Solidarity 122, 22 November 2007

NUS democracy – mobilise for extraordinary conference!

Published on: Fri, 30/11/2007 - 23:07

Sofie Buckland

First posted 24/11/07. After a month of organising their pet sabbaticals to request an extraordinary conference to push through attacks on democracy, the NUS leadership have succeeded; the conference will be held in Leicester on Tuesday 4 December.

The task for left activists is now to get delegated to the conference. Where unions haven’t already held cross-campus ballots for their NUS Annual Conference delegation we should insist they do – there’s no requirement for Extraordinary Conference delegates to be elected, even by union councils or executives, and sabbaticals can hand-pick their

The unions in Australia's election

Published on: Sun, 25/11/2007 - 12:18

Introduction to Riki Lane's article

For Australia’s federal election on 24 November, the ACTU (Australian TUC) is for the first time ever producing its own “how-to-vote” cards, suggesting a Green vote for the Senate.
Click here for Riki Lane's article

The election is by Alternative Vote for the House of Representatives and STV for the senate (the only house where the Greens are represented or likely to gain representation)

Left Labor-affilated unions like the CFMEU are bolder, making donations to the Greens and the activist-left Socialist Alliance as well as to Labor. The ETU in Melbourne has a giant “vote Green” banner outside

Glasgow Careworkers Strike

Published on: Thu, 22/11/2007 - 13:20

At the time of writing, 270 day-centre workers employed by Glasgow City Council are beginning their sixth week of all-out indefinite strike action.

The workers, members of Unison, work in twelve centres across Glasgow, providing support and care to people with varying degrees of physical and learning disabilities, as well as providing assistance to their families and carers. It is a difficult job and carries a high degree of responsibility.

Like the strike by the social care workers during the summer, this strike has been triggered by the Council’s Pay and Benefits Review. In theory, by

Rail: Cleaners’ strike due in New Year

Published on: Thu, 22/11/2007 - 13:19

The RMT’s campaign to organise cleaners on the underground is gaining strength, and more and more, it is being directed by the cleaners themselves. Last month, the RMT cleaners elected a committee of cleaners who will run their organising campaign — a real step towards the cleaners taking control of their own organisation.

New cleaner reps have been trained, with a sound grasp of industrial issues, and how to fight cases. A successful cleaners’ recruitment week last month signed up station staff as well as cleaners. Their determination to go out and organise is setting an example that drivers

FBU pensions fight

Published on: Thu, 22/11/2007 - 13:18

In July 2007 three retired firefighters were told by the Fire Authority in London (LFEPA) that their pensions would stop. This arose because of changes to the rules of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme. The three were told that, because they were still capable of performing some duties, specifically, because they were still fit to do a desk job, they were not eligible to receive a pension.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has launched court action because they believe that it now be virtually impossible for any firefighter to take early retirement due to ill health in future.

Martin Marrion, one

“Lyrical terrorist” found guilty

Published on: Thu, 22/11/2007 - 13:16

Jack Staunton

A Heathrow shop assistant who wrote poems glorifying terrorism on WHSmith till roll and possessed “terrorist handbooks” has been convicted under the 2000 Terrorism Act.

Samina Malik was found guilty of collecting on her computer such titles as the Al Qa’eda manual, the Mujahideen poisons handbook and various firearms manuals deemed “useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”.

While the documents in her possession might have been “useful” to a terrorist, she committed no act of terrorism”, nor was she actually involved in jihadist organisations, nor did she have the means

SNP plays long game

Published on: Thu, 22/11/2007 - 13:15

According to SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, Scotland will be independent by 2017.

Salmond’s claim follows earlier SNP predictions which came and went but left the Union unscathed. The SNP’s best known prognostication was its slogan of the early 1990s: “Scotland Free by 93.” As the then Scottish Labour Party leader, Donald Dewar, commented in a rare moment of humour: “It’s a good slogan. It rhymes, and they can revive it every ten years.”

Salmond is certainly correct not to see independence as something lurking round the corner. Recent opinion polls have consistently shown

Keeping people scared

Published on: Thu, 22/11/2007 - 13:14

Ray Morris

The government wants to extend the time for which terrorism suspects can be detained without charge from 28 to 56 days. A final vote in Parliament on this is expected by the beginning of December.

Gordon Brown refuses to say for what exact period he thinks the police should be able to hold people, but insists that whatever that period is, it is absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile, counter-terrorism officials at the Home Office are proposing to combat terrorism by changing the language of their press releases. “We haven’t got the message right”, one said a couple of days ago; young Muslims will

Help French workers beat their Thatcher!

Published on: Thu, 22/11/2007 - 13:12

Kate Pallas

Tens of thousands of striking public sector workers, railway workers and students took to the streets on 20 November to protest against Sarkozy’s attacks on their pensions, education, and health service.

The beginning of the public sector fightback coincides with the seventh day of the transport workers’ national strike and the continued strikes and occupations at thirty seven French universities.

Across France many hundreds of thousands mobilised to declare that their livelihoods, their right to organise as workers and their right to a non-privatised university education would not be

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