Solidarity 361, 22 April 2015

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2015 - 11:04

Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

After voting for strikes over outsourcing by 87%, Unison members in Barnet Council will strike on Thursday 30 April and Friday 1 May.

On 1 May Unison hold a march and rally, followed by a members meeting to review the strike and any proposals from the council. If the council has not moved, a second phase of strikes will follow on Thursday 21 May and Friday 22 May, and a third on Monday 1 June and Tuesday 2 June.

Libraries are one of the services to be affected by outsourcing and cuts. Activists have been holding a “grand tour of Barnet libraries” with marches between local libraries in protest

Syriza left says: “We won’t vote for austerity”

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2015 - 10:54

Martin Thomas

On 24 April eurozone finance ministers meet again to discuss whether to release the remaining credits to Greece which were agreed under the last memorandum.

Greece made an outline deal on 20 February, but the eurozone ministers say they want more details before they release cash. In the run-up to 24 April, they are more hard-faced than ever. German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has said: “Nobody expects that there will be a solution”.

He indicated what way he wants Greece to go by saying: “The UK has done a very good job in the past few years and Osborne has a very good plan for the

Greece's Nazis go on trial

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2015 - 10:52

Theodora Polenta

On 20 April, the trial of 69 members of Greece’s fascist party Golden Dawn — Greece’s “little Nuremberg” — began in a packed room at the Women’s Prison of Korydallos, near Piraeus.

It was then adjourned to 7 May, in order to designate defence counsel for one of the defendants who had no lawyer.

The 69 defendants include the head of the party, Nikos Michaloliakos, and all the previous parliamentary group of Golden Dawn.

The matters before the court are:

• The murder of the musician Pavlos Fyssas on the night of 17 September 2013

• The attack on three Egyptian fishermen in their home in Perama

Open the borders!

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2015 - 10:46


After hearing news of the latest drowning of migrants in the Mediterranean sea on Saturday 18 April, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi asked, “How can it be that we daily are witnessing a tragedy?”

Why does Renzi ask, “How can it be”? As if the 950 deaths had nothing to do with the Renzi government cancelling the Italian navy’s search and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, late last year, an operation which covered a vast expanse of the Mediterranean and in the year from October 2013 rescued 150,000 from drowning.

As if Renzi had not realised the EU replacement for Mare Nostrum would be a much

Fight cuts at FE college

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2015 - 10:36

Gemma Short

Staff at Lewisham Southwark College (LeSoCo) are fighting £7 million cuts to staffing that could see 110 full-time equivalent jobs lost by July of this year. The cuts will also see the closure of the college's Camberwell site.

On 15 April staff were called into a meeting by the college's principal-designate, Carole Kitching, who announced the cuts, but were not given the option of asking questions. Staff in Unison and UCU believe the cuts will have a devastating effect on the college and on local communities. The notion that the cuts will “save” the college is farcical. Despite the cuts to

“Cash now” behind loan sell-off

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2015 - 10:21

Gemma Short

In July 2014 Vince Cable, the Lib-Dem Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, cancelled plans to sell the remainder of the higher education student loan book to the private sector.

Why then did Osborne, in December 2014, say that “progress continues” on the planned sale and why are the projected £12 billion gross proceeds still included in fiscal projections?

The answer, has more to do with pre-election jockeying over promises to lower national debt than with student funding. Due to the significant shortfall between annual outlay on new loans and repayment on old ones, the

Left-wing policy passed at NUS Conference

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2015 - 10:19

Sacha Ismail

On the first day of the National Union of Students conference (21 April, in Liverpool), delegates voted for a series of left-wing policies.

On the general election, the current leadership’s bland motion calling for a “new deal for students” was amended with much more radical demands put forward by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), including reversing cuts, taxing the rich, public ownership of the banks, open borders and migrants’ rights.

The policy passed advocates a serious programme of direct action, and alliance with trade unions and the Labour left, whoever wins the

Carnegie challenges for MUA Queensland top spot

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2015 - 09:18

Shane Bentley (MUA member, Sydney)

Workers’ Liberty supporter Bob Carnegie is again standing for the position of Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Queensland Branch Secretary in this year’s Quadrennial elections.

In what will hopefully be a case of “the early bird catches the worm”, Bob began his campaign on March 7, just one day after nominations had opened, by visiting job sites in the north of Queensland.

This is not Carnegie’s first crack at the Queensland Branch Secretary spot. In the last MUA Quadrennial elections of 2011, Bob was defeated by only two votes (504 to 506) by incumbent Mick Carr. As Carr is retiring this

Fight Northants privatisation!

Published on: Tue, 21/04/2015 - 17:31

Vicki Morris

Conservative-run Northamptonshire (Northants) County Council is planning to transfer its 4,000 workers to four semi-private “community interest companies” in a bid to save money. Only 150 staff will remain directly employed by the council, to commission and administer the contracts for services with these new semi-privatised companies, or with fully private companies.

Already, private company Balfour Beatty runs the street lighting and, another, Kier the roads.

The community interest companies will be able to make surpluses and it is planned they will sell services to other “customers” as well

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