Solidarity 217, 21 September 2011

Organise for 30 November

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 13:09

The declaration by the Trades Union Congress that Wednesday 30 November will be the next “day of action” in the campaign against government pension cuts is enormously positive and must now be a key focus for organising.

Like the June 30 strike, action in November will demonstrate to a generation of working-class people unused to seeing their class move as a visible social force that workers have real power to act in our own interests.

It is also positive and important that senior union officials are talking up the need for sustained action. On 20 July, Unite regional organiser Ian Woodland,

Barnardo's collude in jailing migrant children

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 13:03

What is Pre-Departure Accommodation? It’s a detention centre. The 2.5m palisade fence with electronic gates surrounding the site and the 24-hour security leaves you in no doubt that this is a prison. A prison for migrants.

Cesar’s detention centre gives lie to the Government’s claim that children won’t be detained. It’s run by G4S and Barnardos and opened this month.

Who benefits from the centre? The landowner who rents the land to the UKBA. G4S, the security firm responsible for the death of Jimmy Mubenga, whose chief executive, Nick Buckles, is paid almost £5,000 a day. And Barnado’s,

Dale Farm: keep up the solidarity!

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 12:58

The families facing eviction at the Dale Farm travellers’ site near Basildon in Essex have been granted a legal injunction (until Friday 22 September) preventing the council from entering the site to clear away caravans and the built structures — the homes of over 50 families.

This is the latest, and most critical stage, in a ten year battle between the travellers (who own the land) and the council who refused permission to the residents to develop the land.

Basildon say that without planning permission the travellers are breaking the law and therefore must go. They have set their face against

Plymouth UNISON wins re-recognition

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 12:55

Public sector workers’ union Unison has won re-recognition at Plymouth City Council after bosses unilaterally broke off relations with the union following its refusal to sign a new agreement on staff pay and conditions.

After the union’s legal team advised them that accepting the new terms could have implications relating to equal pay legislation, because of the way in which lower-paid workers (who are more likely to be women) were most adversely affected, Unison withdrew from the agreement and found themselves promptly frozen out of further negotiations and thrown out of their branch offices.

Southampton strikes back on

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 12:53

Social care workers at Southampton council voted on Wednesday 14 September to take further strike action on Thursday 6 October as workers’ war against the Tory council’s pay cuts approaches its fifth month.

Other groups of workers will meet to discuss joining October’s strike.

Since June, workers across council departments have been involved in a bitter conflict with the city’s council as it seeks to impose across-the-board pay cuts of between two and 5.5%. The workers’ unions, Unite and Unison, have run a creative and ambitious dispute, employing strategic tactics designed to maximise impact

Doncaster, Birmingham and Shropshire council workers to strike

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 12:43

Workers at Doncaster, Birmingham and Shropshire councils will strike on 22 and 23 September as local government bosses seek to impose further cuts.

Doncaster Unison secretary Jim Board said the council wanted a “bloodbath”. “The average mid-grade worker would lose £3,000 — while being expected to work for longer”, Board said. “People would have to strike for a month for it to cost them anything like that.”

The council’s plans also include 1,000 job losses. With strikes called at extremely short notice, just a day after the council’s announcement of its latest round of cuts, stewards and

Pace quickens in construction fight

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 12:41

Five of the eight construction contractors threatening to withdraw from the union-negotiated agreement governing workers’ pay and conditions have issued the Unite union with legal notice of their intention to introduce new contracts from 7 December.

The move by the contractors, who include industry giant Balfour Beatty, represents a significant raising of the stakes in what could become a labour war in the construction industry. Previously, the contractors had intimated that they would wait until March 2012 before withdrawing from collective agreements. Workers have upped the pace of their

Intransigence and betrayal in the General Strike

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 12:38

Tim Thomas continues a series of articles on the British Film Institute’s Ken Loach retrospective with a review of Days of Hope, his TV series looking at class struggle in early 20th century Britain.

Jim Allen, author of the reprehensible play Perdition, wrote the script for this 4-part TV production. Allen’s themes, intensely focused on the class struggle, are about intransigence and betrayal in real historical circumstances — here, the history of working-class organisation from the First World War to the General Strike.

Ben, played by Paul Copley, decides to join up with his mates though he

Students: resist state clampdown

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2011 - 12:23

Three supporters of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) were arrested on 19 September following a banner-drop at the Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham.

In a move plainly intended to intimidate anti-cuts protesters, the three were charged with a minor road traffic offense (causing danger to road traffic users — although the prosecution admitted that no damage or injury resulted from the three’s actions).

Two were bailed, on condition that they stay away central Birmingham until their trial; and a third has been remanded in custody until 26 September, when a second

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