Solidarity 054, 24 June 2004

BACK RAIL AND TUBE WORKERS - Their fight is our fight!

By a London Underground worker

Simultaneous Tube and rail strikes are now confirmed for the end of June. On 29 and 30 June 7,500 workers at London Underground and the privatised contractor Metronet will be striking over pay and working hours, while on 30 June a similar number at Network Rail will take action over management's decision to close the company's final salary pensions scheme.

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June 30 "handover" approaches

New tensions in Iraq

An opinion poll conducted by the Coalition Provisional Authority in May - but not initially released to the US public - revealed that 55% of Iraqis would feel safer if the occupation was to end. 41% wanted it to end immediately, and 45% immediately upon the interim government taking power (which it has now done; formal sovereignty is passed to it at the end of June). Over half thought the behaviour of US troops in Abu Ghraib was typical. 78% have no confidence in the CPA, and 81% no confidence in the US. Only 11% expressed approval for the CPA (against 47% last November). 81% had an improved opinion of Muqtada al-Sadr - the radical cleric who led an uprising in the Shi'a south from the beginning of April.

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French far-left election blow

Les luttes continuent!

By Vicki Morris

The French far-left suffered a knock in the recent elections for the European parliament. The joint list of the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR)-Lutte Ouvriere (LO) received 432,000 votes, 2.58% of the total. They lost their five MEPs (although because of European enlargement they were always going to struggle to get an MEP this time).

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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For Palestinian rights and against police homophobia

Anwen Bailey reports

A contingent of people from the lesbian and gay rights groups OutRage! and the Queer Youth Alliance joined a demostration for Palestinian rights on 14 May. The demonstration was organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee. The contingent were there in solidarity with Palesitnians, but were also urging the Palestinian Authority to halt the arrest, torture and murder of homosexuals.

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The writing on the wall

Inside:

  • Give them the money!
  • Poorer
  • Richer
  • Poorer
  • On the streets
  • And then you die



Give them the money!



The London Evening Standard placarded it all over town: "Mayor Ken's £100,000 crones", implying there is something wrong in Livingstone's six ex-socialist advisers and lieutenants getting a decent wage. The Standard is always against wage rises. Think of the fire fighters; of the Standard's opposition to Blair's very minimal, minimum wage. Whipping up hostility to six of the Mayor's 'advisers' getting new titles and £111,000 a year - a mere pittance in Blair's Britain: two grand a week, or £300 a day - is par for the Standard's reactionary course.
They think the six should work, for say, the average wage of skilled workers?

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Nike's Olympics start badly

Nike's multi-million dollar Olympics advertising campaign is in jeopardy.

Marion Jones, the record-breaking American athlete accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, is in danger of being barred from the competition. She is under scrutiny by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

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No Sweat news In brief

Inside:

    Fair Trade Fashion

    Comic book

Fair Trade Fashion

Over 100 people packed into Durham Town Hall on Friday 18 June for the latest Fair Trade Fashion Show. The event was organised by Durham University anti-sweat shop campaign, an activist group which works to raise awareness of the realities of sweatshops and support alternatives.

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The people who cleaned up after the TUC

By Jean Lane

It felt just like old times. Marching through the streets of London with contingent after contingent of union branches with their banners, whistles and music, chanting working class demands...

"The workers united…" sang the megaphones.
"T&G Fighting Back" declared the posters.
"Universal Benefits are a Universal Right"
"Retirement With Dignity For All"

Bringing up the rear of the demonstration, looking for all the world like another delegation, in matching blue sweatshirts and caps, were about twenty workers with plastic bags and litter pickers, cleaning up. They were casual non-union labour. They were earning £5 an hour. No pension, sick pay, holiday pay.

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Ban the Brands campaign

"We don't want your sweatshop goods"

Jotters sponsored by Pepsi, Coke machines stocking exclusively Coca Cola, Adidas-sponsored 'training days'. These are just some of the branded products that are finding their way into our schools in order to bombard school students with advertising from multinationals. But these companies, who are often involved in sweatshop labour and human rights abuses, are hardly 'role models' for young people.

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