Solidarity 534, 12 February 2020

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 09:13

Hugh Workman, Ollie Moore, Ed Whitby, Daniel Randall and David Pendletone

Sixth form colleges strike

The NEU’s (National Education Union’s) last strike day in sixth form colleges over funding and pay was 20 November last year. The next is 12 February.

In December the union executive and many NEU activists were, I think, hoping that an imminent Labour government would resolve the dispute in our favour.

The reason for the delay being around a month after most colleges came back is to build up momentum again after the election and Xmas break.

The upcoming three days (12 and 27 Feb, 10 March) are within the six month “shelf-life” of the first ballot, but at the same

Irish election: behind the left surge

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 08:55

Micheál MacEoin

The Irish election results have seen an unprecedented surge of support for Sinn Féin, overtaking both the establishment parties to win the popular vote with 24.5% of first preference votes, to Fianna Fáil’s 22.2% and Fine Gael’s 20.9%.

SF’s vote was a rejection of the two-party system, which has seen FF and FG rotate in power since the early 1930s. This rejection was overwhelmingly fuelled by anger about issues such as housing, homelessness and health.

Whatever SF’s willingness and capacity to deliver fundamental change on these issues, or its credentials as a genuinely left-wing party, the

Tube drivers to ballot for strikes

Published on: Tue, 11/02/2020 - 19:04

Ollie Moore

Train drivers’ union Aslef has announced a ballot of its members on London Underground, over pay and conditions. The ballot opens on 28 February, and closes on 9 March.

Aslef is a minority union across LU as a whole, but a majority amongst drivers. One of its key demands in pay negotiations thus far has been for a driver-specific salary increase, to bring LU drivers’ pay in line with that of mainline train drivers. Along with all four unions organising in LU, Aslef has also demanded a reduction in the working week.

An Aslef statement said that the union could not “accept a sub-standard offer

Stop the deportations!

Published on: Mon, 10/02/2020 - 16:53

On Tuesday 11 February, the Tories deported 50 people to Jamaica on a charter flight – only the second the Home Office has chartered to Jamaica since the Windrush scandal broke.

Many of those threatened with deportation have lived in the UK since childhood. Many have families here, families now facing not only heartbreak and chaos but in some cases destitution. Many of the deportees are at clearly demonstrated risk, for instance from gang violence, if they return to Jamaica.

The Johnson-Patel regime does not care. Priti Patel walked out of the House of Commons chamber as Labour MP David Lammy

Three decades of Socialist Worker on antisemitism

Published on: Mon, 27/01/2020 - 21:19

Dale Street

When Sunderland Polytechnic Students Union (SPSU) banned a campus Jewish Society in 1985, Socialist Worker (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party) rallied to its defence.

The SPSU was “quite clearly not racist. … One thing is clear – they are not racists, unlike the Zionists who oppose them.” (SW/928)

Socialist Worker conceded in passing that “it can be argued whether the SPSU was tactically wise to ban the Zionists.” But the ban itself was not criticised. In fact, the paper uncritically quoted the SPSU Treasurer’s rationale for the ban:

“The students union has a policy that Zionism

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