Solidarity 018, 28 November 2002

Build for Industrial Solidarity with the Firefighters

Published on: Tue, 03/12/2002 - 15:04

An open letter to John Monks from Billy Carruthers, Station Commander and FBU member, Euston fire station, London


I welcome your recent statement where you said, and rightly so, that this is a "seminal" dispute. You, like most trade unionists, are absolutely appalled by the Government's attitude.
The question is, as the leader of the TUC, what do you propose to do about it?

Everyone can see what the Government is up to now. Prescott has let the cat out of the bag - telling Parliament that by "modernisation" the Government means cutting the numbers of fire fighters by up to 20%. We are

a public sector pay fightback

Published on: Mon, 02/12/2002 - 02:22

Many other groups of public sector workers are in a similar position to the fire fighters. They have suffered years of very low pay increases. Their unions are beginning to fight for pay increases and pay deals which will enable them to "catch up". Solidarity will look at different areas of the public sector in each issue to analyse the potential contours of a public sector fight back on pay. Bringing forward the disputes on pay will help maximise solidarity with the fire fighters. This issue: the health service.

  • Unequal pay in the NHS
  • Action in the ambulance service
  • Glasgow hospital workers

London weighting strike

Published on: Mon, 02/12/2002 - 00:06

Thousands of teachers were joined by council workers who are members of Unison - both fighting for a flat rate of £4,000 for London Weighting - on a march in central London. Fire fighters also joined the demo. While police officers get over £6,000 in London Weighting, teachers get only £3,105 in inner London and £2,043 in the outer boroughs.

Both teachers and local government union activists need to put pressure on their unions to step up the action if this dispute is going to make an impression.

Royal Mail backs down on sell-off

Published on: Sun, 01/12/2002 - 22:56

By a postal worker

Royal Mail has been forced to back off from its attempt to sell off the Post Office's Cash Handling and Distribution (CHD) section to Securicor, after the workers under threat delivered a resounding 95% "yes" vote for industrial action.

At first Royal Mail bosses proposed that it would restrict the privatisation to about half of the originally intended 2,600 workers - cash processing workers, but not drivers. The workers' union, the CWU, rejected this divisive offer and, faced with an imminent strike by the CHD workers, Royal Mail backed down on its privatisation plan. The

Scientists join the pay revolt

Published on: Sun, 01/12/2002 - 22:55

Hundreds of Government scientists are to stage a 24-hour strike in a dispute over pay parity with other workers. Staff at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science will walk out next Wednesday. They believe their pay has fallen behind other staff at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by 10% since the department was established last year.

Beth Lamont, PCS negotiations officer, said: "There are staff working in personnel, finance and administration who are doing exactly the same work, in some circumstances in the same location, but who are earning up to £3

Solidarity with the fire fighters

Published on: Sun, 01/12/2002 - 22:53
  • Sent home without pay for standing up for safety
    By a Tube worker
  • Tube: bring forward the PPP dispute!
  • Solidarity around the country
  • Socialist Alliance day of action
  • London Labour backs firefighters

Sent home without pay for standing up for safety

London Underground bosses has admitted that 355 of us refused to work on safety grounds during the first, 48-hour, FBU strike. That's a lot more than the 'less than a hundred' that the company originally said! They still say 'only' 355 - an impressive total given the courage it takes to stand up to management like that.

The management's

Three words NUS doesn't want you to say (tax the rich)

Published on: Sat, 30/11/2002 - 00:02

Student Campaign Forum

By Faz Velmi
For years the leadership of the National Union of Students argued that free education was an impossible, or even undesirable, goal. Now they oppose tuition fees and call for the restoration of student grants (albeit means-tested ones - oh, and three years too late).
The one thing they won't say is how to pay for it. A dilemma: on one hand, calling for anything other than progressive taxation looks stupid and would undermine public support; on the other, demanding that the government tax the rich isn't going to go down well at Number 10 or do their hopes of

After the Bradford riots, injustice persists

Published on: Fri, 29/11/2002 - 22:10

On the night of 7 July 2001 the Manningham area of Bradford experienced what has been described as the worst rioting in the city for 20 years. The riots were stoked up by the activities of the National Front and the BNP - an organisation which continues to win large votes in council elections, and recently won a council by-election in Blackburn. Tim Hales looks at the aftermath of the Bradford riot and argues that very little has been learnt
During eight hours of bitter confrontation between predominantly Pakistani youth and the police an estimated £25 million pounds of damage was done and 300

Sectarianism of the small against the sectarianism of the big?

Published on: Fri, 29/11/2002 - 21:06


Peter Burton is going to have to be a lot more accurate about the Socialist Alliance than he was in "Two roads to Nowhere" if he hopes to get beyond sectarian griping (Solidarity 16).
I've got no experience of the SSP so don't want to comment on that part of the article - except to say that what he says about the problems of the SSP party press sounds reasonable and convincing. However on the Socialist Alliance he is all over the place.

There are huge problems with the SA and Peter hits on some of them - especially the lack of a paper. I hope these problems can be fixed and we can move

Lessons from history: Larkin's labour war 1913-14

Published on: Fri, 29/11/2002 - 18:17

When the TUC betrayed Dublin workers

In last week's issue of Solidarity, we printed articles by the Irish socialist James Connolly about the struggle of workers in Dublin to unionise and fight for better pay in the years before the First World War. Led by Jim Larkin, they built the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, using the solidarity strike as their weapon.

No group of workers was left to fight in isolation. The full strength of the organised working class backed every single section. Wages were pushed up, conditions improved; working-class self-respect and assertiveness rose so

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