Women's Fightback no.4, October 2007

Women's Fightback 4 has gone to press

Published on: Mon, 15/10/2007 - 01:01

Women's Fightback no. 4 has gone to press, with a lead story on the Fremantle workers' struggle. Download it here as pdf (see "attachment").

What is Women’s Fightback?

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:39

Women’s Fightback is a paper produced by women in the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. We hope it stimulates debate, but whether you agree or disagree please get in touch, and contribute articles, reviews and letters to this paper. Here is a brief explanation of who we are and what we stand for.

Who we are

We need to revive the women’s movement in the UK, Europe and world wide. That movement needs to be able to inspire the many young people who want to fight sexism, but who may not call themselves “feminist”.

What kind of feminists are we? We stand for a socialist feminism. We believe women’s

The Price of Inequality

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:36
Author

Maria Exall

It is estimated that the potential cost of equal pay claims in the public sector is in the billions. This is money that the Government insists must be found from existing NHS, Local Authorities and other public sector bodies’ budgets. The Unions involved have asked the Government for funding directly to sort out the inequality.

This has not happened. Instead, divisive deals have been agreed in some areas with the claims of women workers being set against the interest of (often male) workers without claims. Large amounts of money are involved, because claims can be backdated to the

Solidarity with Fremantle workers

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:34

When the borough of Barnet’s care homes were sold off to the Fremantle Trust, they guaranteed that pay, terms and conditions of workers were protected. Five years later, the Fremantle Trust has cut holidays, frozen pay until 2010 and removed all unsocial hours remuneration. Even pensions to which contributions have been made over long periods of work have been slashed. The workers were told “accept these terms, or be sacked”.

Fremantle care workers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and were paid enhancements accordingly. These came to up to £400 a month, helping ease the strain of

Fremantle threaten free speech

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:33

So, Fremantle, not a big fan of workers then? Well, no indeed, but it would seem that they are not big fans of freedom of speech either.

The labour movement website LabourStart.org took up the campaign and within a few days over 8000 messages of solidarity were sent to the Fremantle HQ. Fremantle did what all good “not for profit” employers do and threatened to sue LabourStart; LabourStart saw this as a challenge, and stepped up the campaign.

It was then that Fremantle, clutching at straws, threatened to sue LabourStart’s Internet Service Provider if the campaign was not removed from the site

Cuts mean substandard care

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:32

When we watch a TV documentary exposing abuse of older people by visiting care staff, we shake our heads with incredulity that someone could do that to another vulnerable human being.

But it can easily happen and it is easily explained. For example, an agency worker turns up at a care home for her first day. She has to help three residents to wash and change and have breakfast. All the residents are highly dependent.

She doesn’t have time to read the notes, doesn’t have time because of the pressure on staff (due to minimum staffing levels) to help residents get ready for breakfast. Perhaps

Women workers get wage cut

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:26

As of 1 October 2007, the national minimum wage for over 21 year olds will go up 17p, to £5.52 an hour. Working an average of 35 hours a week, this would leave you with £9,063.77 take home pay a year. This 3% rise is less than inflation, meaning the minimum wage change is actually a decrease in real terms.

This should come as no surprise to any following the exploits (and we really mean that word) of the Low Pay Commission, who basically represent bosses’ interests, and wouldn’t give a genuine increase. Public sector workers are also being palmed off with below inflation pay deals.
It is

Briefing: Islamic Feminism

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:23
Author

Sarah Ley

This article will attempt to explain and define Islamic feminism, positioning the emergence of Islamic feminism within a wider political context and finally raising some questions which might help us to consider how we, as socialist feminists, might think about/ relate to Islamic feminism.

First of all it is necessary to just reiterate the distinction between Muslim feminists — women who either come from Muslim backgrounds or continue to be practising Muslims, and who also consider themselves feminists — and Islamic feminists. They might both critique traditional Islam from a women’s rights

Edinburgh Feminists

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:21
Author

Darcy Leigh

Women of the World is a feminist group based at Edinburgh University. It started life as a campaign against violence against women but has become more radicalised and explicitly feminist over the past year.

This year saw a huge influx of new activists. At our first meeting, attended by over 40 people, we discussed pornography and feminism and came up with an educational programme for the weeks ahead. This includes workshops on: Islam and women in Iran; the Church, abortion rights and sex education in the UK; socialist feminism and ecofeminism. We have also started a reading group which takes

Alexandra Kollontai: Socialist Feminist

Published on: Fri, 12/10/2007 - 10:18
Author

ROSALIND ROBSON

The Russian revolutionary, Alexandra Kollontai, is best known for her organisational work among Russian working class women prior to, and immediately after, the 1917 revolution and her writings on sexual morality and the family. She has become better known largely as the result of feminist interest in her life and career.

At the end of her life Kollontai made this comment: “Women and their fate occupied me all of my life, and concern for their lot brought me to socialism.”

Kollontai did see her special mission as fighting for the interests of working class wohien. However, when she wrote some

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