Solidarity 058, 23 September 2004

Stop Telekom redundancies

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 23 September, 2004 - 12:00

The South African telecommunications firm Telkom plans to shed another 4,181 workers in three years, despite making record profits this year.

In 1999 Telkom employed more than 61,000 workers. This number has been almost halved to fewer than 32,000.

The three trade unions in Telko — the Communication Workers Union, Solidarity, and South African Communication Union — have made a pact to fight these redundancies, and are asking for international solidarity.

Send messages of support via Labour Start at

South Africa's biggest ever strike

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 23 September, 2004 - 12:00

More than 700,000 public sector workers, including 320,000 teachers, struck on 16 September in probably the biggest strike in South Africa’s history.

Eight public sector unions representing teachers, nurses, police officers and prison wardens took part in the one-day strike. The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union said that around 200,000 strikers took part in the 24 marches held across the country.

Pathology in the name of liberation

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

By Chris Reynolds

At least 338 people have died since gunmen claiming to champion Chechen national rights seized a school in North Ossetia (a territory neighbouring Chechnya) on 1 September and took pupils, teachers and some parents hostage.

Nearly 400 people are still missing according to teachers at the school. Many of the dead and missing are children.

No Sweat Gathering 2004

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

No Sweat will meet over the weekend of 4–5 December.

The event will be held at the University of London Union on Malet Street, London.
The Saturday will focus on debates and discussions.

The Sunday will be an activist training day with practical sessions aimed at developing campaign skills.

A weekend ticket costs £10 (waged); £5 (students and other concessions).
One-day tickets are £7.50 and £3.50.

You can get a ticket now by posting a cheque payable to
“No Sweat” to PO Box 36707, London SW9 8YA

Iranian and Iraqi left debate

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

The Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) — that section of it around Hamid Taghvaee and Azar Majedi — held a congress on 18–19 September in Germany to rally its forces against a recent split.

The other section, led by Koorosh Modaresi, held a meeting the same weekend in England.

About 300 attended the congress in Germany. 485 of the WPI’s members had registered for the conference, and another 203 sent messages of support.

No Sweat News In Brief

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

News in brief

Thousands of people will march for fair trade, an end to global poverty and for environmental action at Labour Party conference, Brighton, Sunday 26 September.

The day’s events start at 1pm with a rally on Madeira Drive, Brighton.

London No Sweat
Paul Hampton introduces video of working conditions in Disney Factories in Haiti.
Plus discussion about new homeworkers’ initiative. Speaker from Oxfam.

Thursday 7 October, 7pm, Truckles Cellar Bar, Bury Place, Bloomsbury
More info: Karen 07906 384592

Nationalise the railways!

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

According to an ICM poll for the Guardian (22 September), 66 per cent of all voters and 72% of Labour voters support renationalisation of the railways.

Now the right-wing rail union TSSA has tabled an amendment at Labour Conference to insert rail renationalisation into a party policy document.

On this one, the big unions might fight Blair. The (predictable) massive public support may push the union leaders into a proper battle at Labour Party conference. Union members need to put pressure on their leaders to stand firm.

Solidarity works: Wembley workers win back jobs

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

TWO HUNDRED and forty steel construction workers on the Wembley Stadium project who walked off the job after their new bosses — Hollandia-Fast Track — unilaterally imposed new attendance arrangements — have won their dispute.

Many of the workers — organised by the GMB and Amicus — were from the north east and needed time off at weekends to go home. That was allowed until the Dutch company Hollandia took over the contract at Wembley.

Pottage off the menu?

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

Having sold the unions’ souls for a mess of pottage — or rather, a promise from the Blair leadership that the next Labour manifesto will include a promise of a mess of pottage — the big union leaders are now worried that they will not even get that.

Tony Blair has appointed Alan Milburn as his “general election coordinator” and chair of the “election campaign planning committee”. “Milburn’s manifesto” was summed up by the Financial Times on 10 September: