Solidarity 126, 7 February 2008

How the first Starbucks strike was made


Mark Sandell

Mike Treen, National Director of the New Zealand union Unite, will be touring the country in February as part of a No Sweat national week of action. [Details here]

He will explain how his union organised the world’s first Starbucks strike, winning recognition and better pay. What can we learn from Unite’s approach?

Scapegoating black and Asian youth


Rosalind Robson

An increase in, and a strengthening of, stop and search powers looks set to become a key part of the government’s “tough on crime” agenda.

Currently the police have to state a specific reason for stopping someone and/or searching them in the street. The reason has to be in line with current legislation. They also have to give you form stating exactly why they stopped you and what the outcome was. If the stop and search is conducted under anti-terrorism legislation the police do not have to suspect you of having committed a crime in order to stop you.

SWP-Respect to challenge Livingstone


Martin Thomas

Let’s look on the bright side first. SWP-Respect is reaffirming the need for a left challenge to Livingstone as London mayor.

George Galloway and his Respect-Renewal are now backing “Red Ken”, and appealing for a vaguely-left “Progressive List” for the Assembly. SWP-Respect says it will run candidates in the London mayor and assembly elections (May 2008) to respond to the needs of “working people” and present a “positive alternative”.

Bread and roses for the rich


Reuben Green

The battle over arts funding is still raging, with the latest fall-out this week being a £3.5 million cut to the arts in Wales.

A horror story to learn from



An 81 year old retired Irish cardinal, Desmond Connell, has gone to the High Court in Dublin for a writ to stop his successor as Archbishop of Dublin from handing over church files on paedophile priests to a state-organised inquiry into clerical abuse of children.

Teachers: take action on pay!

This leaflet from Leeds NUT outlines the reasons why teachers are fighting for better pay.

Activists in every union, especially public sector unions, need to put the teachers’ case to other groups of workers. This is an important pay battle that we should all help the teachers to win.

A special meeting of the NUT National Executive on 24 January decided to call on its members to support industrial action to challenge the teachers pay award for 2008-11.

The ballot will open on 28 February and the planned strike day is Thursday 24 April.

The future of the left?

Around 70 people heared John McDonnell speak at a Scottish Campaign for Socialism meeting in Glasgow on 2 February.

Speaking on “The Future of the Left” McDonnell’s starting point was that the current economic crisis was a vindication of Marx’s analysis of the nature of capitalism. But the Labour Party, despite the role played in it historically by socialists and revolutionaries, was now dominated by the forces of neo-liberalism. Any opportunity for the Party’s rank-and-file membership and affiliated trade unions to influence Party policy had been largely closed down.

Lecturers; Birmingham; Remploy

Lecturers’ strike on 24 April

The UCU has announced plans for strike action for Further Education lecturers to coincide with the action planned by the NUT on 24 April.

(Universities cannot join the action since they are entering the third year of a three year deal, although rising inflation might cause that deal to fall apart later this year.)

Although the 2007-8 pay claim remains an issue of dispute, the union is bringing forward a demand for 2008-9 for 6% (with a minimum of £1,500). They are doing this jointly with other unions in the FE sector.

Assessing anti-sweatshop campaigns


Bruce Robinson

Today’s globalised clothing industry involves transnational networks of production and sales in which manufacturing is subcontracted to producers, usually in developing countries.

To respond to the often horrific sweatshop conditions that result requires organising across national frontiers with multiple targets — the brands under which the clothes are sold and the subcontractors who supply them.

Would you like a certificate with that?


Heather Shaw

You’ve tasted the Big Mac, you’ve probably had some McNuggets in your time but how about getting your chops round a McA-Level? Sceptical? Me too.

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