Solidarity 366, 3 June 2015

Industrial news in brief


Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Train drivers for Southern rail will vote on a new pay offer, after they voted by 91% and 95% for strikes and action short of strikes to win a better deal.

The strike votes, which saw turnouts of around 85%, followed the rejection of the company's initial pay offer of a 2.65% increase even against the recommendation of officials from the drivers' union ASLEF. Such resounding votes against union recommendations are rare anywhere in the labour movement, and show a clear strength of feeling amongst Southern drivers to win a better deal.

FIFA: worse than capitalism


Tom Harris

The seminal radical football podcast “This is Deep Play” once made this perceptive point about football: far from being a form of escapism detached from real life, football is like a mirror, vividly reflecting everything that’s playing out in capitalist society at large.

LGSM told they can’t march with the unions at Pride


Gerry Bates

The final London Open Meeting for the organisation of this year’s Pride march (Saturday 27 June) discussed the decision to separate the trade union block from Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM).

LGSM, following on from the popularity of the film Pride, has been given a position at the front of the march. But the trade unions are in Block C of the march (i.e. at the back), and way behind the prime sponsors of Pride, Barclays, Starbucks and Citi Group. Yet the TUC has also been a big sponsor of Pride, donating up to £400,000 over the years.

Labour needs a socialist candidate


Michael Johnson

After the election the Blairites were first out of the traps, hurtling into television and radio stations to give long-prepared statements, with no evidence, about how Labour had shifted too far to the left under Ed Miliband.

But under Miliband, Labour’s approach was to accept the Tories’ argument that austerity was necessary but to promise slightly fewer cuts. In the last stage of the election campaign, the leadership bolted on some panicked, but real, social democratic pledges.

Now, even these limited ideas are facing the chop from the leadership candidates.

Fight Tory attacks on our unions!


Maria Exall, CWU and Campaign for Trade Union Freedom (personal capacity)

The first Conservative government for 18 years will introduce a Bill to beef up existing anti-trade union laws in the UK.

Whilst the proposed restrictions on strike action had been well signalled in advance, the inclusion of a change to union political funds was unexpected.

The Tories are demanding a 50% turnout threshold in a ballot and an additional 40% yes vote requirement in “core public services” (health, education, transport and fire services), They hope to make it impossible for unions to organise lawful strikes.

Sharpening our politics against the Tories


Monty Shield and Vicki Morris

On Saturday 30 May, around a thousand people marched from Waterloo station to Westminster Bridge against the planned £12 billion cuts to public welfare services

Protesters, organised by UK Uncut, hung a banner from Westminster Bridge overlooking Parliament, reading “austerity is a lie”; it was collectively painted by activists while on the bridge. The banner could be seen along way down the bank of the Thames!

What cost fossil fuel?


Paul Vernadsky

Fossil fuel capital continues to avoid paying the costs of its industry for air pollution and other health hazards, effectively receiving more in subsidies than the total health spending of all the world’s governments, according to a new IMF report.

How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies? Published last month found that fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3 trillion (£3.4 trillion) a year, equivalent to $10 million a minute every day.

Labour and UKIP


Matt Cooper

UKIP’s overall third place in votes in the 2015 general election is terrible news.

That one-in-eight voters chose a party, which has thrived in a culture of anti-politics and disillusion by wrapping an ill-defined core of neo-liberal policies in bright anti-immigration colours, is a tragi-comic symptom of the awfulness of British political culture.

The left and the General Election


Harry Glass

The post-mortem on the 2015 election ought to rage on the British left, though it is doubtful whether there will be much contrition from the main protagonists.

Rightly, assessments will examine how the ruling classes’ first team did it, the limitations of Labour’s leadership and politics, why the Liberal Democrats collapsed, UKIP’s four million votes, the SNP’s tsunami and the Green ascendency. But one unavoidable question is the responsibility the left for this class-wide defeat.

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