Solidarity 312, 5 February 2014

All out to save Tube jobs!

London Underground workers began the first of two strikes this month on Tuesday 4 February, as part of their “Every Job Matters” campaign to stop job cuts and ticket office closures.

Members of the RMT and TSSA will strike from 9pm on Tuesday 4 February until 8.59pm on Thursday 6 February, with the strike expected to cause significant disruption to the Tube.

An overtime ban launched by station staff on 17 January has already begun to bite, with major stations including Finsbury Park forced to close early due to staff shortages.

No victimisation of 3 Cosas workers

On 27, 28 and 29 January, outsourced workers at the University of London took strike action for equal sick pay, holidays and pensions.

They were also demanding that the employer recognise the IWGB and offer protection against job losses at the Garden Halls of residence near King’s Cross.

Despite the University claiming that the action had “minimal impact”, the strike was solid and gained strong support from students and wider activists.

Spanish pro-choice march

Thousands of Spaniards protested on 1 February against a draft law to restrict access to abortion. The law would limit abortion to cases of rape and instances where the health of the mother was at serious risk. The current law, brought in the Socialist government in 2010, gives women the right to abort up to the 14th week of pregnancy.

Managing for the sake of managing

Jack Murrow is a library worker in a large university.

The bulk of what I do is shelving, so it’s essentially a manual job, unlike the work of the library assistants and senior library assistants above me who are more desk- and office-based.

The library was recently restructured and my position was created on Grade 1 of the national payscale — before this the lowest grades at been Grade 2s. I think there has been more of a shift to part-time work; whether this is due to higher education funding cuts I couldn’t say; my university is pretty healthy financially.

No short-term fix for energy crisis

A development worker in the renewable energy industry spoke to Solidarity about renewable technology and energy policy.

Note: this is a longer version of the interview than the one which appeared in the printed paper.

The old ways of thinking can’t last forever. Reliance on fossil fuels, particularly imported coal and gas, leave us exposed to the whims of markets.

Hegemony is not in the DNA

The main theses of Leo Panitch’s and Sam Gindin’s book The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire, an important new book which Paul Hampton reviewed recently in Solidarity, are restatements of what the authors have argued in many articles. They are, I think, plain fact and important fact.

The forty-odd years of turbulence since the end in the early 1970s of the 1950s-60s “golden age” of West European, Japanese, and American capitalism have not brought a relative decline of the USA and a rise of inter-imperialist rivalries.

Fighting privatisation, defying the law

Solidarity continues our series of our extracts from Janine Booth’s new book, Plundering London Underground: New Labour, private capital and public transport 1997-2010.

By the beginning of 2001, the government and Tube bosses were pressing ahead with preparations for the Public-Private Partnership, and recently-elected London Mayor Ken Livingstone, elected on a platform of opposing the PPP, was tacking towards compromise. But Tube trade unions, RMT and ASLEF had balloted members for action, and members of both unions voted Yes.

The business of folk

Hollywood has a long history of taking a real person and creating fictionalised versions. ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, and ‘The Godfather’ all did this. The Coen Brothers did it themselves in ‘Barton Fink’ and they have done it again in their new film — ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’.

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