Solidarity 253, 1 August 2012

Cleaners fight back

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:52

Tube cleaners and their supporters rallied at Stratford station, on the edges of the Olympic Park, on Friday 27 July as cleaning and security workers employed by Initial, ISS, and Carlisle struck to win Olympic bonuses and living wages.

Cleaners have been frozen out of the Olympic bonuses the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) has succeeded in winning for its members in other grades. They picketed at depots and stations across London Underground and the Docklands Light Railway and leafleted other Tube workers and members of the public.

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Spain: a storm is brewing

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:47

As the Spanish government teeters on the brink of a bailout, the Spanish working class has responded with a spectacular burst of militancy that sets the tone for a fightback against Europe-wide austerity.

The right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy is imposing vicious cuts in welfare and social spending. This includes £50 billion of austerity measures: a VAT hike, cuts to unemployment benefit, a 7% cut in public sector wages and the privatisation of ports, airports and railways.

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Trade union news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:45

Firefighters in Essex struck again on Thursday 26 July as part of their fight against cuts. Industrial action short of a strike took plae the following day, with firefighters only attending 999 calls.

The action follows a series of one-day strikes, which were supplemented by a 1,000-strong demonstration through Chelmsford on Wednesday 18 July. The firefighters are attempting to halt their bosses’ cuts to frontline services, which have seen 100 full-time and 60 part-time posts axed since 2008.

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London bus workers' victory is bittersweet

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:41

The latest circular to Unite bus workers tells us the fact that, “on 22 June thousands of Unite bus workers came together in a historic act of unity”.

It says that “every bus operator in London was forced to negotiate in one room with Unite for the first time” and “over two thousand new members joining since the start of the campaign” and “how can anyone say this isn’t a total victory?”

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Fighting for public railways

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:37

Rail unions took their campaign against the McNulty Report, a new government plan to massively cut railworkers jobs and pay while increasing fares, to South Yorkshire recently. Craig Johnston, relief regional organiser for the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT)’s northern region, spoke to Dave Harris.

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New NHS pay attacks

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:33

Feeling confident that the pensions dispute is over, the government is preparing a fresh attack on our terms and conditions. The new proposals are a “bully’s charter” that will give line managers control over whether or not you get increments.

Under the new schemes, we will have to meet locally determined performance targets before we get our increments. Moreover, those at the top of their pay band will get their pay increases as a lump sum, and not as part of their monthly pay packet.

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Yakov Sverdlov: “The best type of Bolshevik”

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:29

Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov (1885-1919) was a leading Bolshevik organiser and, as chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, was the first de facto president of the Russian Soviet Republic.

It would only be a small exaggeration to say that a biography of Sverdlov is in large measure a history of the birth, development and eventual triumph of the Bolsheviks, so involved was he in every crucial stage in the party's life until 1919.

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Who are the Greek Trotskyists?

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:26

Greece is one of the few countries where a main organiser, writer, and theoretician of the communist movement in its heroic early years then became directly the leader of the Trotskyist movement, and handed down writings which still inspire today.

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), founded in 1918, was the only serious party of the left and of the labour movement. The first general secretary of the KKE, Pandelis Pouliopoulos, sided with the Left Opposition against Stalinism as early as 1927.

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Greece: self-organisation for workers' power?

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 2:20

We asked many people in Greece about what forms of grass-roots self-organisation exist in the Greek working class or can plausibly be developed towards something comparable — though possibly very different in detail — to the soviets (workers’ councils) which were the basis of the Russian workers’ revolution of 1917 and which have re-emerged in many revolutionary crises since then.

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