Solidarity 118, 27 September 2007

Tom Mann 3 —1889: The Great Trade Union Turning Point

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

Continuing a series on the life and times of Tom Mann with an account of the London dock strike of 1889.

Tom Mann 3 —1889: The Great Trade Union Turning Point

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Marxist Theory and History: 

The History of the International Socialists: The British Left and the Irish Crisis 1968-70 Part 1

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Part 1: How and Why the Six-County State Broke Down

Recently the British army in Northern Ireland was withdrawn to where it was in relation to Northern Ireland society before 14 August 1969, when it was put on the streets to be an emergency scaffolding for a state and society that had begun to break down into Protestant/ Catholic civil war. After 38 years, it has been returned to barracks.

In those 38 years, nearly 4000 people have died violently in Northern Ireland. To get the equivalent for the population of the UK you have to multiply by forty — over 150,000 people.

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Why did union leaders vote to end Labour democracy? An open letter to Tony Woodley

Author: 

Solidarity

Dear Tony Woodley,

We hear that at a fringe meeting at Labour Party conference in Bournemouth (23-27 September), you invited a mild critic of your knee-bending before Gordon Brown to “come outside and say that!”

Your offer to punch your critic at least shows some fighting spirit — but, Tony, isn’t it the wrong sort of fight, and isn’t it misdirected? Evidently you have a bad political conscience? So you should!

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

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Inside the Crisis of Respect

Andy Newman is a former Socialist Alliance activist who has followed developments in Respect closely. Martin Thomas interviewed him.

Both sides of the row are saying that Respect is in a bad way, yet you've chosen this time to rejoin. Why?

I’m not sure that both sides are saying that it is in a bad way. The SWP’s line now is that it is business as usual.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

More Strikes at Freemantle Trust Care Homes

200 careworkers at the Fremantle Trust, which holds the contracts for care homes in Barnet, North London, took their fourth day of strike action on Thursday 20 September as part of an ongoing fight against drastic cuts in their pay and conditions.

Protesting outside the company HQ, workers held up signs spelling out the words “Dismantle Fremantle” and “We will not be silenced”.

Trade Unions: 

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DWP Pay Dispute

Author: 

civil servant

Following their rejection of a three year pay offer that will see 27% of staff in the Department of Work and Pensions staff get consolidated rises of 2% in year 1, 40% get 0% in year 2 and 49% get 1% in year 3, PCS and Prospect have met with DWP bosses for further talks.

Another meeting is taking place as we go to press, with the PCS DWP executive meeting on 27 September “to receive a report of these talks and take decisions on the next stage of our campaign.” (The Retail Price Index rate of inflation — PCS’s preferred measure — rose to from 3.8% in July to 4.1% in August.)

Trade Unions: 

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Defend Karen Reissmann

Manchester mental health workers have held a second three day strike to protest against the victimisation of their UNISON steward, Karen Reissmann. Karen was suspended in June for supposedly bringing the health trust she works for into disrepute after leading a previous strike against cut jobs and making public plans to cut services.

Workers have decided to take two day strike action again from Wednesday 26 September.

Trade Unions: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

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3 November NHS Demo

Author: 

health worker

The long awaited national demonstration in defence of the NHS will take place on 3 November. It’s now 18 months since the decision to call a demo was made at UNISON’s health conference, but it has been an ongoing battle to make it happen. This despite the widespread popularity of such an idea with many hundreds of thousands taking part in local actions.

Trade Unions: 

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Unions vote for political hara-kari: LRC responds

On 23 September the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth voted to ban unions and local Labour Parties from putting motions on current political issues to any future Labour Party conference.

On 23 September the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth voted to ban unions and local Labour Parties from putting motions on current political issues to any future Labour Party conference.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

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Build Local Solidarity

Author: 

Mike Fenwick

At TUC conference motions were passed calling for coordinated action, and use was even found for the old slogan that “unity is strength”. But behind the scenes union leaders were singing a different tune...<1--break-->

Unison’s Health group ballot on pay got a 2 to 1 vote for accepting a staged 2.5% deal. This followed efforts by full time officers to close down any campaign for a no vote. A majority of NHS workers in England will now get a rise of 1.9% this year, half of even the most conservative inflation figure.

Trade Unions: 

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Algerian Trotskyists recover forces

From 5 to 7 September the first summer school of the PST [Socialist Workers’ Party of Algeria] took place in Algiers, with about 200 activists and sympathisers taking part, from 19 regions. One third were young people, one quarter women.

The PST saw its forces and its activities collapse, like those of most left movements, during the terrible years of the armed struggle by the Islamists. Recently it has seen a revival, with meetings of several hundred people.

Around the world: 

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Iranian unions under attack

GOVERNMENT repression of the emerging labour movement continues in Iran, with more arrests, charges and harassment. In August five members of the Tehran bus drivers' union were accused of acting against Iranian national security, after they visited the home of Mansour Ossanlou, himself jailed in July on similar charges. Although three had since been released, they still face a serious charge.

Around the world: 

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France: No divide and rule; Defend the right to strike

Author: 

Introduction and translation by Joan Trevor

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has hit the ground running, hoping to capitalise on the apparent mood for change that saw him elected in May. He will need momentum to push through the changes that will make France more like Thatcherite Britain; that is, to bulldoze the working-class opposition that thwarted his predecessors.

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Lessons of Northern Rock's collapse?

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

Some questions and answers on the Northern Rock collapse

Why did Northern Rock collapse?

Not directly because people couldn't meet their mortgage payments, but because of the knock-on effects from the US mortgage bubble bursting. Those knock-on effects are as wide-ranging and unpredictable as they are because of the dramatic, historic expansion and restructuring of global financial markets in the last two decades or so.

Some questions and answers on the Northern Rock collapse

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Royal Mail Goes for Broke

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

GREG Charles is branch secretary of South West London Postal Communication Workers’ Union.

SI: With the attacks on pensions, Royal Mail management seems to be stepping up the fight.

GC: Once new dates for action were announced, we knew this would happen — the intensity of our action in October has obviously alarmed management, and they are striking back. They have retaliated not just through the attack on our pensions, but with executive action to push us harder on a number of fronts — start times, night duties, workload and so on.

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Migrants are Not the Problem

Author: 

Mike Rowley

Julie Spence, the head of Cambridgeshire Police, launched a vitriolic attack in early September on the numbers of Eastern European migrants working in the county.

They cause crime, she says; they carry knives and drink-drive; they don’t know how to behave in peaceful, law-abiding, bucolic thatched-cottage Britain. She was widely praised in the media for her realistic attitude and for “breaking a taboo” by revealing uncomfortable truths about the latest wave of immigration.

Issues and Campaigns: 

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OUR POSTMAN IS A POET

Author: 

Attila

Our postman is a poet
Today, I found that out.
No, it’s not that unusual -
There’s loads of us about.
And he’s not any old poet -
He’s a hippie poet for sure

OUR POSTMAN IS A POET

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