Solidarity 253, 1 August 2012

Cleaners fight back

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:52

Tube cleaners and their supporters rallied at Stratford station, on the edges of the Olympic Park, on Friday 27 July as cleaning and security workers employed by Initial, ISS, and Carlisle struck to win Olympic bonuses and living wages.

Cleaners have been frozen out of the Olympic bonuses the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) has succeeded in winning for its members in other grades. They picketed at depots and stations across London Underground and the Docklands Light Railway and leafleted other Tube workers and members of the public.

Across the network, strikers reported the

Spain: a storm is brewing

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:47

As the Spanish government teeters on the brink of a bailout, the Spanish working class has responded with a spectacular burst of militancy that sets the tone for a fightback against Europe-wide austerity.

The right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy is imposing vicious cuts in welfare and social spending. This includes £50 billion of austerity measures: a VAT hike, cuts to unemployment benefit, a 7% cut in public sector wages and the privatisation of ports, airports and railways.

But the militant Spanish workers’ movement is fighting back. They are led by the magnificent miners, the first major

Trade union news in brief

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:45

Firefighters in Essex struck again on Thursday 26 July as part of their fight against cuts. Industrial action short of a strike took plae the following day, with firefighters only attending 999 calls.

The action follows a series of one-day strikes, which were supplemented by a 1,000-strong demonstration through Chelmsford on Wednesday 18 July. The firefighters are attempting to halt their bosses’ cuts to frontline services, which have seen 100 full-time and 60 part-time posts axed since 2008.

Essex Fire Brigades Union (FBU) brigade chair Alan Chinn-Shaw said: “[The authority] has got the money

London bus workers' victory is bittersweet

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:41

The latest circular to Unite bus workers tells us the fact that, “on 22 June thousands of Unite bus workers came together in a historic act of unity”.

It says that “every bus operator in London was forced to negotiate in one room with Unite for the first time” and “over two thousand new members joining since the start of the campaign” and “how can anyone say this isn’t a total victory?”

It is true that from zero offered at the beginning this represents a victory, but a very minor and limited victory. It was achieved by strike action and can be built upon. But this is only a small part of the

Fighting for public railways

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:37

Rail unions took their campaign against the McNulty Report, a new government plan to massively cut railworkers jobs and pay while increasing fares, to South Yorkshire recently. Craig Johnston, relief regional organiser for the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT)’s northern region, spoke to Dave Harris.

Britain’s railways are a mess — they have been since John Major’s discredited Tory Government privatised them in the late 90s. In Britain we have some of the highest train fares in Europe with the least amount of electrification and high speed rail lines compared to our comparator

New NHS pay attacks

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:33

Feeling confident that the pensions dispute is over, the government is preparing a fresh attack on our terms and conditions. The new proposals are a “bully’s charter” that will give line managers control over whether or not you get increments.

Under the new schemes, we will have to meet locally determined performance targets before we get our increments. Moreover, those at the top of their pay band will get their pay increases as a lump sum, and not as part of their monthly pay packet.

The bosses are trying to promote the idea that our increments are like bonus pay for good performance, rather

Yakov Sverdlov: “The best type of Bolshevik”

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:29

Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov (1885-1919) was a leading Bolshevik organiser and, as chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, was the first de facto president of the Russian Soviet Republic.

It would only be a small exaggeration to say that a biography of Sverdlov is in large measure a history of the birth, development and eventual triumph of the Bolsheviks, so involved was he in every crucial stage in the party's life until 1919.

From allying with Lenin at the 1903 Second Congress of the Russia Social Democratic and Labour Party (RSDLP) over organisation questions (which led to

Who are the Greek Trotskyists?

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:26

Greece is one of the few countries where a main organiser, writer, and theoretician of the communist movement in its heroic early years then became directly the leader of the Trotskyist movement, and handed down writings which still inspire today.

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), founded in 1918, was the only serious party of the left and of the labour movement. The first general secretary of the KKE, Pandelis Pouliopoulos, sided with the Left Opposition against Stalinism as early as 1927.

Another sizeable KKE opposition, the Archeo-Marxists, also oriented to the Left Opposition.

Greece: self-organisation for workers' power?

Published on: Wed, 01/08/2012 - 14:20

We asked many people in Greece about what forms of grass-roots self-organisation exist in the Greek working class or can plausibly be developed towards something comparable — though possibly very different in detail — to the soviets (workers’ councils) which were the basis of the Russian workers’ revolution of 1917 and which have re-emerged in many revolutionary crises since then.

Tereza from Kokkino said explicitly that given the dominance of small enterprises in the Greek economy, neighbourhood-based committees were a more likely form than factory councils; and everyone described more life

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.