Solidarity 213, 3 August 2011

Lambeth libraries: strong campaigns can save jobs

Lambeth Council in south London agreed to a deal which will save all the jobs in the library service following the workers announcing strike action against libraries cuts.

Lambeth council wanted a staffing restructure in its libraries which would massacre frontline services and leave 40 people at risk of redundancy. By combining a high-profile public campaign with the threat of strike action, every job in the service has been saved; reading groups, storytimes and enquiry services will continue.

Heading for the double-dip?

On top of the public sector job cuts, private-sector industry is cutting jobs too.

On 27 July the bosses’ association CBI published survey results showing that most manufacturing employers plan to cut jobs over the next three months.

Thousands march for Bombardier jobs

Thousands demonstrated on Saturday 23 July to save jobs at the Bombardier train manufacturing plant in Derby.

The demonstration was extremely well supported locally, and the fact that thousands were mobilised at relatively short notice for a demonstration in a location that doesn’t host many mass demos is an encouraging indication of the potential for a real campaign to save jobs at the plant.

BBC strike

BBC workers took a second day of strike action on Monday 1 August in a battle over job cuts.

National Union of Journalists General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The NUJ is proud that our members everywhere in the BBC have recognised this threat to their colleagues [...] The latest ludicrous management ploy is to claim that the strike today isn’t having any effect. Clearly BBC management doesn’t watch the corporation’s output very much.”

Social workers join Southampton strikes

Social workers at Southampton Council joined local government workers’ indefinite rolling strikes on 3 August as the Tory-led council continues to push ahead with its cuts programme.

Nearly 500 workers in the social care department struck on Wednesday 3 August, and Unison members will take a further 6 days’ action from 4 August. The strike highlights in particular the insulting £1,400 “market supplement” offered to some social workers, intended to offset the impact of cuts but which the workers’ union describes as “part of the problem, not the solution”.

FBU to ballot on pensions?

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced that industrial action in the autumn over reforms to the firefighter pensions scheme now looks “increasingly likely”.

Consultation with members is ongoing and the union reports that it is making “preliminary arrangements” for a strike ballot. It would be the FBU’s first national dispute since the 2002/2003 pay campaign.

The Workers Committee

J T (John Thomas) Murphy was a Sheffield metal-worker and, in 1920, became a founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. He was involved in the shop stewards’ movement which arose during the First World War. He went on to be involved in the CP-initiated National Minority Movement, one of the most significant mass rank-and-file movements in British labour history.

Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln

By Dan Katz
This book is available for a bit more than £8 on Amazon, which makes it a bargain.

The author — Robin Blackburn — is a former editor of New Left Review, and has previously written two good books on slavery (The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery and The Making of New World Slavery).

The voice of power

It would be odd if book reviews in socialist newspapers spent much time reviewing novels about obscure dead aristocrats. It would look like the usual Independent on Sunday, Sunday Times or Observer books pages which are chock full of pastoral, aristocratic, nostalgic publications of dubious literary worth.

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