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 Daniel_Randall Fri, 01/28/2005 - 18:23

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.

An appeal by the Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI)

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 28 January, 2005 - 6:09

Since November we have witnessed a marked increase in activities and the formation of a number of branches of FWCUI in many workplaces and factories.

Such developments have attracted the attention of the authorities in the cities of Baghdad, Basra and Saharaban. Labour activists have been threatened by the authorities and prevented from joining FWCUI.

Politics after the tsunami

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 28 January, 2005 - 5:52

Promises of aid from richer countries to the countries hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 have increased. Australia now heads the list, promising US$800 million. The USA has increased its initial offer of $35 million to $350 million, and on 6 January, embarrassed, dissolved its so-called “core group” of aid-giving US allies in favour of UN coordination.

Israel/Palestine: How to get peace

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 28 January, 2005 - 5:34

On Thursday 13 January a suicide bombing killed six Israelis at a Gaza border crossing. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, formally tied to the Fatah movement, claimed responsibility. Afterwards, the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon broke off all contact with the newly-elected Palestinian government of Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas).

An appeal to the left: Unite to build solidarity with Iraq's new labour movement (2005)

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 28 January, 2005 - 5:06

The past couple of months have seen a rise both of strikes and workers’ organisation in Iraq, and of attacks by the ultra-Islamist or neo-Ba’thist militias on trade unionists.

Yet the British labour movement and the left is still dawdling and fumbling on the issue of solidarity with the new Iraqi labour movement.

There have been lots of scattered initiatives, meetings, and activities. There is no concerted campaign. There is no political coherence.

Unison and NUT ballot for pensions strikes

Submitted by AWL on 25 January, 2005 - 6:25

The public services union Unison will ballot its members in local government for a strike in defence of pensions.
The ballot will close on 9 March. Around 28 January, the word was that the strike might be on 17 March, opening the possibility of joint action with teaching unions. But the word now is that the day will be 23 March - in the Easter school holidays.

Amicus, TGWU, and according to some accounts GMB, are also reportedly planning to ballot their members in local government. FBU is consulting its members.