Solidarity 056, 13 August 2004

A bad pact with Blair

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.

Rights for travellers! Stop scapegoating!

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This compulsion existed from 1968 until it was repealed by the Tories under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994, a move opposed by Labour at the time.

Howard's way

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.

The toff and the stable lad

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

G8 summit

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:

Workers fight for rights in Haiti FTZ

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).

Honouring the Tolpuddle Martyrs

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.

Telling Levis: solidarity is forever

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.

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