Solidarity 275, 20 February 2013

Fight the “benefit cap”!

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 09:39

On 13 February, the Guardian splashed a report that the Labour council of Camden, in north London, was “singling out more than 700 families to be moved up to 200 miles away”.

The report exaggerated what’s set to happen in Camden, but understated what’s set to happen across London.

In April the Tory/Lib-Dem government will start to impose the “benefit cap”, a rule that working-age couples and lone parents can never receive a total of more than £500 a week in all benefits combined. (People on disabled benefits, and people working enough hours to get Working Tax Credit, are exempted.)

At the

March against cuts in Newcastle.

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 09:33

Around 1,500 people marched in Newcastle on 16 February against a proposed £100m of council cuts.

Residents, trade unionists, community activists and students united to build the protest. It was coordinated by the Stop the Cuts-Save Our Services coalition of ten different campaigns of users and workers.

We are opposing the closure of libraries, play services, youth service. Also proposed are cuts to respite care, and cuts to older people’s services and community centres.

The march was formally supported by Northern TUC, RMT, Unison, and PCS, but it was largely built by activists, including

Sussex University: occupying against privatisation

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 09:31

After continually being ignored by university management and left out of all negotiations regarding the proposed privatisation plans, Sussex students have occupied the University’s conference centre.

Over the last few days the campaign has picked up widespread national press coverage and messages of support have been pouring in from Students’ Unions, organisations and influential individuals.

The management at Sussex have shown a blatant disregard for the views and wishes of the campus community in the way that they have instigated these proposals. The lack of transparency, and openness from a

Workfare doesn’t work

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 09:25

“Workfare” schemes took a blow on Tuesday 12 February as two unemployed workers won Court of Appeal cases which ruled that attempts to force them to work for free, or risk losing their benefits, were unlawful.

Now an article in the Financial Times has knocked them further, by publicising a Labour Party survey from 2008 which looked at the use of similar schemes in America, Canada, and Australia. The study concluded that “Workfare

is least effective in getting people into jobs in weak labour markets where unemployment is high.” According to the FT, “[the study showed] there is little evidence

BBC workers strike

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 09:21

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at BBC workplaces across the country struck on Monday 18 February.

The NUJ is fighting the BBC’s “Delivering Quality First” cuts programme, which will involve 2,000 job losses, including 30 compulsory redundancies, over five years.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The BBC is prepared to waste public money on needless redundancies rather than secure redeployment opportunities for those at risk.”

Union members will also take part in a work-to-rule campaign from Friday 15 February.

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 09:19

Teachers at Bishop Challoner school in East London are voting in an indicative ballot for strikes against the victimisation of a National Union of Teachers rep, and again what workers describe as an authoritarian and bullying management regime inside the school.

An NUT campaign forced the school management to climb down in autumn 2012 when they wanted to impose a “mock Ofsted” inspection on staff. A strong union group was forged on the back of this. Weeks later, the union rep found himself on “capability”, a form of professional probation. That was triggered by two observations, both with a

Stop London Met witch hunt!

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 09:05

Management at London Metropolitan University have suspended Jawad Botmeh and Max Watson, staff governor and Unison branch chair respectively, from their jobs.

The suspension follows management threats, on 22 January, to derecognise the Unison branch entirely. Unison represents non-academic staff at the university.

Uni bosses say the pair have been suspended for “a serious matter of concern”, which relates to “gross misconduct”. Union officers believe it may concern Jawad’s appointment (in 2008), and his 1996 conviction for “conspiracy to cause explosions” in relation to a plan to bomb the

Only 15% of rapes are reported

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 09:00

The Home Office statistics bulletin on sexual offending in England and Wales estimates that 2.5% of women and 0.4% of men were the victims of sexual assault in 2011/12, representing around 473,000 adults. The police recorded a total of 53,000 cases of sexual assault over the same period.

It is estimated that around 0.5% of women and 0.1% of men were victims of rape or sexual assault by penetration in 2011-12, 85,000 and 12,000 respectively. The total number of “most serious sexual crimes” recorded by the police in the same period was 42,976, less than half.

The Home Office bulletin reported

The Dorner complex

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2013 - 08:56

Christopher Dorner was a former Los Angeles cop. He was sacked in 2008, alleging racism. In February 2013 he allegedly conducted a series of shooting in which he killed four people. Hunted by police, he eventually died as they set fire to the cabin where he was hiding. This article was written by Matthew Cunningham-Cook for the left-wing American magazine Jacobin. It is reproduced, abridged, from their website, and can be read in full here.

[…] Dorner’s “manifesto” has been selectively quoted, focusing on the sections where his mental illness and homicidal rage come into full view, while the

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