Solidarity 024, 20 February 2003

Sky "we'll leave" threats scupper union vote

By a BECTU member

Outrageous management bullying at Rupert Murdoch's Sky television company has culminated in a vote against union recognition at the firm's Livingston call centre.

Last year, more than 50% of the 466 staff in the Livingston sales centre signed a petition supporting union recognition. By the time a ballot was held more than 100 workers had joined the BECTU union. But, after weeks of intimidation from management, only 47 voted in favour of recognising BECTU, and 277 against.

Southampton Unison strike against council redundancies

Southampton District Unison branch held a one-day strike on Wednesday 19 February. Additionally, council workers have withdrawn the use of their cars for council business and are refusing to drive hire cars or council cars-visits to clients' and tenants' homes are by taxi or public transport. They are not covering unfilled posts.

The action is against proposed council budget cuts that could lead to 70 redundancies, an additional 50 posts scrapped, and a reduction in working conditions.

Postal workers gear up for London Weighting fight

By a north London postal worker

Postal workers in London are gearing up for a fight with Royal Mail over the pitifully low level of their London Weighting allowance.
The campaign was launched formally months ago, when local government workers and teachers took strike action to support their £4k London Weighting claim.
The leadership of the postal workers' union, the Communication Workers Union, say they are in favour of getting an increase in Weighting, but they won't authorise a ballot. So what should we do? Ask management nicely?

More about Iraq


Edward Ellis recommends some reading on Iraq

Saddam Hussein: an American obsession by Patrick and Andrew Cockburn

If you read just one book, it should be this one. A very readable and thorough account of Iraq under Saddam, and the twists and turns of American/CIA policy towards him and the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition. Best account I’ve read of the 1991 uprising, and of the failed anti-Saddam coups in the mid 90s. Very well informed: they seem to have personally interviewed everybody involved.

America (Verse)


Claude McKay

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!

Brazil: Where the Workers' Party came from

Paul Hampton looks at the history of the Workers' Party and the prospects for the future in the light of Sue Branford and Bernardo Kucinski's new book, Politics Transformed: Lula and the Workers' Party in Brazil

The election of Lula da Silva as president of Brazil is an event of great significance. This book provides the background to this historic victory.

War war

  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Tony Ceaucescu?
  • Burnley council's BNP shame
  • In the service of the IMF
  • Blowing in the wind

Weapons of mass destruction

"The Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including 'mini-nukes', 'bunker-busters' and neutron bombs designed to destroy chemical or biological agents, according to a leaked Pentagon document.

Democracy and war

Not in our name

The anti-war demonstrators on 15 February were marching against Bush's and Blair's war plans, but also against the shutting-down of democracy by deception and manipulation, the transformation of politics into a business transacted between think-tanks, advisers, bureaucrats, spin-doctors and the billionaire media.

Tony Blair has refused a parliamentary vote on the war. Last year one Labour MP, Graham Allen, was driven to talk of hiring a hall in Westminster so that MPs could at least meet unofficially to discuss the war.

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