Solidarity 219, 5 October 2011

Occupying Wall Street

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 13:12

A New York public sector worker and member of the US socialist group Solidarity reports on the round-the-clock protests at New York’s financial centre.

For the past week most of my coworkers and activist networks have been talking about “Occupy Wall St” (OWS) constantly. There’s definitely a buzz, and it extends beyond the “usual suspects” of New York’s progressive/left scene.

I went down to OWS on Thursday [29 September] (while the “grievances” were being debated) and again on Saturday [1 October], towards the end of the attempt to march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

With the arrests of more

Fight for useful work at BAE!

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 13:09

A retained fire service station in Brough, East Yorkshire, which is responsible for the fire safety of 26,000 people, could close as part of the consequences of huge job losses at the local BAE Systems aerospace plant.

The station is staffed by BAE workers trained as retained fire fighters. The Fire Brigades Union is demanding talks with BAE management to discuss the station’s future.

BAE, which was at one point Brough’s largest employer, is axing 75% of its workforce as part of nationwide job losses of 3,000. The Brough site manufactures the Hawk Jet, which is largely used as a training

Poverty pay in Cameron's Britain

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 13:03

Nearly 10% of care workers are paid illegally low wages, new research by academics at King’s College London has found.

Researchers estimate that up to 200,000 workers in that sector alone are paid below the minimum wage – a figure five times higher than official government estimates which claimed that less than 30,000 workers were paid below the statutory minimum.

Even the top minimum wage rate of £6.08 is not enough to live on.

The KCL study comes alongside news from food charity Fareshare that its donations had increased by over 5,000 a day since 2010.

The picture is a tragic but crystal

10,000 march in Glasgow

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 13:01

Around 10,000 people marched through torrential rain on the Scottish TUC anti-cuts demonstration held in Glasgow on Saturday 1 October.

How many would have turned up for the demonstration if it had not been for the weather is anybody’s guess — but probably as many as turned up for last October’s STUC anti-cuts demonstration in Edinburgh.

The continuous downpour also resulted in the concluding rally being restricted to just one speaker – Tony Benn, who spoke in his capacity as an “elder statesman”.

Speakers who had no chance to take to the platform included representatives of the Church of

Southampton council workers out again

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 12:57

Southampton local government workers will be back on strike from Thursday 6 October, marking the three-month point in their battle with council bosses over pay cuts.

Over 1,000 workers — members of Unison and Unite — will walk out, demanding the reversal of contractual changes made in July which have seen some workers suffer pay cuts of up to 15%. The strikers include Unison members working in social care, and Unite members across a range of council occupations.

The strike day will include a march and rally, as well as a mass meeting for workers to discuss and plan further action.


Lecturers begin action

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 12:54

Members of the lecturers’ union UCU in pre-1992 institutions will begin their industrial campaign against proposed changes to their pensions scheme, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), on Monday 10 October.

The campaign involves an escalating series of actions, beginning with a work-to-rule and moving to rolling strike action followed by an assessment boycott if there are no concessions from management.

That UCU has designed an escalating programme of action, intended to apply maximum pressure to bosses, rather than calling a single day, or isolated single days, of protest strikes

Tube pay vote

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 12:52

All four trade unions on London Underground — ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite - are recommending their members accept the company's latest pay and conditions offer: 5% (i.e. RPI minus 0.5%) this year, followed by RPI+0.5% (minimum 2%) for the next three years.

A meeting on 4 October of workplace representatives of the largest union, RMT, voted that the union should hold a referendum recommending acceptance.

Workers’ Liberty members in the meeting argued and voted against recommending acceptance, pointing out that signing up to a four-year deal means setting aside important demands (such as shorter

Organising for 30 November

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 12:49

Trade unionists in Cambridgeshire have taken the first steps in coordinating the strike action taking place on 30 November by establishing a county-wide cross-union strike committee.

The committee involves activists from unions taking action and both the Cambridge and District and Huntingdon Trades Councils.

The initiative came from a joint motion from Unison Cambridgeshire County Branch, the county’s largest trade union, and the PCS Customs and Revenue Branch, which was debated at a recent Trades Council meeting.

Steve Sweeney of Huntingdon and St. Neots Trades Union Council spoke to Solid

Trotsky and permanent revolution

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2011 - 12:45

Permanent revolution was one of Leon Trotsky’s outstanding contributions to Marxism. In many respects, to be a Trotskyist is to accept the basics tenets of permanent revolution.

In Russia in 1905 and again in 1917, Trotsky found the empirical grounds for uneven and combined development, which enabled him to grasp the dynamics of the Russian revolution and therefore to draw out the full political conclusions from the analysis.

Trotsky’s key arguments were that the Russian proletariat would be hegemonic due to its strategic position and class conscious Marxist leadership. The working class

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