Solidarity 261, 17 October 2012

Walmart strikes spread

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 09:09

Strikes against American retail giant Walmart, which began in warehouses operated by Walmart’s suppliers in southern California and Illinois, have now spread to 28 stores in twelve states across the USA.

The Illinois warehouse workers have already returned to work, having secured their key demands of reinstatement of all who were fired or suspended for on-the-job organising, as well as full back pay for all workers who took part in the three-week strike.

The workers’ grievances against Walmart are numerous. Attacks on workers’ rights include non-payment of overtime, non-payment for all hours

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 09:06

Members of teaching unions NUT and UCU at K College in Kent struck for half a day on Monday 8 October as part of a battle to save 145 jobs. The workplace is spread over six campuses and has more than 25,000 students. College bosses want to make cuts to shrink an £11 million deficit. 57 jobs have already been lost, and workers fear that campuses in Ashford and Dover could be sold off altogether. Staff walked off the job at 1pm and held pickets and protests at college sites.

Tesco jobs fight

Delivery drivers for Tesco based in Doncaster could strike for 48 hours from 18 October.

Drivers’

University unions divided on strikes

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 08:57

Ballots on this year’s Higher Education pay claim have produced mixed results amid disillusion over the handling of the pensions dispute.

Following three years of increases well below inflation, employers were offering a pay rise of just 1% — a real-terms pay cut of 12% over four years. The unions asked for 7%, guarantees that no staff would get less than the Living Wage (£8.20 per hour in London; £7.30 elsewhere), and action on the gender pay gap (still 15%) and casualisation.

University and College Union (UCU) members — lecturers, researchers and academic-related staff — voted against strike

Threat of school strikes forces climbdown

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 08:54

As reported in Solidarity 260 (10 October 2012), teachers at Bishop Challoner school in East London voted to strike in opposition to a threat from the headteacher to impose a “mock” Ofsted inspection.

Bishop Challoner teachers had previously voted not to cooperate with or participate in any such inspection or observation, as part of the ongoing industrial action by the NUT and NASUWT teaching unions.

Following the strike vote, a series of one-sided “negotiations” followed, consisting of the head sending out a series of increasingly embarrassed emails in which what had initially been presented

Syriza and the struggle

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 08:50

Since the May and June elections in Greece issues that previously were discussed only in the small meetings of the revolutionary left have become part of the everyday discussion of ordinary people, new to the struggle and new to revolutionary jargon.

What should be the tactical and strategic aims of a left government? Should the left wing tendencies form a united front on a trade union level, or a political level, or both? What type of party organisation is required? Democratic centralism, pluralism, federalism?

What is the relationship and the relevance of the different ideological streams of

Getting ready for upheavals

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 08:46

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty meets for our annual conference on 27-28 October, to map out our broad lines of policy for the coming year and to elect a new national committee.

In order to get informed decision-making, this conference is prepared for with discussion bulletins and regional pre-conference meetings. Last-minute extra discussions have also been set up — an evening meeting in London on 24 October, an e-meeting, by webchat, on 21 October.

The overall perspectives document which the outgoing committee will put to conference highlights two levels of the political situation.

On one

Football in our times

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 08:43

This book tells the story of the incremental implosion of Rangers Football Club and raises issues of greed, abuse of power, press complicity but also what campaigning using digital media can achieve.

Rangers FC Chairman Sir David Murray, motivated by both year-on-year league success and the lucrative potential of the later stages of the European Champions League, borrowed heavily from banks at a time when banks were only too happy to lend to a big brand name like Rangers. Heavy borrowing combined with the illegal use of a tax avoidance scheme to play player’s wages and bonuses eventually led

A workers' plan to beat cuts

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 08:34

For a shorter summary article, see also: "Tories - the antidote: fight for a workers' government!"

Our bosses, and the governments which serve them, are determined not to waste the economic crisis. They want to use it as cover for driving down social costs, freezing wages, cutting jobs, so that when the economy revives profits will be higher.

The “austerity” (cuts and anti-working class measures) imposed by the Coalition are part of a comprehensive project to reorganise and reshape society so it better serves the interests of the rich.

That project is more than the sum of its parts. It is not

Help us raise £15,000

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2012 - 07:52

Our new book, Antonio Gramsci: Working-Class Revolutionary, is now available to buy from radical bookstores, online and from local AWL branches.

A public launch meeting for the book, featuring presentations from its editor Martin Thomas, and contributor Peter Thomas (author of The Gramscian Moment), will take place in London on Wednesday 31 October.

In publishing the book, we aim to re-assert the class-struggle soul of Gramsci’s politics, an immense contribution to revolutionary strategy and thought.

Gramsci’s is a legacy much distorted by Stalinist, “neo-Marxist”, “post-Marxist”, and quasi

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