Solidarity 055, 15 July 2004

Iraq: after the "handover"

By Clive Bradley

In the last days of June, two days before it had been scheduled, the occupation of Iraq officially ended and a new government was installed.
The Coalition Provisional Authority was dissolved, along with the Interim Governing Council it had appointed; US proconsul Paul Bremer flew home and in his place John Negroponte took office as American ambassador with the largest staff in the world.

Civil partnership law stalled

By Susan Jackson

Last week Tory reactionaries in the House of Lords added a wrecking amendment to Government proposals for Civil Partnership legislation for same-sex couples. The amendment called for the rights that would be available to same-sex couples to be available to those who are carers.
The Tory amendment should be understood as the cynical move it is. It has a homophobic intent - avoiding the important legal step forward for equality that same sex-couples should have equal rights in their sexual relationships as heterosexual couples.

Will the unions call Blair to account?

Seven years after Blair's New Labour Party formed its ostentatiously anti-Labour "Labour" government, there are signs at last that the trade unions are beginning to call the Blairites to account.

It is not, in all conscience, before time.
The most astonishing fact about the last seven years in British politics is that this viciously anti-working class government - whose ministers, for example, proudly bray that they have stopped EU trade union and social rights being extended to British workers - has in all that time been financially backed by the trade unions!

Taking politics back to the workplace

Alex Gordon, from the South Wales and the West region of the seafarers' and railworkers' union RMT, and Billy Hayes, the General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union, contributed to our debate on working class political representation at our Ideas for Freedom Summer school on 3-4 July. We print extracts from their speeches below

Alex Gordon

Working class political representation is under pressure from the impact of globalisation. Industrial struggle hasn't gone away but political struggle has moved out of Parliament - and onto the streets.

The tubeworkers fight

By a tube worker

The strike on London Underground on 29-30 June was supported solidly by members of the RMT and received widespread support from members of other unions too.
That tubeworkers heeded the strike call is not surprising, as they had voted by 80% to take strike action, after years of frustration on key pay and conditions issues. Management's pay offer of 3% plus a further 5% in return for future "flexibility" is a joke, and a long way off what tube workers are demanding.

New socialist party in Brazil

A new socialist party has been founded in Brazil, headed by militants expelled from the Workers' Party (PT). Below is an abridged translation announcing the formation of the party.

And Livingstone scabs

By Chris Reynolds

Ken Livingstone's response to the strike on the London Underground should prove, if proof were ever needed, that Livingstone is no kind of principled socialist or indeed any kind of decent political choice for working class people.

Let's say this plainly, Livingstone was not making critical remarks about the tactics of the RMT union or urging the RMT to accept a particular pay deal last week. He was advocating RMT members should cross picket lines on 29-30 June - he was urging people to scab.

This is a disgrace.

Cleaners win union recognition: "No more abuse or poverty pay!"

Gemma Pillay and Jean Lane report from the East End

Cleaners who work on Canary Wharf in east London celebrated a big step forward in their campaign for a living wage on Thursday 8 July. They have won recognition for their union, the TGWU, from one of the major office cleaning contractors, ISS. They are demanding a wage of £6.70 an hour.

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