Solidarity 243, 25 April 2012

Immigrants attacked in run-up to Greek election

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 10:18

Citizen Protection minister Michalis Chrisochoidis, a member of Pasok (rough equivalent of the Labour Party), is leading an anti-refugee drive in the run-up to Greece’s parliamentary election on 6 May.

The last act of the Papademos coalition government was to pass legislation for the construction of 31 concentration camps (in former military facilities) for illegal immigrants, identified in the election campaign as threat number 1.

Health minister Andreas Loverdos, also Pasok, says that illegal immigrants should be put in separate units in the hospitals and kept in isolation because they pose

Tube Lines strike for equality

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 10:13

Tube Lines workers, who do maintenance on London Underground lines, are striking on 24-27 April.

Their demand for pensions equality has a more “offensive” character than other disputes on the Tube (or indeed in other industries or sectors).

Workers are striking to win a positive demand (pensions equality and parity of travel privileges for Tube Lines workers, to bring them in line with other Transport for London employees) rather than taking token action to express displeasure at some imminent or already-passed action of the bosses. And they are taking 72 hours of strike action, rather than

BBC strike could hit Jubilee coverage

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 10:11

Trade unions organising at the BBC have announced they will ballot members for strike action to win a pay increase in line with inflation.

A joint statement from the National Union of Journalists, Unite and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) on Thursday 19 April described BBC bosses’ current pay offer — a 1% increase — as “derisory”.

Unions also criticised the BBC management decision to write to workers individually announcing an intention to introduce the pay rise two months earlier than first planned. Unions believe this is a deliberate ploy to bribe

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 10:08

550 workers could lose their jobs as British Gas plans to close its Southampton centre.

The company says it needs to “reduce costs” and than an increase in online custom means fewer call-centre workers are needed.

Rather than committing to oppose the plans, the trade union Unison – which organises some British Gas workers – has said only that it will “examine the company’s business case” for the closures, “with a view to avoiding compulsory redundancies”, and has lamely pointed out that workers “will need significant assistance from the company given the dire state of the economy if this plan

Make 10 May strike real. Make it big!

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 10:03

The precise extent of the public sector pensions strike on 10 May remains unclear, as some unions are pushing the day as a mere “day of action”, while others emphasise walkouts and pickets.

Unite promises “rallies and demos” as well as “pickets” by its members in NHS, while the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) promises a strike. According to a report to the Unison Executive by Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, at the TUC Public Services Liaison Group National Union of Teachers officials said NUT members would not be taking action on 10 May, and Unite officials were unclear on

Pressure for strikes mounts in tanker drivers' battle

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 10:00

A conference of oil tanker driver trade union reps has overwhelmingly voted to reject the deal offered by fuel haulage bosses in an attempt to avert a potential strike over safety and minimum standards.

Although the drivers’ union, Unite, resumed talks at conciliation service ACAS, the decision piled pressure on the union to name strike days, something it had been reluctant to do since drivers voted for action. In a nervy anticipation of a legal challenge, it has even begun re-balloting drivers at one company (Hoyer), meaning those workers cannot take part in any strike action until their

East London school workers strike against cuts

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 09:57

Teachers and support staff at Central Foundation Girls School in East London will strike on Wednesday 25 April as part of a battle to resist redundancies and pay cuts.

The school’s management announced a restructure in January 2012 that involves job losses and pay cuts of up to 10% for some support staff, and an increase in teachers’ workload. Current National Union of Teachers policy recommends an 80-20 balance between contact time and non-contact time, but CFGS management wants to reduce the time teachers have to do marking and admin work. The pay cuts for support staff will have a knock-on

The tragedy of Spanish Trotskyism

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 09:54

Liam McNulty concludes his article on the Trotskyists in the Spanish revolution of 1936/7. The first part appeared in Solidarity 242.


In December 1936 the POUM was ejected from the Catalan Generalitat (provincial government) on the orders of the Soviet consul in Barcelona, Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko (the man who led the Bolsheviks’ assault on the Winter Palace in 1917).

At a party conference in February 1937 the POUM belatedly drew some of the same conclusions as Trotsky on the Popular Front. The POUM resolved to call for the formation of revolutionary workers’ democracy to consolidate the

Italy's Northern League implodes

Published on: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 09:49

In 1992 Italy was engulfed by the corruption scandal “Tangentopoli” (bribesville). That, Italy’s most serious post-war political crisis, saw the end of the First Republic and all its major political parties.

Leading the mass protests outside and inside parliament was the Lega Nord, led by the populist figure of Umberto Bossi. He encapsulated the radical mood and spirit of his party’s programme by waving a noose and bellowing “Roma ladrona” at the ranks of cowering politicians who were only too aware that their game was up.

Twenty years later the party that defined itself as “anti system” has

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