Solidarity 368, 17 June 2015

Anger over pay claim in Unison

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 12:46

Delegates gathered in Glasgow for the Unison Local Government Conference on 14-15 June.

Following the special conference in March, pay was very much on the minds of many. Questions about what had happened to our pay claim were a hot topic among delegates. A fringe meeting was called by Salford City branch on Saturday night to discuss the way forward and build support for their emergency motion on pay.

The motion called for the union to carry out the decision of the special conference and noting that the claim put in by Unison was almost immediately rejected, but that members would not have

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 12:34

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens, Tom Harris, Dale Street and Anne Field

Strikes over privatisation continue at Bromley Council.

Workers are on strike between 10-20 June in a series of selective strikes. Unite members in adult services and transport workers will strike from 10-15 June, library staff between 13-20 June and central council workers on 16 June.

The council's cuts plan involves outsourcing most of its services, reducing the number of council employees from 4000 to 300, and privatising 14 libraries. Unite, Unison and community campaigns organised a march through the borough on Saturday 13 June.

As well as the privatisation plans Bromley council has

Life in the West Bank

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 11:54

Ira Berkovic

Israeli assaults in 2009 and 2014 have foregrounded Gaza in the popular imagination of Palestine throughout the world. But the West Bank, where 2.7 million Palestinians live (compared to around 1.7 million in Gaza), is the site of daily brutalities that, while perhaps less spectacularly savage than the bombardments of Gaza, give just as clear a picture of the Israeli state’s colonial project in Palestine.

The West Bank is an area of around 5,640 sq. km. In the UN’s 1947 partition plan for Israel/Palestine, the West Bank was intended to the be the territorial core of an independent Palestinian

Scottish Labour: turn outwards, or close down?

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 11:46

Dale Street

“Can the Scottish Labour Party listen and learn from its defeat on 7 May?” asked Katy Clark, former Labour MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, at last Saturday’s Campaign for Socialism (CfS) conference in Glasgow.

The 70-plus Scottish Labour members attending the event were clear about some of the things that Labour needed to do in response to that question. The same cannot be said of the Scottish Labour Executive Committee, meeting at the same time.

Speakers at the CfS conference emphasised the need for local Labour Party branches to turn outwards and campaign alongside of trade unionists and

Ukrainian left fights for workers' interests

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 11:27

Andrej from the Ukrainian Left Opposition (LO) spoke to Solidarity.

The LO was created in 2011, after a split in a broader group which included Stalinists. LO aims to unite Marxist workers and intellectuals. (The Stalinists are now grouped in Borotba). From then our priority has been to find connections.

We united young people from universities with some activists from trade unions. We tried to promote independent trade unions in enterprises where this was needed. We have activists, sympathisers and members in several cities. During the Maidan protests, Borotba was implicated in pro-Russian,

Fight every cut! Back every strike!

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 11:22


The “End Austerity Now” demonstration on Saturday 20 June will be an opportunity for thousands of labour movement, community, student, anti-cuts and left activists to come together and regain confidence that opposition to the Tories is urgent, necessary and possible.

But when we go home, let us also organise meetings, to discuss what we need to do next.

One of the central reasons the Tories feel able to do what they plan — to massively curtail the right to strike, to make deeper cuts in benefits, to keep our NHS short of staff — is that trade union leaders absolutely failed to fight during the

Open letter to members of the SWP and SP: Keep the UK in the EU, for a workers' Europe

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 11:12

Mark Osborn and Vicki Morris

Both the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) and Socialist Party (SP) have declared that they will vote for UK withdrawal from the EU.

The SWP is for withdrawal because, “[The EU is] a bosses’ organisation designed to ease the exploitation of workers and sharpen the capacity of European capitalists to beat other capitalists.” The SP say similar: the UK should get out because the EU is a “bosses’ club.”

So the first problem is that the SWP and SP deliberately misunderstand the question in the referendum. We are not being asked to vote for or against capitalism. We will be asked our opinion about

Support Corbyn for Labour leader!

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 10:46

Left-wing Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn’s success in getting the MPs’ nominations necessary to stand for party leader is very good news.

Whatever the Labour right’s calculations in not putting the pressure on to block his nomination, it undoubtedly reflects the outpouring of grassroots enthusiasm for his candidacy across the labour movement.

We do not agree with Corbyn on everything. His stance on many international issues is part of the “anti-American above all” politics widespread in many parts of the left. His stance on Europe is more internationalist than many on the Labour left, but it could

Student activists organise

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 10:44

On 10-12 June, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) held its Summer Conference in Sheffield.

Students and education activists came together to discuss and vote on the next steps in the fight for free education. The first day was given over to the women's section of the campaign, with a discussion on perspective for the NCAFC's feminist work, with a panel discussion under the banner “organising for workers’ rights as a feminist issue”

The conference saw over 100 delegates representing student groups from Aberdeen to Surrey. This shows that the campaign has renewed itself — most

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