Solidarity 240, 28 March 2012

Help the AWL raise £20,000

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 17:05

The six Tory donors whom David Cameron hosted at Downing Street and Chequers donated £23 million to the Conservative Party, their party.

Their vast wealth is what secures them influence in society – not just through donations, dodgy or legit, but through the sheer power that the very possession of such wealth constitutes under capitalism.

Naturally, working-class organisations cannot hope for support from such rich individuals. Our movement has been built collectively out of millions of subscriptions and membership fees from millions of workers, poor or slightly better than poor.

That is true

Force Cameron out of office!

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 13:23

On Monday afternoon, 26 March, David Cameron’s office said that they could not say who had come to private dinners with Cameron, as prime minister, because the office kept lists only of guests at official dinners paid for by the Government.

Within half an hour they had been forced to “find” the list they evidently had of guests at “meals for donors... paid for by the Conservative Party”.

Cameron is still saying that Tory Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas was freelancing when he told undercover journalists that he could get them Cameron’s ear, and an invitation to dinner, for £250,000, but it is

General strikes in Spain and Portugal

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 13:21

Spain’s two main union confederations, UGT and CCOO, called a one-day general strike on 29 March over issues similar to those sparking the strike wave in Italy.

In a country with 23% unemployment, the new conservative government wants to change the law to make it easier for employers to sack workers.

The executives of UGT and CCOO met jointly, for the first time in history, on 9 March, to decide to call the strike.

The government’s proposals weaken collective bargaining by giving precedence to company-level agreements; allow employers to unilaterally reduce wages or change working hours and

Strike wave sweeps Italy

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 13:17

Since the news on 20 March that the leadership of Italy’s largest union confederation, CGIL, had voted down acceptance of the proposed abolition by Mario Monti’s government of the job-security provision in Article 18 of the Labour Code, a wave of spontaneous strikes, occupations, mass assemblies and road blocks has burst forth across the whole country.

From Genoa to Palermo, from the largest workplaces to the smallest, thousands have voted with their feet to demonstrate and underline the increasingly uncontainable desperation, anger and frustration felt by the working class as the crisis bites

Deeside picket next in Bootle lock-out fight

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 13:12

Four of the 149 workers locked out of the Mayr Melnhof Packaging plant in Bootle near Liverpool have been sacked following sham disciplinary procedures.

A further 48 have been issued with redundancy notices, in addition to the initial 49 redundancy against which workers were taking official action when they were first locked out over a month ago.

The Bootle workers are now organising a flying “community picket” to visit the company’s plant in Deeside, Mobilising the solidarity of the Deeside workers could be crucial to the Bootle workers’ dispute.

The picket will take place from 11:30am-2pm on

Tories set out railway cuts plan

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 13:10

On 8 March, the Tories published “Reforming our Railways: Putting the Customer First”, a “command paper” with recommendations based on Sir Roy McNulty’s 2011 review and report into the railway industry.

It stated that the railway “remains unacceptably inefficient.”

As rail industry analyst and commentator Christian Wolmar says: “Given that Britain has experimented with the most radical change in structure of the railways of any country in Europe [where costs have gone down], is it not the case that [structure] … is the root of the problem?”

Attending a dinner for members of the Freight

War of attrition in Southampton

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 13:05

Local government unions at Southampton City Council have settled into a low-level war of attrition with council bosses after an impressive campaign of creative, rank-and-file-driven industrial action in 2011 failed to prevent the imposition of new contracts.

Members of Unite and Unison are still staging action short of a strike, which council bosses admit is costing them money. But, particularly since the focus shifted from the local battle onto the national pensions campaign (which now also stands on the brink of total collapse and defeat), unions seem to be investing their hopes in unseating

Cops to demand right to strike?

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 13:03

The Police Federation will ballot its 135,000 members on whether to demand the right to take official industrial action.

The move comes in response to what the Federation call “an unprecedented attack on policing” by the government.

When cops took part in a similar ballot in 2008, 87% of those voting demanded full industrial rights for police.

A legal right for the police to form real unions (rather than the staff association they currently have) and take strike action would be a step forward of sorts. It would create a greater potential for breaking working-class people who take jobs within

New sell-off threat for Royal Mail

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 12:57

Royal Mail could be sold off (entirely or in part) by 2013 if the government’s latest scheme goes ahead.

In what the Financial Times calls the “most ambitious privatisation scheme since rail”, the coalition plans either to float Royal Mail on the stock market or seek an industry or private equity buyer.

In a move that could be seen as an early warning of privatisation, communications regulator Ofcom is expected to ease regulations on Royal Mail pricing, and potentially introduce increases of 50% on second-class stamps and limitless increases on first-class.

A more expensive service will be

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