Solidarity 127, 21 February 2008

Organising young workers: it can be done!

New Zealand union organiser Mike Treen and French union activist Axel Persson spoke on organising, unionising and fighting for the rights of — mostly young — workers in the fast food industry.

They were speaking at a No Sweat meeting in the University of London Union on Saturday 16 February.

Axel Persson

Yes, Kosova should be free!

On Sunday 17 February Kosova declared itself an independent state.

It has been recognised by the European Union and the United States; it is opposed by Serbia, Russia, and others.

As we go to press, Serbs have burned the customs posts on the new border between Kosova and Serbia. Conflict may escalate.

Was Callinicos a Closet Neo-Con?



No better, more democratic, or more effective rules exist for organising relations between peoples and fragments of peoples than those of Lenin, Trotsky and their comrades. Consistent and comprehensive democracy: self-determination for compact majorities; indifference towards existing state boundries; as much autonomy, self rule, as circumstances allow, for peoples who are not a compact majority; unity of the working class across the borders and other divides on the basis of consistent democracy.

Respect: Which Party?/ Charlatan backs Charlatan

One of the four SWP-Respect councillors in Tower Hamlets has defected... to the Tories.

SWP-Respect issued a statement on 14 February: “We are sorry to hear that Cllr Ahmed Hussain has joined the Tories. We had discussions with him yesterday where he agreed that he was going to stay with Respect. We issued a statement saying that, in good faith, but clearly his assurances meant nothing.

Good turnout for union climate conference


Paul Vernadsky

Around 300 trade unionists and environmental activists attended the Campaign against Climate Change (CCC) trade union conference on 9 February.

The turnout exceeded expectations and showed that there is a real interest in fighting climate change among union activists. The conference was organised by members of both sides of the Respect split (ISG and SWP) and the Green Party and backed by some union leaders. Frances O’Grady (TUC), as well as Matt Wrack (FBU), Chris Baugh (PCS), Christine Blower (NUT), Linda Newman (UCU) and Tony Kearns (CWU) spoke from the platform.

Shelter workers vote on national strike

On Thursday 21 February, we will find out if some 450 members of the TGWU/Unite have voted in favour of national strike action, an event which would be a first in Shelter's 41-year history.

They are faced with a package of cuts which will result in all 800+ staff working two and a half extra hours per week (unpaid) and without the current incremental pay scale which they are currently entitled to (worth £2k-£3k on top of starting salaries).

Prepare to fight!

AWL tubeworkers have been arguing for some time that the unions should get on with action against casualisation and destaffing. So we are pleased that RMT and TSSA have said they will ballot. ASLEF, sadly, still deludes itself that drivers are somehow immune from management’s attacks: as if.

Cleaners fight Livingstone for a living wage

Before Christmas, Ken Livingstone promised to pay the “‘London Living Wage” of £7.20 an hour to Underground cleaners when he took over Metronet. Unsurprisingly, he has not delivered. Transport for London has delayed taking over Metronet and Livingstone has gone quiet about the pay rise.

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