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Archive for January 2011

4 January 2011

spot2011: A year of sharpening struggle

Students besiege parliament protesting against tuition fees and the abolition of the EMA, photo by Suzanne Beishon

Students besiege parliament protesting against tuition fees and the abolition of the EMA, photo by Suzanne Beishon

Peter Taaffe, General Secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales), reviews the developments and events of 2010 in Britain and worldwide, and looks forward to further struggles in 2011.

4 January 2011

spot2011: A year of sharpening struggle

Students besiege parliament protesting against tuition fees and the abolition of the EMA, photo by Suzanne Beishon

Peter Taaffe, General Secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales), reviews the developments and events of 2010 in Britain and worldwide, and looks forward to further struggles in 2011.

4 January 2011

spotBlatant profiteering by rail companies

Years come and go but this New Year's rail fares price rise saw another ceiling breached - the cost of a standard open return ticket from Carlisle to London Euston broke through the £300 barrier and now stands at £301-00, writes Craig Johnston, Carlisle.

5 January 2011

spotTribute to John Macreadie, trade unionist and socialist fighter

John Macreadie, deputy leader of CPSA, civil servants union, 1987

John Macreadie, deputy leader of CPSA, civil servants union, 1987

The Socialist Party was saddened to learn of the death on 22 December of lifelong Militant/Socialist Party member, John Macreadie, a militant leader in his work for the Public and Commercial Services union...

5 January 2011

spotRail operators profit from commuter misery

RAIL PASSENGERS face a miserable start to the New Year as a result of massive price hikes imposed by the privately run train operating companies (TOCs), writes Dave Carr.

5 January 2011

spotNorthern Ireland water crisis: Privatisation agenda wrecks service utility

A PROTEST was held outside Northern Ireland Water in Belfast on Monday 3 January to demand emergency action to guarantee the immediate reconnection of water to homes...

5 January 2011

spotNHS cutbacks - health bosses and government to blame

A 'FINAL consultation' meeting of the inner and outer north east London primary care trusts on 15 December decided to close the Accident and Emergency department at the King George hospital in Goodmayes, east London, writes Simon Carter, east London Socialist Party.

5 January 2011

spotPrivate ownership, public pollution

A STUDY in the USA has found that tap water in 31 out of 35 major cities contains exceedingly high levels of chromium 6 - a highly toxic and carcinogenic substance associated with waste contamination from the heavy metals industry...

5 January 2011

spotTrade unions must fight for agency workers' rights

There could be as many as 1.3 million agency workers in Britain supplied by 17,000 agencies in the almost £20 billion a year 'recruitment industry'...

5 January 2011

spotHeinz strike again

The Scrooge employers at Heinz really hated Christmas 2010. 1,200 employees at Kitt Green, Wigan held their third 24-hour stoppage over Christmas on 29 December, and each strike day means two million cans...

5 January 2011

spotBirmingham bin workers fight back

On 20 December a determined body of 30 bin workers beefed up the picket at the Holford Drive, Perry Barr, depot...

5 January 2011

spotMore pay strikes at Newsquest papers

Journalists at the Southern Daily Echo in Southampton, part of Newsquest, are striking from 5-7 January...

5 January 2011

spotFela! the musical

Fela! the musical

Fela! the musical

Review: WHEN NIGERIAN musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti died in 1997, over one million people attended his funeral in Lagos, writes Jon Dale.

5 January 2011

spotWe'll resist Cameron's 'hard times'

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

PRIME MINISTER David Cameron's New Year message told us that 2011 will be a "difficult year". The Con-Dem coalition, he claimed, will take "hard but necessary steps" in the next 12 months, writes Roger Shrives.

5 January 2011

spotGrunwick: leader of historic strike dies

Jayaben Desai, the leader of the famous Grunwick strike died just before Christmas aged 77. She inspired many who saw her, especially when she stood up to the bullying brutes of the Grunwick management, writes Bill Mullins, Socialist Party Industrial Organiser

5 January 2011

spotTrade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference on 22 January 2011

Local groups, trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigns who want to stand candidates under the TUSC banner are invited to a conference on 22 January 2011...

5 January 2011

spot29 January demonstration in Manchester: Students and young workers unite

On 29 January a demonstration will take place in Manchester, bringing together young workers and students to fight for our future, writes Ben Robinson, Youth Fight for Jobs chair.

5 January 2011

spotNSSN anti-cuts conference: Trade unionists to debate the way forward

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, addresses National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, addresses National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

In the last days of 2010 Vince Cable cavorted on the dance floor, George Osborne gambolled on the ski slopes and other MPs sipped champagne while working class lives burned, writes Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party Executive Committee.

5 January 2011

spotA real strategy to fight the cuts

Liverpool lobby of council: Tony Mulhearn (holding The Socialist), waiting to speak, Daren Ireland, RMT and President of Liverpool TUC, addressing demo , photo Merseyside Socialist Party

Liverpool lobby of council: Tony Mulhearn (holding The Socialist), waiting to speak, Daren Ireland, RMT and President of Liverpool TUC, addressing demo , photo Merseyside Socialist Party

The following open letter has been sent to Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council, by members of the 1983-87 group of 47 surcharged councillors.

5 January 2011

spotFight the NHS pay freeze!

Death and privatisation in the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Death and privatisation in the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Last month an article appeared on the Unison Health website from national officer Mike Jackson which announced a "tough choice" for Unison members, East Midlands and Yorkshire Unison health members write.

5 January 2011

spotMarch together, win together: students and workers join the demonstration in Manchester on 29 January

PCS banner joins the student protest against fees outside parliament on Day X, photo by Suzanne Beishon

PCS banner joins the student protest against fees outside parliament on Day X, photo by Suzanne Beishon

As a Christmas present to the bankers and big-business, the Con-Dem government voted through the tripling of tuition fees and have now stopped processing new claims for Education Maintenance Allowance, writes Jethro Waldron, YFJ colleges organiser.

5 January 2011

spotTommy Sheridan guilty verdict is a sham

Tommy Sheridan speaking at Socialism 2006, photo Paul Mattsson

Tommy Sheridan speaking at Socialism 2006, photo Paul Mattsson

Statement from Socialist Party Scotland: "I have fought the power of News International all my political life and I make no apologies for taking on the might of Rupert Murdoch...

7 January 2011

spotLeeds Trinity students re-occupy

Leeds Trinity University College students went back into occupation this week, to oppose all cuts, including at Leeds Trinity University College (LTUC) where severe funding cuts are taking place.

7 January 2011

spotSocialist Party Links

The Socialist Party is part of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), which fights for socialism in more than 35 countries world wide...

11 January 2011

spotNSSN debate: The way forward for the anti-cuts movement

National Shop Stewards Network conference 2010, photo by Paul Mattsson

NSSN conference 2010

One issue dominates all others for the workers' movement now and for the foreseeable future - how to defeat the avalanche of cuts and tax rises that is engulfing us, writes Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary.

11 January 2011

spotLabour baroness wants politics kept out of the Forest of Dean

Mark Harper, the Tory MP for the Forest of Dean, has 'concerns' about job security, but that is all he has in common with the millions of public sector workers whose jobs are currently under threat, writes Sue Powell, Gloucestershire Socialist Party.

11 January 2011

spotCorrespondence with Bob Crow on fighting the cuts

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT), yesterday sent an email to the National Shop Stewards Network and the Socialist Party, calling for unity in the anti-cuts struggles...

12 January 2011

spotBankers get billions - We get cuts - Time to fight back!

FOR GREEDY, self-serving banking industry bosses, failure is rewarded by fat pay-offs and lavish pensions, writes tony Mulhearn, former 'Liverpool 47' councillor...

12 January 2011

spotMarch for a future - Join the demonstrations on 29 January

David Cameron has declared he'll deliver "the most pro-business...agenda ever unleashed by a government", writes Tracy Edwards, PCS young members' organiser (personal capacity)

12 January 2011

spotRage at inequality fires workers' action

NHS cleaners employed by Compass Medirest on a 48 hour strike in Southampton and Buckinghamshire, photo Southampton Socialist Party

NHS cleaners employed by Compass Medirest on a 48 hour strike in Southampton and Buckinghamshire, photo Southampton Socialist Party

"We have to let management know we won't accept this pay freeze anymore," were the angry words of one striking journalist at the Southampton Echo picket last week, writes Nick Chaffey, Secretary Southampton Shop Stewards Network (SSSN).

12 January 2011

spotNSSN debate: The way forward for the anti-cuts movement

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC congress 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC congress 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

ONE ISSUE dominates all others for the workers' movement now and for the foreseeable future - how to defeat the avalanche of cuts and tax rises that is engulfing us, writes Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary.

12 January 2011

spotTrade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Local groups, trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigns who want to stand candidates in the forthcoming local elections, elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly under the TUSC banner are invited to a conference on 22 January...

12 January 2011

spotJobs cut while the rich carry on partying

Greenwich protest against council cuts 29 November 2010 - riot police were called

Greenwich protest against council cuts 29 November 2010 - riot police were called

On 6 January nearly 8,000 council workers employed by Greenwich received notices of dismissal. The council wants to sack its entire workforce, with no entitlement to redundancy pay, and offer new contracts...

12 January 2011

spotMarch for a future - Join the demonstrations on 29 January

Youth Fight for Jobs demonstration, November 2009, photo Dave Carr

Youth Fight for Jobs demonstration, November 2009, photo Dave Carr

David Cameron has declared he'll deliver "the most pro-business...agenda ever unleashed by a government", writes Tracy Edwards, PCS young members' organiser (personal capacity).

12 January 2011

spotTunisia: Wave of protests against repressive regime

CLASHES BETWEEN protesters and police over unemployment, the high cost of living and the repressive regime of president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, are reportedly spreading across Tunisia, with the latest protests in the cities of Regueb, Thala and Kasserine in the country's southern and central regio...

12 January 2011

spotThe plot thickens at News International

The News of the World's denials that illegal phone hacking was carried out by the newspaper on a regular and sustained basis are rapidly unravelling, writes Philip Stott, CWI Scotland.

12 January 2011

spot'Big Oil' cuts corners on safety to boost profits

A PRELIMINARY report by the US National Commission (set up by president Barack Obama following the fatal Deepwater horizon oil rig blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico last April) has accused three companies - BP, Transocean and Halliburton - of cutting corners over safety in order to cut costs ie to boos...

12 January 2011

spotCouncils ramp up service charges

COUNCILS ARE massively increasing charges to residents - aside from hefty council tax increases - for providing local services...

12 January 2011

spotCampaigners tell PM: 'No to Royal Mail privatisation'

ON SUNDAY 9 January, 1,000 people turned up in Witney, prime minister David Cameron's Oxfordshire constituency, to demonstrate against the privatisation of the Royal Mail, writes Steve Bell.

12 January 2011

spotPolice moles attempt to discredit protest movements

THE TRIAL of six environmental activists, accused of conspiring to break into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, has collapsed after the defence demanded information about a police agent provocateur who it appears was one of the main people planning to break into the coal-fired power station, writes Naomi Byron.

12 January 2011

spotKirklees council: First round victory in cuts battle

On 7 January, at one of the biggest stewards' meetings in Kirklees Unison branch's history, the branch voted to call off the planned five-day strike which had been endorsed by a mass ballot of the 7,500 strong membership only two weeks earlier, writes Mike Forster.

12 January 2011

spotDarlington: Newsquest strikes continue to spread

Journalists, members of the NUJ, on strike at Newsquest in Southampton, photo Nick Chaffey

Journalists, members of the NUJ, on strike at Newsquest in Southampton, photo Nick Chaffey

Joining fellow Newsquest staff around the country, members of the National Union of Journalists at the Northern Echo and its sister papers in Darlington held a solid strike on 6 and 7 January...

12 January 2011

spotWorkplace news in brief

London Underground: Rail union RMT has demanded an end to the cuts programme being forced through by London Underground. The union has exposed plans by tube management to allow more than 30% of tube stations to be unstaffed...

12 January 2011

spotMore attacks on rights for young workers

Youth Fight for Jobs demonstration, November 2009, photo Dave Carr

Youth Fight for Jobs demonstration, November 2009, photo Dave Carr

The government and the leaders of big business met recently to discuss solutions to the unemployment crisis currently facing young people, writes Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser.

12 January 2011

spotAxe falls on courses at UWIC

Administrators at University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) have decided to axe six arts and humanities courses, while making serious cutbacks to its acclaimed Cardiff School of Arts and Design, writes Edmund Schluessel.

12 January 2011

spotLabour baroness wants politics kept out of the Forest of Dean

Mark Harper, the Tory MP for the Forest of Dean, has 'concerns' about job security, but that is all he has in common with the millions of public sector workers whose jobs are currently under threat, writes Sue Powell, Gloucestershire Socialist Party.

12 January 2011

spotFighting Labour's cuts in Waltham Forest

The Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union (WFACU) met during the first week of 2011 when 35 people discussed organising against cuts in the north east London borough, including having a demonstration in February, writes Bob Severn Walthamstow Socialist Party.

12 January 2011

spotBankers get billions - We get cuts

Youth Fight for jobs campaigning in Cardiff against the bankers bailouts and bonuses, photo Cardiff YFJ

Youth Fight for jobs campaigning in Cardiff against the bankers bailouts and bonuses, photo Cardiff YFJ

FOR GREEDY, self-serving banking industry bosses, failure is rewarded by fat pay-offs and lavish pensions, writes Tony Mulhearn.

12 January 2011

spotNSSN National: Anti-Cuts Conference

22 January, 11.30am - 3.30pm. Registration from 10.30am
South Camden Community School, Charrington Street, London NW1 1RG, (near Euston station)
See: www.shopstewards.net

12 January 2011

spotUnison rejects NHS pay freeze

Defend Whittington Hospital Campaign demonstration, photo Paul Mattsson

Defend Whittington Hospital Campaign demonstration, photo Paul Mattsson

Unison's health service group executive has decided to completely reject the employers' proposal of a two year pay freeze in return for no compulsory redundancies, Socialist Party members on the Unison health SGE write.

12 January 2011

spotStudents at Leeds Trinity re-occupy

Leeds Trinity University College (LTUC) students went back into occupation this week. The campaign in general is designed to oppose all cuts, especially at LTUC where severe funding cuts are taking place writes Andy Smith, Leeds Trinity Socialist Students

12 January 2011

spotHalifax, Nottingham, Truro - protests to save EMA

Demonstrations took place around the country on Tuesday 11 January to protest against the Con-Dem coalition's plans to scrap Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the weekly payment that some college students receive to enable them to be at college...

12 January 2011

spotJoint statement on NSSN anti-cuts conference

Bob Crow, Railway workers union general secretary, RMT, addresses NSSN lobby of TUC, photo Suleman Civi

Bob Crow at NSSN lobby of TUC, photo Suleman Civi

Joint statement on meeting between Bob Crow (RMT general secretary), Alex Gordon (RMT president), Bill Mullins (Socialist Party and co-organiser of the NSSN) and Linda Taaffe (Socialist Party and secretary of the NSSN)...

12 January 2011

spotNational Shop Stewards Network: Strategy and tactics - a dialogue

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT), yesterday sent an email to the National Shop Stewards Network and the Socialist Party, calling for unity in the anti-cuts struggles...

13 January 2011

spotHeinz Wigan - solid strikes force improved offer

Heinz workers strike, photo Hugh Caffrey

Heinz strike, photo H Caffrey

Four solid strikes by 1000+ workers at the Heinz plant in Wigan have forced a significantly improved offer from the company

13 January 2011

spotStudent receives draconian sentence: defend the right to demonstrate

Edward Woollard, the student protester who has admitted dropping a fire extinguisher from the roof of the Tory Party HQ on 10 November 2010, has this week been handed a 32 month jail sentence...

14 January 2011

spotRotherham teachers strike

"Kids not Cuts" was the message on the placards and badges of striking teachers on the picket line outside a Rotherham secondary school last week...

14 January 2011

spotManchester council plans to axe one in five posts

Two thousand council jobs in Manchester are to be scrapped, with compulsory redundancies a serious prospect, as the council tries to cut £110 million worth of services over the next two years, writes Hugh Caffrey.

15 January 2011

spotTunisia: President Ben Ali flees country in face of mass revolt

Tunisia uprising

Tunisia uprising

"The people sacrificed so much - they are not ready for fake promises": Interview with activist in Tunisia from www.socialistworld.net, the website of the Committee for a Workers' International, CWI

18 January 2011

spotTeachers step up Rotherham school strikes

Striking teachers at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham , photo by Alastair Tice

Striking teachers at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham , photo by Alastair Tice

The strike against the loss of a third of teaching and support staff continued last week at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham.

18 January 2011

spotThe way forward for students at Leeds Trinity

Updated on 28/1/11 On Saturday 15 January around 40 local people, students, socialists and lecturers, attended a public meeting organised by the Leeds Trinity University College (LTUC) occupiers to discuss the cuts at the university and in the wider community

18 January 2011

spotTunisia: Regime in Turmoil

Tunisian masses take to the streets

Tunisian masses take to the streets

Mass popular uprising forced Ben Ali to flee the country Powerful movement of revolt of the Tunisian masses sweeps away dictator President Ben Ali, writes Chahid Gashir. Read in Arabic here www.socialistworld.net, 15/01/2011 Committee for a Workers' International, CWI

19 January 2011

spotTeachers strike against redundancies

"To lie down will only lead to devastation": THE STRIKE against the loss of a third of teaching and support staff at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham continued this week. Over 30 redundancies are proposed to reduce the school's 'debt', writes Chris Bingham, Rotherham Socialist Party.

19 January 2011

spotFighting cuts in Somerset

Around the country, trade unionists and local campaigners are forming anti-cuts groups, even in smaller and usually quieter towns...

19 January 2011

spotWales referendum: Vote Yes on 3 March - Defend public services in Wales

Socialist Party Wales is calling for a 'yes' vote in the referendum on more powers for the Welsh Assembly on 3 March, writes Dave Reid.

19 January 2011

spotCameron 'thanks' postal workers by axing their jobs and pensions

Two days after MPs voted through the Postal Services Bill, postal workers received Royal Mail's employee newspaper, the Courier, carrying a letter from the prime minister on page three thanking us for our "excellent work" in ensuring that Christmas letters, cards and parcels were delivered, writes A postal worker.

19 January 2011

spotStudents demand - 'save our EMA'

November 24th student demonstrations against tuition fees rises and the abolition of the EMA, photo Senan

November 24th student demonstrations against tuition fees rises and the abolition of the EMA, photo Senan

AS STUDENTS restart their protest action in the New Year over the rise in fees and cutting of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), a poll has revealed the extent of the impact that the attack on EMA will have on working class young people, writes Suzanne Beishon.

19 January 2011

spotStudent receives draconian sentence

Police on student demonstration - hundreds of protesters have been injured by police violence, photo Senan

Police on student demonstration - hundreds of protesters have been injured by police violence, photo Senan

Youth Democratic Rights Campaign: Edward Woollard, the student protester who has admitted dropping a fire extinguisher from the roof of the Tory Party HQ on 10 November 2010, has been handed a 32-month jail sentence, writes Claire Laker Mansfield, Socialist Students.

19 January 2011

spotUrgent action needed to end youth unemployment

As the Con-Dem coalition and Labour engage in pointless bickering over who "caused" the current problem with youth unemployment, the fact remains that nothing is being done to combat it...

19 January 2011

spotTrade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Local groups, trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigns who want to stand candidates in the forthcoming local elections, elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly under the TUSC banner are invited to a conference on 22 January, 3.30pm-6.00pm...

19 January 2011

spotStrike at sweatshop DWP centres

DWP PCS workers on strike, photo The Socialist

DWP PCS workers on strike, photo The Socialist

PCS members in Jobcentre Plus who have been compulsorily transferred from benefit processing into contact centres will be taking strike action on 20 and 21 January over our working conditions, writes Katrine Williams, PCS DWP group vice president.

19 January 2011

spotHeinz strikes force improved offer

Four solid strikes by 1,000+ workers at the Heinz plant in Wigan have forced a significantly improved offer from the company, writes Hugh Caffrey.

19 January 2011

spotWorkplace news in brief

Pensions ballot: Teachers' union NUT members are participating in a survey about action over pensions. The education department is threatening to increase contributions from 6.4% to as much as 10% of salary. The NUT executive...

19 January 2011

spotUnite against all the cuts

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

Con-Dems and councils swing the axe: Over 100,000 jobs are already under threat in local authorities as Labour, Tory and Liberal councillors swing the Con-Dem axe, writes Hugh Caffrey, North West Socialist Party secretary.

19 January 2011

spotEducation Maintenance Allowance: 11 January day of action

Reports from Nottingham, Halifax, Truro, Cornwall and Leeds Notts: After a small rally in the Old Market Square, we marched to a rally outside the Vodafone store resulting in it closing for the rest of the working day, writes Stuart Lambert.

19 January 2011

spotMPs' expenses scam continues: for workers' MPs on a worker's wage

Dave Nellist at NSSN lobby of TUC, photo Suleyman Civi

Dave Nellist

ON 7 January 2011 the former Labour MP for Bury North, David Chaytor, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to 18 months' imprisonment for 'false accounting' writes Coventry Socialist Party Councillor Dave Nellist (former Labour MP 1983-1992)...

19 January 2011

spotDiscussing an NSSN anti-cuts campaign

London anti-cuts demonstration jointly called by the NSSN, RMT, NUT, FBU, PCS and other unions, photo Paul Mattsson

London anti-cuts demonstration jointly called by the NSSN, RMT, NUT, FBU, PCS and other unions, photo Paul Mattsson

National Shop Stewards Network conference 22 January: In the debates and discussions that have taken place in the run up to the NSSN special anti-cuts conference on 22 January, a number of assumptions and misunderstandings have been raised in meetings around the country and also circulated on the internet...

19 January 2011

spotSave our NHS!

Socialist Party members on NHS demonstration in 2006, photo Paul Mattsson

Socialist Party members on NHS demonstration in 2006, photo Paul Mattsson

Government health bill spells disaster for patients and workers: THE GOVERNMENT is planning a massive assault on the NHS in England in its latest health bill. This is on top of billions of pounds of 'efficiency savings' ie cuts, in the NHS budget, a London health workers explains...

19 January 2011

spotTunisia in revolt

Tunisians defied the repressive forces of the state to overthrow the dictator, president  Ben Ali

Tunisians defied the repressive forces of the state to overthrow the dictator, president Ben Ali

WIDESPREAD PROTESTS over unemployment, high food prices and a lack of democratic rights has resulted in a popular uprising in Tunisia and the overthrow of its hated dictator, president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Chahid Gashir, a member of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), reports on the uprising, its international impact and what programme is necessary to take the revolution forward.

19 January 2011

spotOldham East and Saddleworth by-election: A left-wing workers' alternative needed

THE OLDHAM East and Saddleworth parliamentary by-election on 13 January, a three-way marginal seat last year, was a muted affair in much of Oldham this time, an Oldham Socialist Party member writes.

19 January 2011

spotPCS members vote for battle against cuts

London anti-cuts demonstration jointly called by the NSSN, RMT, NUT, FBU, PCS and other unions, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS members protest

Public and Commercial Services (PCS) members have given a resounding 90% 'yes' in an indicative ballot to reject the government's proposals to rip up their contracts and steal accrued rights on redundancy payments under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS), writes John McInally, PCS national vice president (personal capacity).

20 January 2011

spotDWP call centres strike to defend services and conditions

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants in the PCS union taking strike action in Newport to provide a decent service to claimants, photo Dave Reid

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants in the PCS union taking strike action in Newport to provide a decent service to claimants, photo Dave Reid

Updated 21/1/11. As unemployment figures jumped again, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants in the PCS union were taking strike action to provide a decent service to claimants

20 January 2011

spotAbolition of EMA - Socialist Party's Linda Taaffe speaks on Radio two

Linda Taaffe, Socialist Party member and secretary of the National Shop Stewards Network, in the studio of the BBC 2 Jeremy Vine show on the 19 January 2010

20 January 2011

spotManchester council cuts - figures don't add up

The plot has thickened at Manchester city council in the days following the 2,000 job losses announcement, as public statements and internal council documents shed further light on the situation

20 January 2011

spotStudent protests against EMA cuts

Over the last two days, while further demonstrations have taken place against the abolition of EMA, a survey indicated that 70% of EMA recipients would have to drop out of their courses if their grant was withdrawn

21 January 2011

spotLeicester rallies against cuts

The main public sector unions in Leicester, Unison, PCS, NUT, GMB and Unite organised a 300-strong rally on Wednesday 19 January outside Leicester town hall

24 January 2011

spotWorkers invade Con-Dem cutters in Hull

Around 400 council workers from Unison, Unite, GMB and UCATT joined the 'Hull against the Cuts' lobby of Lib Dem controlled Hull City Council on Thursday 20 January

24 January 2011

spotSecond show of strength by Medirest workers

For the second time, hundreds of Medirest cleaners at Southampton General hospital came out on strike on 19-21 January to fight for unpaid wages and sick pay, writes Nick Chaffey

26 January 2011

spotWhere next for the student movement?

The student movement has had a massive impact. Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) has been saved in Scotland and Wales and fee rises are not planned in those areas either, writes Ben Robinson.

26 January 2011

spotNo to sky-high youth unemployment!

The recent announcement of the latest unemployment figures confirmed what most of us already knew. The number of people out of work jumped by 49,000 to 2.5 million in the three months to November 2010...

26 January 2011

spotMarching against council cuts

Haringey: On Monday 17 January, 1,500 people marched against cuts in Haringey in a protest called by Unite, Unison, UCATT and NUT union branches...

26 January 2011

spotHampshire: Battling to defend jobs

Demonstration in Southampton by Unite and Unison against Tory attacks on terms and conditions and cuts in public services. Around 1000 workers took part, photo David Smith

Demonstration in Southampton by Unite and Unison against Tory attacks on terms and conditions and cuts in public services. Around 1000 workers took part, photo David Smith

ON 19 January, Hampshire County Council (HCC) announced that they were going to sack 1,200 workers. This announcement was released to the media before the Unison trade union was informed of the full scale...

26 January 2011

spotSecond show of strength by Medirest workers

For the second time, hundreds of Medirest cleaners at Southampton general hospital came out on strike on 19-21 January to fight for unpaid wages and sick pay. Some workers are owed £3,500...

26 January 2011

spotBA workers vote to fight on

For the fourth time in 13 months British Airways cabin crew have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action. The ballot returned a 78.5% vote in favour of strike action in a turnout of 7,335 members, writes Neil Cafferky.

26 January 2011

spotDWP contact centre strike

As Unemployment figures jumped again, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants in the PCS union were taking strike action to provide a decent service to claimants...

26 January 2011

spotTidemill school - victory for parents

Do not close our schools: Medway schools protest, photo Jacqui Berry

Do not close our schools: Medway schools protest, photo Jacqui Berry

ONE OF the flagship academies planned was Tidemill Primary School in Deptford in south London. Head master Mark Elms, who achieved widespread media attention when he became Britain's highest-paid 'superhead',...

26 January 2011

spotSave Our Schools

Review: THE COALITION government in Britain has made it clear that it wants 'educational reform' by increasing the number of academies and developing 'free' schools, writes Paul Gerrard, Bury NUT.

26 January 2011

spotBankers' "Free school" excludes poorer pupils

A PROPOSED 'free school'/academy in Wandsworth, south London, run by 25 bankers working for top City firms, has displayed blatant class discrimination by excluding children from poorer neighbourhoods...

26 January 2011

spotBritain's Banks: Too Big to Save?

BBC programme: Britian's banks: too big to fail

BBC programme: Britian's banks: too big to fail

TV Review: Journalist Robert Peston's BBC documentary, Britain's Banks: Too Big to Save?, gave a useful explanation of how Britain's banks have operated over the last two decades, leading to the banking crash of 2008, writes Sean Figg.

26 January 2011

spotStop the mental health service cuts

The funding of Mental Health Action Group Sheffield (MHAGS) is in jeopardy. We get our core grant from Sheffield city council, which plans to reduce the service down to one day a week...

26 January 2011

spotTrade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) conference

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) conference on 22 January was attended by 150 people and aimed to, according to chair Dave Nellist, "lay the basis for hundreds of challenges in the council elections this year", writes Bob Severn.

26 January 2011

spotPhone hacking and media spin - the murky world of Andy Coulson

THE NEWS of the World (NoW) phone hacking scandal has claimed the job of Andy Coulson, David Cameron's spin doctor-in-chief, writes Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland.

26 January 2011

spotFight the Con-Dem 'bosses' charter'

THE LATEST proposals for changes to employment legislation from the Con-Dems once again show their blatant class bias, writes Greg Maughan.

26 January 2011

spotRMT leader slams anti-union laws

Alex Gordon, president of the RMT transport union, explained to delegates at the recent National Shop Stewards Committee how the anti-union laws were being used to frustrate industrial action by workers...

26 January 2011

spotTunisia: Protesters demand real democracy and social change

Two weeks ago a powerful revolt of the Tunisian masses swept away the dictator, President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, after decades of autocratic rule, growing joblessness and high food prices...

26 January 2011

spot50 years ago: Congo's independence leader assassinated

ON 17 January 1961, Patrice Lumumba, the democratically elected prime minister of the newly independent republic of Congo, was assassinated at the hands of Belgian officers and troops of president Moise Tshombe of the secessionist area of Katanga, writes Chris Newby.

26 January 2011

spotNSSN anti-cuts campaign launched

National Shop Stewards Network anti-cuts conference, photo Paul Mattsson

National Shop Stewards Network anti-cuts conference, photo Paul Mattsson

Nearly 600 people, mostly workers with elected positions in trade union branches, trades councils, workplaces and anti-cuts alliances, filled a hall in Camden on Saturday 22 January for the special anti-cuts conference of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN).

26 January 2011

spotFight for jobs and education

Students on the march, photo Sarah Wrack

Students on the march, photo Sarah Wrack

Workers and students unite!:
* 20% youth unemployment:
Invest in jobs and services!
* £9,000 student fees:
For free education!
* EMA payments scrapped:
Defend and extend EMA!

26 January 2011

spotEducation Maintenance Allowance days of action 18 and 19 January

Around 600 students marched in central London against the scrapping of EMA, writes Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser.

26 January 2011

spotFood price hikes fuelling unrest

FOOD PRICE rises have caused mass protests in Algeria, Mozambique and Yemen, as well as being a major factor in the movement that recently toppled the Tunisian dictator, president Ben Ali, writes Naomi Byron.

26 January 2011

spotThree decades of 'reform' and 'flexibility'

London anti-cuts demonstration jointly called by the NSSN, RMT, NUT, FBU, PCS and other unions, photo Paul Mattsson

London anti-cuts demonstration jointly called by the NSSN, RMT, NUT, FBU, PCS and other unions, photo Paul Mattsson

Since the election in 1979 of Margaret Thatcher's Tory government the people of this country have been subjected to a diatribe of rubbish under headlines such as 'reform' and 'flexibility', writes Craig Johnston, RMT union executive member.

26 January 2011

spotIrish government collapses: United Left Alliance offers real alternative

Joe Higgins MEP with Irish Socialist Party councillor Clare Daly

Joe Higgins with Clare Daly

After the economic collapse of the so-called 'Celtic Tiger' economy, Ireland is spiralling into social and political disintegration. The Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) will stand candidates in the coming elections as a key part of the United Left Alliance (ULA).

26 January 2011

spotWarning: Government health 'reforms' can seriously damage your health

Demonstration to Save Hospital, photo by Paul Mattsson

Photo by Paul Mattsson

'EQUITY AND Excellence: Liberating the NHS'... so benevolently named is the government's car crash of a health bill which is going through parliament, that frankly there should be a health warning attached to it! Jackie Grunsell writes.

27 January 2011

spotSocialist Party's Hannah Sell on Jeremy Vine show

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary, addressing sStudents protest outside parliament on Day X as tuition fees debated, photo Suzanne Beishon

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary, addressing sStudents protest outside parliament on Day X as tuition fees debated, photo Suzanne Beishon

"Mervyn King says we'll all have to take a big pay cut if the economy is to recover. Are we all in it together?" Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary, argues that we are not in it together

27 January 2011

spotPress release from Leeds University Against Cuts

A 'Save EMA' protest of 75 school, college and university students in Leeds on 26 January was attacked by police...

27 January 2011

spotBolton council workers denounce huge cuts

Lobbying Bolton council

Lobbying Bolton council

Unison members working for Bolton council lobbied the council executive on Monday 24 January, because it was meeting to accept proposals for cuts

28 January 2011

spotBritain's biggest public sector union found guilty in court

Witch-hunt ruled illegal: UNISON's leadership has spent three years and tens of thousands of pounds witch-hunting some of its most effective fighters. Today an Employment Tribunal has ruled that campaign of bullying to be unlawful

28 January 2011

spotEgypt: Revolutionary masses move to overthrow Mubarak dictatorship

Police use watercannon

Police use watercannon

Mass protests spread across Egypt following today's Friday prayers, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year presidency. Demonstrations took place in Alexandria, Suez...

31 January 2011

spotLondon demonstration against education cuts

Thousands of young people and workers took to the streets in London on Saturday 29 January as part of the ongoing protests at the attacks on education and the public sector

31 January 2011

spotEgypt: Mass revolt forces Mubarak regime to brink

Egypt: masses arise

Egypt: masses arise

Hundreds of thousands remain on streets defying repression - For an indefinite general strike!
Mubarak's rotten regime is tottering on the brink. Six days of mass protests have grown into a nation-wide revolutionary wave of defiance.

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