Solidarity 069, 17 March 2005

NUT action needed beyond the one-day strike

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:59

By Patrick Murphy, Leeds NUT

This year’s NUT Conference meets in Gateshead from Friday 25 March to Tuesday 29 March. The dominant issue is likely to be the campaign to defend pension rights, with a ballot for one-day strike action due to open the day before the conference starts. The NUT ballot will close on 11 April and the target date for strike action is 26 April. This date will be confirmed after discussions with other unions, particularly NATFHE, NASUWT, Unison and ATL, to encourage their involvement in action on the same day.

The debate on pensions is likely to revolve around a priority

Hands off our bodies! Hands off our votes!

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:59

John O’Mahony

The forces of militant obscurantism, bigotry, intolerance, and social regression, are on the march in Britain! Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has implicitly advised Catholics to vote for Michael Howard’s Conservative party in the General Election, on the grounds that the Tories support a lower limit for legal abortion — 20 weeks of pregnancy instead of 24.

“Abortion, for Catholics, is a very key issue”, declared the cardinal. “We are totally opposed to it. The policy supported by Mr Howard is one that we would also commend, on the way to a full abandonment of abortion… There has been a notion

PFI staff fight for equal pay

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:58

Four hundred hospital workers employed by private contractor Serco are to strike following a ballot last week. Their demand for pay and conditions equal to that of staff directly employed by the NHS follows a similar deal in Birmingham last year at a hospital where non-medical services were managed by a different private contractor. Serco employs 400 staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and is refusing to implement Agenda for Change pay rates (which would see basic pay rise from £4.85 an hour to £5.69, and holiday and sick pay entitlements nearly double) until it is re

Who will make poverty history?

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:58

Two hundred charities, trade unions, NGOs [non-governmental organisations], and religious groups have formed an alliance called “Make Poverty History”, and are organising for a big demonstration in Edinburgh on 2 July. The Scottish police predict 200,000 people will be there.

The protest has been prompted by the fact that the G8 — leaders from the world’s seven richest countries plus Russia — have their annual meeting in Gleneagles in rural Scotland on 6–8 July.

The G8 states take turns to hold the “presidency” of the gathering as well as to host it, so Tony Blair is the president of the G8

Catholic ghettoes start to turn against IRA

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:58

By Annie O’Keeffe

When Mary Robinson knew she had been elected the first woman President of the Republic of Ireland in 1990 she famously began her first speech with praise and thanks to the “Mná Na h-Eíreann” — to the “women of Ireland” who had rallied to her. Sinn Fein/IRA shogun Gerry Adams might attribute the depth of the present Sinn Fein/IRA crisis to the “Mná”, not of Erin but of the McCartney family.

The campaign by the sisters and parter of Robert McCartney, murdered by members of the IRA in their guise of ghetto bully boy gangers has drawn strength from the sympathy of politicians,

Resist the Terror Law!

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:58

By Mike Rowley

The tragicomic saga of the Terror Bill has come to an end at last, after a marathon 31-hour session of the House of Commons. The Bill was passed in amended form, Labour MPs complaining, in a display of grotesque school-boy irony, of being held under “house arrest” in order to ensure the government’s majority.

Two major concessions were made to the Bill’s critics: “higher level” control orders (house arrest, breaching the Human Rights Act) will have to be made by a judge, and the Commons will get the chance to debate repeal of the new Act, along with whatever other draconian

Oppressed from both sides

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:58

Five members of the Political Association of Iranian Refugees, who are marching from Birmingham to London to protest against the possibility of US intervention in Iran, spoke at a meeting of Oxford Labour Party on 15 March. Sara Frouzyar translated.

We became involved in the anti-war movement after the invasion of Iraq, because we felt that it set a precedent for US intervention in Iran or any other Middle Eastern country. We are doing this march because it is our duty. It’s all we can do to express our protest. We want to speak out to the freedom-loving people of the world against US

The left and the revival of Irish Republican militarism: Why Eamonn McCann is wrong

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:58

Sean Matgamna

Parables for Socialists 17

P was a member of the Army Council of the IRA, its supreme authority, and would soon be a founder member of the breakaway “Provisional” IRA. He had been regaling us with an account of the ridiculous stories which the then leaders of the IRA, Republican Stalinists, had given to the Army Council as explanations for their inability to organise the defence of Northern Ireland’s Catholics during recent (August 1969) pogroms, which it had taken the deployment of British troops on the streets of Belfast and Derry to stop.

They had lent the organisation’s guns to the “Free

Equal pay victory

Published on: Tue, 22/03/2005 - 00:58

By Nick Holden

One thousand five hundred women working at Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumbria Hospital have won a historic victory in their eight-year battle for equal pay with traditionally male jobs in the NHS.

The women’s occupations range from nurses and healthcare assistants to catering assistants, domestics, clerical officers, sewing machine assistants, porters and telephonists.

Equal value claims were lodged in August 1997 for 14 different working categories, using five different male comparators: craftsmen/joiners, building labourers/wall washers, works officers, craftsmen

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