Solidarity 189, 19 January 2011

Heinz strikers take fourth day of action

Workers at a Heinz plant in Wigan struck again in January for a fourth time in a long-running pay dispute with their bosses.

Workers had decisively rejected a pay deal which would have meant a 3.5% increase in 2011 and a 3.4% increase in 2012. A further strike was planned for Wednesday January 19, but following the latest strike management had offered a 3.9% increase in both years. Workers were balloting on the new offer as Solidarity went to press.

Coalition of Resistances focuses on 26 March

The first meeting of the Coalition of Resistance National Council was held on 15 January.

The main political blocs on the Council (which is over 100 people) are Counterfire (the key animating force behind CoR), Green Left and Socialist Resistance. There is a handful of SWPers, a few from Workers’ Power, individuals from smaller left groups and a scattering of independents.

The first session consisted of speaker after speaker making long, windy speeches that reminded us all that cuts were bad and that we needed to fight back.

Support Rawmarsh strikers

National Union of Teachers members at Rawmarsh Community School in Rotherham are taking discontinuous strike action over savage cuts in staff at the school.

Last term the Head and governors announced 30 redundancies — including 20 teaching staff — before April 2011. The threat of NUT action has reduced this number, and set redundancies back until July.

However teachers voted unanimously to strike to protect all the jobs.

Southwark teach-in

On Monday 17 January adult education students organised a teach-in at the Thomas Calton Centre in Peckham.

They were protesting at a steep rise in fees by Southwark Adult Education. Students now have to pay up to £165 a term for three hours a week. Concession fees have also been cut.

The fee rise is the result of a change in the way the local Labour-run council is interpreting the rules which govern central government funding.

Support Jobcentre Contact Centre strikes

3,500 civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions will strike on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 January against dramatic changes to their work conditions.

The workers, members of the PCS union, are based at seven sites across the country — Bristol, the Chorlton district of Manchester, Glasgow, Makerfield, Newport, Norwich and Sheffield. The offices currently process benefit claims and deal with enquiries on the phone. Now management are “transforming” these sites into call centres.

Aim: a united stewards' movement

Dave Chapple, chair of the National Shop Stewards’ Network (NSSN), spoke to Solidarity about the NSSN conference on 22 January which will discuss proposals from the Socialist Party to set up another anti-cuts centre in rivalry with CoR and Right To Work.

The weakness of the NSSN is that it’s never succeeded in building a grassroots shop stewards’ network. That is something which remains to be built if the Socialist Party does not succeed in wrecking the NSSN on Saturday.

Eamonn Lynch: "Unity is all we have"

Eamonn Lynch is a tube driver and RMT rep who was recently sacked from his job. Despite a tribunal finding in his favour, he is yet to be reinstated. His workmates have so far taken two days of strike action to support him. Eamonn spoke to Solidarity. These comments are extracted from a longer interview at

The campaign has been absolutely phenomenal. I have been humbled by the support all my work colleagues have shown. They have consistently shown that they are the best men and women can be, and I salute each and every one of them.

Operation Malone: don't come forward

In the 1980s, the satirical magazine Private Eye nicknamed the police operation set up to track down individuals involved in the Brixton riots “Operation Wogsmasher”.

What nickname should we give “Operation Malone”, the police initiative now underway to track down and arrest “troublemakers” on the recent student demonstrations? “Operation Teen-Snatcher”, perhaps?

Already, Edward Woollard has been handed a jail sentence of 32 months for dropping a fire extinguisher from the roof of Millbank Tower.

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