Scotland

Build on Scotrail Win: Step Up Strikes!

ScotRail workers have seen off an attempt by their employer to attack working conditions, and have broken the pay freeze that the government and employers were determined to impose on us. But Scotrail workers will face new battles in the new year. It is essential that we build on the momentum of...

Cally Sleeper workers vote for further strikes

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper, the overnight train which runs between London and various destinations in Scotland, currently operated by Serco, have voted by an 86% majority for further strikes, and by an 88% majority for further action short of a strike, on a 61% turnout in their latest...

COP26: Building our movement

After Greta Thunberg issued an invitation to Glasgow’s striking refuse workers, a sizeable contingent of GMB strikers joined the Fridays For Future march in the COP26 city along with 10,000 or so exuberant demonstrators - mainly school students, and parents with small children. Other local trade union branches lined the street with their banners to greet the march as it reached George Square. There’s been a big trade union element within the COP26 Coalition, with its explicit slogan of climate justice. However, often the impression here is more of left union bureaucrats being involved than...

Rail strikes in Scotland

RMT has called strikes on ScotRail from 1-12 November, and from 31 October-2 November and 11-13 November on the Caledonian Sleeper. Both strikes could potentially impact the COP26 international climate change conference, which is taking place in Glasgow from 31 October-12 November. Workers on...

Caledonian Sleeper struggle

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper service concluded an 11-day strike for better pay on 26 June. Their bosses have imposed a pay freeze, in line with demands from the Tories for an industry-wide freeze on railway workers’ pay. The strike was extremely effective, with all Sleeper services cancelled. However, subsidies from the Scottish government have protected Serco, which operates the service, from the strike’s economic impact. Labour movement activists must plan action targeting the government, and ask why the Scottish National Party, which claims to be pro-trade union, is helping a...

"Questions of democracy are where to focus our energies"

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, spoke to Sacha Ismail in late March 2021. For an interview Clive did with us in March 2020, see here. There could still be another 30,000 deaths as we approach the end of lockdown, and maybe much more. Even with the vaccine program at full tilt, in the absence of a proper test and trace system, an isolation system and social support for people, it’s still potentially a dire situation and could still overwhelm the NHS. [This was even before the "Indian variant" of Covid was widely discussed.] NHS workers have launched their demand for a 15% pay rise. Do...

Sleeper strike going strong

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper, operated by Serco, are continuing an 11-day strike for improved pay and conditions. Nightly pickets are well supported, and link up with each other via Zoom. We spoke to a striker in Glasgow:




Support for the strike in Glasgow and the rest of Scotland is...

Sleeper battle continues with ban

The 11-day strike by RMT rail union members on the Caledonian Sleeper service finishes on 26 June. One of the strikers on the picket line in Glasgow spoke to Solidarity. Support for the strike in Glasgow and the rest of Scotland is excellent. It is a dispute which we did not seek. All we want is a level of fairness from the employer, Serco, which runs the sleeper service. Serco’s Chief Executive had his pay increased to £4.9 million last year. Serco has paid out £17 million to its shareholders. But then Serco turns round to us and tell us we’re not getting a penny. This shows contempt for a...

Kino Eye: A really bad film

For a change, a really bad film: Mel Gibson’s Braveheart (1995). Usually, I only recommend films that I like and are interesting. Dale Street’s article on a possible second Scottish Referendum prompted me to think of films featuring Scottish nationalism. The one film that outshines all the others, but primarily because of its ignorance and stupidity, is Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. Take the well-known poster of William Wallace (played by Gibson) with blue face-paint and kilt. Scottish warriors stopped wearing blue face-paint many hundred years before and hadn’t yet adopted the kilt. The English...

Scotland and the "second referendum"

The SNP victory – or SNP-Green victory – in the Holyrood election of 6 May 2021 was a mandate for a second referendum on Scottish independence. The fact that the SNP did not get an absolute majority of seats or an absolute majority of the popular vote is irrelevant. The Holyrood voting system is designed to stop one party gaining an absolute majority of seats (and the SNP fell only seat short of that). And no one ever argued that the 1945 Labour government had no mandate because it failed to win 50% of the popular vote. The elections held on 6 May also strengthened Sturgeon’s position in three...

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