Solidarity 210, 29 June 2011

48 hour general strike in Greece

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 13:23

Greece’s two union confederations, Gsee and Adedy, have called another general strike on 28 and 29 June, this time for 48 hours.

It is to apply pressure on the parliamentary vote on the Pasok government’s new plan for cuts and privatisation, imposed in order to get new IMF, EU, and European Central Bank credit.

Buses, air traffic, docks, power stations, etc. will be all be strikebound. Hospitals and health centres will operate emergency cover only.

Greece’s small-business federation is also backing the site.

The Indignant Citizens’ movement which has demonstrated in Syntagma Square since 25

Black men not safe in custody

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 13:21

Demetre Fraser, 21, from Peckham, south London, has died in suspicious circumstances after a visit from the West Midlands police.

Staying in Birmingham as part of his bail conditions following an assault charge by his girlfriend (later withdrawn), Fraser was visited by police on 31 May, apparently for a routine check of his electronic tag. He died the same day after a fall from the 11th floor of the building where he was staying; the police insist the death was suicide, but neighbours report hearing a huge commotion and seeing evidence of a struggle.

Fraser is the third black man, after Smiley

FE staff fight cuts

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 13:14

Further education (FE) lecturers are bracing themselves for a round of cuts taking effect in the autumn. Some colleges are already in dispute with management.

Further cuts will be inevitable when the change in eligibility to free courses for those on benefits comes through. At the moment there is free provision for individuals on benefits. Next year this will only apply to those on job-seekers’ allowance and who are actively seeking work. Those on inactive benefits (Income Support) will no longer be eligible for free provision and will have to pay fees which are 50% of their programme.

This

Victory on the Tube: Arwyn Thomas reinstated

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 13:06

Arwyn Thomas, an RMT (rail union) rep unfairly dismissed by London Underground management, was reinstated on 22 June to LU employment on drivers’ pay.

Although he still faces downgrading and a sixth-month suspension (during which time he will be employed by the RMT as an organiser), his reinstatement is an enormous victory for Tube workers against a management which seemed, until recently, intransigent.

Arwyn is one of three prominent RMT reps sacked during the course of the 2010/2011 job cuts dispute (the others are Peter Hartshorn and Eamonn Lynch). Arwyn’s reinstatement makes the scoreline

30 June round-up

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 13:03

Public sector pensions strikers will be joined on June 30 by workers taking action in a number of local disputes.

In south London, journalists continue to strike over job losses at Newsquest. 33 workers took to the picket line in Sutton on 27 June, the second strike in a month.

Teachers’ unions NUT and ATL will be striking at Strode’s College in Egham. Students from Royal Holloway will be going to the pickets, and students in the college will be walking out of classes. Then in the afternoon, hundreds of strikers from across Surrey, including representatives from Save Our Services in Surrey,

Unison: tough talk, but...

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 13:01

As the sovereign decision making body of over one million public sector workers, Unison’s National Delegate Conference 2011 (21-24 June) should have been one of the most significant labour movement events in recent years.

As the government tries to impose the biggest assault on working-class pension provision in the history of British capitalism, this conference was an opportunity to get our union geared up for action.

By his tough talk in the run-up to conference, Prentis repositioned himself as the leader of the awkward squad of union leaders, despite the fact that he has refused to call

British Airways: uneasy truce in fight that deserved more

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 12:56

British Airways cabin crew workers have voted overwhelmingly, by 92% on a 72% turnout, to accept a deal from management that restores an uneasy peace and ends a dispute which has seen nearly a month’s worth of strike action since 2009.

The deal represents some very real concessions from management which should not be dismissed or downplayed. It includes the complete restoration of staff travel allowances (a contractual “perk” without which many workers, deliberately recruited by BA from abroad because of their language skills, could not afford to actually get to work) which Willie Walsh

Southampton workers press onwards

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 12:52

Southampton council workers’ strike movement continues after talks with ACAS broke down in late June.

Tuesday 28 June will see street cleaners, parking staff, refuse collectors, librarians and others take renewed strike action in a dispute that involves over 2,000 workers — members of Unison and Unite.

Over 4,000 workers face redundancy on 11 July if they refuse to sign up to the Tory council’s new terms, which will means significant pay cuts of between two and five percent, as well as other attacks. The tactic of imposing new conditions by threatening, or actually carrying out, mass

F is for factions

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2011 - 12:47

The ins-and-outs of revolutionary organisation may seem like a “side issue” when set against some of the bigger, weightier-sounding concepts. That there is such a lot of confusion surrounding the question of how socialists can and should organise is a symptom of wider political misunderstandings.

The words “faction” and “factionalism” are particularly loaded. Only recently the Socialist Workers Party — the largest revolutionary group in Britain — suffered not one but two splits. Both times, “factions” and “factionalism” were thrown about as insults against those who split. But not every

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