Solidarity 221, 19 October 2011

Euro crisis needs Euro-wide workers' answer

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 12:41

On Sunday 23 October European Union leaders hold a summit conference where they will try again to patch up the eurozone economic crisis.

Patching up — at the expense of working people across Europe — is about the best they can hope for. The whole laboriously-constructed edifice of the eurozone is in danger of disintegration.

The threatened collapse of big banks in 2008, averted by big government interventions, has worked its way through into a crisis of European states’ debts.

Greece’s government has now long fallen off the wheel of borrowing, repaying, and even more borrowing on which all

Dale Farm eviction imminent

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 12:38

Travellers at the largest “illegal” encampment in Europe lost their last battle in the courts on 17 October and now face eviction.

On Tuesday 18th (as we go to press) Basildon Council confirmed that the eviction will begin on the 19th. Families must now rely on mobilising as many as possible and direct action if they are to resist the bailiffs.

The council is evicting 83 families from 49 plots on the site because they are in breach of planning law. The former scrapyard they own and live on does not have permission for residential use.

This is despite one half of the site, which the council

Rank-and-file magazine relaunched

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 12:35

Trade Union Solidarity magazine has been relaunched as an activist resource for rank-and-file trade unionists.

The first issue features a survey on bus workers’ struggles, an article on the public sector pensions fight and interviews with activists from various sectors and industries. AWL member Jean Lane is interviewed about being a Unison rep in Tower Hamlets, and hip-hop artist The Ruby Kid (also AWL) is the subject of a cultural feature.

The magazine’s pitch is deliberately non-”political”; its interviews are more like worker testimonies than attempts to critically engage with “bigger”

Unite ballot in construction

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 12:34

There is (hopefully) a major development in our dispute.

Word is that Bernard McAulay [Unite national officer for the construction sector] is going to announce the balloting of Balfour Beatty Engineering Services [BBES] sites on Thursday [20 October] at the Unite officers’ meeting in Leeds. Possibly three or maybe give BBES sites will be balloted; we are not sure which ones.

Although this would be a very good development, the rank-and-file must not take our eye of the ball or let up in any way.

Rumour has it that Unite could ask us to suspend the demonstrations during the ballot, but this

Tube: vote to reject pay deal!

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 12:30

RMT members working for London Underground will vote on a pay deal for 2011-15, in a referendum closing on 27 October.

The RMT, along with the three other unions organising LU workers (ASLEF, TSSA and Unite), is recommending acceptance.

The deal on offer is for four years, meaning that Tube workers would not be able to fight again on the issue of pay — one of the only issues that consistently unites all grades of workers — until 2015. This would be a significant hindrance in a period when LU management plans to extend the job cuts programme that saw them axe 800 stations posts in early 2011,

Higher Education workers' ballot over

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 12:26

Unite’s National Education Industry Committee meets on Thursday 20 October to set a timetable for balloting its members in the Higher Education sector for strike action in a dispute about pay.

The union, which (along with Unison and GMB) organises non-academic staff in HE, has rejected a management pay offer of a £150 lump-sum for all staff (an average 0.5% increase), which it describes as “derisory”. Taken together with the previous two years’ below-inflation pay deals this would amount to an 11% real-terms pay cut for HE workers since 2008.

Action from GMB and Unison, which also oppose the

RMT members to join 30 November

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 12:25

Over a thousand members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union who are part of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme or the Local Government Pension Scheme will be balloted to join the mass public sector strike action on 30 November.

The workers are employed by Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Orkney Ferries and Nexus and DB Regio (who operate the Tyne and Wear Metro), and the RMT’s ballot brings the total of unions and professional associations potentially taking action on 30 November (including all those who hold live mandates, have begun balloting or expressed an intention to ballot) to

Their globalisation and ours

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 12:21

By Martin Thomas

In many ways capital has been global since the 16th century. Four developments are relatively new since the 1980s.

The first is that we have a world made up almost entirely of capitalist states integrated into the world market. In the whole of the previous history of capitalism there have been many countries which have been dominated by pre-capitalist ruling classes and pre-capitalist modes of production, and tied into the capitalist world market in very limited and specialised ways. For much of the 20th century there was the Stalinist bloc. But now, in almost all countries,

Tories move to criminalise squatting

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2011 - 11:54

In June this year the Communities and Local Government Department reported that 44,160 households were accepted as homeless last year — a rise of 10% on the previous year. In the meantime the Empty Homes Agency estimates that between 500,000 and 725,000 buildings are empty in the UK, enough to house around 1.8 million people.

Rather creating secure, good quality and affordable housing, the government is criminalising squatting. A government consultation has outlined plans that “could make squatting a criminal offence for the first time and abolish so-called ‘squatters’ rights’ which currently

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