Solidarity 131, 24 April 2008

Solidarity 3/131

Published on: Thu, 24/04/2008 - 00:25

Solidarity 3/131 denounces New Labour's tax rise for five million low paid workers. It calls for a united trade-union fight for a "floor" for wage settlements to guarantee that low-paid workers keep up with inflation, now over 15% for food and high for other basic items. It reports on South African dockers' tremendous solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, and surveys experiences of organising young workers in New Zealand and Australia. And much more: download pdf.

Immigrants aren’t criminals!

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 09:49
Author

Janine Booth

This week, a police report showed that immigrants are, in fact, not the bunch of criminals that some right-wing rags and ignorant bigots would have you believe. It seems that even in the few crimes where a disproportionate number of perpetrators are foreign, the same disproportion of victims are also foreign.

It’s bad news for the BNP, but hey, the truth sometimes hurts. Bad news for the Daily Mail too, but here’s betting it won’t stop them reporting immigrant crime as though it is some sort of rampaging foreign disease threatening to overwhelm us Brits.

I’m old enough to remember that until

Oil refinery strike for pensions

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 09:32
Author

Dale Street

At the time of going to press, 1,200 members of Amicus/Unite employed at Grangemouth oil refinery are due to begin 48 hours of strike action at 6.00am on Sunday 27 April – the first strike in a British oil refinery since 1935.

The strike could result in fuel supplies in Scotland, the North of England, and Northern Ireland drying up within a matter of days, and also lead to a shutdown of production in the North Sea oilfield.

(Although the strike is only due to last 48 hours, running down, and then resuming, production at the refinery is a lengthy process. Fuel shortages could last for as long

Restaurant bosses and workers demonstrate

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 09:30
Author

Ed Maltby

On Sunday 20 Apr, the Bangladeshi Caterer’s Association (BCA) mobilised thousands for a demonstration in Trafalgar Square, calling for an end to raids on restaurants by the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) and the regularisation of undocumented staff. The demonstration originated with restaurant workers and owners in China Town and spread to involving bosses and workers from other restaurants.

The demonstration reflected the politics of a cartel of small bosses. There were large numbers of restaurant workers in attendance, many of them surely chivvied along by their bosses (bosses

Deportation protester banned from flying

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 09:29
Author

Robin Sivapalan

On 27 March, Augustine, a Biafran independence activist was deported to Nigeria, where his brother has been killed and his wife and children are missing. He is still laid up with the injuries he sustained by the five thugs who twisted his neck and kicked and punched him to the ground while handcuffed. Unable to afford medical care, we fear for his life.

Three anti-deportation activists leafleted and spoke to passengers to ask them to intervene should they hear Augustine struggling get off the flight. One man whose family was on the flight joined us.

On hearing his cries, people responded.

Probation service

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 09:25

The Probation Service is proposing to remove the automatic annual increments awarded to most workers. It is the first public-service sector to come out with this proposal. If it is successful, other public service bosses are bound to follow the example.

The two unions involved, NAPO (National Association of Probation Officers) and Unison (which organises most of the admin staff), have already lodged a dispute against this move and have an indicative ballot for action starting on 1 May.

Their strategy is to move toward strike action to bring the employers back to negotiations. At the same time

Unison elections

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 09:24

Members of the public service union Unison should have already received ballot papers for the Service Group Executive (SGE) elections being held now.

The activist left is standing on a platform of fighting the pay cuts now rather than at some date in the future. A vote for the left might make all the difference to how much money is in members’ pockets during the next three years!

For once, there is a decent degree of left unity in these elections. There is only one definite clash, in the London local government general seat. Glenn Kelly of the Socialist Party is standing against United Left

Health workers organise for “no” vote on pay deal

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 09:20

Following the health conference of the public services union Unison in mid April, members have received ballot papers inviting them to accept or reject the Government’s proposed three year pay deal.

However, this is not just a rerun of last year, The conference agreed that union branches can produce their own publicity to explain the reality of the deal — pay cut after pay cut after pay cut!

Last year a campaign in the branches for a no vote had to be suspended after activists were threatened with disciplinary action. (Even then, a third of members voted to reject the deal despite the very

Local government union proposes strike

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 09:19

In sharp contrast to the health sector, members of the public sector union Unison in local government are being given a clear direction to reject their current pay offer and prepare for strike action.

The Unison local government Executive is calling for members to support “sustained and escalating strike action, starting with a two-day strike and escalating to more than two consecutive days of action, to get the employers back to the negotiating table.”

The results of the current branch based consultation will be reported back to the next executive meeting on 12 May. Branches are being

Feminists plan action for reproductive rights

Published on: Fri, 25/04/2008 - 08:12
Author

Laurie Penny

On 12 April — a very wet Saturday morning — forty feminists from around the country gathered at the London School of Economics for a teach-in on the threats to reproductive rights in the UK and internationally. The event was organised by Feminist Fightback, with a balance of in-depth discussion and practical planning for action. Dr Anna David, who led the talks on “Motherhood and Imperialism”, said, "I'm really delighted to see this sort of initiative, linking history to modern-day activism. People say that young women just aren't interested – it's fantastic to see that it's not true."

The

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