Solidarity 320, 9 April 2014

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 11:35

Cinema workers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton have announced 11 April as the date for the first strike in their dispute over pay.

Members of BECTU at the cinema have conducted a long-running campaign to win the London Living Wage of £8.80 an hour. The typical hourly rate at the Ritzy is currently £7.24.

Workers voted to strike by an 85% majority.

Sparks win contract fight

Electricians working at a Network Rail construction site in Three Bridges, Sussex won new contracts following a wildcat strike on 4 April.

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Local government pay fight

Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 11:25

Unite, Unison and GMB have initiated a ballot for Local Government workers with the recommendation to reject the derisory 1% pay increase offered by the Local Government Employers.

The offer is in contrast to the current RPI rate of inflation of 2.8%. The cost of living for many of the lowest paid makes the offer unacceptable and pushes more workers further into poverty.

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Tube workers gear up for further strikes

Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 11:12

The negotiations forced on London Underground bosses by Tube workers’ strike of 4-6 February will conclude on 14 April.

Activists in the RMT union say the talks have been useful for learning more about the scale of bosses’ cuts plans, but that little progress has been made, management remain intransigent and workers must be prepared to strike again.


Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 26/04/2014 - 16:25

Aren't there serious differences between the four you refer to as 'left' candidates?

Submitted by AWL on Mon, 28/04/2014 - 02:17

It's not a question of "dislike". There are big political differences between the "left" candidates, on a number of questions, which will hopefully become clearer and sharper as the election campaign continues.

One issue which is (rightly) generating some particular controversy currently is the fact that one of the candidates, Steve Hedley, has an extremely worrying record on the question of women's rights and sexism:

  • Steve Hedley: not "cleared of domestic violence", by Andy Littlechild (RMT activist), from LibCom
  • The left and women’s rights: why the case of Steve Hedley is as serious as the case of Martin Smith, from Women's Fightback
  • The Socialist Party, Steve Hedley and domestic violence: stop evading, stop lying, from Women's Fightback
  • Conversation with Steve Hedley, from Pippa Georgeson's blog
  • Is this somebody who is really fit to represent "the left" in the RMT, which should be committed to equality and women's liberation?

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    Students, support the marking boycott!

    Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 11:02

    Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will begin a boycott of marking on 28 April unless Higher Education bosses make concessions on pay.

    Higher Education workers have already struck six times against a 1% pay offer for 2013-2014.

    The boycott will be of all formal assessments.

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    Teachers need a clear set of demands

    Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 10:47

    Delegates to the conference of the National Union of Teachers will meet in Brighton from 18-22 April just weeks after our national strike.

    Top of the agenda will be the national dispute with Michael Gove and, specifically, the next steps in the campaign of industrial action and public agitation. As at previous conferences the debate on the dispute will be shaped by a priority motion from the National Executive and amendments from delegates.

    There are at least three major issues to resolve.

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    Ugandan anti-gay law passes

    Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 10:28

    On 31st March, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni was guest of honour at an inter-religious, ‘national thanksgiving rally’, held at the Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala, to ‘celebrate’ the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014. Other guest ‘celebrants’ at the event included Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of the Ugandan Parliament; Stanley Ntagali, the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda; invited Catholic, Muslim, and Pentecostal religious leaders; sheikhs, senior pastors, bishops, and civil society leaders.

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    10,000 in Montreal against cuts

    Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 10:24

    On 3 April, students in Montreal held a 10,000-strong “national protest against austerity measures and for a more egalitarian budget.”

    Students are concerned about the ruling Parti Quebecois's cuts to public services, education and health while hiking the cost of hydro electricity.

    The demonstration was called by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), the militant student organisation which organised widespread student strikes in Quebec in 2012.

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    Cops’ “targets”: make more stop-and-searches, record fewer crimes

    Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 10:22

    A report on “target culture” in the police by the Metropolitan Police Federation has exposed the extent to the use of target-setting is failing victims of sexual violence and has inflated the use of racist stop and search powers.

    The report speaks of “culture of fear” in the police, with one unnamed officer complaining that: “Every month we are named and shamed with a league table by our supervisors...”

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    Tories plan for water cannon

    Submitted by Matthew on 9 April, 2014 - 10:17

    The Home Secretary Theresa May in considering letting police forces in England and Wales use water cannons against protestors.

    In January, Boris Johnson wrote to May in his capacity as the Mayor of London saying that he was “broadly convinced of the value of having water cannon available” in the capital.

    The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) thinks “ongoing and potential future austerity measures” is an argument for arming police with water cannons.

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