News

Unfinished Corbynism

Submitted by Gemma_S on 22 September, 2017 - 12:08 Author: Martin Thomas
Corbyn rally in Liverpool

Alex Nunns, a journalist on Red Pepper, has based this book on sympathetic interviews with many of the central people in Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 Labour leadership campaign. It’s a well-crafted, well-informed view of the Corbyn surge as it looked from the top.

It’s hard to remember now just how unexpected Corbyn’s 2015 victory was. Before the May election John McDonnell had attempted to assemble a “Left Platform” group. It flopped dismally.

Catalonia: right to choose yes, new borders no!

Submitted by Matthew on 11 October, 2017 - 11:13 Author: Martin Thomas and Tony Holmes
catalonia dialogue

As Solidarity goes to press on 10 October, Carles Puigdemont, the president of Catalonia, has announced his response to the referendum on independence in Catalonia his government called on 1 October.

The Spanish government declared the referendum illegal, and deployed heavy Spanish police force to try to stop it, but it largely went ahead. 92% voted yes, on a 43% turnout. A series of opinion polls carried out by the Catalan government since 2011 has in recent years shown a slight majority against independence, most recently 49%-41% in July this year.

Reza Shahabi on 24th day of hunger strike

Submitted by AWL on 2 September, 2017 - 9:35 Author: Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
Reza Shahabi on hunger strike

After 24 days on hunger strike Reza Shahabi’s health is deteriorating. His condition is now said to be serious.

Reza Shahabi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Trade Union of the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, was ordered to return to prison on August 8th. According to a report by this trade union, Mr Shahabi began his hunger strike protest on August 8th as he entered Rejai Shahr prison in Karaj. He is protesting about the legality of his case and prison conditions.

Support the McDonalds workers!

Submitted by AWL on 11 September, 2017 - 4:46
McDonald's workers strike

Workers at two McDonald′s stores in the UK will be striking on Monday 4 September. The strike is part of a global McDonald′s strike, and is the first time McDonald′s workers in the UK have struck.

Workers in Cambridge and Crayford were balloted and voted by 95% in favour of strikes. Almost as soon as the ballot result was announced McDonald′s offered 80,000 of its UK workers guaranteed hours, thereby agreeing to one of their demands even before the strike. Steve, a worker at a McDonald′s store in Cambridge, spoke to Solidarity about their struggle.

Thames riverboats workers win reinstatement for sacked colleague

Submitted by AWL on 21 August, 2017 - 7:36 Author: Daniel Randall

UPDATE

Following the announcement of the strike ballot below, City Cruises agreed to reinstate Hairia. RMT has hailed the outcome as a significant victory for union members at City Cruises.


Captains and mates working for City Cruises, a company which runs sightseeing trips along the River Thames, will ballot for strikes to demand reinstatement for Hairia Abdo, an unjustly sacked colleague.

Venezuelan crisis deepens

Submitted by cathy n on 12 August, 2017 - 7:29 Author: Pablo Velasco
Sample

Venezuela’s growing social polarisation and slide towards civil war has intensified in recent weeks, the combined result of right-wing destabilisation and the actions of the Maduro government.

The current political impasse arises from the unravelling of the “Bolivarian” project of Hugo Chávez. His successor Nicolás Maduro narrowly won the presidential election in 2013, but failed to retain the regime’s popularity with the majority of Venezuelan people.

Labour should listen to Birmingham refuse workers

Submitted by Gemma_S on 8 August, 2017 - 11:59 Author: By a South Birmingham Momentum member
Sample

For the past few weeks the refuse workers in Birmingham have been in dispute with Birmingham City Council over proposed changes to pay-grades, terms and conditions, and levels of public safety.

Workers from the Unite union are now beginning a third week of industrial action. I went down to Lifford Lane depot this morning to find out more about the dispute.

Bart's strikers name more dates

Submitted by Gemma_S on 8 August, 2017 - 11:30 Author: Gemma Short
Sample

Serco-employed workers at Bart's Health NHS Trust will strike again on 18-22, 25-29 August, and 1-5, 8-12, and 15-19 September.

Workers have so far stuck for 22 days, including a two week strike from 25 July to 7 August, in their fight over low pay. Serco is still refusing to negotiate with the workers' union Unite.

They are demanding a 30p per hour increase, and for lower workloads.

Glasgow homeless service workers fight back

Submitted by cathy n on 7 August, 2017 - 3:49 Author: Terry Elliot

Worse working conditions for the workers. And a worse service for clients.

That’s the result of Glasgow City Council putting its homelessness outreach support services out to tender, and cutting from five to two the number of organisations supporting homeless people transitioning into settled accommodation.

Workers who were transferred into Loretto Care, one of the two successful bidders, earlier this year found themselves moved from fit-for-purpose workplaces into an empty shell – no office furniture and no IT equipment – on a remote industrial estate.

Railworkers fighting for our safety

Submitted by Gemma_S on 21 July, 2017 - 2:53 Author: Joe Booth
Sample

On July 20 2017 Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) organised a demonstration outside the Department for Transport, London.

The demo was also attended by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT). Activists handed in a 4,000 signature petition for the return of train guards who are being got rid of by management – for disabled’s and passenger’s rights and lives.

Defend the Picturehouse Four!

Submitted by Gemma_S on 12 July, 2017 - 1:02 Author: Ollie Moore
Sample

Cinema workers at five London branches of the Picturehouse chain struck again on Friday 7 July, as their battle for living wages, union recognition, and other benefits continues. Picturehouse bosses have raised the stakes of the dispute by sacking four Bectu union reps from the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, the site where the dispute began. Three of those reps have had their appeals rejected, with a fourth waiting on an appeal outcome. All intend to pursue their cases at Employment Tribunal.

Make May resign!

Submitted by Matthew on 12 July, 2017 - 11:30 Author: Editorial
Sample

According to the media over the 8-9 July weekend, the argument among Tory MPs is whether to replace Theresa May now by David Davis, or to wait to replace her until the autumn. Even Tory party chair Grant Shapps has no confidence in May: “Theresa May will need to operate a completely different model to remain in power”. Getting May out will be a first step in bringing down the Tory government. Only a first step.

New strikes in war against DOO

Submitted by Off The Rails on Thu, 06/29/2017 - 21:06

RMT members on Southern, Northern, and MerseyRail will strike again in July, as the fight to stop "Driver Only Operation" (DOO) continues.

Southern workers will strike on 10 July, Northern workers on 8-10 July, and MerseyRail on 8, 10, and 23 July.

Activists in the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaign are working with RMT to organise picket line support. Demonstrations in support of the strikes, highlighting the vital role of the guard in ensuring safe and accessible trains, are planned in several cities.

Scottish Labour: still failing

Submitted by cathy n on 26 June, 2017 - 10:07 Author: Ann Field

Compared with the 2015 general election, Labour’s share of the vote at a UK level increased by 10%, from 30% to 40%, in the general election on 8th June. But in Scotland it increased by just 3%, from 24% to 27%.

In Scotland as whole the Labour vote increased by just under 10,000. Take away the increase of 7,000 votes in just one constituency (Edinburgh South, the one Scottish constituency held by Labour in 2015), the picture is even bleaker: an increase of only 3,000 votes.

The Scottish left: the strongest nationalists

Submitted by cathy n on 26 June, 2017 - 9:43 Author: Ann Field

“The Labour Party in Scotland has been wiped out.” That was the verdict of the Socialist Party Scotland (SPS) on the 2015 general election. The next step was: “The trade union movement must now prepare to build a new mass party for the working class.”

In alliance with the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the SPS had stood ten candidates in Scotland under the ‘Trade Union and Socialist Coalition’ (TUSC) banner. Their votes ranged from 0.2% to 0.7%, and amounted to only 1,772 in total.

But that did not constitute a “wipe-out”.

Finsbury Park attack: defend Muslim communities

Submitted by Matthew on 21 June, 2017 - 1:44 Author: Keith Road

We condemn the murderous attack on people outside the Muslim Welfare Centre in Finsbury Park, London, on 19 June.

As it is Ramadan, worshippers had just finished their prayers after breaking the daily fast. One man was killed and nine people were taken to hospital.

Justice for Grenfell!

Submitted by Gemma_S on 17 June, 2017 - 8:37 Author: Gemma Short

Late at night on Tuesday 13 June, a fire gutted Grenfell Tower in west London.

It is likely that a large number of people have died: firefighters have told people the number will be in triple figures. Many hundreds of people's lives have been destroyed as their family members, friends, neighbours, and homes have been taken from them.

Our solidarity is with those families and with the emergency service workers who battled to save them whilst witnessing harrowing scenes.

Grenfell Tower appeal

Submitted by cathy n on 15 June, 2017 - 7:17 Author: Len McCluskey

Dear friends,

The full horror of the fire at the Grenfell Tower is yet to unfold but we do know that there has been fatalities, serious injuries and hundreds of people are left destitute and in despair.

Once again our emergency services have been called upon to display the selflessness and heroism we are sadly becoming all too accustomed to. Unite will be sending its solidarity to our colleague unions to express our very deep thanks for all that they do to in the name of public service.

Force the Tories out!

Submitted by AWL on 14 June, 2017 - 8:48 Author: Editorial

We have a Tory minority government. But how long Theresa May, or any Tory, can stay is another matter.

The Tories look likely get a working majority in Parliament, at least on budget and confidence votes, by a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).There will be divisions between the Tories and the DUP, and within the Tory Party as the talks on Brexit proceed and as economic stresses sharpen. The Tories are likely to drop more abrasive policies like reintroduction of grammar schools, but they are in deep trouble.

Tories' anti-union laws scupper "London Bridge 3" ballot: fight must go on!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 06/14/2017 - 13:21

Today we received the disappointing news that the ballot for action to win reinstatement for Lee Cornell, and justice for Dave Sharp and Saeed Sioussi (the "London Bridge 3"), had failed to meet the 50% turnout threshold required by the Tories' Trade Union Act.

Despite returning a majority of 80% in favour of action, the 35% turnout is not enough for the union to call a legal strike, meaning cross-combine action in this dispute is impossible without a re-ballot that does hit the thresholds.

RMT branches call for Labour reaffiliation

Submitted by Tubeworker on 13 June, 2017 - 5:03

Following Labour's surge in the general election, several branches of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) have called for the union to reaffiliate to the party, in emergency motions to the union's AGM.

RMT, whose predecessor union helped found Labour, had its affiliation effectively severed in 2004 after the national union refused to prevent its Scottish branches backing candidates of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Nationalists in decline

Submitted by cathy n on 10 June, 2017 - 8:51 Author: Dale Street

Compared with the 2015 general election, the number of SNP MPs fell from 56 to 35. Scottish Tory MPs increased from one to 13, Scottish Labour MPs increased from one to seven, and Scottish Lib-Dem MPs increased from one to four.

Eleven of the new intake of SNP MPs have majorities of less than 900. In some constituencies their majorities were wafer-thin: two, 21, 60, 75, and 195.

Eastern Avenue Job Centre strike

Submitted by cathy n on 5 June, 2017 - 3:35 Author: Lotte Jeffries

The first PCS strike day took place at Eastern Avenue Job Centre, Sheffield, on Friday 2nd June. It was a very successful strike and picket line after a colossal 92% vote in favour of strike action in the ballot. The picket was supported by community activists, Momentum and the Labour Party.

On Guard - 31/05/17: Strikes suspended after Manchester Atrocity OnGuard Fri, 06/02/2017 - 22:19

On Guard is a socialist bulletin for Northern rail workers, published by Workers' Liberty.
Download and read it here

Against the terrorists, fight to rebuild hope

Submitted by AWL on 23 May, 2017 - 5:25 Author: Colin Foster

Only a rebirth of social hope can cut the roots of the vindictiveness-obsessed, death-obsessed political-Islamist movements.

The bombing at the Manchester Arena, which as we go to press has killed 22 and injured 59, has been claimed by Daesh as its own. Experts say that may be inaccurate and macabre boasting; but almost certainly the killer was an Islamist clerical-fascist of some sort.

We join many others in extending our solidarity to the families and friends of those killed and injured.

The SNP and the Tory #rapeclause

Submitted by cathy n on 23 May, 2017 - 1:11 Author: Dale Street

#Rapeclause was one of the four most popular Twitter hashtags used by SNP MPs and MSPs in the run-up to the Scottish council elections held earlier this month.

SNP MSP Humza Yousaf tweeted about “Tory born-again Brexiters and rape-clause advocates.” Fellow SNP MSP James Dornan explained: “If you’d rather vote for the Tories than SNP, you’re a right-wing Rape Clause supporting enabler.”

Solidarity across borders: May Day in Jerusalem

Submitted by AWL on 17 May, 2017 - 8:41 Author: Janet Burstall

“Music without borders mingled with an encounter of solidarity among humans” in a special May Day celebration, with Palestinian garage and carpentry workers, art teachers, musicians, agricultural workers and cleaners, Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians.

Labour manifesto: clawing back from the rich

Submitted by AWL on 17 May, 2017 - 10:16 Author: Martin Thomas

The output (value-added) of the UK economy these days is around £1900 billion a year. Of that, about £360 billion is goods and services bought by central and local government, about £320 billion is capital investment, and about £1,130 billion is stuff bought by households. The sub-totals do not add up to the overall total because of other categories, and the figures are rough, based on the last available official figures, for 2014.

How you can support the Picturehouse workers

Submitted by cathy n on 27 October, 2016 - 2:24
Hackney picturehouse strike

Here you can find a printable 1) collection sheet; 2) a letter to union branches from BECTU reps to organise donations from your trade union or Labour Party branch; and 3) model motions for trade unions, Labour Party branches and student unions. Scroll down for text of model motions. Also various useful links to more information.

Rallying to stop Macron-monarchy

Submitted by martin on 16 May, 2017 - 2:42 Author: Arguments pour la lutte sociale

The French socialist newsletter Arguments pour la lutte sociale reports on preparations for the June legislative election.


So this Sunday, while the workers of Souterraine barricade their factory with the active support of the whole population, the Elysee is seeing the monarchical ritual of the “transfer of power” from Mr Hollande to Mr Macron.

Security guards at University of London strike for security and wage rise

Submitted by AWL on 16 May, 2017 - 2:11 Author: Sacha Ismail

Security guards at the central University of London site in Bloomsbury took a third day of strike action against the university and contractor Cordant on 16 May, following two last month. They want an end to disguised use of zero-hours contracts, itemised pay slips and a pay rise they were promised six years ago when UoL’s outsourced workers first won the Living Wage.

Scotland: local elections, national issues

Submitted by cathy n on 13 May, 2017 - 11:19 Author: Dale Street

In the Scottish council elections, the Tories did well, Labour did badly, and although the SNP won more seats than other parties, it failed to maintain the electoral momentum unleashed by the 2014 referendum.

The boundary reorganisation carried out after the 2012 council elections makes it difficult to compare the number of seats won in 2012 with seats won in 2017.

After 7 May: French left prepares for battle against Macron

Submitted by martin on 8 May, 2017 - 4:47 Author: ALPS/ NPA/ LO

43% of those who voted for Macron in the second round of the French presidential election on 7 May 2017 said they did so only, or mainly, to stop Marine Le Pen of the Front National. Only 16% of his voters said they backed him because of his program.

The newsletter Arguments pour la Lutte Sociale headlined, on 5 May: "Beat Le Pen Sunday [7 May], beat Macron in June [legislative elections, 11th and 18th, impose unity of action and democratic debate".

The Front National and fascism

Submitted by Matthew on 3 May, 2017 - 9:00 Author: Martin Thomas

France’s Front National, which now has a real though outside chance of gaining the country’s powerful presidency, is not a fascist movement comparable to the Nazis or Mussolini’s Fascist Party when they were on the eve of power in the 1920s and 30s. Neither, however, is it a conventional hard-right party like UKIP or Germany’s AfD. The makeover the FN has given itself since 2011 is a makeover.

Union newsletter wins prize

Submitted by martin on 29 April, 2017 - 10:21 Author: Martin Thomas

Not many union branch newsletters typically carry articles studded with 22 reference footnotes, citing Karl Marx, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Terry Eagleton, and others, like the latest issue from the Queensland branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, which organises dockworkers and seafarers.

Articles like that one, on Work and Technology by Jeff Rickertt, are not unusual in the Queensland MUA Branch News, where they appear alongside a range of shorter articles about events, disputes, negotiations.