Solidarity 459, 17 January 2018

Crossrail electrician strikes

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 20:21

Gemma Short

Electricians working on the Crossrail development in London struck on Wednesday 10 January after contractor Balfour Beatty refused to pay industry standard project completion payments.

The electricians, organised by Unite, are working on the Woolwich section of Crossrail. Workers are demanding a four week finishing bonus to be paid when they are made redundant at the end of the job. According to Unite a “finishing bonus is standard practice on comparable major projects. It allows workers to give notice on their lodging without suffering financial loss. All the electricians employed at Woolwich

DOO strikes escalate

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 20:18

By a train driver

RMT guards on Merseyrail, Northern, Greater Anglia, South Western and Southern Train Operating Companies struck on 8, 10, and 12 January, as the fight against Driver Only Operation escalates.

Guards on Northern were very solid again, and Merseyrail workers kept up their usual high standard of solidarity with the vast majority of guards supporting the strike, as well as almost all drivers, who are members of Aslef. Elsewhere the support seems to have been patchier, for example on South Western where the urban depots are solid but the outlying depots are reportedly less so.

An important factor

Strikes at Fujitsu over victimisation

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 20:15

Peggy Carter

Workers at Fujitsu in Manchester will strike for 11 days over victimisation of union reps, breaches of the company′s redundancy agreement, and compulsory redundancies.

Unite members at Fujitsu have been fighting job cuts and a victimisation culture for over a year. The latest round of strikes comes after a Unite rep of 26 years standing, Ian Allinson, was sacked. Ian Allinson said: “On Tuesday (9 January), while I was on compassionate leave for a family funeral, Fujitsu sent me a letter telling me that I will be dismissed tomorrow (12 January) after more than 30 years’ service, including 26 as

Picturehouse locks out workers!

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 20:10

Gemma Short

Workers at five Picturehouse cinemas in London will strike for 13 days starting on 20 January.

The strike will include two 48 hour strikes on 20-21 and 26-27 January. Despite other strikes in the period being for partial days, the management one of the cinemas, the Ritzy in Brixton, has decided to shut the cinema completely for the whole 13 day period. Workers at the cinema have described this as a ″lock out″, and an attempt by management to ″starve them back to work″.

An emergency appeal for funds was launched and within a few days raised £13,000 of a £20,000 target thanks to a rallying of

End outsourcing at UoL!

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 20:07

Security workers and receptionists at the University of London (UoL) will strike on 25 January over broken pay rise promises, with a protest in the evening in support of outsourced worker demands to be brought in house. 

IWGB union organiser and press officer Emiliano Mellino spoke to Solidarity.

The campaign is going well. On every single protest we have there are more people — both workers and supporters.

The Foundation Day protest on 21 November had easily 500 people, probably the biggest protest we′ve done at Senate House.

We are still waiting for a response from UoL management. They are

Take organising seriously

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 20:03

David Morris

Whilst it contained some interesting historical content, Martin Thomas’ feature on trade unions, ‘From the “organising agenda” to the democracy and solidarity agenda’ (Solidarity 457), fails utterly to grasp what the move to organising represents, the nature of the crisis in our unions or the historical approach our current has taken to the mass trade union movement.

We have traditionally understood that the mass industrial organisations of the working class are fundamental to our approach to changing the world. There is no “red” shortcut to transforming the existing labour movement. However

Locking horns with the Tory government

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 19:59

Rosalind Robson

Rosalind Robson begins a two-part article on the 1972 struggle over council house rents in the Derbyshire town of Clay Cross.

Clay Cross Labour council’s defiance in the face of a Tory government which wanted to increase council house rents, and the council’s determination to keep rents low, is a landmark event in British labour movement history and deserves to be better known.

In that struggle, one set of councillors was dismissed and surcharged, as a Tory-appointed Housing Commissioner, sent to collect the higher rents. Because the Labour Party in Clay Cross was politically prepared and had

Fighting the cuts with Council Tax hikes?

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 19:56

Simon Nelson

The departure of Chris Williamson as a shadow minister has been explained by Williamson and others around the Labour leadership as either a conflict over principle or the removal of a maverick left-winger.

It is true that Williamson has spoken out on other issues outside his brief as Shadow Fire Minister, in his weekly online videos. Most recently he advocated rises in council tax for more expensive homes.

At the same time he has been the member of the Shadow Cabinet most comfortable with defending the Maduro government of Venezuela, with defending Cuba and some of Labour’s activists who are

Documenting the “new transgressives”

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 19:52

Charlie George

Charlie George reviews Kill All Normies: online culture wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the alt-right by Angela Nagle

How did Steve Bannon, who Nagle describes as “an anti-establishment figure with ambitious ideas”, go from editing “the alt-right’s go-to website” to being Donald Trump’s chief strategist?

How did Bannon get from the centre of the leading capitalist power, before being told by Trump that he had “lost his mind”, and losing his role at ‘Breibart’ alt-right news site? Nagle does not tell us these things.

Instead, we are presented with an engaging — if flawed — series of

Trump to renew Iran deal

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 19:49

Johnny Whiteley

Donald Trump is set to maintain the 2015 “nuclear deal” with Iran when it comes up for renewal on 17 January.

Under the deal Iran is obliged to restrict its nuclear programme in return for the easing of international sanctions.

Trump had previously declared his intention to undo the nuclear deal, denouncing it as weakness in the face of the regime. Accordingly, he has had to hedge his renewal of the deal with much tough-sounding bluster and secondary sanctions.

Trump and Republican politicians have suggested setting a deadline for “improvements” to the deal, including getting rid of the

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