Solidarity 128, 6 March 2008

Tories want to break Tube workers’ power

Author

Jack Staunton

Tory candidate for mayor of London Boris Johnson unveiled his transport policy on March 3, including a promise to obtain a no-strike agreement on London Underground as well as the capital’s train services. This policy, echoing an earlier UK Independence Party manifesto pledge, further demonstrates the utterly reactionary agenda of the ex-public schoolboy Henley MP, who appears to have a serious chance of winning the election against Ken Livingstone.

Vote Lindsey German no. 1

“Red” Ken Livingstone’s campaign for re-election is being supported with a high profile statement signed by... trade union militants? left activists? anti-cuts campaigners? No, instead we have a statement of the great and good, launched by that oh so radical organisation Compass.

A profitable way to “happiness”

Author

Mike Fenwick

The recent survey of all the existing evidence for the effectiveness of the anti-depressants of the type made famous by Prozac has demonstrated how easily drug companies can get away with cherry picking studies that highlight the effectiveness of their drugs whilst hiding any negative results.

The survey revealed that none of these drugs had an effect better than a placebo in any but the most depressed patients.

Fighting low and unequal pay

On the 29 February members of the PCS union in the Department for Transport (DfT) took strike action over low and unequal pay, jobs and privatisation.

The strike had a great impact:

• Picket lines were in operation across Britain;

• MPs joined the pickets in Stockton, Northampton and in London;

• At the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) the support was very strong, with the huge main office in Swansea making top billing on BBC Wales at lunchtime. Local activists believe that it was the best supported action held in Swansea for years;

Rent rises in Lambeth!

Author

Heenal Rajani and Dan Jeffreys

Lambeth council wants to increase council tenants’ rents by 6.5%. This is far higher than the increases in other boroughs and equates to around £250 a year extra for the average property.

How does this council expect tenants to afford this, when food and energy prices are also rising? The increase is far more than the increases in pay, benefits and pensions that most Lambeth tenants will receive.

Oppose the witch-hunt

A statement from “Defend the Five” Campaign —
This campaign has been launched because of the attack by Unison’s leadership on four London branches and five officers of these branches.
The attack began at the June 2007 Local Government and National Delegate conferences when these branches sought to challenge why our conferences are constantly denied the right to debate issues because some see them as too controversial.<1--brak-->

A campaigning union

Solidarity spoke to Steve Hedley, the newly elected Secretary of the RMT union’s London Transport Regional Council. The union is currently gearing up for a number of important fights.

Single status: time to level up

Author

Frank Mitchell

Recently there have been a number of strikes and protests in local government in response to settlements of Single Status Agreements.

The most significant was a one-day strike in Birmingham which has brought the local authority back to the negotiating table. The industrial action is now officially suspended as talks progress. Three days of strike action in Argyll and Bute also led to new negotiations and a commitment to a collective agreement rather than the imposition without formal consultation of a deal.

From charity to capitalist contractor?

On Wednesday 5 March 450 members of Unite union who work at Shelter struck for the first time in the housing charity’s 41 year history. A Shelter worker explains the background.

Since his arrival in 2003, Shelter’s headhoncho has seen his salary increase from “between £50-60,000” to “between “£90-100,000”. He is paid more than the top boss at Oxfam, despite Shelter having a massively lower turnover than the NGO.

Knowing your place

Author

Pat Yarker

Contradictions inherent in New Labour’s policy of increased diversity and “choice” in school-provision have surfaced again over admissions to state secondary schools.

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