Solidarity 205, 25 May 2011

Tahrir Square comes to Spain

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:47

"This is a protest they will never understand" said one youth, as he, along with around 2,000 other young people, camped out in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, defying a ban on demonstrations in the days before municipal and regional elections on Sunday 22 May.

Bourgeois democracy in Spain is less brittle than the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, and can "deal with" movements such as these youth demonstrations even if it can’t understand them. But the inspiration from Tahrir Square is obvious.

The Establishment sees free-market capitalism as sitting at the end of a visible thread running

Tube: rank-and-file must be in driving seat

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:44

Tube drivers could now strike alongside other public sector workers on 30 June as part of the ongoing dispute to win the reinstatement of victimised union activist Arywn Thomas.

The participation of Tube workers in a day of mass strike action would be positive, but the decision (which, as we go to press, is not formal; the RMT union has not yet named any official dates) represents a step back from what had been won in the dispute so far: the the union Exec would be guided by the rank-and-file Train Grades Committee. The TGC had voted on 20 May to advocate 48 hours of strike action, spread

Heathrow Express

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:38

RMT members working for Heathrow Express will begin a 48-hour strike on Friday 28 May as they seek an improved pay offer from management.

Union leader Bob Crow has described the company’s current pay deal as “loaded with strings” In its current form it would effectively punish workers for being sick or missing work for other legitimate reasons. Although it offers a pay increase, this is contingent on workers meeting attendance criteria.

Demonstrating the union’s readiness to fight this battle seriously, the RMT has also named a further 24-hour strike on 24 June and plans more action in July.

London Met

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:33

Max Watson, chair of London Metropolitan University Unison, told Solidarity about the union’s campaign against course closures.

Our ballot for industrial action starts tomorrow, 25 May, and closes on 10 June.

We’re calling for a yes both for strike action, and for action short of a strike, so we can impose a work-to-rule. We don’t believe this fight will be won through one day of strike action; it will take a long campaign. We have an organising strategy which involves mobilising and involving all our members in the action, as well as recruiting new ones.

The student union has passed a motion

CWU conference

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:30

This year’s CWU Conference comes as the pressure in both the postal and telecoms sectors is set to increase.

In the Postal sector the threats from Royal Mail to close more mail centres has been met by postive ballots for strike action in the areas affected. The key question is whether those members affected will be left to fight alone or whether the Union will call a national ballot.

A motion from the Postal Executive giving them the authority to take national industrial action has been passed. Meanwhile, officers are in talks to see whether a deal can be done on the redeployment of staff

PCS needs a strategy to win

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:28

PCS conference has agreed that members will be balloted over jobs, pensions, redundancy payouts and pay. This ballot begins immediately, the union hoping that if members vote yes, then it will take joint strike action with the NUT on 30 June.

The bulk of delegates at conference agreed that the ballot should begin straightaway even though in many areas this will mean mobilising members from a standing start but the prospect of co-coordinating action with NUT is too important to miss.

After 30 June — already being dubbed the glorious 30th — we move from the realm of plans to hopes.

PCS are

But are super-injunctions a good thing?

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:12

Readers respond to Pat Murphy’s article Why super-injunctions are good (Solidarity 3-204).

Like Pat, I have no love of the tabloid press, and I have no doubt that they oppose super-injunctions for reasons of making money rather than free enquiry; but just because the Sun opposes something, it doesn’t make it right.

A disdain for the reporting of celebrity gossip is healthy, but in large part these super-injunctions are not to stop idle gossip but to hide pretty uncomfortable facts.

The current super-injunctions are mere playthings of the rich and famous. For most ordinary people the popular

We should work in mass organisations

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:04

Stuart Jordan responds to North London Solidarity Federation (SolFed) in our continuing debate on the differences and similarities between Marxist and anarchist traditions.

SolFed’s contribution to our debate on anarchism and class struggle (Solidarity 3-204) makes good use of the “straw man” technique of debate. This is arguably a bigger block on healthy debate in the anti-capitalist movement than the “inhibitions” caused by a “hierarchical structure”... whatever that means. Before we can explore the interesting points of difference, it is necessary to clear away some of the straw.

We are not

Preparing for 30 June

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 11:53

In some areas, notably Nottingham, union activists are preparing for the probable strike against pension cuts on 30 June in one way.

They are organising a joint strike committee of the unions likely to take part — NUT (teachers), ATL (teachers), PCS (civil service), and UCU (lecturers). They are inviting representatives of other unions whose members face the public-sector pension cuts, and job cuts, like Unison, GMB, and Unite, and people from anti-cuts campaigns, to come along too.

For 30 June itself they plan a proper strikers’ meeting, where strikers can debate and put proposals on the next

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