Solidarity 455, 24 November 2017

Unstaffed tube stations

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 1:28 Author: Ollie Moore
Underground sign

London Underground has informed union reps of its intention to reduce the frequency of maintenance checks carried out on some trains from 24 to 96 hours. 

The checks, which involve ensuring the train is safe to run, are carried out my fleet workers in depots across the network. 

Tube union RMT has objected strongly to the plans, insisting that they put passenger safety at risk. The union has also accused the employer of wanting to cut fleet workers’ jobs. 

University workers strike

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 12:51 Author: University of London student
Uni cleaners

On November 21, workers at the University of London struck over outsourced contracts, insecure hours, and pay.
A loud protest organised by their trade union, the IWGB, took place outside the iconic Senate House during the university’s Foundation Day — when the Chancellor, Princess Anne, visits. The dispute is made up of mostly security guards, cleaners, porters, post room workers, and receptionists.

BiFab: direct action works

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 12:39 Author: Dale Street
BiFab protest

Faced with the imminent threat of closure, workers employed by BiFab (Burntisland Fabrications) in the company’s yards in Fife and Arnish (Isle of Lewis) staged a work-in and mobilised a 1,000 strong demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament.

News that the company was about to call in the administrators, putting over 1,400 jobs at risk, broke on 12 November. The company faced cash flow problems on a contract for the Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth.

Labour campaigns to make homes safe

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 12:35 Author: Gerry Bates
Housing rights

Labour launched a “Make Homes Safer” campaign on the 9 November to pressure the government to put aside money for urgent repairs to old buildings in the autumn budget.

The campaign calls for central government to set aside money for local councils to retrofit sprinklers and other safety systems to their housing. In his speech launching the campaign Jeremy Corbyn said: “The evidence is clear: where sprinkler systems have already been fitted, injuries sustained from fires have been cut by approximately 80 per cent and deaths from fires have almost been eliminated entirely.”

Unite, Len McCluskey and Jewish Voice for Labour

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 12:26 Author: Jim Denham
Unite logo

″I‘ve never recognised [that Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism]. I believe it was mood music that was created by people trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

“In 47 years of membership of the Labour Party, I’ve never been at a meeting where there was any anti-Semitic language or any attacks on the Jews. They would have had short shrift in any meeting I was at.

“New era” but same repression

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 12:18 Author: Carmen Basant
CCP congress

In October, the 19th national China Communist Party (CCP) congress took place in Beijing. China’s president, Xi Jinping, used the propaganda event to push his distinct brand of CCP rhetoric, which sounded vacuously futuristic and echoed the party’s nationalistic and imperially ambitious past.

To achieve the “Chinese Dream” would be “no walk in the park”, he declared, it would require “more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there” (Xi Jinping, cited in Phillips, 2017).

Distinctions on left antisemitism

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 12:06 Author: Martin Thomas
Left antisemitism

Workers’ Liberty has been debating theories of racism and their relationship to left anti-semitism. This contribution is a response to Carmen Basant (Solidarity 454).

Modern political antisemitism consists in damning the very existence of the Israeli state (however modified) as inescapably racist and imperialist, and thus damning all Jews who fail to renounce connection to or sympathy with Israel (however critical) as agents of racism and imperialism.

Insect armageddon

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 10:41 Author: Les Hearn
Bees dying out

The number of insect species known is about a million, and the number of individual insects alive at any one time is a mind boggling 10 billion billion (1019), with about 300 times the mass of the human population; estimates of the total number of insect species waiting to be discovered go up to 30 million. (1,2)