Solidarity 055, 15 July 2004

Unions unite to defend jobs!

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:58

"Carnage for the public services"
Mark Serwotka, PCS union General Secretary

By a civil servant

On Monday 12 July Gordon Brown announced the axing of 100,000 civil service jobs. Just like that. It is a job cut programme on a par with the butchery that was done to the mining industry in the last twenty years.
Of that 100,000, 20,000 are to be "lost" in the so-called devolved administrations (Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the GLA). In addition 20,000 jobs will be relocated out of London and the south east All of these cuts will be made at breakneck pace, to be completed by the end of

Iraq: after the "handover"

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:58

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.

According to the transition process worked out by the United Nations, elections will be held by the end of January 2005 at the latest. Before then a "National Congress" of around 1,000

Civil partnership law stalled

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:58

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.

Some in the lgb communities have revelled in the

Will the unions call Blair to account?

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:58

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!

Like the masochist paying

Labour Representation Committee launched

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:57

By Maria Exall

The launch conference of the Labour Representation Committee was held on Saturday 3 July. Over 300 delegates packed out the TUC Congress Centre to discuss key policy issues and debate the future of the Labour Party.
John McDonnell MP welcomed everyone to the conference and called for comradely solidarity in debate and in the plans for organising for socialism in the Labour Party. There was a spirit of unity, with many of the delegates being aware that this conference represented the most serious attempt in the last decade to rally the forces of the left of the Labour Party.


Taking politics back to the workplace

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:57

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 last few years have seen neo-liberal

The tubeworkers fight

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:55

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.

Meanwhile management continue to hold the threat of 800 job losses amongst station staff over us.

Ken Livingstone

New socialist party in Brazil

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:55

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.

The Partido Socialismo e Liberdade (P-SOL) was founded at a conference in Brasília on 5 and 6 June attended by 750 representatives from 22 states. Its initial impulse was given by the parliamentarians Heloísa Helena, Babá, Luciana Genro and João Fontes, the radicals who opposed the leaders of the PT and their government serving national and international capital, the bankers and the landowners, whose measures attack

And Livingstone scabs

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:55

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.

This goes against the most important and the most ABC principle

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

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:55

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.

ISS employees clean the offices in the huge, skyscraper buildings in Docklands. The directors of the companies which own these buildings - Citibank, Barclays, HSBC, Morgan Stanley - earn more in an hour and a half than the cleaners do in a year. The Citibank

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