Solidarity 375, 9 September 2015

Corbyn: don't celebrate, organise!

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 11:14 Author: Colin Foster

On 12 September 2015 Jeremy Corbyn won Labour leader by a landslide and then went straight to speak to the big refugee rights demonstration in London. This article is from Solidarity 375, just before the voting ended.

Don't mourn, organise", the American trade union activist Joe Hill famously told his comrades in 1915 as he was railroaded to a firing squad on trumped-up murder charges.

If Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leader on 12 September, we should flip that motto into "don't celebrate, organise!" And if he has a near miss, Joe Hill's original will do.

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 11:04 Author: Phil Grimm, Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

On 4 September, workers striking against privatisation of services at the National Gallery handed in a petition signed by over 133,000 people.

The delivery of the petition was timed to mark the 80th day of strikes at the gallery. Around a hundred people gathered outside the gallery on Trafalger Square to hand in the petition, which has garnered widespread support online.

Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn and left-wing backbench MP John McDonnell both sent messages of support and solidarity to the protest.

John Burgess for Unison General Secretary

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 10:55

The Unison General Secretary election nomination process has begun. There are five candidates, including incumbent General Secretary Dave Prentis.

Workers’ Liberty members and supporters in Unison are backing John Burgess, and so is the majority of the Unison Left NEC caucus. John is Barnet Local Government Branch Secretary; he has an impressive record of leading a series of fights against the so called “easycouncil” in Barnet and in defence of public services.

Solidarity with sacked Gdansk port worker

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 10:25

Maciek Konopka, a dock worker in Gdansk, Poland, has been sacked for union organising, sparking an international campaign for his reinstatement.

Maciek’s sacking is the latest union-busting action by dock management, including intimidation and threats of dismissal as workers organise for better pay, against the use of temporary contracts, and over negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement.

Management employs workers on rolling temporary employment contracts, seemingly to maximise a culture of fear and job insecurity.

Greek anti-Memorandum alliance to contest election

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 9:31

On 20 August Alexis Tsipras announced the resignation of the Gree government, triggering fresh elections.

Tsipras has ruled out having a Syriza party congress before the elections, and looks set to exclude the left from party lists. The Left Platform released a statement declaring it will stand in elections against Syriza as part of a “broad anti-memorandum alliance” under the name “Popular Unity”.

Daesh consolidates, Kurdish opposition divides

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 9:27 Author: Simon Nelson

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates around 5,000 people from all sides and including fighters and civilians died in Syria during August.

The shocking recent death toll in Syria is just the latest reasons why hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the country. The total number of Syrian refugees displaced across the Middle East, Europe and North Africa now stands at over four million.

Privatising in Piraeus

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 9:22

One of the measures imposed by the capitalist Eurozone leaders on Greece, and shamefully accepted by the Syriza-led government, is privatisation of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki.

Likely bidders are Maersk, ICTSI, and the Chinese company Cosco, which already runs two of three container quays at Piraeus on a 35 year contract. Hutchison tried for Thessaloniki when there was previous talk of privatising it, in 2008.

Hutchinson: we shall not be moved!

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 9:12 Author: Martin Thomas

The motto of the dock workers sacked on 6 August in Sydney and Brisbane by Hutchison, the world’s biggest container terminal operator, remains: one day longer!

However long Hutchison delays on reinstatement, the workers’ protest will last one day longer.

On 2 September the privatised Port of Brisbane — landlord for the Hutchison Brisbane terminal and for the approach road — told the workers that they must dismantle the community protest line maintained at the terminal entrance since 7 August.

Stop the abolition of council housing

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2015 - 9:08 Author: George Peters

Tory plans for the NHS, the welfare state, public services, and the trade unions are vicious. Their objective is to reverse all the gains made by the working class since 1945.

Nowhere is this more stark than their intention to completely abolish council housing.

They have already pushed through attacks on council housing. The virtual ending of council house building, “right to buy” at massively discounted prices, huge and sustained rent increases, bedroom tax, 80% market rents, ending security of tenure, etc.