Solidarity 223, 2 November 2011

Greek referendum on eurozone deal

On 31 October Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced plans for a referendum on the deal decided by eurozone leaders on 26 October which further “bails out” Greece (in fact, bails out the international banks which have lent to Greece, and demands destructive cuts in Greece).

His decision followed a wave of strikes and mass protests which disrupted Greece’s official celebrations of a national anniversary on 28 October.

28 October: Greeks say “no” to the Troika

On 28 October, all over Greece, the usual yearly parades to commemorate Greece’s refusal to surrender to Mussolini in 1940 — “No” Day — were turned this year into protests of defiance and resistance against the newly imposed austerity measures of the Pasok government and the EU-ECB-IMF Troika.

It is the custom that school students and armed forces parade and show their respects to politicians and religious leaders on the saluting stands. However, the expected patterns of events were turned upside down.

Fascists attack Occupy Newcastle

At 3am on Sunday 30 October the Occupy Newcastle camp was attacked. People were punched, knocked over and kicked, one occupier was hit in the face, bricks were thrown. Nobody had to be hospitalised but it could have been worse.

On the previous day a group of around 100 from the Scottish Defence League, English Defence League and National Front turned up at the camp at the Monument in the city centre.

Wins for Tube union

Tube workers’ union RMT has scored two more important victories in its fight against the victimisation of union members.
Sacked drivers Jayesh Patel and James Masango have won reinstatement.

James will be back at work on 14 November, while Jayesh – who has been working a stations job since he was “dipped” from his job as a driver in June — will return to driving trains in February.

The victories came as RMT prepared a strike ballot of all train grade members.

PCS and 30 November: strategy needed

By a PCS activist

PCS has a live mandate for action from the June strike so we are not balloting again.

The union has organised a number of reps’ briefings, which have been used to discuss ideas as to how we can make N30 even bigger and better than J30. It’s good that there is a realistic assessment going on of where we were weak last time in terms of membership support, picket lines etc., and there are moves to address this.

Mass sackings threat in Doncaster

Nearly 10,000 workers at Doncaster council could face losing their jobs unless they agree to worse contracts imposed by council bosses as part of a £7.5 million cuts programme.

Negotiations on the package, which includes a 5.4% pay cut for many workers, were not due to conclude until mid-November, but bosses have attempted to short-circuit that process by blackmailing employees into accepting the new terms.

Building pensions strike in South London

By a Unison activist

My union, Unison, has been slow in readying the union to fight the government’s attacks on our pensions.

This means that my branch have had to throw everything at building for the ballot. We’ve used a number of tactics to try and ensure a big turnout for the ballot.

GMB begins strike ballots

GMB, Britain’s third largest union, launched its ballot for strike action on public sector pensions on Monday 31 October.

GMB members across three different pensions schemes (local government, civil service and NHS) will be balloted in a vote that close on 16 November. Also balloted will be GMB members working in Parliament, meaning that MPs will be met with picket lines at the House of Commons. The ballot for the parliamentary workers (including catering and security staff) closes on 15 November.

Left debates the euro and Greece

By Martin Thomas

On Monday 31 October, a New Political Economy Network (NPEN) seminar for academics, journalists, and political figures, at the offices of the Guardian, discussed the eurozone crisis.

Larry Elliott, economics editor of the Guardian, introduced, arguing that the eurozone project has come to the end of its road and that the answer is “to rip this up and start again”.

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