Solidarity 147, 12 March 2009

Solidarity 3/147

Published on: Thu, 12/03/2009 - 01:52

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Probation Service: Build support for a ballot

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:56

PROBATION SERVICE: Probation areas up and down the country are facing huge cuts in government funding. Redundancies are already on the cards in several areas along with attacks on terms and conditions.

In Yorkshire and Humberside, one of the worst affected regions, there are job cuts proposed in West Yorks, South Yorks, North Yorks and Humberside. Unison and napo. the trade unions that represent probation workers, have begun to organise against the cutbacks. Workers are angry that vast amounts of money have been squandered centrally on expensive privatisations, excessive use of private

Workers Climate Action speak at RMT

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:54

UNIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Workers’ Climate Action were invited to speak at the RMT young members’ conference on 1 March. Bob Sutton went to made the case that young rail and maritime workers are in a position to make a massive difference on the issue of ecological damage both as an industrially strong and organised section of the working class but also as having a grip on the future of what is one of the key questions in any programme of transition to a low carbon economy, that of transport.

The conference responded well, especially to the idea that action on environmental issues was not

Further Action at Staythorpe

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:50

Engineering construction: Workers demonstrated outside the Staythorpe power station construction site, in Nottinghamshire, again on Wednesday 11 March. But Unite union officials seem to be quietly encouraging a winding-down of the action.

Most of the workers currently on the site are Spanish workers, reportedly non-union and walled off from access by trade unionists, employed by two Spanish sub-contractors. The demonstrations are for labour for future phases of the contract to be hired locally under the national union agreement for engineering construction.

The numbers on the demonstrations —

Vote John Moloney for PCS Deputy General Secretary

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:49

The coming election for Deputy General Secretary of the civil service union PCS will be a choice between the old centre-right of the union and a candidate, AWL member John Moloney, backed by the Independent Left.

The PCS union “machine”, though on paper left wing — dominated by the Socialist Party — will be backing the centre-right candidate, Hugh Lanning.

Lanning was the right-wing candidate defeated by left-winger Mark Serwotka in PCS's 2000 general election campaign. Since then he has got the deputy general secretary job — he is running for re-election — and worked closely with the union

What “quantitative easing” means

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:47

Martin Thomas

The Bank of England’s move in early March to a new monetary tactic — “quantitative easing” — came alongside much economic-disaster news.

The banks “bailed out” so lavishly last year still need more bailing out. Lloyds TSB, which was supposed to be a “strong” bank capable of saving HBOS by buying it out with Government aid, turns out to be as much a basket case as any other.

In the USA, giants like Citigroup are in deep trouble, and conservative politicians talk about nationalisation.

World trade has shrunk very rapidly: the Financial Times reported on 8 March that “countries with trade data

For jobs, fight the bosses, not other workers!

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:43

An Appeal by Socialists and Trade Unionists

As the recession brings attacks on jobs, wages and conditions, we are determined to fight back, and to support our fellow workers who do so, for example in the recent engineering construction walkouts.

We demand:

• Jobs for all workers

• Work or full pay

• Pay to be levelled up to the best rates

• Direct recruitment of labour by the companies or by principal contractors, rather than the use of subcontractors, wherever possible

• Union agreements to be enforced without exemptions for contractors

• A register of unemployed union members which companies

Obama sets plans for Iraq pull-out

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:40

Rhodri Evans

On 27 February new US president Barack Obama announced his detailed plans for Iraq.

Small reductions in US troop levels have already started. After them the US military presence will remain large — 120,000-plus — until after the Iraqi elections scheduled for December 2009.

Then faster withdrawal is planned, and “combat” operations are due to end by 31 August 2010.

Obama envisages “35-50,000 US troops” remaining after that. The deal which the Iraqi government pushed the Bush administration into signing at the end of 2008 commits the USA to removing all its troops by the end of 2011, but Obama

World News in Brief

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:37


Thousands of workers have rallied in Tokyo demanding job security and wage rises.

Japan’s economy is in its worst condition for three decades, with several large firms announcing job losses. The rally, organised by the Japanese equivalent of the TUC, represents a markedly different approach to that taken by many union leaders in the UK (such as those of the GMB and USDAW) who have meekly accepted job losses and have reduced the union’s role to that of mitigating the impact of forced redundancies.

Banners on the Japanese rally included slogans such as “never let workers get fired”.


Act to reverse climate change now

Published on: Fri, 13/03/2009 - 08:34

Riki Lane

Riki Lane reports from Melbourne

“Black Saturday”, 7 February 2009, was Australia’s greatest fire disaster. Unstoppable fires at over 1200C, driven by winds of up to 100 km/h on a 46ºC day, wiped small communities off the map. At least 210 people died. 2000 houses were burned down, another 2000 made uninhabitable, 7000 people made homeless.

In the immediate aftermath, a tremendous outpouring of sympathy, donations and assistance overtook business-as- usual capitalism. Shops, vets, pharmacists etc. that luckily escaped the fires in the affected areas didn’t charge people for their goods and

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