Solidarity 492, 23 January 2019

Bristol food couriers strike

A strike by Deliveroo riders in Bristol on Friday 18 January caused significant disruption, with riders invading several restaurants, despite Deliveroo offering pay boosts to undercut the strike. We re organising for future strikes and protests, repeated and escalating until we win better pay. â€Č Deliveroo riders are paid per delivery only and are classified as “self­employed independent contractors” rather than employees or even self­employed limb (b) workers , so we have no minimum wage per hour, ″ ″ pension, or holiday or sick pay. (On the other hand, we aren’t shackled by anti­union laws.)...

General strike in India

These excerpts from an article by K R Shyam Sundar in the Mumbai Economic and Political Weekly (19 January) give information on the recent general strike in India. The joint platform of Central Trade Unions comprising 10 unions conducted a general strike on 8 and 9 January 2019. Since 1991, the CTUs have conducted 18 countrywide work stoppages and multiple forms of protests... apart from concerted strikes at the industry level, like banks, insurance, etc, against the economic and labour policies of the central government... The macro protests have become frequent and also more inclusive. This...

Mass strike wave in Zimbabwe

Police and soldiers have killed at least a dozen people, wounded scores and arrested hundreds since mass strikes and demonstrations began on 14 January against the government of Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa, a long­time sidekick of the former liberation fighter turned despot Robert Mugabe, eased the 94 ­year-­old Mugabe out of office in November 2017, but has continued a regime very like Mugabe’s corrupt and autocratic crony capitalism. The protests started with a shutdown called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and have escalated into a rolling wave of strikes and other action. As...

Industrial news in brief

Care workers employed by charity Alternative Futures Group are balloting for strikes to resist a pay cut announced by their employer in November. The workers, who are members of Unison, face a cut of up to £40 following AFG bosses’ announcement that they will no longer pay an additional allowance for workers who sleep overnight at service users’ homes as part of their shift. AFG, whose work primarily comes from contracts tendered by local authorities, says that a July 2018 court ruling, which overturned previous rulings from 2017 and 2016, stipulates that they no longer have to top up the pay...

Glasgow equal pay: accounts to settle

Last October, the lack of progress in settling a long-running dispute at Glasgow City Council led to the biggest equal-pay strike in British history. On Monday 21 January, over 250 women members of the GMB employed by Glasgow City Council attended a meeting to hear an update on the campaign. The previous week the media had reported that agreement had been reached with the now SNP-­run Council in a dispute stretching back to 2006, when the then Labour­controlled council introduced a new pay scheme to address gender-­based pay inequalities. Refusing to adopt the pay scheme used by all other...

Dig down to revive left activism

On 12 January, the People’s Assembly and other groups mounted their response to maybe the biggest parliamentary-political crisis ever in British history. They called a demonstration in London: “General election now!” The People’s Assembly is an anti­-cuts group run by the Counterfire split from the SWP, but getting active support and resources from Unite and other unions. It has had the skills and the reach to organise big demonstrations — up to 250,000 on a general demonstration against cuts in June 2015. The 12 January activity was strongly promoted also by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)...

Crisis and Sequels out in paperback

Martin Thomas outlines the guide he followed in compiling Crisis and Sequels, a book on the 2007-8 crash and its aftermath now out in paperback edition. “Analysis must proceed not from a blurred outline of a ‘typical’ capitalist economy, but from the complex reality of a world economy with its own structure and within it national economies substantially different in pattern both from the global structure and from each other”. Crisis and Sequels is built round 32 interviews with or contributions by 15 economists, organised into five chronological sections as the 2007­8 crash and its sequels...

Rosa Luxemburg and imperialism

Rosa Luxemburg considered her most important contribution to be her book, The Accumulation of Capital, published in 1913. The legacy of the Polish­-German revolutionary socialist leader who was murdered by a right­-wing militia operating under the aegis of a Social­ Democratic government just over 100 years ago has come down to us through a haze of sentimental misrepresentation and selective republishing, but now can and should be reconsidered. For decades the two most widely ­available texts from Luxemburg were critical notes on the Bolshevik revolution, drafted in jail in 1918, and not...

Labour: no more delay, new public vote now!

As Solidarity goes to press on 22 January, Labour has put down an amendment in Parliament which at first sight seems to call for a new public vote on Brexit. It seems to cut through the messing-around with rival Brexit formulas, all of which have a majority against them in Parliament, in the electorate, and especially in the labour movement. It seems to say, at last: Brexit is no good. We need a new public vote which can reassess with what we now know, and vote firmly to remain in the EU, with the understanding that Labour will work with the left and labour movements across Europe to change...

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