Solidarity 548, 19 May 2020

Threat of London Transport cuts

London Mayor Sadiq Khan needs to brush up on his negotiation skills. Mere hours after he announced Transport for London was on the verge of running out of money, and services may stop running if additional funding wasn’t forthcoming, he managed to secure... a package of less money than is needed, with more strings attached than a marionette. In exchange for the £1.6 billion package, Khan has agreed to return the Tube to 100% service levels “as soon as possible”, and to a long-term review of TfL’s finances — which the Tory government will no doubt use to demand cuts. Khan also agreed that...

Isolation pay for all!

Just days after the government announced the planned easing of lockdown, over 180 people attended the Safe and Equal campaign’s first public Zoom meeting on 12 May. The meeting brought together workers from health, social care, local government, the civil service, supermarkets and retail, construction, power and education sectors, including many outsourced workers. The meeting heard from Ruth Cashman, library worker and Lambeth Unison joint branch secretary, Tracey McGuire, teaching assistant and NEU [National Education Union] Executive member, Kas Witana, NHS worker, and MPs John McDonnell...

Undemocratic backroom politics in Momentum

There is a fight about the future of Labour left organisation Momentum. A new grouping, Forward Momentum, is in conflict with those who run the Momentum office (which means, in Momentum as currently constituted, run the organisation). The office people seem to be supporting a counter-initiative, Momentum Renewal. Both will run candidates in the imminent National Coordinating Group elections. Neither grouping presents a clear, concrete, politically adequate or honest line about how Momentum should function, what it should argue for and what it should do. Forward Momentum's output has focused...

Right to protest

After a leaked Treasury paper suggested a two-year public sector pay freeze, a group of London nurses held a socially distanced protest outside Downing Street, wearing their PPE. This is one of a number of protests health workers have organised around the country. In response NHS England and NHS managers in London have issued a statement saying workers should not join protests as it would “adversely affect public confidence”. It also suggested support for police repression of demonstrations! Over two hundred health workers have died from Covid-19 in eight weeks – more than the number of...

Going on the offensive

The socialist left in Britain, including us, were so invested in the Corbyn project and are still so disoriented from the December 2019 election defeat that we fail to notice what's before our faces. That, for the first time since the Poll Tax revolt, our class is on the offensive.

Labour movement activists on why we must take over the banks

The 2019 TUC Congress passed a proposal from the Fire Brigades Union for “public ownership of the big banks, which could play a central role in building a sustainable economy, investing in a publicly owned energy sector and creating decent, unionised jobs in the interests of working people”. No one opposed the motion – but very few are actually advocating or campaigning for this. Here we quote a range of labour movement activists and representatives on why it is so essential. In the current situation, as we face an implosion of credit and a snowballing slump, against the background of the...

Demand the government extends self-employed support too

Under pressure from extreme circumstances, and from the labour movement, the Tories have backed away from their talk of ending the “Coronavirus job retention” furlough scheme for employed workers or reducing it from 80pc of wages. They have extended the scheme till October. There is (possibly very significant, and damaging) ambiguity about the meaning of Rishi Sunak’s request for employers to “contribute” to the cost and, in any case, the scheme as it exists is not nearly good enough. But the extension is a victory. What about the parallel scheme for self-employed people, which expires in June...

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Donate to help Workers' Liberty argue, organise and fight in this crisis and beyond. We are aiming to raise £10,000 by 22 November. See this article for an update progress towards that target, and how to donate.

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