Solidarity 030, 14 May 2003

CWU: say no to divide and rule!

London postal workers have voted by a margin of 19,803 to 91 for action to win an increase in London weighting. But the problem is that CWU Deputy General Secretary (Postal) John Keggie is trying to play divide and rule by saying that a decent increase for London will mean no increase for the rest of the country. Good reason to kick him out from the position of DGS(p) and replace him with Dave Ward.

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Industrial in brief

In brief

* Unison plans a strike ballot over pay for thousands of nursery nurses in Scotland's local authority-controlled nurseries.

* In an outrageous attack on human rights Tony Blair has intervened to alter draft European anti-discrimination legislation to allow religious employers to discriminate against lesbians and gay men.

* Remploy, which employs 5,700 disabled workers, could face strike action after workers rejected a pay rise worth £5 per week. They want £20.

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More evictions please

The rail and seafarers union RMT has finally won its battle to kick John Prescott out of his union-owned flat. Prescott, who pays a rent of just £200 per week, has been told to get out. The building is to be demolished and will make way for apartments including social housing. The joke at Unity House is that RMT leaders have held a raffle to decide who will drive the bulldozer. The RMT should move next to evicting a few anti-union MPs from their seats.

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Train bosses forced to back down

An Employment Tribunal has forced South West Trains to give train driver Greg Tucker his old job back, two years after demoting him to ticket inspector on a trumped-up speeding charge. The company has also been forced to repay all Greg's lost earnings and a substantial additional award.

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RMT calls off action without guarantees

By a Central Trains driver
Following three days of action, the strikes by the rail union RMT to restore train guards' safety role were due to be stepped up to 48-hour stoppages on 6/7 May. But on 1 May the planned 48-hour strikes were called off.
Members got a letter from the union (dated 1 May) saying that the 12 Train Operating Companies (TOCs) in dispute had moved their position in our favour.

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Woodley says "fight to reclaim Labour Party"

Tony Woodley is standing in the T&G General Secretary election with the backing of the union's Broad Left. Solidarity supporters in the union have had criticisms of Woodley, particularly his role in the motor industry, where he was the union's chief negotiator for several years. Nevertheless, Woodley is the only candidate with a proven track record of rank and file trade unionism, and who firmly opposes T&G's slide towards business unionism.

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CWU: no to "SMT" sellout

By a CWU member
The Executive of the telecoms section of the post and telecom union CWU has re-entered negotiations on incentive bonus schemes in the BT Customer Service division.
Rather than re-ballot members, after the use by BT of the anti union laws to stop industrial action on the issue last month, the executive has conceded that the current SMT ("Self Motivated Teams") scheme will continue. Meanwhile SMT Version 2 is being hammered out in "hothouse" discussions with management under the guise of an "alternative".

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I'm an intellectual, Get me some politics

An Anti-Capitalist Manifesto by Alex Callinicos, Polity Press

If the conclusions of this book were to be accepted, and its programme widely adopted, it would put the socialist project back to the time before Marx. This book is a revival of utopian socialism.

Callinicos asks three questions of the anti-capitalist movement: who is the enemy, what strategies are needed to beat this enemy, and what should the goal of the movement be? His answers are: the enemy is capitalism; the goal is socialism, and the strategy is revolution, brought about by fighting for a "transitional programme" of reforms.

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I'm a bore: get me off the telly

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV) and 100 Worst Britons (Channel 4)

It's that time of year again when reality TV hits the screens. Big Brother is back next week, but in the meantime we've had the delights of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! The small advantage of these shows is that, unlike Fame Academy or Pop Idol, the participants don't sing. Well, not much, anyway.

Two and a half million votes were counted in the final of I'm A Celebrity. I reckon that must be about the same as the number of votes for the Scottish Parliament. It cost 25p a go to choose whether an ex-cricketer, an ex-footballer or a DIY design guru should be King (or Queen) of the Jungle. The bookies were set to lose thousands if the favourite, Phil Tufnell, failed to win (he won). But why did anyone care?

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