Solidarity 302, 6 November 2013

Israeli military refuses tour

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 14:04

Israeli military refuser Noam Gur is touring Britain from 12-26 November. Solidarity spoke to her about her political activity.

Why did you get active in politics and what has been the personal impact on you?

When I was about 15 years old I started understanding what was really happening in Palestine and Israel, after years of being told scary stories and lies by the educational system, my family, and the Israeli society in general.

At that stage, I believed that something like “enlightened occupation” could actually exist – in other words, that I’d go to the army and serve anywhere I’m sent,

Multi-billion bank scandals exposed

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 13:59

Big banks stand accused of rigging the markets for trading between currencies, in which £3 trillion of business — £400 for every child, woman, and man on earth — is done each day.

Through their frantic scramble for speculative super-profits, those banks brought us the 2008 global crash and the economic depression that still blights us.

They have escaped, so far, with mild reprimands. But with their affairs under more scrutiny, scandal after scandal has tumbled into the open.

UK banks have had to set aside over £16 billion to compensate people whom they duped into buying useless payment

3 Cosas campaign fights on

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 13:57

On Tuesday 5 November, cleaning, catering and security workers at the University of London begin balloting for strikes.

The strikes are part of the workers’ ongoing campaign for sick pay, holiday, and pensions equality with their directly-employed colleagues.

The workers are members of the Independent Workers’ union of Great Britain (IWGB), and have run the rank-and-file “Tres Cosas” (“Three Things”) campaign since summer 2012.

A demonstration in support of the campaign on Thursday 24 October saw university management surreptitiously film activists before calling the police, who attempted to

Fire dispute escalates

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 13:54

The FBU’s dispute over pensions escalated last week after the fire minister withdrew a previous offer in the wake of further strikes.

Firefighters in England and Wales held two further solid strikes on Friday 1 November for four and a half hours and a further two hour strike on Monday 4 November. A further strike is planned for Wednesday 13 November.

However a last minute intervention by fire minister Brandon Lewis just before the Friday strike began has worsened the prospect of a settlement, after he withdrew proposals made in June – increasing the penalty for firefighters forced to retire

Tube workers gear up for strikes

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 13:52

The Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers’ union (RMT) is balloting London Underground train maintenance workers for strikes and action short of strikes.

The union is trying to stop management imposing unilateral changes to workers’ terms and conditions.

Meanwhile, an all-grades ballot of Tube workers for strikes to demand an end to casualisation, and for workers supplied by agencies, including the 33 previously employed by Trainpeople, to be offered permanent jobs, is due to begin this week.

RMT is also in dispute with LU bosses over ticket office closures. Management are gearing up for

Postal strikes off

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 13:51

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) called off a national strike of postal workers, planned for 4 November.

Although the immediate issues balloted over were day-to-day industrial issues including pay and pensions, the CWU explicity placed the ballot in the wider context of its political fight against Royal Mail privatisation. A strike before the 15 October sell-off could have thrown a spanner in the works of privatisation. By delaying calling action, and then calling it off entirely, the CWU allowed the privatisation to go through unresisted.

A strike due in the separate Crown Post Office

University workers fight for better pay

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 13:46

On 31 October, Higher Education workers in three unions (UCU, Unite, and Unison) struck against a 1% pay offer. Here, we feature snippets from picket lines around the country.

“The consensus from UCU members on the picket line was that there should be a “‘general strike” (their words), by which they meant more coordinated public sector strike action.”

University of Northampton

“There were around a dozen pickets from all three unions at each of the main entrances to University of East Anglia (UEA) all morning.

They were lively despite the showers, and busy, but no-one, or hardly anyone,

A fighter for freedom

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 13:44

When it was revealed on 11 October that Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl that captured the world’s imagination after being shot by a Taliban rifleman, was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it came as a relief.

Malala no doubt deserved it more than any other person in the world, but to tarnish her name by giving her the same prize given to such renowned peacemakers as Henry Kissinger and Menachem Begin would have been a disservice to everything she had stood for.

The memoir of the young girl who had been standing up for her and her schoolmates’ right to an education since she was 11 is not

Why art fairs are thriving

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2013 - 13:31

“Frieze Art Fair” was held in Regent’s Park, London, from 17 to 20 October. Solidarity asked Lisa Le Feuvre, an art curator, about it. The interview started with Lisa putting a question to Solidarity.

Lisa Le Feuvre: My first response would be to ask Solidarity why you are choosing Frieze Art Fair as the impetus to talk about art, given that this is the most commercial side of art?

Are you not simply fuelling the market side of art by making this your choice of art to discuss? Indeed, why is it that you want to talk about the market and not the art?

Solidarity: We don’t have the resources to

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