Solidarity 619, 12 January 2022

Sheffield couriers lead pay fight

On Monday 10 January, food delivery drivers in Sheffield working for Stuart Delivery (a contractor serving JustEat) resumed their strike action. Organised in the IWGB union, Sheffield couriers struck for three weeks in December 2021, breaking records with the longest-ever industrial action in the so-called “gig economy” in the UK. Strikes spread to Chesterfield, Blackpool, Huddersfield and Sunderland. Having given their employer a fortnight to respond to their demands, the Sheffield drivers have resumed their action with a number of large and well-respected picket lines at McDonald’s...

Kill the two Bills!

January 15 has been named as a “national day of action” against the Tory Police Bill (now in its last, Report and Third Reading, stage in the Lords), and Another Europe is Possible and others including the Labour Campaign for Free Movement will protest against both the Police Bill and the Borders Bill (starting Lords committee stage 27 January) the same day in London. 12pm, Saturday 15 January, Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A 3TL We urge readers to back the protests in London and elsewhere. Sadly, even as late as 11 January, protest times and places for 15 January have been released only for a few...

Russian troops out of Kazakhstan! For democracy and workers’ rights!

The price of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), a cheap alternative to petrol used by car drivers in Kazakhstan, was hiked on New Year’s Day. The cost of a litre of LPG had been 50 tenge (about 10 pence) for most of 2021, jumping to 120 tenge on 1 January. Drivers began to protest. In Zhanaozen, an oil producing town of 160,000 in the country’s west, roads were blocked. The regime is particularly wary of actions by the oil workers in Zhanaozen, where a massacre of strikers took place in December 2011. There were more officially registered strikes in Kazakhstan in the first half of 2021 (39) than the...

“Live with” Covid, but safely

Seven weeks after the Omicron variant was identified in South Africa, and a month after it started spreading fast in the UK, case counts in the UK are tentatively dropping. Evidence from South Africa itself and other countries is hopeful. Without waiting to see if the drop is a solid trend, or admitting that even in the best case deaths and the stress on underfunded hospitals will continue to rise for a few weeks, the Tory right has raised an outcry for dropping curbs and just “living with” Covid. Solidarity has pointed out since mid-2020 that Covid is not going to “end” or “go away”...

Beijing renews Hong Kong clampdown

Workers' Liberty will be discussing the political crackdown in Hong Kong at our online meeting on Sunday 16 January at 6.30pm. More details here. Hong Kong authorities renewed their legal attacks on dissent at the end of December 2021. That followed a couple of months when the authorities had refrained from arrests in the hope of getting credible votes for their candidates for the part-elected Legislative Council (LegCo). The office of the recently-established bilingual Stand News, which had extensively covered the democracy revolt, was raided on 29 December. Senior staff and board members...

Women's fightback: Tackling sexual violence on campus

Sexual violence is endemic in the UK’s university and college workplaces and employers must do more to tackle it, according to a report by the University and College Union (UCU). The report found that over the past five years: • 12% of women and 5% of men had directly experienced workplace sexual violence • 52% of those who directly experienced sexual violence did not disclose or report it to their employer • 70% of those who directly experienced sexual violence experienced it as an ongoing pattern of behaviour rather than a one-off incident • Staff on non-permanent contracts were 1.3 times...

The real “Money Heist”

The hit Netflix series La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) tells the story of two spectacular robberies. One involved the seizure and occupation of the Spanish Mint (where paper currency is printed). The other took place in the Bank of Spain, where the country’s gold supply is kept. The second heist story imagined the melting down of all the gold ingots stored in the Bank of Spain’s basement. These were then cleverly transferred to the group’s confederates miles away. This story has a remarkable parallel to the real history of Spain — and the Soviet Union. In 1936 when the danger of Franco’s rebel...

James Webb: in search of our cosmic origins

As I write this, nearly one million kilometres away the James Webb Space Telescope ventures into the Solar System as part of humanity’s latest endeavour to understand the origins of the universe. Webb is the biggest and most powerful telescope ever put into space. It has been referred to as the long-term replacement to the Hubble Space Telescope. However, Webb has a primary mirror nearly ten times the collecting area of Hubble, and will observe primarily at longer “infrared” wavelengths. In comparison to Hubble, Webb will peer much deeper into the universe, and observe phenomena at different...

RS21 climate pamphlet: revealing the need for debate

Reading the new RS21 pamphlet, We Only Want the Earth by Gus Woody, is a bit like a salvage operation after a hurricane. There is the odd thing worth saving but even the good stuff is a bit tarnished and in need of loving restoration. Overwhelmingly it is a mess. Alongside some basic factual errors (Evo Morales is not a Peruvian!) it exposes a poverty of understanding of both ecological science and Marxist theory. The pamphlet is written with a folksy familiarity, but is full of unexplained Trotskisant jargon that makes it fairly inaccessible. For example, he tells us a “communism is not a...

Celebrate Colston Four acquittal - and fight harder

Onlookers in the public gallery, people across Bristol, and many more beyond celebrated on 5 January 2022 as the “Colston Four” were found not guilty of criminal damage to the slave trader’s statue. The defence argued that the statue itself constituted an offence under section five of the Public Order Act, and the Indecent Displays Act; and that conviction would be disproportionate infringement of rights under the Human Rights Act 1998. The prosecution argued that the crimes of Edward Colston — enslaving and killing tens of thousands — were irrelevant. While we are be critical of the first two...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.