Solidarity 333, 13 August 2014

Tube canteen staff strike

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 14:10

By Ollie Moore

London Underground catering staff struck on 4 August, demanding reinstatement for victimised union rep Petrit Mihaj.

Petrit, who has been central to Tube union RMT’s organisation and recognition campaign amongst Sodexho canteen staff, has been vindicated by an Employment Tribunal ruling that his sacking was unfair and based on his trade union activities. Despite this, Sodexho has refused to reinstate him.

The solid strike, which took place from 6.30 to 11.00am, often the busiest time for the Sodexho-run staff canteens at depots, saw picket lines and demonstrations in several locations.


Stop the witch-hunt against Liam Conway!

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 14:07

By Gerry Bates

The Nottinghamshire Division of the National Union of Teachers has repeatedly written to the General Secretary and the National Secretary seeking to negotiate a settlement on issues relating to financial irregularity in the Division and to close down the matter on just terms. But the appeals of Nottinghamshire members appear to be falling on deaf ears.

Yet the union has continued to process disciplinary cases against those who blew the whistle on the irregularities.

Liam Conway has been the main victim of the union’s actions having now been subject to eight separate disciplinary complaints.

Ritzy workers to vote on deal

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 14:03

Jonny West

Workers at The Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, will vote on a new pay offer from their employer, Picturehouse Cinemas.

The deal was reached after exhaustive late-night talks at conciliation service ACAS between Picturehouse management and reps from the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU), including workplace reps from The Ritzy itself. Workers have struck repeatedly in a dispute aimed at wining the London Living Wage.

The negotiating team is recommending acceptance of the deal, which provides what a BECTU statement calls a “voyage to higher pay.” The

Government stance hardens in firefighters’ pension dispute

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 14:00

Darren Bedford

Firefighters in England and Wales have begun a further eight-day period of strikes, as the Westminster government refuses to improve its pension proposals.

The strikes began on Saturday 9 August, and will last until Saturday 16 August. They take place every day between 12 and 2pm, and again from 10.59 to 11.59pm.

The current pensions proposals in England and Wales are still unworkable, and mean that firefighters will still face dismissal simply because they cannot maintain the physical fitness requirements necessary until they are age 60. Concessions by devolved governments have been

Carnival: party or protest

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 13:56

By Elizabeth Butterworth

This year Notting Hill Carnival will be held on 24-25 August.

In between the photographs of smiling policemen and the swathes of tourists, it’s important to remember Carnival’s history of anti-racism.

In August 1958, there were riots in London and Nottingham after racist murders such as that of Antiguan carpenter Kelso Cochrane. Young white men, numbering in the hundreds, attacked the houses of Caribbean residents on Bramley Road, West London. Oswald Mosley and other fascists were also spreading hatred.

Claudia Jones was a journalist from Trinidad, a Marxist-feminist who had been jailed in the

The cutting edge of gentrification

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 13:52

Kate Harris

Recently I went to see Rift theatre’s production of Macbeth, which is held in Balfron Tower, Poplar. There was some interesting theatre and good performances. But the real star of the show was the building it was held in.

In reviews and reports of the show, Balfron Tower is described as “abandoned”, “decaying” and a “monument to idealism”. None of these are accurate. It’s a well-designed, structurally sound block of ex-council housing with amazing views across London. People should and could be living there.

In 2007 it was transferred to local housing association Poplar Housing and

The art of growing up

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 13:47

Beth Redmond

Boyhood is an intimate depiction of a young boy, Mason, growing up between the ages of 6 and 18, in a fatherless family struggling for money. His mother (Patricia Arquette), over the span of the film, has to juggle single-parenthood, studying for a masters and coping with a string of drunken, violent husbands.

Before I went to see the film I asked someone for a briefing and was told that “nothing really happens”, “it’s too long” and “they should have made it about the sister”. But that briefing is wrong on all counts.

Richard Linklater, who also made the Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before

Disobedient Objects

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 13:36

Rachael Barnes

The Disobedient Objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, emits a strange atmosphere. It is a curation of works, or “objects” which have contributed to social change, collected over the last three decades.

The room is filled with seemingly random objects, from DIY signs made by the Karnataka Farmers’ Association trying to protect their farms, bust cards made in the UK for those campaigning for gay rights in the 60s and Burmese currency made illegally, secretly featuring the face of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The tone inferred by the descriptions of each piece, left by the creators

Inside Islam

Published on: Wed, 13/08/2014 - 13:31

Matt Cooper

Review of Innes Bowen's Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam.

With the Trojan Horse controversy in Birmingham’s schools and press concern about Muslims travelling to fight with Sunni Muslim militias in Syria and northern Iraq, suggestions of “extremism” amongst British Muslims have become a staple public discussion. Innes Bowen’s well researched book on the organisations and ideologies of British Islam puts this into a clear context.

The dominant strands of Islam in Britain are conservative, politically quiet and, to a degree, isolationist. It is only a small minority of

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