Solidarity 524, 6 November 2019

Low-paid workers strike across London

Published on: Sun, 10/11/2019 - 07:49

November 2019 is witnessing a wave of strikes, disputes, and campaigns involving low-paid workers across the capital.

The United Voices of the World union (UVW) has members involved in several strikes across London — at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington; in Royal Parks; at the University of Greenwich; at Channel 4 and ITV offices; and at the Ministry of Justice.

Flying pickets on 31 October visited multiple workplaces, as well as the offices of the outsourced contractors who employ the workers. The strikes are demanding greater equality with directly-employed staff, including living wages and

Support the postal workers!

Published on: Sun, 10/11/2019 - 07:45

Note: Royal Mail are seeking an injunction to stop the dispute and this will be heard in the High Court on Tuesday 12 November.

A postal worker in South Yorkshire spoke to Solidarity about the Communication Workers’ Union dispute with Royal Mail:

“We are all just waiting for the announcement of strike dates. We’re all excited about the prospect of going on strike. The expectation is that this will be a prolonged dispute. We’re discussing a potential programme of ongoing strikes in the run-up to Christmas.

“Striking on Black Friday, 29 November, is being discussed. This is also the date of the

For a National Education Service

Published on: Thu, 07/11/2019 - 13:33

To produce the goods and services we need efficiently and without exhaustion and destruction – to reshape our economy to avoid climate catastrophe – to add beauty to life – to be informed about our social conditions and equipped to debate and decide on them – we need education.

Decades of battle by the labour movement have won us universal, free education to secondary level, and even the chance for many young working-class people to go on to university.

But the Tories have been stunting that and winding it back.

The huge increase in student fees in 2010 has hit older and part-time university

Restore the NHS

Published on: Thu, 07/11/2019 - 13:30

The socialist rule is “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs”.

The capitalist rule is “from each according to what the hours and effort they’re forced to put in, to get a living; to each according to their wealth”.

Under capitalism, the system where the economy is run for private profit, it is possible to win socialist-type bridgeheads.

The NHS is one of them. You get health care according to your needs, instead of being denied it if you’re badly-off and getting lots if you’re rich.

Since 2010 the Tories (and the Lib-Dems, to 2015) have systematically

Sixty Universities out from 25 November

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 11:23

UCU member

Members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) will strike at 60 universities between 25 November and 4 December, over pay and conditions, pensions, and both.

The dispute over the USS pension scheme that shut down many pre-92 universities in 2018 remains unresolved. While employers have backed away from entirely closing the defined benefit scheme, employee contributions have risen to 9.6% from 6.35% ten years ago and 8% when the current Career Average scheme was introduced. Jane Hutton, a statistics professor who raised concerns about the governance of USS, has been sacked from its board

Regrouping the left

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:40


Eleven years on from 2008, inequality is spiralling, the signs are that we’re heading for another crash, and mainstream ruling-class politics is veering away from neo-liberalism only towards the nationalist right.

The working classes of the world need a political movement which fights for socialism as working-class self-emancipation, as a full-scale change of society to social ownership and democratic control of productive wealth.

It needs socialists who focus on agitating and educating positively for socialist ideas, not merely on nay-saying and reactive opposition to day-to-day bourgeois

Bakhshi and Gholian freed from jail

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:36

Esmail Bakhshi, a leader of the Haft Tappeh sugar cane workers in Iran, and Sepideh Gholian, an activist who supported the workers’ dispute, have been released from jail.

They were sentenced in September – to 14 years and 18 years respectively — on all sorts of trumped up charges, including endangering “national security” and “the Islamic system”.

Because they put up resistance while in jail, Sepideh’s brother was arrested in January and Esmail’s mother in February! Then in August Sepideh’s defence lawyer was threatened with arrest.

Now they have temporary releases on the basis of eye-watering

Bernie Sanders backed by America’s Muslims

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:33

Eric Lee

In recent months, Bernie Sanders has become an enormously popular politician among Muslim Americans.

He was one of only two Democratic presidential candidates to address the Islamic Society of North America Convention in August, the largest annual gathering of Muslim Americans in the country. He is the first major presidential candidate to appoint a Muslim, Faiz Shakir, as his campaign manager. He was the first American politician to visit a mosque after the attacks on Muslims in New Zealand. Prominent Muslim Americans including Linda Sarsour, a leader of the Women’s March, and newly elected

Free our unions!

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:30

As long as there have been capitalists (employers running business for private profit) and workers, there has been a struggle between them.

About how long the working day is. About how much we’re paid. About how hard we’re made to work.

As bosses squeezed workers to get more profit out of us, workers organised to fight back. An individual worker has little power, but when we organise collectively into trade unions we can force concessions from the bosses.

When workers in a workplace, an industry, or a trade group together in an organisation (with regular meetings, subscriptions, elected

The EU: remain and transform

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:28

Some significant workers’ rights are in EU law, such as the TUPE regulations that protect some of our contract terms when we are transferred between employers.

We want strengthening of these rights and new ones too. We demand Europe-wide rules for safe, healthy workplaces free from discrimination and mistreatment, and a legally enforced shorter working week with no loss of pay.

The economic integration of the EU has produced some “levelling-up” of wages. The gap between Spanish wages, or Polish wages, and German wages, is smaller now than when Spain or Poland joined the EU. But that process is

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