Solidarity 151, 14 May 2009

Workers’ politics — to fight the bigger looters


John O’Mahony

The mass outrage against the politicians that has come with the publication of the details of their petty greed in claiming expenses is fully justified.

Such reports as that:

• A Tory MP charged it to his expenses when he got the moat around his big house cleaned;

• Another Tory grandee drew expenses for having a crystal chandelier installed;

• Yet another billed the Commons paymaster for the cost of having his lightbulbs replaced;

When French fascists seized on parliamentary scandal


Gerry Bates

In the France of 1934, similarly gripped by a world financial crisis, a scandal with some similarities to today’s — the exposure of the links of several Radical deputies to the embezzler Alexandre Stavisky — led to the resignation of the then Prime Minister Camille Chautemps on 30 January.

The growing far-right of French politics mobilised massive support for a demagogic campaign against parliamentary corruption. There was a huge fascist demonstration on 6 February 1934.

Union News in Brief, UNITE, PCS, CWU and NUT


Camila Bassi

UNITE: You might think the leaders of a union whose members occupied the Visteon factories and took wildcat strike action in engineering construction would be pre-occupied with struggle.

Yet Derek Simpson, joint General Secretary of Unite and his supporters seem to spend much timein an unedifying turf war. The most telling part of this tussle was the leaking of details about Simpson obscene pay and perks to the bourgeois media.

Higher Education: Build for strike on pay and job cuts


Camila Bassi

Lecturers at two thirds of higher education institutions face the real threat of losing their jobs. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) has said that 100 institutions are planning collective redundancies.

Visteon: Gains won, but pickets continue


Vicki Morris

Visteon workers who occupied or picketed their plants when they were sacked without notice on 31 March have won an important victory.

Many of the workers at the three plants in Basildon, Belfast and Enfield had been on Ford mirror contracts, since the company was spun off from Ford in 2000, but when Visteon UK went into receivership the company claimed it did not need to honour the contracts, even though the international company is still solvent.

Fight the cuts!


Elaine Jones

A survey of 129 council leaders by the Local Government Association shows that half the councils in England have axed jobs in the last few months and seven in ten anticipate further redundancies.

In the south-west, 67% of councils have already made cuts in staff; in the the south-east, 57%; and so on down to Yorkshire and Humberside (37%).

In some areas, councils are the largest employer, and across the UK they employ 2.2 million workers.

Council tries to bully workers into silence


Wirral Against The Cuts

Members of Unison employed by Wirral council have been threatened with immediate suspension if they express their opposition to council cuts and job losses publicly.

Councillor Steve Foulkes has said that their treatment of staff iss reasonable as: “The council couldn’t have council workers, who are paid by the tax payers, spending 8 or 9 hours a day politically campaigning against the council.”

Teachers who have links with the local libraries and who encourage the children to use them have also been threatened with suspension if they publicly support the libraries.

Barnet battles sheltered housing cuts


Vicki Morris

If there had been a national debate on the fate of sheltered housing for the elderly, the cuts that are happening around the country could never have gone ahead!

Why? Because the vast majority of people want to retain sheltered housing and are appalled to learn that it is disappearing.

Ideas For Freedom 2009

The AWL’s annual event will this year focus on the capitalist crisis, and on socialist and working-class responses to it.

Friday 10 July: evening film showing and social at the Bread & Roses pub, 68 Clapham Manor Street, London SW4. Will we be showing With Babies and Banners, the story of women's role in the great sit-down strike against General Motors at Flint in 1936.

Saturday 11-Sunday 12 July: School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H

Saturday night social. Cheap food, free creche and accommodation will be provided.

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