News

Target Beijing's big-business allies!

Trade union leader Lee Cheuk Yan, socialist Leung Kwok Hung (“Long Hair”), and media mogul Jimmy Lai were given prison sentences of 14 months, 18 months and 14 months respectively, on 16 April, from their trial as leaders of the broad-based Civil and Human Rights Front.

Some other defendants, including 82-year-old former barrister and moderate democrat Martin Lee, were given suspended sentences.

British Gas workers confront deadline

British Gas engineers who have not agreed to new, inferior, contracts face dismissal on 14 April, as their battle with their bosses' “fire and rehire” offensive reaches its culmination.

The engineers, who are members of the GMB union, will strike again on 14 April, the day the new contracts are set to be imposed. The union plans mass pickets at various locations throughout the country. A survey of members returned an 86% majority for a renewed dispute around specific issues in the new contracts. When the contracts were announced, GMB said they would lead to:

Starting conversations and rethinking justice for Singapore’s Death Penalty Laws

Long-drop hanging on Friday at dawn. In the modern metropolis of Singapore, with its gleaming skyline, wealth, and a regional and international reputation for travel, accessibility, and thriving business opportunities, this is how inmates are killed under the sovereign state’s harsh laws: the death penalty.

BT workers prepare for ballot

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says it is going “full steam ahead” towards an industrial action ballot in BT Group, which includes BT, Openreach, and EE.

BT bosses plan a restructure that could lead to compulsory redundancies, as well as worse terms and conditions for remaining workers. CWU says the restructure will mean:

Mass closure of many sites

A potential threat to voluntarism in leaving the business

A piecemeal approach to closure which lessens the chance of re-deployment

Victory for Test Centre workers

Cross-posted from Safe and Equal, http://safeandequal.org


For the past few months Safe and Equal has been working with Labour MPs to demand full sick and isolation pay for all frontline Test Centre workers. Yesterday [29 March 2021], we received a letter from Sodexo confirming that Test Centre workers will now be entitled to full isolation pay and that this provision will be written into new Test Centre contracts when the government puts them out to tender in July 2021.

Israel: Islamists or ultra-Orthodox as "kingmakers"?

Israel’s fourth general election in two years has resulted in a deadlock. A fifth election seemingly the most likely outcome. Freakishly, though, an Islamist party could be "kingmaker".

The right-wing bloc of parties supportive of incumbent prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won 52 seats, nine short of the 61 required to form a government. Parties opposing Netanyahu won 57 seats.

“Kick the racist out!” Rebellion at Pimlico Academy
Pimlico Academy
Class Struggle Tue, 06/04/2021 - 17:55

Update, 27 April: Pimlico workers vote for strike ballot - see here


On Wednesday 31 March, their last day of term, almost a thousand students at Pimlico Academy, the flagship school run by Future Academies, sat down in the playground and refused to go to lessons.

NHS pay protests across the country

NHS workers across the country held hospital-gate protests on Thursday 1 April, calling for a 15% pay rise (with a ÂŁ3,000 floor) instead of the government's recommended 1%.

St Thomas's hospital in London (pic above) held two protests, at two shift-change times, and University College London Hospital and Lewisham Hospital had lively protests (UCLH pic below). The London Transport Regional Council of the rail union RMT sent solidarity delegations to St Thomas's and UCLH.

Batley: defend the right to discuss and question
Paty protest
Class Struggle Tue, 06/04/2021 - 17:47

Following protests outside Batley Grammar School, a teacher has been suspended and there is a school investigation.

Scottish NHS pay: where's the other 11%?

On 24 March the Scottish Government announced a pay offer of 4% for NHS workers.

Staff on the lowest Agenda for Change pay point would get a 5.4% increase. The pay rise would be backdated to last December. And it would come on top of the ÂŁ500 "thank you" payment already made by the Scottish Government.

As the Scottish Government press release inevitably pointed out, the pay offer was much better than the pay rise of 1% proposed by the Tories to the Pay Review Body for NHS workers in England.

Abuse in football: more reckoning to come

On 17 March, Clive Sheldon QC reported on the investigation he chaired into the sexual abuse of boys in football between 1970 and 2005. Five days later, the BBC began broadcasting its three-part documentary on the subject. Both the report and the documentary revealed the horrifying extent of abuse, the authorities’ failure to protect the boys, and the long struggle for justice.

Another sort of anti-fascism

The 43 Group has long held a strange place in Jewish and anti-fascist memory. On the one hand, the story of a group of Jews who violently beat the fascists off the streets of post-war Britain has an obvious romantic appeal. On the other hand, there has been remarkably little serious history written about what was, at its peak, a very well-organised fighting organisation of anti-fascists with a regular newspaper, democratic structures, a substantial headquarters and hundreds of active members.

Bristol and the police

At perhaps 10,000 people, Sunday 21 March's Kill The Bill protest was one of the largest demonstrations I've been to in Bristol. Heading there from my home, it was as if the whole city was coming alive, people coursing through its otherwise quiet streets, all heading in the same direction, and to stand up for the right to protest. This is even more impressive given that it had to be organised “under the counter” due to current anti-protest regulations. The demonstration was energetic and angry, but with a buoyant and creative atmosphere.

No to offshoring asylum-seekers!

The Tories’ latest anti-migrant move — suggestions of removing asylum-seekers to camps in remote locations, hundreds or thousands of miles away, while their claims are processed — has now been condemned by numerous humanitarian and migrants’ rights organisations, by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and, though in fairly timid terms, by the Labour Party.

“Zero Covid” and “Build back fairer” – two motions, two approaches

Workers’ Liberty recently held a public debate with a comrade from the Zero Covid campaign. You can read Martin Thomas’ speech at the meeting here. We have criticised Zero Covid's focus on demanding - and having unrealistically high hopes from - police measures like lockdowns, and vagueness on promoting workers' struggles for measures of social solidarity in and against the pandemic. At the same we have proposed working together on building such struggles.

Turkey moves to ban HDP

Procedures to ban the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) in Turkey are now moving quickly. At the beginning of March, the Court of Cassation (Turkey’s highest court of appeals) began an inquiry into the HDP, focusing on the actions of HDP parliamentary deputies during the 2014 protests against ISIS’s [Daesh's] siege of Kobanî. Then, on 17 March, the Chief Public Prosecutor submitted an indictment against the HDP, calling for the party to be banned and for 687 HDP politicians to be banned from public office.

Massacres in Tigray

Since early November of 2020, Ethiopia’s Tigray region has been ravaged by war between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, and the Tigray’s People’s Liberation Front (TPFL). Numerous eyewitnesses also credibly allege the involvement of the Eritrean Defense Forces, who are backing the Ethiopian federal government.

Hong Kong: against the Beijing clampdown

The trial of Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) general secretary Lee Cheuk Yan, Martin Lee and five others of the Civil and Human Rights Front under old British colonial laws, for "unauthorised assembly" on 18 August 2019 is scheduled to end on Thursday 18 March, and a verdict expected on 1 April.

Meanwhile, 43 of the 47 taken to court on charges of subversion (under the new National Security Law), are now in prison, remanded until the charges are heard in three months time.

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