Solidarity 295, 11 September 2013

“Boris Bike” rep wins tribunal

An Employment Tribunal has ruled that Zack Dahou, a leading trade union rep employed by Serco Barclays on the “Boris Bike” municipal cycle scheme, was unfairly dismissed and that his dismissal was linked to his trade union activities.

The victory comes in the context of union advances in the workplace, with a recent strike against unilateral shift changes and bullying management securing the removal of the two worst managerial culprits and a management agreement to consider union proposals for shift patterns.

Firefighters move closer to strikes

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have voted strongly for strike action over the government’s pension proposals which could see the first national firefighters’ strike for a decade.

FBU members voted almost four-to-one (78%) on a 60% turnout for strike action with the next month – close to an absolutely majority of those balloted.

Postal workers prepare for national ballot

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has announced that it will ballot members working for Royal Mail and Parcelforce for strikes from 20 September unless Royal Mail agrees a “legally-binding” deal that guarantees to protect workers’ pay, pensions, and conditions in the event of the privatisation of the service.

The ballot would be due back on 3 October, with strikes expected by 10 October if it returns a yes vote. It would be the first national ballot of CWU’s 125,000 Royal Mail members since 2009.

What should socialists say about fracking?

The recent protests in Balcombe in Sussex have prompted a revival of the largely dormant climate movement in the UK.

AWL members have rightly taken part in the mobilisations, which have brought local residents into an alliance with climate activists to thwart drilling efforts and stymie the Tory-led government’s “dash for gas” policy.

When Dutch workers under Nazi rule struck to save the Jews

“I looked into the workshop and saw all those girls and the boss. I wasn’t at all accustomed to speaking before a group. I said: ‘Ladies, all of Amsterdam has come to a standstill because they’ve been rounding up Jews and taking them away. We’ve got to join in.’ To my surprise, everyone took to the streets.”

“In the morning somebody from the communists came to the place where I worked and said: ‘We’re going on strike against the persecution of the Jews. Will you join us?’ So we did.”

Paving the way for New Labour

Cinema documentary has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with fine examples exploring subjects as diverse as sushi in Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) and death squads in 1960s Indonesia in The Act of Killing (2012).

The “obscenity” of Gareth Bale?

“We speak the language that everybody understands. Instead of me saying somebody was avaricious, I’d say he was bloody greedy.” Bill Shankly

This summer’s football transfer window was a real seller’s market. Clubs dug their heels in to keep their best contracted players, and mostly succeeded. Rooney didn’t go to Chelsea. Suarez didn’t go to Real Madrid. Rooney, Suarez, Benzema, Cabaye, and Higauin didn’t go to Arsenal.

Rebel Cities

After flirting with the Occupy movement in London, I found myself swerving into the Marxist school of thought.

Harvey’s book appealed because it examines the nature of the urban environment in relation to capital circulation processes and class struggle via the Marxist method, a twinning that neatly merges the latest two integers in my own political development.

Hovis strike shows how to fight zero-hours

Bakers, Food, and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) organiser Geoff Atkinson spoke to Solidarity.

We can be an inspiration to other workers facing zero-hours contracts. Sometimes it takes a little person to stand up and fight against a big bully.

We had always managed without agency labour at Hovis. In the past there was always an eight week rolling contract for temporary workers. If you worked 13 weeks, you got a permanent contract.

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