Solidarity 609, 13 October 2021

Indian farmers killed on protests

On 3 October, a few days after Indian farmers relaunched their protest movement against pro-corporate agricultural reforms by India’s far-right regime, four protesters in Uttar Pradesh state were mowed down by a car carrying the son of a government minister. Following widespread protests and Supreme Court criticism of the police’s failure to arrest the son, Ashish Mishra, he has now been taken into custody. In violence following the killings several others were killed, including the driver of the car and two activists from the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the last...

Diary of an engineer: The other side of the blockade

The manager announces in the morning meeting that Extinction Rebellion have planned a day of action against incineration, and so the plant needs to prepare for a blockade. I’m surprised, I haven’t heard anything about this coming from the local group. V: “Where is this coming from?” G: “It’s on their website, and we’ve been warned by other sites. The council are considering closing the roads. But...” — he smiles and slaps the table — “we’ve got enough waste to keep us going for a two days at least.” D: “Got too much waste.” V: “So they’d be doing us a favour, in effect?” G: “If we can secure...

The black sheriff

The story of the election of John Archer as the first black leader of a London council (Solidarity 608) brought to mind the oddly titled film …tick…tick…tick, made in 1970 and directed by Ralph Nelson (perhaps better known for directing Soldier Blue in the same year). In the American Deep South the citizens of rural Colusa County, for the first time in their history, elect an African-American sheriff, Jim Price (Jim Brown). Many are determined that this will never happen again. Tensions rise when a white man, John Braddock, is arrested on a drink driving charge which results in the death of a...

All-out metals strike in South Africa

Metal and engineering workers in South Africa, members of the left-wing National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA), have been on indefinite strike over pay and conditions since 5 October. NUMSA is calling for an 8% wage rise for everyone in the first year of a deal, and inflation plus 2% in the following two years. Employers have offered 4.4%, then inflation plus 0.5% and inflation plus 1%. NUMSA is South Africa's biggest union, with over 300,000 members. The strike has already faced violence, including rubber bullets from the police and a striker killed by a car ploughing into a group of workers...

Make Labour councils back Royal Parks workers (John Moloney's column)

Royal Parks workers’ month-long strike is continuing. There’s no new offer from the outsourced contractor yet; we think they are talking to Royal Parks, to see how much license they’ll be given to resolve the dispute. The contractor says any changes to staffing levels that result from the restructure we’re opposing will be “minimal”, but that could mean almost anything. Until we get something firm then the dispute will continue. We want to increase the pressure on Royal Parks centrally. We’re writing directly to the Board of Trustees, which includes two leaders of Labour councils, Camden and...

Goldsmiths: open the books!

Using the slogan #OpenTheBooks, Goldsmiths Student Union and UCU (University and College Union) organised a joint demonstration on Monday 11 October, as representatives of Goldsmiths management met Lloyds and NatWest to discuss the College’s loans. The banks demanded job cuts as a condition of a loan, and Goldsmiths pledged to hand over all its assets if the university defaults. It’s a terrible deal and it is one for which staff and students will pay for many years, if we don’t beat these cuts. The UCU and the student union are demanding to know just how much profit the banks are making from...

Care workers strike 20-22 October

Interview with a Sage striker here Care workers at the Sage care home in north London will strike again from 20-22 October, as their fight for living wages and equality with NHS staff continues. The workers are also demanding full contractual sick pay. Bile, one of the striking workers, who also sits on the Executive Committee of the United Voices of the World union (UVW), said: “We built a high profile campaign, supported by care workers around the UK, that led to strike action at the start of the year in the harshest of conditions during a global pandemic lockdown. Yet Sage Nursing trustees...

Negotiations at Barnoldswick

Negotiations between Unite union reps and bosses at the Rolls Royce plant in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, continue, following workers’ rejection of management’s latest proposal for ending the dispute against job cuts. After strikes in 2020 against job cuts and offshoring secured an agreement to retain work at the site, the dispute was sparked back into life this year after management reneged on their commitments. After a small section of the workforce launched new strikes, the rest of the workforce also voted to take industrial action. Union officers say they are cautiously optimistic about the...

Poland-Belarus: end the blockade on refugees!

On Sunday 17 October, Polish groups in Britain are organising a protest at the Polish Embassy (4pm, 47 Portland Place, London W1) about the Polish government’s refusal to allow entry to asylum seekers caught on the Poland-Belarus border. They is their statement. We protest against the violation of Polish and international law by the Polish authorities by using illegal push-backs against people who are in the area under a state of emergency, and who are seeking asylum in Poland or safe passage through Poland. These people are not illegal! What is illegal is pushing adults and children into the...

Students organise Uyghur solidarity

Students in the Uyghur Solidarity Society at SOAS university in London are running a week of action (11-15 October), calling on students and workers to join in on their respective campuses. Awareness has been growing among young people especially through online activism. This week aims to turn that awareness into concrete action, to reach out to others in the university community, and carry out public protests to draw attention to and put pressure on those complicit in the genocide. On Monday 11 October, we held a stall outside campus with leaflets explaining our society’s analysis of the...

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