Solidarity 056, 13 August 2004

A bad pact with Blair

Published on: Tue, 17/08/2004 - 12:04

The hope that the 'big four' trade unions - TGWU, Amicus, GMB, and Unison - were on a direct collision course with the Blair Labour Party was knocked back at the 23-25 July meeting of New Labour's National Policy Forum discussing the manifesto for the next general election.
The Blairites made what union leaders have described as 'substantial' concessions to the unions, and the unions agreed not to take a minority report to the Labour Party conference at the end of September. The conference will now face a take-it-or-leave-it vote on a document of 'concordat' between the New Labour leadership

Left leaves Trafalgar Square to the fascists

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:48

By Sacha Ismail

How seriously does the British left take fighting fascism? Very seriously, if the energy devoted by the SWP et al to respectable liberal causes like Unite Against Fascism is anything to go by. Less seriously, if the recent National Front demo in Trafalgar Square is the standard of measure.
Several months ago, Islamist ultras al-Muhajiroun announced their intention to demonstrate in Trafalgar Square on 25 July, promising that those present would witness the miraculous conversion to Islam of gays, Hindus, Sikhs and, yes, even socialists. Shortly before the great day arrived, the

M&S boycotts and the right to protest

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:47

By Bruce Robinson

'Victory to the Intifada', a campaign dominated by the Revolutionary Communist Group, has held a picket outside Marks & Spencer in Manchester for more than three years calling for a boycott of the store and more generally of Israeli goods. The picket has recently come under attack from two directions.
Marks & Spencer management are reported by the Manchester Evening News to be seeking Anti-Social Behaviour Orders against pickets. Anyone breaching such an order, which can bar individuals from entering specified areas, can be jailed for up to five years. To get these orders,

Rights for travellers! Stop scapegoating!

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:45

By Sam Ruby

New Labour, after much lobbying, and despite the recommendations of a Commons Select Committee, has refused to introduce legislation compelling local councils to provide official sites for gypsies and travellers.

This compulsion existed from 1968 until it was repealed by the Tories under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994, a move opposed by Labour at the time.

The policy regime introduced by the Tories has increased the number of unauthorised encampments and helped to further criminalise gypsies and travellers. It has also been the cause of some horrible

Howard's way

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:44

By Dan Katz

Michael Howard has attempted to create space between New Labour and the Tories on crime by promising a prison building programme, even greater numbers in jail, more police stop-and-search and less police "red tape".
Howard's plans include scrapping a current cap on prisoner numbers, which stands at 80,000, and a jail-building programme which could cost more than £2bn.

Prisons are a brutal and ineffective way of dealing with offending. Most of the people currently in jail should not be there at all. Many are now jailed for very minor offences - for shoplifting, minor thefts, or for

The toff and the stable lad

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:43

Former stable lad Damien Connor has been convicted of assaulting the trainer who had sacked him, Marcus Tregoning. Connor, a TGWU member, believes that he was sacked for trying to represent the interests of fellow stable lads.
Connor was given a conditional discharge and no order for compensation was made. The magistrate Howard Rudebeck said: "There are mitigating circumstances in that there was provocation."

Solidarity spoke to TGWU activist Maggie Bremner about the case

Damien is a TGWU member. The main racing union is a business union, the Stable Lads' Association, which only has about

G8 summit

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:38

The G8 Summit of World Leaders meets in July 2005 in Scotland. A campaign has started to get the world's leaders to put Fair Trade on the summit's agenda and tackle global poverty.
A target of 1,000,000 names by June 2005 has been set. And the organisers want to highlight the following facts:

  • As many as two billion people are living on less than $2 a day.
  • $97 of every $100 generated by exports goes to the world's richest countries.
  • Income in the poorest 5% of nations has dropped by 25% in the past 10 years. Income in the richest 5% has grown by 12%.
  • World trade is estimated to be worth $10

Workers fight for rights in Haiti FTZ

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:37

By Mark Osborn

On 11 June the Dominican Republic clothing giant Grupo M dismissed almost one-third of the 800 or so workers at its two Haiti factories in the CODEVI Free Trade Zone (FTZ), located outside of Ouanaminthe on the Haitian-Dominican border.
Grupo M, the largest employer in the Dominican Republic, where it has 13,000 workers in 24 plants, built the zone and the first two of a dozen projected factories there with a 12 million-dollar loan from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC).

CODEVI has been the site of labour strife almost since it opened.

Among those fired

Honouring the Tolpuddle Martyrs

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:35

By Jean Lane

No Sweat was once more at the Tolpuddle Festival this year. Organised by the South West TUC, this is the annual celebration of the men who fought to set up a trade union, in their a tiny Dorset village in 1830.
The Tolpuddle martyrs were deported to Australia for organising against the driving down of the wages of agricultural labourers in their area, wages which were already at starvation level.

For many years the celebration took the form of a march through the Tolpuddle village on a Sunday afternoon. Now it is a much bigger affair: a weekend of music, dance, meetings, stalls,

Telling Levis: solidarity is forever

Published on: Sun, 15/08/2004 - 22:34

More than 50 protesters demonstrated outside Levi's flagship store in Central London last week.
The participants were from the Haiti workers' support group, No Sweat and the GMB union.

They were campaigning on behalf of the sacked workers who make Levi jeans in Haiti.

The Levis workers were sacked when they - some of the most underpaid and exploited sweatshop workers - had the temerity to ask for a better wage and the right to join a trade union.

The demonstration was a signal to those global companies who think that they can play workers off against each other by moving their factories and

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.