Solidarity 369, 24 June 2015

Why people are fleeing Eritrea

Published on: Wed, 24/06/2015 - 07:50

Dan Katz

The UN estimates that 5,000 Eritreans are escaping from their homeland each month.

The number leaving has been increasing rapidly since the last months of 2014. There are over 100,000 Eritrean refugees in both Ethiopia and Sudan.

Many migrants are taking the dangerous route to Europe across the Mediterranean. Perhaps 25% of the total is from Eritrea. Why do they risk the people-smugglers and the chance of drowning?

Eritrea is a former Italian colony with a population of six million. This north east African state faces Yemen and Saudi Arabia across the Red Sea. Its major neighbours are Sudan

“We are not going back”

Published on: Wed, 24/06/2015 - 07:47

Hugh Edwards

Earlier this month hundreds of migrants made their way, against state resistance, to the Italian-French border town of Ventimiglia, aiming to get into France.

The French authorities, like the Swiss, the Austrians and the Hungarians have denied them entry.

But the migrants have had enough of being at the mercy of an increasingly warring collection of chauvinists. They refused to budge from the town , occupying the rocky shore of the little nearby locality, Ponte San Ludovico.

Their courage and determination brought solidarity action not just from political organisations, trade unionists and

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 24/06/2015 - 07:42

Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

UCU members at seven London colleges struck today as Solidarity went to press (Tuesday 23 June) in disputes over job losses.

Strikes will happen at College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, South Thames College, College of North West London, Croydon College, Greenwhich Community College, Hackney Community College, and Lewisham Southwark College (LeSoCo).

Today's strike is the fourth for workers at LeSoCo, who struck on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 June. Management plan to cut as many as 175 jobs at the college and close the Camberwell site, severely reducing the quality of education for

Unison for Corbyn

Published on: Wed, 24/06/2015 - 07:26

Just over 3000 delegates met in Glasgow for Unison’s National Delegate Conference, 16-19 June. 

The conference was taking place in the midst of two disputes with Glasgow City Council, as well as strikes involving members at London Met and Barnet Council.

The Glasgow homelessness caseworkers remain on strike and a large rally on the Thursday of around 1000 delegates saw activists take to George Square to protest against the actions of the Council with speakers including a striker, the Glasgow City Unison Branch Secretary, and Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis and a victimised rep, Robert O

Greece: rescue? At what price?

Published on: Wed, 24/06/2015 - 07:14

Theodora Polenta

At the meetings of EU prime ministers and finance ministers on 22 June, it looked like grey smoke was coming out at the end of the negotiations.

For the first time, our “partners” (except German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble) spoke as if the Greek government were nearing a deal. Whether a new deal, or another short-term extension of the existing deal, was not clear.

The latest proposal, submitted by the Greek government in the early hours of Monday morning 22 June, has superseded the previous 47-page “memorandum-lite” document.

Although it looks as if Greece’s position within the eurozone

Tories rob poorest families

Published on: Wed, 24/06/2015 - 06:57

Ed Maltby

The government is threatening to cut child tax credits, a move which the Institute for Fiscal Studies says would take £1,400 per year from 3.7 million of the poorest families.

The Resolution Foundation point out that this is a piece of regressive taxation. It would mostly affect the poorest 30% of households and leave the richest 40% almost entirely untouched. But the Conservatives are selling this move — surreally — as a means of raising wages.

In a speech on Monday 22 June Cameron green lighted the move, saying he promised to end “complacency in how we approach the issue of low pay”. Like a

Free Raif Badawi!

Published on: Tue, 23/06/2015 - 18:40

Pete Radcliff

On 7 June the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia upheld the increased sentence made on Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi.

Raif was charged with “setting up a website that undermines general security”, “ridiculing Islamic religious figures”, and “going beyond the realm of obedience” in December 2012 — a victim of the reaction across the region to the Arab Spring. In July 2013 he was sentenced and in May 2014 his sentence was increased to 10 years imprisonment and a 1,000 lashes to be delivered over 20 weekly sessions of 50 lashes each.

An international campaign rapidly grew demanding that the floggings be

Student grant cuts planned

Published on: Tue, 23/06/2015 - 18:37

Monty Shield

Since its foundation in 1990, the Student Loans Company has been growing.

It is the body which handles maintenance loans — loans which could be about to increase.

It has recently been reported that the government plans to reduce student maintenance grants before eventually removing them altogether. They plan to push students who currently receive grants into taking higher loans by increasing the amount of maintenance loan open to poorer students.

Working class students will be impacted the most by this, those who struggle to cover the “every day costs” of study. They will become part of a

Rent strike wins compensation

Published on: Tue, 23/06/2015 - 18:35

Solidarity interviewed David Dahlborn, the Halls Accommodation Officer at UCL Student’s Union who has been very influential in organising the rent strike in two of the university halls.

Solidarity: How did the idea of a rent strike first come about at UCL?

DD: It’s been an idea that has sort of existed for a while. Throughout the year there has been a campaign by students to lower the rent at UCL halls, which are some of the most expensive in the country and that have been going up in price (above-inflation year on year). We talked about the idea of rent strike action for a long and time and

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