Solidarity 550, 3 June 2020

Justice for Belly Mujinga

The TSSA transport union is supporting a petition calling for justice for Belly Mujinga, the transport worker who died of coronavirus after being spat at on the concourse of Victoria Station: see a report here and the petition, already signed by over 750,000 people, here.

Labour, demand Johnson quits!

Enough of Boris Johnson! The way he has conscripted his Cabinet ministers to defend his wretched Rasputin, Dominic Cummings, is a symptom of much more. We need to get rid of the Tory government and the whole nexus of privilege and profiteering which it serves. Getting rid of Johnson will be a start. It would be hard even for a Tory successor to get away with his tinpot-tyrant stuff, like his attempt to shut down Parliament last year and his rush for a hard Brexit formula before 30 June. Make Labour speak out!

House the homeless, cancel rents

The government plans to cut off funding from the end of June for councils to get on-the-streets homeless people inside. More than 60 homelessness organisations have signed a protest letter: bit.ly/noone-out. The emergency ban on evicting tenants is also due to end on 25 June. The London Renters’ Union, Labour Tenants United, the New Economics Foundation and others are calling for outright cancellation of rents for at least three months: more here.

Move against cuts at Goldsmiths

Associate Lecturers (ALs) and Graduate Trainee Teachers (GTTs) at Goldsmiths University, London, plan to take action against the freezing of their short-term teaching contracts, against the withholding of payment for hours worked under lockdown (promised but not delivered), and against the decision by management not to use the government furlough scheme to help these precarious workers. At the start of the year Goldsmiths management announced a programme of cuts (“Evolving Goldsmiths”). Then they withdrew under pressure from the unions. Financial uncertainty at the college has increased as a...

ÂŁ10,000 by 22 November

We have reached the £3,000 mark in our appeal for £10,000 by 22 November, as donations from Stuart, Chris, John and Bryan take us to £3,125. Since 30 May we have seen the first large protests since the Covid-19 emergency hit. We still don’t have the “ecology” of meetings, demonstrations, and street and door-to-door activity to sustain our usual tabloid publication, but we will be out there in the actions across the country in solidarity with the protests in the US and against racism and police brutality across the world. Our online output continues to increase. New videos include our now...

France's step beyond

Three of France’s trade-union confederations — CGT, FSU, and Solidaires — have (26 May) got together with Greenpeace, ATTAC (the Tobin Tax campaign), and others to produce an “exit plan from the crisis”: see here. It includes: • “requisitioning of factories and businesses to produce masks and medical supplies” • “re-establishing individual and collective liberties to move around, to meet, and to protest” • restoration of trade-union rep access to workers, sometimes suspended on grounds of virus emergency • “reducing drastically” the numbers in prison • “a standard work week of 32 hours...

A ragged 1 June, but schools union grows

On 30 May, four scientists from the government’s SAGE advisory group went public saying that the Tories’ easing of the lockdown, including the wider opening of schools, is unwise at this time. The number of cases and the infection rate are still high, and we don’t know whether or how much children can spread the virus. As I write on 1 June, the wider opening of schools planned by the Tories for today looks ragged. In Wales schools are not going back. The Assembly has set no date for a return. In Scotland schools will return from 11 August (the regular start to the school year there); Northern...

Forward Momentum drops democratically-agreed left policies

On 2 June Forward Momentum published its “plan to take Momentum forward”. This 1,075 word document was put together following two gatherings of delegates mainly elected in local and other (e.g. BME) meetings of FM supporters. In that sense, the process was reasonably open. There were, however, serious problems both with the process and the political positions the majority used it to take. First of all, the delegate meetings included unelected “founding members”, who nonetheless got a vote. In addition, a number of important policies which were adopted by these meetings were not included in the...

More jobs, less work (Women's Fightback)

Economic research at the University of Essex has warned of job losses of around the 6.5 million mark as a result of Covid-19. That would equate to about a quarter of the UK’s total jobs, with more than half of the positions in certain sectors being lost. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that the virus lockdown has so far hit younger workers the hardest. They are nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to work in a shutdown area. The IFS also found that the virus was likely to have a bigger effect on women’s earnings because of a disproportionate amount of women working in retail...

Spread call for public ownership of care

One hundred and fifty union and Labour activists have signed the statement for public ownership and provision of social care initiated by the Safe and Equal campaign. That includes a wide range of union officers and activists from care, health and local government, and many dozens of Labour Party activists including ten CLP Secretaries. There is wide and growing support in the labour movement and beyond for public ownership of care, but it will not happen without a serious campaign. We need to think how such a campaign can happen. Getting a lot more support and publicity for this statement is...

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