Solidarity 250, 20 June 2012

Fight the healthcare fat cats

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 10:28

According to Healthinvestor magazine, a trade journal for the parasitic profit makers in healthcare, private companies are complaining about how long it’s going to take for them to get their dirty hands on the profits from the great NHS giveaway.

It is estimated that there is a £1.3 billion market in servicing Clinical Commissioning Groups. But it’s all taking too long to siphon off.

There’s an air of nervousness amongst private sector. They fear they have been “cast as enemy number one” during the Health and Social Care Act “debacle”, says Healthinvestor.

The new Health Alarm campaign has

The Spanish miners' labour war

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 10:20

On Monday 18 June tens of thousands of people marched through the northern Spanish towns of Léon and Langrero in solidarity with the month long miners’ strike.

The marches were organised for a one-day general strike in the Austurias region.

The miners’ strike, over a 64% cut in government subsidies to the industry, is spreading and become a highly-charged regional class struggle. There have been clashes with police; miners have set up road and rail blocks and attacked the offices of the national ruling party. Teachers, transport workers, and shipbuilders have also been in strike in the area.


Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 10:12

All staff at John Lewis are “partners” who supposedly share “in the benefits and profits of a business that puts them first”.

Not everyone is part of the family. Those who do the dirty work – the cleaners – do not get any of the benefit. They are employed through a contractor – Integrated Management Cleaning. The cleaners, some of whom are at work from 6:00am to 10:00pm, earn a mere £6.08 per hour, which is below the poverty line set by the Greater London Assembly.

They are not paid for all the hours they are available, they do not get proper equipment, and feel like they are second class

Tories attempt to bully low-paid out of striking

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 10:07

Low-paid striking workers will have their tax credits reduced as part of the Tories’ reforms.

Workers paid less than £13,000 per year can currently get a bit more tax credit if their income drops because they’re on strike, as well as if it drops for any other reason. Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith said that, in future, low-paid workers would have to “pay the price” for choosing to take strike action.

Unions have condemned the move as a deliberate attempt to intimidate lower-paid workers out of taking industrial action.

They have also pointed out that, if the pay increases workers often

London buses to strike on 22 June

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 10:04

Bus workers across London will strike on Friday 22 June to win a £500 across-the-board bonus for Olympics working.

Up to 21,000 workers could participate in the strike, and the Unite union said it was expecting involvement from workers at every single bus operator in London.

Unite officer Peter Kavanagh said: “London buses will come to a standstill for the first time in a generation across London on 22 June.

“The blame lies squarely with the bus operators and Transport for London. The bus companies haven't met with Unite once to discuss bus workers' extra contribution to the Olympic Games and

Fight Blairites with politics, not bans

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 10:03

A motion at GMB congress which called for the union’s national political officer to “monitor” the activity of Progress, a Blairite pressure group within the Labour Party, has received significant coverage.

Some claim that the motion amounts to a call for the Labour Party leadership to ban Progress in the way that Militant, Socialist Organiser, and other left groups were banned in the 1980s and early 90s. In fact the text of the motion simply calls blandly for “unity” within the Labour Party and contains no calls for proscription, but some GMB figures — including general secretary Paul Kenny —

Union leaders defend pensions sell-out

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 09:59

On Sunday 17 June, the local government conference of the public sector union Unison voted for a ballot of members over the new local government pensions deal.

After six months of silence while negotiations with government were underway, Unison leadership is now encouraging its members to accept a deal which involves working until 68 and accepts a switch to a career average (rather than final salary) scheme. The ballot will run from 30 July-27 August, during the school holidays, when many Unison workers will be away from the workplace and unable to discuss the issue collectively.

22 emergency

The Workers' Party USA: “The freest party I ever belonged to”

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 09:51

In Solidarity 242, we began series of recollections and reflections from activists who had been involved with the “third camp” left in the USA — those “unorthodox” Trotskyists who broke from the SWP USA in 1939/40 to form the Workers Party, and the tradition they built (the Independent Socialist League, and later the Independent Socialists and International Socialists).

Here, we reprint an extract from a speech by Al Glotzer given at the “Oral History of the American Left Conference”, organised by the Tamiment Library in New York from May 6-7, 1983.

The conference brought together many of the

Remembering Kote Tsintsadze

Published on: Wed, 20/06/2012 - 09:42

Kote Tsintsadze was a Bolshevik from the age of 17 (1904), and joined the Left Opposition in its fight against Stalinist bureaucratism in 1923.

For his principled stand, he was jailed by Stalin in 1928, and died in prison, from tuberculosis, in 1930. Leon Trotsky wrote this memorial to Tsintsadze.

It took altogether extraordinary conditions like tsarism, illegality, prison, and deportation, many years of struggle against the Mensheviks, and especially the experience of three revolutions, to produce fighters like Kote Tsintsadze.

His life was entirely bound up with the history of the

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