Solidarity 325, 21 May 2014

Cinema workers strike again

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 12:48

Workers at the Ritzy cinema in south London will strike again on Wednesday 21 May from 5 p.m.

The workers, who are members of BECTU, have undertaken a sustained campaign of strikes, protests, rallies, and other actions, to win the London Living Wage.

A similar campaign of BECTU members at the Curzon cinema in Soho was recently given an official award by the union at its 2014 AGM.

GMB ballot opens way for 10 July strike

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 12:42

The GMB, Britain’s third largest union, will join Unison and Unite in balloting its members in local government for strikes to win a new pay deal.

Members in all three unions overwhelmingly rejected the offer of a 1% increase from local government employers, by margins of 83%, 70%, and 90% in GMB, Unison, and Unite respectively.

GMB has said it will strike alongside Unison and Unite on 10 July if the ballot returns a yes vote. Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) could also join the 10 July strike, as part of their ongoing dispute over pay, pensions, and workload. So could Unison

Lambeth College strikers rally

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 12:35

On 17 May, around 300 activists marched from Clapham to Brixton in defence of the striking workers at Lambeth College.

The demo was called by UCU, after a judge took out an injunction on their members on April 30 preventing them from going on all out strike, following an attack on their terms and conditions. UCU members had voted 95% to strike. On May 7, Unison members also voted 83% to strike over the same issues.

The demo was lively, and trade union branches from educational institutions across London were represented well. A small contingent of students organised by the National Campaign

The Good Priest and our sins

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 12:26

Warning: plot spoiler!

We are not in Sligo although it might seem so from time to time. We are in “the world” and when “the world” is the subject we have to expect a certain lack of realism and the onset of allegory.

Who is going to kill the Roman Catholic priest (Brendan Gleeson) is the whodunit aspect, but the sins of “the world” and their victory are the real issue; and it fills the space between, on Sunday, a promise to kill the parish priest and, a week later, the murder itself. And what a week!

Gay people in need of redemption, bankers with consciences, deeply cynical doctors high on

Rise up against inequality!

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 12:22

Economic inequality has increased. It is on a solid trend to continue increasing. The USA, the most unequal of the richer countries, may set a new historical record for income inequality by 2030, and other countries are following similar though not identical trajectories.

So says Thomas Piketty in his book Capital in the 21st Century. It is a best-seller in France, where it was originally published, and now also in Britain and the USA, despite costing £30 and stretching to 640 pages.

His other message, less expanded on by reviewers or even by Piketty himself, is that “the history of inequality

Self-determination for Ukraine!

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 12:00

According to the New York Times, “thousands of steelworkers fanned out on Thursday [15 May] through the city of Mariupol [in eastern Ukraine], establishing control over the streets and banishing the pro-Kremlin militants...”

Other reports, however, indicate that the worker patrols were instigated by oligarch Rina Akhmetov, owner of the local steelworks, and are led by the works boss.

Opinion polls show another oligarch, Petro Poroshenko, who professes mild social-democratic views, way ahead for the presidential election due on 25 May. (The far-right party Svoboda, named by some as the

For workers' unity across Europe

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 11:58

Ukip may come top of the Europolls in Britain on 22 May. The Front National, which has a clear-cut fascist lineage, leads in pre-poll surveys in France. Right-wing populist “anti-European” parties will do well in other countries.

In Germany, the new, right-wing, and anti-euro AfD is at 6% or 7% scarcely a year after being launched.

Ironically, Greece, the country which has suffered most with cuts plans from the European Union and European Central Bank, is an exception.

There, many polls suggest that the left-wing party Syriza will for the first time run clearly ahead of the main right-wing

Eight per cent own all the financial wealth

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 11:46

Two sets of data released in the last week show the extent to which the distribution of wealth in Britain is highly unequal, and increasingly so.

The first data come from the government’s Office of National Statistics wealth survey for 2010 to 2012. This shows that the richest 10% own 44% of all household health, and the bottom half own only 9%. The top five billionaires own the same wealth as the poorest 20% of the population.

The ONS carefully spun the figures to suggest that although the figures show inequality, this inequality is getting no worse. This largely rests on most people’s wealth

Thousands flee Fallujah

Published on: Wed, 21/05/2014 - 11:33

Thousands of people have fled from the Iraqi city of Fallujah as the government army attempts to recapture it from Islamist rebel control.

Fallujah has been under the control of Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), a militant Islamist group linked to al-Qaeda, since the group took the city in allegiance with Sunni tribal fighters in January. Since then, there has been continuous violence as the government has attempted to regain control. Now, the tens of thousands of troops have been assembled at Fallujah. In the wake of artillery bombardment, it is estimated that around 300,000 people

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