Solidarity 365, 20 May 2015

Support Network Rail strikes

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 11:07

Network Rail workers will strike for 24 hours from 5 pm on Monday 25 May, and will impose a 48-hour overtime ban from midnight on Sunday 24 May, in their campaign over pay and for job security.

Members of the RMT union and the TSSA union voted for strikes after workers in both unions rejected Network Rail’s latest pay offer: a £500 non-consolidated payment followed by increases pegged to the Retail Price Index until 2017, with a no compulsory redundancies guarantee withdrawn from 31 December 2016.

Network Rail claims it cannot afford a larger pay award, despite reporting £1 billion profits in

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 11:00

Charlotte Zalens

UCU members at Lewisham and Southwark college (LeSoCo) have voted by 85% for strikes over job cuts.

At a meeting with the chair of the college governors, union reps made it quite clear that we were going to fight to build a college, not a scrapheap composed of redundant education workers and working-class people denied a further education.

Already, more than a hundred students have demonstrated to governors their opposition at a meeting at the Camberwell site. This is only the beginning of a range of actions, on all sites, which will now unfold over the coming weeks.

By the last week in June,

Strike to save London Met jobs!

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 10:37

Max Watson, London Met Unison branch secretary

Max Watson, London Met Unison branch secretary, spoke to Solidarity

The Section 188 redundancy consultation is now over and we are waiting for the results. 

Management used changes to the law for a shorter, 45 day, consultation, and we got this extended by just a week.  It is likely they will make people reapply for their jobs, forcing people to go through the very upsetting process of competing with their colleagues. 

We’ve fought against job cuts and privatisation, and to defend overseas students before — our members are used to fighting management and are prepared to do so again. We had

Greek health workers and dockers strike against cuts and privatisation

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 10:13

Theodora Polenta

The trade union Poedhn, representing all workers in Greece’s public sector hospitals, has called a 24-hour strike for Wednesday 20 May, with a demonstration at 12.30 outside the Ministry of Health.

The hospital workers are demanding money to fund public and free healthcare, staff recruitment, and payment of accrued overtime for doctors and nurses.

The role of Syriza’s trade union fraction in the health sector is of pivotal importance. General meetings were called of all Syriza’s healthcare workers between 11 and 15 May and a decision was taken to build and support the strike. Every Syriza

On the streets against the new anti-strike laws!

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 09:32


The unions and the labour movement should launch a life-or-death campaign to stop the Tories’ planned new anti-union laws, starting with a mass street demonstration.

Britain already has “the most restrictive trade union laws anywhere in the western world”, as Tony Blair complacently told the Daily Mail in 1997.

Now the Tories plan to ban public service strikes unless the ballot majority for the strike comes to at least 40% of the workers balloted.

Only 24% of the electorate voted Tory on 7 May, and they think that’s enough to decide the government!

But in strike ballots, essentially, they want

Keep up fight for Labour democracy!

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 09:26

Jon Lansman

We don’t have a left candidate for Labour leader, and we are unlikely to get one. The reason is the legacy of the exclusion and marginalisation of the left under Blair. That’s not to say that we should ignore the election: we have got to stop Progress winning. It is very important that we do not go back to Blair.

If we don’t have a leftwing candidate, we may have to settle for someone who is the best of a not-so-good bunch.

I’m very concerned about people becoming overly and prematurely attached, too soon, to candidates who they see the best of a bad bunch. I think that it is worrying that Ian

Abolish the monarchy!

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 08:54

Michael Johnson

After the election of a Tory majority government, it was heartening to hear Jack Straw on the Today Programme last week, taking up the cudgels for those benighted souls who need it most, like Prince Charles.

In the wake of the release of the so-called “black spider” memos from Charles to the Blair government, Straw told the BBC that it was “absolutely essential” that Prince Charles had been able to offer his views in private. If the public was entitled to know what Charles was saying, he added, it would “stop him saying anything at all to ministers”. 

And your point is, Jack?

Heaven forbid

Three decades of organising

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 08:47

Gerry Bates

Veteran Australian trade union activist and Workers’ Liberty member Bob Carnegie has been speaking to meetings around the UK about his organising experiences over three decades.

Starting the tour on Tuesday 12 May Bob spoke to a meeting of Lambeth Left Unity, alongside an activist from the Ritzy Cinema workers campaign. On Wednesday 13 May Bob spoke at the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) conference with Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group. The FBU may have been subject to blacklisting practices and a police cover-up.

On Thursday 14 May Bob attended the Royal Courts of Justice, with the

Daesh captures Ramadi

Published on: Wed, 20/05/2015 - 08:38

Simon Nelson

Daesh (ISIS) has caputred the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

This represents a reverse of Daesh’s perceived fortunes, after air strikes seriously injured their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. With Iraqi forces again fleeing a majority Sunni area, Iranian backed Shia militia are moving towards Ramadi with the Iraqi Government’s backing.

Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province and is just 70 miles from Baghdad. It was a key battleground during the “Sunni Awakening” and the US troop surge which helped to partially defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The US has pledged to provide no military or logistical support to the

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