Solidarity 433, 22 March 2017

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 12:34

Justine Canady, UCLU Women’s Officer-elect (personal capacity), Simon Nelson and Luke Hardy

UCL Student Union’s senior management have agreed cuts in the region of 90k to the cleaning budget. Secura Clean, the company contracted to carry out UCLU cleaning, have promised there will be no redundancies. However, hours will be drastically cut, meaning that some cleaners possibly losing one-third of their hours.

Many cleaners are currently organised through independent trade union CAIWU. It is likely that they will ballot for industrial action if these cuts go through. There has also been some controversy around the cleaners′ pay. UCLU is a London Living Wage employer. However, some

DOO strikes spread

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 12:18

On Monday 13 March, RMT guards and drivers on Southern Railways struck and were joined for the first time by RMT guards and drivers on Northern and Merseyrail. RMT continues its fight against the extension of driver-only operation on Southern, while the leadership of drivers’ union Aslef seems desperate to surrender.

Two days after the latest RMT strike, Aslef announced to its members the result of the latest secret round of talks. The result? The same deal, with some very minor improvements. The Financial Times was open in describing it as the same deal rewritten and talks about this whole

The inspirational art of Buffy

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 12:09

Carrie Evans

On 10 March 1997 something was created that changed my world forever. This is not using hyperbole to illustrate a point. Buffy the Vampire Slayer shaped my world. Unfortunately for me (or fortunately depending on context) I’m not the only person who feels this way. Which is why Buffy has launched a thousand think-pieces.

But Buffy’s originality still stands up today because it took every cliché and trope and turned them on their heads. To the people who still think Buffy is exclusively for hormonal teenage girls who long for the “bite” of a vampire and basement-dwelling neck-beards — where

SNP nationalism no answer to Brexit nationalism

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 11:50

Dale Street

On 13 March, a school in the constituency of SNP Education Secretary John Swinney sent a letter to pupils’ parents asking them to help teach maths in the school, due to a shortage of maths teachers. Later in that week a new report revealed that child poverty, income inequality and the number of people living in relative poverty in Scotland were all increasing.

Over the past year, child poverty increased by 4%, to 260,000. The numbers in relative poverty increased by 2%, to 1.05 million. The income of the top 10% of the population is now 38% higher than the income of the bottom 40%. In 2014/5

Meet the Lords? Abolish the Lords!

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 11:39

Simon Nelson

Meet the Lords was the BBC’s three-part series on the inner workings of the House of Lords. At its most critical it showed how few peers bother doing anything, although a large proportion still claim their full allowance. For the most part the programme was a tribute to the work of the £300-a-day “unsalaried” parliamentarians with no democratic mandate.

The programme maker’s idea of a rebel is Baroness King (Labour) and Lord Bird (Crossbencher) — but not because they condemn this relic of Britain’s feudalism. Lord Bird says “bugger” in his maiden speech and tells the kitchen staff he too

Greece: Towards a fourth memorandum?

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 11:31

Theodora Polenta

The latest poll in Greece shows Syriza has the support of just 15% of the electorate. Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos has boasted that a third of the austerity measures Greece had to impose as part of the current programme have been “totally completed”, another third are “totally agreed”, while the rest are subject to “political negotiation”.

Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza-Anel government, elected in January 2015 with the claim and the hope that it would be Greece’s first government of the left, is overseeing a social counterrevolution. More than a third of the population (35.7 per cent) are

Rich and poor: the gap widens

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 11:23


“If nothing is done to change [the] outlook, the current parliament [2015-20] will go down as being the worst on record for income growth in the bottom half of the income distribution. It will also represent the biggest rise in inequality since the end of the 1980s”. So concludes an analysis on 16 March, by Adam Corlett of the Resolution Foundation, of the latest official figures on low incomes, published the same day.

The toxic mix comes from low wage growth — which the government’s own Office for Budgetary Responsibility predicts — and a great wave of pre-programmed cuts in working-age

Excluded from Labour for being a socialist!

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 11:02

Keith Road

A Socialist Appeal member, expelled from the Labour Party, recently went court to contest the expulsion. Unsurprisingly the Party had their side upheld and he will not be reinstated, at least not through court procedures.

The submission to the court from the Labour Party is the first clear statement of the pretexts they use for suspending and expelling socialists from the Party, including supports of the AWL. Labour’s document quotes Chapter 2.4.1.B “A member of the Party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party...

Abortion: denying women fundamental rights

Published on: Wed, 22/03/2017 - 10:56

Honor Wilkinson-Bell and Beckie Walker, Darlington Young Labour (personal capacity)

As young females, we both feel strongly about the liberation of women. We believe it is abhorrent that women across the world are still denied their fundamental rights, especially in the 21st century.

One significant example is how the issue of abortion, which is still stigmatised in the US, arguably even more so in the Trump era. Despite the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, attacks on women’s right to choose, have continued for years. Violent attacks have taken place in clinics and there have been campaigns to overturn and restrict Roe v. Wade.

Across the world women still face restrictions when

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