Solidarity 152, 28 May 2009

Solidarity 3/152

Published on: Thu, 28/05/2009 - 02:58

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New wave of solidarity strikes

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Martin Thomas

New strikes over jobs and union agreements have broken out in engineering construction similar to those at the end of January and the start of February this year.

According to Contract Journal (19 May), the dispute started with 50 laggers walking out at the South Hook Liquified Natural Gas terminal in Milford Haven.

Utility Week reported (20 May) “around 200 workers... picketing the South Hook liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Milford Haven. They include some from the nearby Dragon LNG terminal.”

Walk-outs in solidarity were reported from:

• Laggers and thermal insulation engineers at

North Korea tests bomb

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Sacha Ismail

On 25 April, North Korea conducted its second nuclear test in three years. It followed this up by restarting its main nuclear reactor, threatening to attack South Korea if it joins US-led inspections of ships suspected of carrying nuclear weapons, and firing five short range missile tests to show its teeth.

The regime walked away from talks last month after the UN Security Council condemned its test-launch of a long-range ballistic missile. Now the Security Council is threatening to strengthen the economic sanctions already in place against North Korea.

North Korea says it no longer considers

Student action pushes back Uni bosses

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Katherine McMahon

Anti-cuts campaigns seem to cut deep. At Edinburgh University, details of £400,000 of cuts within the Division of European Languages and Cultures were leaked by a courageous member of staff to the Students’ Association. The reasons given were the “current climate” and the lack of profit made by the department.

It’s been startling just how fast our campaign has snowballed; from a hurried meeting of five people the day after the leak, to a meeting of 200 in four days, and from that meeting to a demonstration of 400 in another six. All the more remarkable, given the fact that it is the end of an

Union News in brief : Linamar, Tube, UCL, PCS

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Roundup of Union news in brief: Linamar, Tube, UCL, PCS

TUBE: Drivers on the London Underground's Victoria line struck on 20 May to reverse the unjust sacking of driver Carl Campbell, a sacking which had just been upheld, and demand new safety equipment on the line.

Further strikes action is planned, but m any activists are saying we should now go to a 48-hour strike, or even more. Some people worry that some ASLEF drivers will not join a 48-hour action. But ASLEF members should know as well as RMT members that if this strike is defeated, no Victoria line driver’s job is safe.


CWU debates response to jobs threat and privatisation

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Maria Exall

Maria Exall, a member of the Executive of the post and telecom union CWU, spoke to Solidarity about the union's conference coming up on 7-11 June.

In the telecom sector conference, the big issue is “Service Delivery Transformation” for BT Openreach engineers. BT is demanding:

• A new “foundation grade” which will put all new workers on £4000 lower wages.

• A change in attendance patterns so that workers lose premium pay for Saturdays.

• Working up to 9pm without any premium pay, and being obliged to work up to two hours extra on any shift if management requires it.

The telecom sector Executive

March? Good. But it’s only a start

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Daniel Randall

There were some definite positives to the 16 May “March for Jobs” organised by Unite in central Birmingham.

The turnout — up to 8,000 people, mostly rank-and-file workers — was bigger than many marchers were expecting. Unite seeming to have done a decent job of mobilising in workplaces. There were contingents from the Longbridge plant in Birmingham, as well as from steelworkers in Teesside, Visteon workers and Latin American cleaners from London. Other unions, most notably Unison, were also visibly present.

The very fact that the demonstration took place at all is encouraging. A contrast to

Jobs, deals and Europe

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Bob Sutton

Bob Sutton spoke to two Midlands carworkers about the jobs fight, the construction workers’ action, and the environmental issues in their industry.

Larry Gathrie (worker at Landrover’s Whitley development site)

We’re all waiting to see whether we're going to get the guarantees from the government for the £140 million from the European Investment Bank. Otherwise it’s very much hand to mouth at the moment.

We’ve just concluded talks with the company on cost-saving measures which aren’t very popular, but the aim of them was to stave off a thousand compulsory redundancies. The cost savings are

US bosses set trap for workers

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

The crisis in the US car industry is leading quickly to savage attacks on working class pay, conditions, jobs and pensions. When Chrysler went bankrupt recently its assests were sold to a new entity headed by Fiat. As part of the deal Chrysler workers were offered “control” over the company. But, as the following comments from US journal Labor Notes, show these auto workers are being taken for a ride.

The government said Chrysler workers should take deep cuts to fend off bankruptcy. But the company decided on bankruptcy anyway. GM and Ford workers are likely to be asked to match ratcheted down

Hands off the Iraqi teachers’ union

Published on: Fri, 29/05/2009 - 10:34

Ruth Cashman

By Ruth Cashman (Unison activist and participant in the March labour movement conference in Iraqi Kurdistan)

The Iraqi Teachers’ Union is facing a vicious attack from the Iraqi Government. The Iraqi government has demanded that the leadership of the union hand over the keys to its headquarters, along with membership and other records, to a state body.

The government has demanded the union holds a national election and that the current leadership are not allowed to stand for re-election. It is worth noting that the ITU has already held two national conferences since 2003, with a third emergency

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