Solidarity 019, 6 December 2002

Indonesian trade union says: Strike and a world to win!

By the FNPBI The governments of England and the US were the first to introduce neo-liberal economic policies, thanks to Thatcher and Reagan. This exploitative policy subsequently became what's been called "globalisation". Developed countries have succeeded in putting pressure on countries in the third world to open up their markets, implement trade liberalisation to the fullest and cut off subsidies for the poor. This process has been sustained despite the enormous misery ordinary people have to suffer. Blair is also a loyal supporter of neoliberal policies, which would throw hundreds of...

Firefighters support

Local firefighters support groups Battersea Contact: aiden@respectwork.org.uk or 0208 682 4224. Birmingham The Birmingham Fire Fighters Support Committee has divided its activities into constituency support groups. To find the contact for your local group ring Jim on 0121 771 0871. Leicester On the eighth day of action, pickets at Leicester Central Station remained defiant and had been visibly buoyed by the levels of support they were getting from the public, mainly food. Public collections by local support group activists stand so far at over £800 including £150 raised at outside the...

Tube: We can still stop PPP!

By Janine Booth, Political Officer, RMT London Transport Regional Council Tube activists are gearing up for a last-ditch battle to stop privatisation, as the Government expressed its determination to press ahead. With breathtaking arrogance and contempt for the views of Londoners, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling declared that the transfers to private consortia would take place in January, and that he will not hand control of London Underground to Mayor Ken Livingstone whilst he (the Mayor) continues with legal challenges to the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Adding insult to injury, he...

Civil service victimisation: Strike to defend the union

By Charlie McDonald, PCS DWP East London branch secretary Over 1,000 PCS members across 18 locations in London are currently balloting for strike action in defence of victimised union rep, Chris Ford who has been sacked. Chris, who is the secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions Central and West London branch, has been subject to a blatant management fit up. He is alleged to have assaulted a scab on a picket line during a seven month strike for safe working conditions in Brent. PCS members see this as an attack on our union organisation, and a politically motivated one. Senior...

West Yorks mechanics refuse to scab

By a Unison member UNISON members in West Yorkshire Fire Authority are facing a dispute with their employers, in what could be the start of an employers' offensive in the fire service strike. The dispute arose when they were instructed to attend Carlton Barracks in Leeds to carry out maintenance on reserve fire appliances, which had been secretly removed from the Authority's HQ over the weekend. The fitters and mechanics, who are members of Kirklees UNISON branch, were asked if they would drive all spare fire appliances from the HQ to Ripon, on overtime, on Saturday 30 November, so the army...

France: strikes against the Raffarin government

By Olivier Rubens On 3 October, 80,000 workers from EDF-GDF demonstrated in Paris against the privatisation of their company and attacks on their rights. This was followed on 17 October by a national strike in the education sector. The two strikes were in opposition to the neoliberal attacks of the Raffarin government on public services and its questioning of workers‚ rights. On 26 November it was the turn of the rail workers. A national demonstration of 100,000 people was held in Paris at the call of all the rail trade union federations. It was a rallying point for other sections of the civil...

Iranian students fight for freedom

By Yassmine Mather Iranian students have called for a rally against "despotism and outdated concepts of religion" this Saturday despite a government ban on all student demonstrations. Tehran university students have said they want to press on with a rally to mark national student day on 7 December. The day marks events in the bloody 1953 repression of student protests, when during demonstrations against a visit by then-US vice-president Richard Nixon (a guest of the late Shah) three students were killed. For more than five days in mid-November, thousands of Iranian students demonstrated,...

George Galloway attacks Solidarity supporter for "Zionism"

By Alan Clarke About 80 students attended a meeting organised by University College London's Stop the War group last week - only to be confronted by the sight of Labour MP George Galloway in full Stalinist rant. After three of the four platform speakers - Galloway, the SWP's Lindsey German and journalist Yvonne Ridley - delivered heavily anti-American, anti-Israeli speeches, the last - Solidarity supporter and NUS executive officer Faz Velmi - provoked Galloway's outrage by suggesting that, like the Palestinians, the Kurds and, yes, the Israelis should have a right to self-determination. This,...

the public sector fightback

Survey: the civil service Over four percent but still low paid By a civil servant In the case of the firefighters the Government say that there can be no increase in the local authorities' pay budget above 4% unless there are significant (in their case drastic) changes in working practices. They give the impression that the rest of the public sector has had to make the link between modernisation and pay increases. But in the civil service this is not the case. Over the years many deals have been struck above 4% without the modernisation strings attached. For example, this year the civil...

Around Britain: what firefighters are thinking

New talks, but is the Government listening? Jock Munro, FBU Scotland We have great hopes that ACAS can help sort out this dispute. But the Government has played a poor role so far and it is hard to believe it is now serious about settling the matter in any reasonable way. They want to give the FBU a good kicking. We just want a fair pay deal, one that reflects the work we do and provides a decent wage for us and our families. The attacks on Andy Gilchrist for his speech last weekend are ridiculous. He argued against a motion arguing the political fund shouldn't automatically be given to the...

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