Solidarity 313, 12 February 2014

New law whips up anti-migrant racism

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:53

The Tory’s nasty new Immigration Bill is expected to pass into law this spring.

The Coalition has said that it wishes to reduce yearly net migration to the “tens of thousands”. And Home Secretary Theresa May admits that the Immigration Bill is about “making it harder for people who are here illegally to stay here”.

The new law will turn landlords and GPs into border guards.

Landlords will be required to check the immigration status of potential tenants or face a £3,000 fine. Many landlords will simply refuse to rent to anyone who looks or sounds “foreign”.

Similar checks apply to opening bank

Sochi games: gay rights protestors arrested

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:49

On Friday 7 February, the Russian authorities arrested at least 61 people in the run-up to the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony in Sochi.

The arrests spanned from the Caucuses to the capital St Petersburg. The government is seemingly tolerating no dissent, even far away from the location of the games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

According to the New York Times, 19 were arrested near Red Square in Moscow at gay rights protests, including several foreign activists (pictured above). At least two of the activists report having been beaten and threatened with sexual abuse.

In the capital,

Ineos sacks union convenor

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:42

Unite convenor Mark Lyon was sacked by Ineos at Grangemouth last week.

His dismissal follows the resignation three months ago of another Unite convenor, Stevie Deans, after a witch-hunt based on collusion between Ineos, the police, the media and the Tories (with some assistance from people in Labour).

According to a statement issued by Unite:

“Mr Lyon’s sacking comes in the face of significant medical evidence that he is suffering from a serious stress-related illness as a result of the treatment he has endured at the hands of the company.”

“Unite believes that Ineos was determined to rush

Where next for the universities dispute?

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:36

After three one-day strikes — and three two-hour strikes by UCU members — the universities’ pay dispute looks no closer to resolution.

The employers are refusing to talk, and say they regard the 2013/14 round as settled with the imposition of a 1% rise.

The UCU leadership has not delivered the escalation strategy proposed back in September — which would have seen a marking boycott begin in time to hit first semester exams in a significant proportion of institutions.

Instead there have been two-hour strikes which, although not badly supported, have not caused the disruption necessary to move

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30

Lecturers at Edinburgh College are continuing their rolling programme of strikes.

The aggressive campaign of walk-outs has met with the overwhelming support of members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) at the college, 92% of whom backed strike action. The union is striking in protest at the 3% pay rise offered by management, a deal which is tied in with a number of attacks on workers’ terms and conditions, including the abolition of a class-contact maximum. Lecturers fear that with these protections removed, they could face a major increase in their work load with little to show

Labour councils and bedroom tax

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:21

On 10 February, Channel 4 screened a ‘Dispatches’ documentary on “bedroom tax”.

Many Labour councillors appeared on the programme denouncing the Government’s measures. Some of them even detailed how they were doing the bare minimum required of them by law to implement them. Our main priority is to protect our tenants, they said.

The Labour Party has pledged to scrap the tax on coming to power.

The pledge has encouraged councils not to evict tenants in arrears because of the bedroom tax. Quite a few councils have said they will try to avoid evicting. Though the pledges have loopholes, in fact

China: new realities and old dogmas

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:16

This book contains many good things — an assessment of the nature of capitalism that has developed in China over the last two decades; analysis of the burgeoning Chinese working class; and avid descriptions of recent workers’ struggles. However these fine efforts are spoiled by its treatment of the Maoist period which is falsely characterised as some kind of workers’ state.

Au Loong Yu’s political economy of the current Chinese social formation is broadly correct. He defines China as “bureaucratic capitalism”, a term first used ironically by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the 1940s

End sweatshops! Support Bangladeshi workers!

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:06

When Rana Plaza, a multistorey building housing garment factories, collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka in April 2013 the focus of the world media was on the conditions of Bangladeshi workers.

It seemed that a turning point might be reached in their fight for rights. But a new investigation by ITV journalists, featuring the campaigning NGO Labour Behind the Label, has shown that little has changed for the better.

In this programme two young women workers wearing hidden cameras went to work in two fairly typical garment factories, making clothes for Western companies. The women filmed

Tube strike stalls cuts plans

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2014 - 10:48

Tube unions RMT and TSSA suspended a strike planned for 11-13 February, after London Underground bosses agreed some concessions in talks.

The Daily Mail reported the suspension of the action as London Underground “caving in to militants” and retreating from their plan to close all ticket offices. That the right-wing, anti-union press sees the deal as a win for the unions is certainly a positive sign!

London Underground management have committed to put the implementation of their cuts plan on hold, and to a station-by-station review of ticket office closures, with the explicit proviso that this

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.