Solidarity 329, 25 June 2014

Vote for John Leach!

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 11:13

Workers’ Liberty members in the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) are backing John Leach in the election for General Secretary.

John is standing on a platform of democracy and equality, committing to put women, black, LGBT, and disabled members’ struggles at the heart of the union, and emphasising the importance of member leadership.

The other candidates are Mick Cash, Steve Hedley, Alex Gordon and Alan Pottage. Voting will be from 21 July to 22 September.

• Read more about John’s campaign here

Grillo allies with UKIP

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 11:09

Italy’s Five Star movement, which announced its arrival on the political scene as the harbinger of a new, modern “non-ideological” Italy, cleansed of the filth and corruption of the “old”, has just joined forces with the right-wing populist UKIP in the European Parliament.

After weeks of “democratic” debate, and a online referendum, it was announced last week that Five Start leader Beppe Grillo and UKIP’s Nigel Farage had managed to fish from the sewers of Europe’s political right the minimum of 48 representatives necessary to constitute a parliamentary group of Euro deputies.

“Law” used to gag debate

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 11:04

The ill-defined threat of legal jeopardy dominated speeches at Unison conference (15-20 June), far more than the subject of the national pay dispute.

At Local Government Conference two emergency motions on the pay dispute were ruled out of order on the ground that they might place the union in legal jeopardy.

Given they were not printed on the agenda and no detail was allowed in appeals to the Standing Orders Committee from submitting branches, delegates were left with no idea what legal jeopardy the union was facing.

Support Lambeth College!

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 11:00

Teaching staff at Lambeth College are on all-out strike. The workers are fighting new contracts that attack pay and conditions, which would affect all new workers and create a two-tier workforce at the college.

The changes include:

• An increase in working hours, and a lower hourly rate of pay.

• Reduced holiday.

• An attack on sick pay entitlement for those on long term sick leave.

This is the fourth week of all out indefinite action for UCU members at the college.

Unison members joined the UCU on strike for the second time on 24-26 Jun.

Build for 10 July strike!

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 10:51

Members of the public sector union Unison have voted by a 59% majority to strike on 10 July against a 1% pay offer and for a rise of at least £1 an hour.

In the week preceding the announcement of Unison’s ballot result, the National Union of Teachers confirmed it would join a 10 July strike.

Strike ballot results from Unite, GMB, and the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) (all over public sector pay) are yet to be announced, and the Fire Brigades Union has a live ballot that will allow it to participate in a 10 July strike.

Teaching “British values” in schools

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 10:43

Following the “Trojan horse” “scandal” regarding the alleged plans of Islamist governors at various Birmingham schools, David Cameron wrote an article in the Mail on Sunday about “British values”. He defined these as “a belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law”.

Bring back Pride's radical roots!

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 10:33

As Pride season kicks off, it looks like the majority of festivities will be more establishment-focused than ever.

Part of London Pride (28 June) will continue to the Cenotaph for Armed Forces Day and the police will be a prominent part of the parade.

Our movement seems to have a very short memory. Our acceptance as LGBT+ people into institutions has been very, very recent and is also not consistent or inclusive of all of us.

Labour betrays young people

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 10:29

Labour leader Ed Miliband has promised to cut Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) for around 100,000 18-to-21-year-olds and replace it with a lower means-tested benefit depending on claimants’ qualifications and skill levels.

This will affect those young people under 21 who have do not have A-levels — around seven out of ten 18-to-21-year-olds currently claiming JSA.

Miliband told the press that “Britain’s young people who do not have the skills they need for work should be in training, not on benefits.”

Three million Syrian refugees; UK takes 24

Submitted by Matthew on 25 June, 2014 - 10:27

Just 24 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the UK under a special arrangement — the Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme (VPR) — to help those identified as most at risk and who have not yet claimed asylum.

By comparison Sweden has admitted over 24,0000 refugees.

Since 2011 almost three million Syrians have fled the country, most to neighbouring Arab states with Lebanon alone taking in over one million people. A further 6.5 million people are believed to be displaced within Syria.

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