Solidarity 466, 11 April 2018

Gaza: mobilising for an internationalist response

Published on: Thu, 12/04/2018 - 09:57

Martin Thomas

The reckless killing and wounding of Palestinians by Israeli army fire at the Gaza border in recent weeks is likely to be followed by many more clashes.

The organisers of the Palestinian demonstration on the Gaza side of the border fence, and the political-Islamist Hamas, which rules and politically dominates Gaza, plan a series of further demonstrations on Fridays up to the anniversary in mid-May of the declaration of the state of Israel.

The killings were not a new sort of response from the Israeli army. In December, when there were demonstrations on the Gaza side of the border fence over

Protests inside Israel

Published on: Thu, 12/04/2018 - 09:53

Ira Berkovic

There is an anti-occupation, anti-war movement within Israel, albeit a beleaguered one.

The Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem has launched a campaign calling on soldiers to refuse orders, what they describe as illegal orders, to fire on demonstrators. Hundreds mobilised at short notice to demonstrate outside the ruling Likud party’s Tel Aviv headquarters in protest at the killings in Gaza, with around a hundred attending a joint Palestinian-Jewish “Freedom Seder” in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank.

There have been larger demonstrations in recent years: an estimated 20,000 Israelis

Douma atrocity is a sign of Assad's victory

Published on: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 20:36

Simon Nelson

After nearly seven years of unrest and civil war in Syria, Assad’s chemical attack on the civilian population trapped in Douma, a city near the capital Damascus, no longer seems shocking; it was the action of a regime that is able to kill and maim with impunity.

The attack on the city followed negotiations which ended on 25 March with an agreement for a cessation of armed attacks, to allow for civilian evacuations. People were allowed stay, including members of the main rebel group there, HTS, on condition they became civilian police. 4,500 people were evacuated before the attack.

But on

Wildcat strike for safety

Published on: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 20:26

Gemma Short

Workers at the Orion recycling plant in east London took part in a wildcat strike on Wednesday 28 March to protest dangerous and inhumane working conditions.

The workers, all migrants from Peru, joined the United Voices of the World (UVW) union just the day before after contacting the union with videos of their working conditions which showed thick clouds of dust and workers without adequate protection.

After negotiations with bosses at the gate the company agreed to provide proper face masks, air filters, gloves, four pairs of protective overalls each, soap and toilet paper.

They also agreed

Recycling workers strike for sick pay

Published on: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 20:24

Simon Nelson

Workers at FCC Environment in Hull are striking for 14-days (starting 29 March) for decent sick-pay.

This follows a previous week-long strike in March. FCC is a subsidiary of a Spanish company that describes itself as “a worldwide leader in citizen services, specialised in environment, water and infrastructure”. It reported a 12.7% increase in earnings in the first quarter of 2017, totalling $188 million globally.

The Unison Hull City branch has been campaigning for a better sick-pay scheme, with the company refusing to include this in the latest pay negotiations.

The strikes have remained

Indefinite library strike over pay

Published on: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 20:22

Charlotte Zalens

Workers at libraries in Bromley started an indefinite strike on Wednesday 28 March over pay.

Bromley′s libraries have been run by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) since a battle to keep them under public control was lost in November 2017. In this year′s pay negotiations GLL has refused to meet the pay offer other local government workers will be getting.

Workers earning £19,000 would have seen a 2.9% pay rise if still directly employed by the council, and some lower earners would have had a 4% pay rise.

Open University: fight the cuts

Published on: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 20:17

a UCU member

Bosses at the Open University are planning to slash up to a third of courses to save £100m a year from its £420m budget. A voluntary redundancy programme begins this week.

The OU has been badly hit by the slump in part-time student numbers following the 2012 rise in tuition fees. Whereas previously most OU students had been able to pay their way through alongside full-time work, they were now faced with taking out loans, and many decided against it.

Staff at the Open University have voted No Confidence in the Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks after he claimed its distance learning model wasn’t

USS strike ballot: Vote No!

Published on: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 20:09

a UCU member

University and College Union members are voting on a deal that would see strikes in over sixty universities called off in return for an independent review of pension provision. Voting ends on 16 April.

Fourteen days of strike action in February and March forced university bosses UUK to ditch a plan to end guaranteed pensions. But now strikers are being asked to put their trust in a process that may produce nothing better.

Back in March, employers offered a transitional three-year deal — better than their starting point but still a huge cut — which was forcefully rejected with the slogan ‘No

Momentum on Antisemitism

Published on: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 20:06

Will Sefton

That the Labour left movement Momentum has released a statement taking on antisemitism in the Labour Party and the left is welcome.

Until now Momentum had been silent on the issue, and had made no suggestions for political education or training on the issue.

The statement from the group’s National Coordinating Group goes some way to addressing these shortfalls but is not as comprehensive as the one agreed by the Momentum Steering Committee in 2016 but never released.

The 2016 statement calls for the implementation of the Chakrabarti report and for a fairer disciplinary process that would avoid

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