Solidarity 322, 30 April 2014

683 sentenced to death in Egypt

Submitted by Matthew on 30 April, 2014 - 12:47

On Monday 28 April, 683 people were sentenced to death in the city of Minya, Egypt. The same judge then upheld the death sentences of 37 others, with life sentences for 491 more.

Amnesty International say "This is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences we’ve seen in recent years, not just in Egypt but anywhere in the world.”

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Against Jobbik and anti-semitism

Submitted by Matthew on 30 April, 2014 - 12:39

On 27 April, 25,000 people protested against anti-semitism in Hungary.

Every year, a march takes place in Budapest to commemorate the Hungarian Jews killed in the Holocaust.

This year, a record number joined the march, with many marchers protesting against the rise of anti-semitism in Hungary. Just three weeks earlier, elections had seen the far-right, anti-semitic Jobbik party win 21 per cent of the national vote.

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The rich rake it in

Submitted by Matthew on 30 April, 2014 - 12:28

On 24 April, Scott London, the former head of the southern California audit practice for KPMG, one of the world’s “Big Four” audit companies, was jailed for 14 months.

He had pleaded guilty to leaking information to cronies so that they could profit in share trading. He got bribes in return, including packs of money wrapped in paper bags and handed to him in car-park rendezvous.

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Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 30 April, 2014 - 12:24

On 1 May, UCU members at Lambeth College in South London will begin indefinite strike action to block attacks on their conditions.

These attacks include increased working and contact hours, cuts to annual leave, additional duties for no extra pay, reduced redundancy notice and drastically reduced sick pay.

Management are attempting to impose the new contracts on new workers, current staff who are promoted, and hourly-paid staff. They have also said that these new conditions may be rolled out to cover all staff.

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An alternative for teachers

Submitted by Matthew on 30 April, 2014 - 12:11

Two out of every five teachers leave the profession within their first five years of teaching - a shocking indictment of what we are up against.

Most teachers cite excessive workload and the oppressive culture at work as the main reason for quitting, though having to work longer and pay more for a worse pension, and having a real term pay cut hardly helps.

With performance pay coming in big-time in September, more rocky times lie ahead. So we need to call a spade a spade.

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Council workers prepare for strike ballot

Submitted by Matthew on 30 April, 2014 - 11:58

Unison members who work in local government have voted by 70% in a consultative ballot to reject the employers’ meagre 1% pay offer. As reported in previous issues of Solidarity, workers have faced a real-terms pay cut of 20% in the last four years.

A formal strike ballot will take place from 23 May to 23 June. Strikes could begin on 10 July.


Submitted by Newcastle on Mon, 12/05/2014 - 23:55


This branch agrees to submit this motion to Local Government Conference and Regional Local Government Service Group:

This conference believes:

· that to win the current pay dispute, we need a sustained and escalating programme of industrial action which moves beyond one-day strikes and that Unison should ensure that resources are identified to winning our pay claim
· that where possible action should be coordinated with other sectors or unions in dispute
In the event of a vote for industrial action in the pay dispute to call upon the SGE to:
· call a two-day national strike in July and announce an ongoing timetable of action beyond this including at least 2 days set for September beginning the second week of the school term.

We call on the SGE and NJC Committee (as appropriate and where approved by the NEC) to work with NEC, regional LG service groups and branches to:

· prioritise resources from national, regions and branches to ensure we have funds capable of sustaining strike action beyond three days, and support the effective coordination and distribution hardship payments (levied from both branch and national funds where appropriate within Unison rules)
· plan and coordinate a programme of action short of strike throughout the summer (which could include overtime bans, work to rule and lunch time walk outs)
· set dates for rallies either regionally or at a local level for the first week in September (where feasible) to build momentum after the summer break and prepare for the following weeks action
· encourage branches to convene local, cross-union strike committees, and to feed into regional and national SGE strategy (where appropriate within Unison rules)
· coordinate with Branches and Region Local Government Service Groups to convene meetings at the earliest opportunity in September to discuss future action / strategy.
· consider creative options for future action for instance: short of strike, strike levies, coordination with workers in dispute and selective action by groups of workers which would have maximum impact (i.e. parking inspectors, revenue staff, caretakers, street cleaning etc.)
· to call a Special Service Group Conference before accepting any offer short of union side claim.

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Construction death traps in the Gulf

Submitted by Matthew on 30 April, 2014 - 11:45

M worked as an architect on construction sites in Dubai. He told Solidarity what daily working life is like on those sites.

The major difference between a construction site in Dubai and one in Europe is the number of hours that they work. The workers are present on site from 7am to 7pm — twelve hours a day for six days a week, sometimes seven.

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Self-determination for Ukraine!

Submitted by Matthew on 30 April, 2014 - 11:35

As Solidarity goes to press on 29 April, the conflict in Ukraine is deadlocked. The Ukrainian government has said it will re-take city halls in east Ukraine seized by pro-Russian groups, but has made few moves so far.

Evidently the Ukrainian government is worried that any armed clash will give the Russian army an excuse to invade and claim it is only keeping the peace.

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