Stop the cuts in Incapacity Benefit!

Submitted by Anon on 9 February, 2005 - 7:52

By Joan Trevor

The government announced on Wednesday 2 February its five-year plan for benefits and pensions, including cuts in Incapacity Benefit (IB). This is a disgraceful attack on IB claimants, many of whom live in poverty. Instead of setting itself the humane goal of providing the sick and disabled with comfort and ease, the government is setting out to make the sick and disabled poorer still.

There will no longer be automatic increases in the amount of benefit paid to IB claimants after six months and one year. The amounts that can be claimed currently are:

Pensions Campaign Day: Friday 18 February

Submitted by Anon on 9 February, 2005 - 6:41

Local union branches and trades councils are getting together for the TUC pensions day of action on Friday 18 February, and preparing for strikes on Wednesday 23 March. What’s happening in your area?

Birmingham

Birmingham Trades Council activists’ meeting. Thursday 3 February, 7.30pm, Council House, Birmingham City Centre. Speakers include Roger McKenzie, TUC Regional Secretary.

Bolton

Friday 18 February: joint union rally on Bolton Town Hall steps between 12 and 1pm.

Cardiff

SWP pushes through Socialist Alliance shutdown

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2005 - 9:04

After twelve years as a coalition of the left, and five years after it became a coalition including almost all the activist left groups in England and Wales, the Socialist Alliance was shut down at a conference on Saturday 5 February 2005.

It was a close vote - 73 to 63, with two abstentions - and the 63 votes against closure were exactly the same number as for the main "left" position at the last SA conference, in March 2004, Lesley Mahmood's amendment against the SA supporting Respect and for the SA standing candidates in the June 2004 council elections.

Tax the rich to pay for pensions!

Submitted by AWL on 4 February, 2005 - 11:11

The Socialist Green Unity Coalition - an alliance formed in 2005 which includes the Alliance for Workers' Liberty together with the Alliance for Green Socialism, Socialist Alliance, Socialist Party, and Socialist Unity Network - has agreed to launch a campaign on pensions in response to the Turner Commission report. Click "read more" for campaign material.

Militant activist wins key position in Fire Brigades Union

Submitted by Anon on 4 February, 2005 - 9:18

Matt Wrack, a militant activist from the London region, has won a resounding victory to become the Fire Brigades Union's new Assistant General Secretary.

Wrack's victory over leadership favourite John McGhee is a clear warning signal to General Secretary Andy Gilchrist, who is up for re-election himself later this year, that FBU members are not prepared to 'forgive and forget' the poor leadership of the Gilchrist faction (of which John McGhee was a leading member) over the past few years.

National strike ballot for local government workers

Submitted by Janine on 4 February, 2005 - 10:14

Transport & General Workers Union Press Release, 1 February 2005: The T&G has today announced its intention to ballot members in local government for industrial action over pensions.

The T&G's announcement comes shortly after the biggest union in local government, UNISON, declared that it would also be balloting members on the same issue.

Colombian army murders leader of agricultural workers

Submitted by Janine on 2 February, 2005 - 4:28

From Justice for Colombia: Just after midday on Saturday January 29th some 500 members of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian Army entered the rural area of Jiguamuando.
The soldiers spent some six hours terrorising the Afro-Colombian inhabitants of the area accusing them of being supporters of leftwing FARC guerrillas. Homes were raided, local people beaten up and supplies and livestock were destroyed.

The Sick Note Rebellion

Submitted by Janine on 29 January, 2005 - 1:47

Press release from the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs

Almost half the PLP go missing for key vote on rail ...
Approximately 30 Labour MPs vote against the Government on the issue of public ownership of rail franchises ... as predicted, huge numbers of Labour MPs simply would not turn up to vote for the Government and against their own party's policy

Iraqi trade unionist kidnapped

Submitted by AWL on 29 January, 2005 - 3:49

The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) issued this statement on Thursday 28 January about the kidnapping of IFTU official Talib Khadim.
At 9:30am on Thursday 27 January 2005 a group of six gunmen using two cars broke into the main building of the Carton Board Manufacturing Company in Al Zafarania District of Baghdad and kidnapped Mr. Talib Khadim Al Tayee, President of the Iraqi Mechanics', Metalworkers' & Printworkers' Union (IMM&PU), after attacking him violently in front of workers.

Iraq’s missing oil billions

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 28 January, 2005 - 6:23

The effective economic policy of the US occupation in Iraq has been: confiscate Iraq’s oil revenues; hand out the cash to the US administration’s American and Iraqi cronies, with minimal supervision; justify this in the name of the virtues of privatisation; and impose decrees mandating privatisation as the only way Iraq’s economy can develop in future.

A United Nations audit published on 14 December, though cautiously worded, paints a devastating picture.