers of "religious" people were Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Japan.

The UK is one of the world's least religious countries, so a recent survey shows. So why do we have so many "faith schools", and an Established Church?

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Shareholders scoop $10,000 from each household

Author: 

Martin Thomas
From the new wealth produced by the labours of the average household in the USA, the shareholders of US big business will scoop around $10,000 in the coming year.

From the new wealth produced by the labours of the average household in the USA, the shareholders of US big business will scoop around $10,000 in the coming year.

The figure was about $8,000 in 2014, and is expected to rise. It doesn't include the gains from higher share prices which shareholders may or may not cash in. It counts only the hard cash they get in dividends and operations in which businesses buy back their own shares.

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New Zealand fast food workers beat zero-hours contracts

Author: 

Unite (New Zealand)

Restaurant Brands, which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks chains in New Zealand, has committed to end zero hour contracts by July this year in a new collective agreement negotiated with Unite Union.

Unite has 2,000 members at the chain and is recommending the new terms to members in a vote to be held over the next week or so.

The Unite bargaining team was unanimous in its support for the proposal which promises staff at least 80% of the average hours will be guaranteed using a three month rolling average of hours worked up to a maximum of 32 hours a week.

Restaurant Brands, which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks chains in New Zealand, has committed to end zero hour contracts by July this year in a new collective agreement negotiated with Unite Union.

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First Great Western workers prepare for ballot

Author: 

Ollie Moore

Members of rail union RMT working for First Great Western are preparing to ballot for industrial action, after First Group announced plans to axe jobs on new inter-city services.

On the new trains, the driver will have sole responsibility for operating the doors, meaning guards are no longer required. The doors could even be operated with the driver as the only member of staff on board, without even an additional train manager.

Members of rail union RMT working for First Great Western are preparing to ballot for industrial action, after First Group announced plans to axe jobs on new inter-city services.

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Police cleared in Duggan verdict

Author: 

Ellie Clarke

On the 25th of march 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission cleared all officers involved in the shooting of Mark Duggan of any wrong doing.

This comes as no surprise. The IPCC’S involvement in the Duggan case has been questionable from the get go. The IPCC told the media Duggan had shot at police first, a claim that was later disproven by ballistics and witnesses. They also claimed Duggan was a known gangster despite the fact he had only ever been convicted of manor crimes such as cannabis possession and handling stolen goods.

On the 25 March 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission cleared all officers involved in the shooting of Mark Duggan of any wrongdoing.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Tories threaten deep cuts to welfare

Author: 

Matthew Thompson

The Tories have threatened to cut the welfare budget by £12 billion in the first two years of the next Parliament if they win the General Election in May.

The already announced plan to extend Universal Credit to all working-age claimants by the end of 2017 would save the Government around £2.5 billion, assuming that the deadline doesn't slip beyond then as it now looks likely that it will. So what other benefits have the Tories got in their sights?

Ideas being discussed by ministers and senior civil servants at the Department for Work and Pensions apparently include:

The Tories have threatened to cut the welfare budget by £12 billion in the first two years of the next Parliament if they win the General Election in May.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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An Open Letter to a socialist supporter of the SNP

Author: 

Ann Field

Dear Jimmy,

A few weeks ago we carried a series of articles arguing for a Labour vote rather than a Green vote in the general election.

The arguments in the articles were all very calm, cool and collected, a series of reflections on the fact that whatever the apparent attractiveness of – at least some – Green policies might be, this did not justify calling for a vote for the Greens.

Why socialists in Scotland should not vote SNP in the general election.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Queer Politics and Feminism in India

Camila Bassi spoke at All the Rage 2015 about feminism and queer politics in India. You can listen to the speech here.

If you are interested in India and Camila's thoughts on it check out her blog - https://anaemiconabike.wordpress.com/

Camila Bassi spoke at All the Rage 2015 about feminism and queer politics in India. You can listen to the speech here.

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University of the Arts students occupy

Students at the University of Arts London have occupied management offices to protest against cuts in foundation courses. Other colleges also now in occupation!

On the 16 March, news was spread amongst University of the Arts London (UAL) students that management had decided to cut over 800 places on their Foundation courses. Three days later, students and SUARTS sabbs are occupying management rooms at Central St Martins, King’s Cross in a peaceful yet poignant protest.

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End poverty! Tax the rich!

Author: 

Jill Mountford

Just in time for the General Election, Britain’s employment rate reached a record-high, with 73% of working age people in work. The bosses’ government gloated over the news. But these figures belie the fact that 5.2 million people in work also live in poverty, they are 60% of all poor and the numbers of people living in poverty have doubled since 1983. Not so great news then.

5.2 million people in work also live in poverty, they are 60% of all poor and the numbers of people living in poverty have doubled since 1983

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Unison Special Conference votes to put Local Government pay dispute back on!

Author: 

By a local government worker
Conference voted by 62% and then 68% to re-open this years pay claim

Local government workers in Unison this week overturned the leadership's appalling sell out of the pay dispute.

Conference voted by 62% and then 68% to re-open this year's pay claim with a fight for the living wage and equivalent flat rate increase for all workers in the run up to the general election and the first year of a new government.

Bin lorry strike in Barking and Dagenham

Author: 

Gemma Short
GMB union members employed as bin lorry drivers in Barking and Dagenham council are on strike over a £1000 a year pay cut.

GMB union members employed as bin lorry drivers in Barking and Dagenham council are on strike over a £1000 a year pay cut.

Staff struck on 18-20 March and will strike again on 7 and 8 April.
During the last strike Barking and Dagenham council employed security guards with dogs to guard premises from striking workers.

GMB senior organiser Keith Williams said: “It beggars belief that a council that is attacking frontline workers with a £1000 wage cut would spend money to intimidate those who are lawfully resisting a cut to their wages.”

Win at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Author: 

Peggy Carter
Unite wins victory against job cuts at Dulwich picture gallery

Plans to cut 19 of 36 gallery assistants at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, have been beaten back by the union.

Workers had planned a week of strikes due to start on 13 March before management backed down and withdrew the threat of redundancies.

Unite is now planning to gain recognition at the gallery.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/SaveJobsAtDPG

Lewisham Hospital Worker #53 — 18 March 2015

Author: 

Lewisham Hospital Worker

Read the latest edition of Lewisham Hospital Worker online. In this issue: More belt tightening to come, offer made in QEH dispute, help campaign against academies in Lewisham.

Download here

A workplace bulletin by Lewisham Hospital workers, for Lewisham Hospital workers.

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