Solidarity 226, 23 November 2011

Egypt: revolt against the army

By Clive Bradley

Protests in Egypt left at least 28 dead and hundreds of injured.

On Friday 18 November, Tahrir Square filled with demonstrators, frustrated with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which has held power since Mubarak’s removal in February.

Parliamentary elections are due to start on 28 November — though several parties have declared a boycott in light of this weekend’s events. The army, initially reluctant to give up power, is promising a new President by June 2012 and has accepted the resignation of the current cabinet.

Putin's assault on LGBT rights

Vladimir Putin’s ruling party is pushing a bill which would severely curtail freedom of speech and assembly for LGBT people in Russia.

The bill was proposed by the dominant United Russia party and passed a first reading on Wednesday 16 November. It will impose a maximum fine of $1,600 for “public actions aimed at propaganda for pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors.”

Eurozone crisis big chance to attack workers' rights

David Cameron has suggested to German chancellor Angela Merkel that he would support a quick change in European treaties, to increase economic integration and help tackle the eurozone crisis, if only he gets a payback with the scrapping of European Union labour laws.

Especially mentioned is the European Working Time Directive, which imposes limits on working hours. The Tories would surely also like to scrap the Agency Workers’ Directive.

Teacher's reinstatement fight goes on

The campaign to defend victimised teacher trade unionist Pat Markey will discuss a possible resolution.

The disciplinary hearing at which Pat faced dismissal (scheduled for Monday 21 November) was postponed.

A spokesperson from Northampton National Union of Teachers said “It’s clear that the school is negotiating seriously because of the threat of strike action.”

Threat to union politics

The Committee for Standards in Public Life (CSPL), a quango set up in 1994, on 22 November published its long-delayed recommendations for change in political party funding.

It demands that unions require members to opt in to the political levy (as between 1927 and 1945) rather than giving them the chance to opt out. And it would ban union donations to Labour (or any party) bigger than £10,000 in addition to affiliation fees.

Liverpool Airport workers to strike

Aviation workers at Liverpool John Lennon Airport will strike on Wednesday 23 November as part of a rolling programme of action which will continue into December.

Job losses at British Gas?

Centrica, the company which owns British Gas, has announced plans to cut 850 jobs as part of a cost-savings drive that could see further attacks for its 34,000 employees.

Reduced energy use by homes and business during an unusually hot autumn is being blamed by Centrica for the cuts, but although its takings fell its operating profit for 2011 was still nearly £2.5 billion. Its North Sea oil and gas operation could be next in line for the chop after the initial 850 redundancies.

Mike Jeram, head of Business and Environment at the trade union Unison, said:

Leeds teachers strike against Academy plan

By Patrick Murphy, Leeds NUT and NUT National Executive (pc)

Over 60 teachers at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, Leeds, are involved in an intensive programme of strike action against plans to turn their school into an academy.

Europe: death to the rentier!

By Barry Finger

The immediate crisis demonstrates, if there were any lingering doubts, that the architecture of the European Monetary Union is incompatible with countercyclical intervention.

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