Solidarity 380, 14 October 2015

Workers protest after Ankara bomb

Published on: Wed, 14/10/2015 - 11:58

Gerry Bates

Workers struck and demonstrated across Turkey on 12 and 13 October to protest at the bombing which killed at least 97 people at a peace rally in Ankara [Turkey’s capital] on 10 October.

The Confederation of Public Sector Trades’ Unions (KESK), the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) called for a nationwide strike on 12 and 13 October.

A march in Istanbul gathered at Taksim Square at 6pm on 11 October. The Turkish left-wing activists of UID-DER (Association of

Government condemned over refugees

Published on: Wed, 14/10/2015 - 11:52

Phil Grimm

Over 300 lawyers have signed an open letter to David Cameron criticising the government’s handling of the refugee crisis.

The letter, whose signatories include several former law lords as well as a former president of the European Court of Human Rights, condemns the government’s plan to take in only 20,000 refugees over the next five years. The letter argues that given the great wealth and stability of the UK, it should be doing far more to help refugees, including allowing many more of them into the country.

The letter calls for an end to the “Dublin system”, which says that refugees must

Labour right backs Cameron on Syria

Published on: Wed, 14/10/2015 - 11:36

Henry Thompson

David Cameron had indicated that he will seek Parliament’s support for airstrikes on Syria. It remains unclear when a vote will take place.

In an interview with the BBC on 6 October, Cameron said he would go to for a parliamentary vote “at a time when there’s a greater consensus across the House of Commons for that action”. Some Tory MPs oppose military action in Syria, so the Prime Minister might have to rely on opposition MPs to pass a motion for airstrikes.

The vote will be a significant moment for the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing leadership. Corbyn has said that he is against

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 14/10/2015 - 11:24

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Service controllers on the Waterloo and City Line on London Underground (LU) have been fighting for regrading. They struck from 28-30 September. One of the activists spoke to Tubeworker.

What’s happening to us is part of a wider picture.

London Underground is cutting staff in a variety of areas, and our experiences – of essentially being promoted to more responsible roles, involving more work, without that being reflected in our pay – mirror what’s currently happening to station staff. They’ve picked on us particularly because we’re a small unit, but if we can win our fight for justice it

Docking benefits won't keep children in school

Published on: Wed, 14/10/2015 - 11:00

Gemma Short

Parents of children who are absent from school will have child benefit docked by £120 if they do not pay a fine within 28 days.

Local authorities can already take parents to court if their children are “truanting”; courts can fine parents £60, rising to £120 if the fine is not paid within 21 days. Larger fines, community or jail sentences are also handed down to “persistent offenders”.

These punishments already disproportionately affect poorer families. In April the National Union of Teachers’ conference passed policy against parental fines, including the demand that poorer families should not

“Dead women can’t vote”

Published on: Wed, 14/10/2015 - 10:49

Becky Crocker

Sisters Uncut is a feminist direct action group which campaigns against austerity cuts to services for survivors of domestic violence.

At the recent film premiere of Suffragette, the group staged a “die in” on the red carpet, while over 100 sisters let off smoke bombs, waved placards and chanted: “David Cameron take note, dead women can’t vote”. The action drew international media attention to the often-neglected issue of domestic violence.

Sisters placed Suffragette in a contemporary context by saying: the fight is not over. Sisters also placed the all-white feminism of the film in

Threat of NHS closures

Published on: Wed, 14/10/2015 - 10:47

Pete Campbell, junior doctor

Nye Bevan’s famous quote that the Tories were “lower than vermin” was a direct and forthright response to the sustained and bitter attempts to wreck the NHS before it had even started. Similar arguments have appeared in the years since then.

It is said that the NHS is unfundable, unwieldy, overly bureaucratic. They are the perfect arguments for today’s modern politicians, containing a small kernel of truth that can then be spun into an obscure, maddening distraction from the real debate. We are hearing some of those arguments over the current dispute over junior doctors’ contracts. What’s

Don't privatise our libraries

Published on: Tue, 13/10/2015 - 18:05

Bill Davies

Barnet’s Tory councillors, determined to push through devastating cuts to Barnet’s libraries, were met with a lively and defiant protest on Monday 12 October.

An alliance of public service campaigners, library users, residents’ groups and Barnet Unison organised the mass lobby of the Council’s “Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding” (CELS) committee meeting to pile the pressure on the “flagship” cutting and privatising Tory council.

Loud chants led by John Burgess, Barnet Unison branch secretary, along with Christmas carols with improvised new lyrics of “Save our Libraries!”

Vote Bridget and Jane in NUT

Published on: Tue, 13/10/2015 - 18:01

Liam Conway

On 28 October, ballot papers go out to elect two vice-presidents for the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Only LANAC candidates, Bridget Chapman and Jane Nellist, have anything to say about the strategy needed to beat the Tories′ attacks.

This year there are four other candidates for Vice-President. Two from Broadly Speaking, the old right-wing, and two from the Socialist Teachers Alliance/Campaign for a Democratic Union, the current leadership who responsible for our ″action″ campaign since 2010, a campaign that resulted in major defeats on pay and pensions.

These four candidates have one

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