Solidarity 217, 21 September 2011

Organise for 30 November

The declaration by the Trades Union Congress that Wednesday 30 November will be the next “day of action” in the campaign against government pension cuts is enormously positive and must now be a key focus for organising.

Like the June 30 strike, action in November will demonstrate to a generation of working-class people unused to seeing their class move as a visible social force that workers have real power to act in our own interests.

Barnardo's collude in jailing migrant children

What is Pre-Departure Accommodation? It’s a detention centre. The 2.5m palisade fence with electronic gates surrounding the site and the 24-hour security leaves you in no doubt that this is a prison. A prison for migrants.

Cesar’s detention centre gives lie to the Government’s claim that children won’t be detained. It’s run by G4S and Barnardos and opened this month.

Dale Farm: keep up the solidarity!

The families facing eviction at the Dale Farm travellers’ site near Basildon in Essex have been granted a legal injunction (until Friday 22 September) preventing the council from entering the site to clear away caravans and the built structures — the homes of over 50 families.

This is the latest, and most critical stage, in a ten year battle between the travellers (who own the land) and the council who refused permission to the residents to develop the land.

Plymouth UNISON wins re-recognition

Public sector workers’ union Unison has won re-recognition at Plymouth City Council after bosses unilaterally broke off relations with the union following its refusal to sign a new agreement on staff pay and conditions.

Southampton strikes back on

Social care workers at Southampton council voted on Wednesday 14 September to take further strike action on Thursday 6 October as workers’ war against the Tory council’s pay cuts approaches its fifth month.

Other groups of workers will meet to discuss joining October’s strike.

Doncaster, Birmingham and Shropshire council workers to strike

Workers at Doncaster, Birmingham and Shropshire councils will strike on 22 and 23 September as local government bosses seek to impose further cuts.

Doncaster Unison secretary Jim Board said the council wanted a “bloodbath”. “The average mid-grade worker would lose £3,000 — while being expected to work for longer”, Board said. “People would have to strike for a month for it to cost them anything like that.”

Pace quickens in construction fight

Five of the eight construction contractors threatening to withdraw from the union-negotiated agreement governing workers’ pay and conditions have issued the Unite union with legal notice of their intention to introduce new contracts from 7 December.

Intransigence and betrayal in the General Strike

Tim Thomas continues a series of articles on the British Film Institute’s Ken Loach retrospective with a review of Days of Hope, his TV series looking at class struggle in early 20th century Britain.

Jim Allen, author of the reprehensible play Perdition, wrote the script for this 4-part TV production. Allen’s themes, intensely focused on the class struggle, are about intransigence and betrayal in real historical circumstances — here, the history of working-class organisation from the First World War to the General Strike.

Students: resist state clampdown

Three supporters of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) were arrested on 19 September following a banner-drop at the Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham.

In a move plainly intended to intimidate anti-cuts protesters, the three were charged with a minor road traffic offense (causing danger to road traffic users — although the prosecution admitted that no damage or injury resulted from the three’s actions).

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