Solidarity 148, 26 March 2009

Marred by prejudice, but still a class battle

Published on: Sat, 18/04/2009 - 22:20

Martin Thomas

Reply to Mark Sandell (Solidarity 3/147) on the engineering construction strikes.

I’m not clear where Mark stands himself. Does he take the view of some on the left, that Solidarity should have flatly opposed the engineering construction strikes — called on them to stop, presumably mounted counter-pickets or tried to organise “back to work” movements if we had the strength?

Or is it that he agrees with the broad approach we took — siding with the workers, but arguing against slogans like “British Jobs For British Workers” and for the strikes and demonstrations to turn to class demands

Prisme factory occupation: make the bosses think twice!

Published on: Fri, 27/03/2009 - 23:49

At the time of going to press, the Prisme Packaging factory occupation in Dundee, which began when its owners announced closure of the company, is about to enter its fourth week. Dale Street spoke to David Taylor, one of the Prisme workers involved in the occupation.

What progress has been made with the idea of setting up a workers’ co-operative?

We have nearly finished this — we have just to meet with the accountant, and the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank.

We are hoping to stay here when we set up the new business, but nothing is set in stone. All the machinery is here, but

Royal Mail sell-off: step up the campaign!

Published on: Fri, 27/03/2009 - 23:47

Pete Firmin, a CWU activist in London, spoke to Solidarity about the battle against privatisation of Royal Mail.

Legislation to part-privatise the post was introduced into the House of Lords by the Government on 25 February, and is likely to reach the House of Commons in the next two or three months.

There were several hundred on the CWU demonstration against privatisation in Wolverhampton on 14 March, and it was quite lively towards the end. But, given the way it was organised, you could hardly call it a national demonstration.

There are no moves inside the CWU for a national demonstration as

Short industrial reports

Published on: Fri, 27/03/2009 - 23:43

Railworkers; TUC women's conference; Walthamstow Academy.

Railworkers: 1,500 RMT members working for First Capital Connect and National Express East Anglia will strike together on Monday 30 March in separate but coordinated disputes over job losses.

First Capital Connect workers voted by more than three to one to strike, and National Express workers by more than two to one. (Their strike will also coincide with the second day of a 48-hour stoppage by around 100 conductors at London Midland’s Bletchley, Northampton and Watford depots in a separate dispute over Sunday working.) Unfortunately,

Social work post-"Baby P"

Published on: Fri, 27/03/2009 - 23:40

A London social worker

The Social Work Activities Network (SWAN) describes itself as “a loose network of social work practitioners, academics, students and social welfare service users united in their concern that social work activity is being undermined by managerialism and marketisation, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts and restrictions.

“…good social work … can help people address the problems and difficulties in their lives. Many of these difficulties are rooted in the inequalities and oppressions of the modern world and good social work necessarily involves confronting such structural

The market costs lives

Published on: Fri, 27/03/2009 - 23:37

Mike Fenwick

Revelations from Mid Staffordshire Hospitals Trust bring into focus a depressing and frightening reality and all the concerns and warnings raised about the government’s drive to privatise the NHS. 400 people more than would have been expected died because of poor care and as the management focused on gaining Foundation Trust status.

Foundation Trusts are a further step towards privatising hospitals, making them financially independent from the NHS and able to raise funds directly from the private sector. For those Trusts with Foundation status it is a green light to start competing for

How to fight for free education

Published on: Fri, 27/03/2009 - 23:35

Ed Maltby, Education Not for Sale secretary

The worst recession in generations is underway, and workers and the young will be hit first and hardest. Public services are under threat, the environment is slipping off the agenda, and the BNP are experiencing unprecedented electoral success and growth.

On top of that, Universities UK, the university bosses’ union, has just released a report calling for top-up fees to be doubled.

If you think the situation is bad now — students being skint and having to work crap, exploitative jobs to support themselves; working-class students being excluded from higher eduation — then think about how the

Local solidarity way to save jobs

Published on: Fri, 27/03/2009 - 23:30

Patrick Rolfe

Cambridge University Press recently announced plans to axe 160 jobs at two sites in Cambridge.

Thirty redundancies at the company’s education department have already been confirmed, and management wanted a further 130 redundancies at the press itself. However, a concerted effort by the press workers, the local trades council, and local people has forced management to reduce the number of redundancies to 53.

Workers at the press recently agreed to a three year wage freeze, a gradual realignment of wages with industry norms, and the loss of their final salary pension scheme, measures which were

Sheffield Gaza occupation rallies activists across the country

Published on: Fri, 27/03/2009 - 23:28

Gemma Short

Students at Sheffield University have been in occupation of space in the Hicks Building since Monday 16 March; on 23 March the occupation spread to the university's new, extremely posh, flagship exhibition centre.

The occupation has rallied and organised large numbers of activists at Sheffield, with many dozen actively participating and support from many hundreds more. It has also provided inspiration to activists around the country. This is the last and currently the only ongoing of the 30-plus student occupations that have taken place in solidarity with Gaza; as such it has become a focus

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