Solidarity 470, 23 May 2018

Renationalise the railways!


Keith Road

Virgin Trains East Coast, the consortium that runs the line from London to Edinburgh and which is 90% owned by Stagecoach has had its franchise taken away.

The line is now temporarily in public ownership, renamed the London North East Railway.

This follows the consortium admitting that they had over-bid for the contract — offering £3.3 billion in order to land the contract, when they had no intention of paying this amount, or as they put it, they “discovered” they were unable to pay the amount.

Traffic wardens strike


Charlotte Zalens

Traffic wardens in Hackney struck for 48 hours from Monday 14 May in a dispute over pay.

The traffic wardens, employed by APOCA Parking, are organised by Unite, which has put in a claim for a cost of living pay increase of five percent. Workers are also fighting back against unfair implementation of sickness procedures, and unfair and potentially discriminatory implementation of the annual holiday allocation.

Tesco workers demand 15%, bosses offer 3%.


Ollie Moore

Warehouse and office workers at Tesco’s distribution centre in Dagenham, east London, struck for 24 hours from 17-18 May. 

The workers, who are members of the Usdaw union, are demanding a 15% pay increase. Tesco bosses have offered 3%. The workers’ claim would equate to a £1.39/hour increase. 

The logistics sector is strategically crucial to the capitalist economy, but unions, where they have members, have tended to be conservative. 

Tube drivers plan strikes


Ollie Moore

Tube drivers at several London Underground depots will strike on 6 and 14 June. 

RMT and Aslef members on the Jubilee Line will strike to demand improved work/life balance, as a proposed new timetable threatens to increase weekend working. 

Bring outsourced University of London workers back in house


Gemma Short

Over 100 cleaners, porters, receptionists and other outsourced workers at the University of London will strike on 6 June.

Workers organised by the IWGB union previously struck on 25-26 April in a campaign to be brought back in-house and have parity of terms and conditions with in-house workers. Outsourced workers currently receive inferior pensions, and less holiday, sick, maternity and paternity pay.

Protests in support of the strikes on 25 April were attended by hundreds of supporters, including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Picturehouse workers strike again


a Picturehouse worker

Picturehouse workers will be on strike again for the Sundance film festival happening at Picturehouse Central from 31 May to 3 June.

They will be striking during the opening night on Thursday 31 May, and again on Saturday 2 May. The strikes will hit several premières taking place at the festival. 

All eyes on TGIs


Gemma Short

Workers at TGI Fridays restaurants in Covent Garden, London, and Milton Keynes struck on Friday 18 May in the first of a series of Friday strikes over a new tips policy which would see workers losing up to £250 a month.

Workers at TGI Fridays in the Trafford Centre, Manchester and Haymarket Piccadilly, London, have also now voted 100% in favour of strikes and are expected to join the strikes on Friday 25 May. Results of ballots at other restaurants in Enfield, and Gateshead Metro, Newcastle, are expected soon. All six sites may be on strike by Friday 1 June.

Ken Livingstone: good riddance


Colin Foster

Ken Livingstone resigned from the Labour Party on 21 May. Good riddance!

He ceased to be a real left-winger decades ago, he has a clear record of high-profile antisemitic comments, and he has been aggressively persistent about them.

Yet the Labour Party is still blundering along without any open and thorough discussion of antisemitism. There are still people on the left who see nothing wrong in what Livingstone has said. Suspensions, expulsions, resignations will resolve little until we have that discussion.

Democracy and the democracy review


Will Sefton

The Labour Party Democracy Review is now in its third and final period, inviting submissions on the following issues: “Electing our Leadership, How we Make Policy and The Way We Work.”

It still remains unclear how the findings of the review will be presented and what the status is of the various rule change motions remitted last year on the advice of the National Executive, or when they will be considered.

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