Solidarity 364, 13 May 2015

Why Labour lost Matthew Wed, 05/13/2015 - 09:14

An imaginary conversation with a Blairite after 7 May.

Blairite: Labour has gone too far left and must move back to the centre ground.

Solidarity: Like the Lib Dems? The Lib Dems were the one party which carefully positioned itself as the golden mean, the happy medium, the equipoise. They got thrashed. Tories, Ukip, SNP, Greens — all those parties did well by coming out with something a bit left-field (or right-field).

B: So you think Labour just has to be more and more radical, and it will automatically win?

Industrial news in brief Matthew Wed, 05/13/2015 - 09:06

On Saturday 9 May, over 400 people marched from South Friern library in Barnet, to East Finchley library, then Finchley Church End before finishing at North Finchley library, to protest over proposed cuts to library services in the borough.

The march was joined on the final leg, from Finchley Church End library to North Finchley library by a double decker bus decorated with union banners, and a brass band.

Activists in Barnet have now completed 4 days of action, marching through all the libraries in Barnet.

Ian Lavery for Labour leader? Matthew Wed, 05/13/2015 - 07:30

A group of Labour Party members have launched a campaign for Ian Lavery to be the next Labour leader.

Lavery, who has been an MP for Wansbeck in Northumberland, is former president of the National Union of Mineworkers. During the NUM’s great strike in 1984-5, he was the only apprentice in the north east region to refuse to go to work; he was arrested seven times during the dispute.

Reinstate Christine Shawcroft Matthew Wed, 05/13/2015 - 07:27

Christine Shawcroft, a long-standing left-wing member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, has been suspended from the party and faces disciplinary action in connection with the removal of Lutfur Rahman as Tower Hamlets mayor.

Shawcroft, who is a former leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour group, is accused of supporting Rahman’s Tower Hamlets First organisation against the Labour Party. She denies this.

Death at Yarlswood, end detention! Matthew Wed, 05/13/2015 - 07:22

On Monday 20 April 33 year old man died of a heart attack in Yarls Wood immigration detention centre.

The man, who has not been named, was being held with his wife and child at the centre. He was thought to have been healthy and not on any medication.

It is believed that the family came to the UK on visitor’s visas from their home in India but were detained at the airport. They have been held in Yarls Wood for two months. One detainee told the Guardian that the family “wanted to see the UK” and that “the couple have children back in India”.

Network Rail strike AWL Tue, 05/12/2015 - 18:02

Network Rail workers in the RMT union have voted by an 80% majority to strike in a dispute over pay and job security.

The strike ballot had a 60% turnout, with 92% voting for action short of strikes. The high turnout and substantial majority mean the ballot would pass the stringent tests the Tories propose to introduce for industrial action ballots.

Fight union busting AWL Tue, 05/12/2015 - 17:58

Blacklisting is primarily an industrial relations issue, and it needs to be fought in the workplace.

In the past, construction workers have walked off site just to get blacklisted workers onto the jobs in the first place. This isn't in the dim distant past; only last year, it happened on major Blue Book sites [sites covered by the terms of the “National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry”, known as the “Blue Book”].

“Back to the 70s” will not reverse inequality AWL Tue, 05/12/2015 - 17:51

The 970 pages of Thomas Picketty’s Capital in the Twentieth Century have been summarised in the three characters: r > g.

Expanded, this means, in recent years, the rate of return on the capital of the wealthy (r) has been greater than the rate of growth of the economy (g); the proportion of wealth owned by the richest becomes greater and inequality grows.