Solidarity 354, 18 February 2015

Increased police powers are not the answer


Simon Nelson

Almost half of Syria’s population now requires humanitarian assistance of some kind. Almost three million people have fled Syria, with Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey dealing with increasing numbers of refugees.

Bus strikes suspended


Gemma Short

On February 11, Unite called off planned London bus drivers’ strikes scheduled for February 13 and 16.

In a press release Unite described this as laying down the “gauntlet” and “challenging the 18 bus companies to enter talks”. Yet there has been no news of these talks actually happening.

Health deal: vote No!

Ballot papers are arriving with Unison health workers this week for voting on the derisory pay offer from the government.

As discussed previously in Solidarity, the offer for 2014/15 which was the cause of our dispute has not changed at all. The 1% [+ £200 for bands 1&2] offered for 2015/16 is still a real terms pay cut for the vast majority and comes with strings attached of negotiating on all our terms and conditions. The fact that our negotiators saw fit to even present this offer shows the weak state of our organisation.

Save Lambeth Libraries!


Ruth Cashman, Lambeth Unison Shop Steward

Lambeth Council has announced devastating cuts to the Library Service.

The proposals include:

• Closing half of Lambeth’s libraries

• The immediate sell-off of Minet and Waterloo Libraries

• Stopping funding to Carnegie, Durning and Upper Norwood Libraries

• Reducing the size of West Norwood and Brixton Libraries

• Replacing Libraries with bookshelves in pubs

FBU: “we will not go away”


Darren Bedford

The FBU has called a further 24 hour strike in England on Wednesday 25 February, starting at 7 am, in its long-running pensions campaign. The union has also called a demonstration at Westminster at noon on the day of the strike.

The strike was called after the union exposed a sham “guarantee” given in parliament to enable ministers to force through their unworkable proposals.

Stop evictions!


Ruth Cashman

Shorthold tenants at the Loughborough Park Estate are being threatened with eviction so that Guinness Trust Housing Association can tear down their houses to build expensive new flats.

There is an occupation on the estate to help build the campaign against the evictions. There are daily meetings at 7pm to organise the campaign and demos at the office at 9am.

On Thursday morning at 9.30 am there will be a protest against the bailiffs that are  coming to evict someone from their home.

Meet at Elveden House, Loughborough Park, Brixton, SW9 8NN.

Hope, not strike?


Liam Conway

On January 29, National Union of Teachers (NUT) National Executive voted 24 to 12 not to call two days of strike action in the run up to the General Election.

In October a survey of members returned 80% in favour of strikes. This despite the failure of the NUT to develop a serious strategy to wring concessions from the Government over pensions, and then pay, since 2011.

Confiscate the banks!



A thousand, a million, a billion, a trillion? Paradoxically, one of the ways the HSBC bank can hope to ride out the current storm is that the numbers are so far beyond experience for most of us that we glaze over.

HSBC is under fire because of documents which have filtered through to the Guardian which show that a Swiss subsidiary facilitated, helped, and even prompted tax avoidance and money-laundering.

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