Solidarity 455, 24 November 2017

Unstaffed tube stations

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 13:28

Ollie Moore

London Underground has informed union reps of its intention to reduce the frequency of maintenance checks carried out on some trains from 24 to 96 hours. 

The checks, which involve ensuring the train is safe to run, are carried out my fleet workers in depots across the network. 

Tube union RMT has objected strongly to the plans, insisting that they put passenger safety at risk. The union has also accused the employer of wanting to cut fleet workers’ jobs. 

Fleet staff have recently secured some victories over the bosses, including a campaign on the Piccadilly Line to win permanent contracts

University workers strike

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 12:51

University of London student

On November 21, workers at the University of London struck over outsourced contracts, insecure hours, and pay.
A loud protest organised by their trade union, the IWGB, took place outside the iconic Senate House during the university’s Foundation Day — when the Chancellor, Princess Anne, visits. The dispute is made up of mostly security guards, cleaners, porters, post room workers, and receptionists.

The workers in this dispute are not alone. A student campaign, “Justice for UoL Workers”, has staged various stunts and protests. Workers from other unions and disputes, including the McDonald’s

Housing workers made ill by management

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 12:49

Charlotte Zalens

Housing repair workers in Manchester suffer from high levels of mental ill-health and stress, a survey has revealed.

The survey was conducted by Unite the union as workers go on strike again over pay differentials within the workforce which leads to some workers being paid up to £3,500 less than others for doing the same work.
The survey found that 37% of workers suffer from either depression or anxiety, 89% of those believed that work had contributed to their illness. 91% were suffering with stress, and 98% believed work had contributed to their stress. 92% said Mears′ management didn′t take

Vote yes in UCU pensions ballot

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 12:43

A UCU member

Higher education union UCU is balloting for strike action over university bosses’ plans to scrap guaranteed pension benefits from the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

At the moment, higher grade staff in the older “pre-92” universities get a pension based on their average earnings across their career. This is already on worse terms than staff in newer universities and school teachers. But now the employers want to scrap even this deal in favour of making our pensions entirely dependent on the performance of pension scheme investments. A consultative ballot saw over 86% voting that

BiFab: direct action works

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 12:39

Dale Street

Faced with the imminent threat of closure, workers employed by BiFab (Burntisland Fabrications) in the company’s yards in Fife and Arnish (Isle of Lewis) staged a work-in and mobilised a 1,000 strong demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament.

News that the company was about to call in the administrators, putting over 1,400 jobs at risk, broke on 12 November. The company faced cash flow problems on a contract for the Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth.

The following day workers in the company’s two yards in Fife began a work-in. They continued working on the contract, even

Labour campaigns to make homes safe

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 12:35

Gerry Bates

Labour launched a “Make Homes Safer” campaign on the 9 November to pressure the government to put aside money for urgent repairs to old buildings in the autumn budget.

The campaign calls for central government to set aside money for local councils to retrofit sprinklers and other safety systems to their housing. In his speech launching the campaign Jeremy Corbyn said: “The evidence is clear: where sprinkler systems have already been fitted, injuries sustained from fires have been cut by approximately 80 per cent and deaths from fires have almost been eliminated entirely.”

In his speech Corbyn

Unite, Len McCluskey and Jewish Voice for Labour

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 12:26

Jim Denham

″I‘ve never recognised [that Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism]. I believe it was mood music that was created by people trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

“In 47 years of membership of the Labour Party, I’ve never been at a meeting where there was any anti-Semitic language or any attacks on the Jews. They would have had short shrift in any meeting I was at.

″Unfortunately, at the time there were lots of people playing games. Everybody wanted to create this image that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour had become misogynistic and antisemitic because they wanted to bring Jeremy Corbyn down.” Len

“New era” but same repression

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 12:18

Carmen Basant

In October, the 19th national China Communist Party (CCP) congress took place in Beijing. China’s president, Xi Jinping, used the propaganda event to push his distinct brand of CCP rhetoric, which sounded vacuously futuristic and echoed the party’s nationalistic and imperially ambitious past.

To achieve the “Chinese Dream” would be “no walk in the park”, he declared, it would require “more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there” (Xi Jinping, cited in Phillips, 2017).

The CCP announced power in 1949 under the leadership of Mao Zedong. This came after a civil war with the main

Distinctions on left antisemitism

Published on: Fri, 24/11/2017 - 12:06

Martin Thomas

Workers’ Liberty has been debating theories of racism and their relationship to left anti-semitism. This contribution is a response to Carmen Basant (Solidarity 454).

Modern political antisemitism consists in damning the very existence of the Israeli state (however modified) as inescapably racist and imperialist, and thus damning all Jews who fail to renounce connection to or sympathy with Israel (however critical) as agents of racism and imperialism.

More traditional racial antisemitism consists in damning Jews, as a hereditary supposed “race”, as constitutionally malevolent and disruptive.

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