Solidarity 384, 11 November 2015

Winter crisis: rebuild the NHS


Pete Campbell, junior doctor

Regardless of the validity of meteorological predictions by the Express, this winter is set to be the worst on record for the patients of the National Health Service. Even Chief Executives of Hospital Trusts are beginning to cry out in alarm.

Chris Smallwood, Chief Executive of St George’s Foundation Trust recently told the Guardian, “The NHS is heading for a real smash, and practically everyone running a hospital knows it. Hospitals are at 100% capacity at the moment.”

Keep up the fight against Trade Union Bill!

The Trade Union Bill was getting a third reading in the House of Commons as Solidarity went to press on 10 November.

Campaigners with Right to Strike took a 17 metre long banner reading ″Don′t shackle our unions″ to hold in front of Parliament and leafleted the public. The Trade Union Coordinating Group organised a protest in Parliament Square, also supported by Right to Strike.

Industrial news in brief


Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

UCU and Unison members in FE colleges struck on 10 November in a dispute over an imposed pay freeze. In the last six years FE lecturers have seen their pay decrease in real terms as employers have offered a series of below-inflation pay rises — totaling less than 3% since 2009. Both unions are also seeking a guarantee that workers won’t be paid below the living wage. The pay freeze comes in the context of ever tightening budgets for FE colleges, with many colleges having already gone through many rounds of course closures and redundancies.

Save Lambeth libraries

Hundreds of Lambeth workers and residents came together to march from Brixton Library to South Lambeth Library on Saturday 7 November to protest against cuts and closures to their library service.

Vote John Burgess

Ballot papers in the Unison General Secretary election will have now arrived with members. The election closes on 4 December.

The three versions of Brexit


Harry Glass

In the forthcoming European Union (EU) referendum, the question on the ballot paper will be “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

The duty of the revolutionary left is to weigh up these concrete alternatives from the perspective of the working class internationally — its global interests, its European interests and lastly the specific impacts for workers in the UK.

Strikes on the rise in China


Gemma Short

Strikes and other forms of industrial action are on the increase in China, as an economic slowdown leads to lay-offs, withheld wages, and factory closures.

China Labour Bulletin (CLB), an independent labour rights organisation based in Hong Kong, reports 593 strike incidents in the third quarter of 2015. There were 372 in the same period of 2014, and 185 in 2013 Q3. 37% of these were in manufacturing and 31% in construction. CLB notes that many of the disputes in the past months were due to large scale lay-offs.

Syria: continuation and containment of war


Simon Nelson

The US Government will deploy a group of special-ops forces to northern Syria to help the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), the multi-ethnic opposition that the US has positively “vetted”, and is now willing to publicly arm and support.

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