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Archive for January 2014

7 January 2014

spotTwo PCS strikes on both sides of New Year

East London police control centre strike, 31.12.13, photo Naomi Byron

PCS members at the national insurance number processing centre struck on 2 January and others struck in a police control centre on 31.12.13

7 January 2014

spotLawyers' walkout: photos

Lawyers and barristers outside Leeds combined courts on Monday 6th January , photo Tanis Belsham-Wray

7 January 2014

spotPCS warns: Storms show need to retain coastguards

Storms and floods in the UK show the need to retain expert coastguard resources and knowledge in our coastal communities, says the PCS

8 January 2014

spotIs UK car building back in Top Gear?

The thoroughly reactionary but entertaining Jeremy Clarkson, on his Top Gear programme's Christmas special, tried to demonstrate that UK vehicle manufacturing was healthier than ever

8 January 2014

spotAnother year of mass struggles beckons

PCS strike on budget day, 2013, photo Paul Mattsson

Appeal of socialist change will grow: Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party, reviews the developments and events of 2013 in Britain and worldwide, and discusses further struggles in 2014 and the development of the workers' movement

8 January 2014

spotEnergy Bills: Labour's 'supermarket special offer'

Labour is targeting Kingswood constituency in Bristol for the 2015 general election, using its promise to 'freeze energy bills'

8 January 2014

spotClass injustice at Dickensian court

Between Christmas and New Year, thousands of tenants in rent arrears were dragged into courts across the country facing possession orders

8 January 2014

spotTime for a new workers' party

Socialist Party member Seth Cruse's letter (below) appeared in the 2 January Folkestone Herald in response to a 'disagreement' between a Lib Dem councillor and the local Tory MP

8 January 2014

spotWhy capitalism mourned Mandela

After Nelson Mandela's death, the articles in the Socialist on the fight against apartheid and on South African workers' struggles stood alone in clearly explaining the real history

8 January 2014

spotSouth Africa: Numsa's bold and historic decision to cut ties with the ANC

Delegates at the special congress of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have taken the bold and historic decision to cut ties with the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC)

8 January 2014

spotThem & Us

Call charges: Families hit by electricity blackouts over the festive period had injury heaped upon misery when callers to SP Energy Networks were left on hold for over 20 minutes

8 January 2014

spotUnite all workers to end bosses' race to the bottom

Much of the right-wing media whipped up hostility and alarm in the run up to the 1 January end of restrictions on entry to Britain for people from Romania and Bulgaria

8 January 2014

spotPrivatisation Act lies behind the A&E crisis

There's a crisis in A&E provision in Britain's hospitals. Government statements have blamed people being unable to get GP access,and an ageing population. But a new report has let the cat out of the bag

8 January 2014

spotGreedy landlords create housing hell

Fergus Wilson - one of Britain's largest private landlords - says he will not accept any more applicants who rely on housing benefit

8 January 2014

spotHampshire Unison success shows potential for fightback

With ongoing attacks on jobs, pay and conditions in local government, two recent battles in Hampshire County Council show what is possible when a branch and its members are prepared to fight

8 January 2014

spotEvery job matters on London Underground

Transport union RMT members working on London Underground (LU) are balloting for strike action in protest at the massive cuts being proposed to jobs and services

8 January 2014

spotUPS workers' victory

Unite members working at the UPS depot in Camden, north London, won an important victory at the end of December

8 January 2014

spotUS: Fight for $15 minimum wage heats up in Seattle

Across the US low-wage workers are rising up, protesting, and striking for a $15 an hour minimum wage

8 January 2014

spotBirmingham Labour 'consults' over £87 million cuts

Birmingham's Labour city council plans another £87 million of cuts in the 2014-15 financial year. As expected its 'consultation' was just an opportunity for the council leader to present a slick presentation

8 January 2014

spotCWU Royal Mail agreement: Defend our right to strike!

Postal workers demonstrate in London, photo Paul Mattsson

The Communication Workers Union announced before Christmas that it has reached a "landmark agreement" with Royal Mail

8 January 2014

spotTruth revealed about Thatcher's war against the miners

cartoon by Alan Hardman

After 30 years of gathering dust in the National Archives, the declassification of secret government files has revealed how far Margaret Thatcher and the Tory government went to ensure defeat of the 1984-85 miners' strike

8 January 2014

spotAxe austerity in 2014

A 24-hour general strike would shift the balance of forces, photo Paul Mattsson

Osborne plans more cuts: On 6 January Tory Chancellor George Osborne turned Blue Monday into Black Monday. The dreaded return to work for many was made much worse by Osborne's confirmation of plans for axing another £25 billion

12 January 2014

spotJimmy Parry - Liverpool 47 socialist councillor

Some 200 people attended the funeral of Jimmy Parry on 10 January, 2014. Jimmy, brother of Bob Parry MP, was a committed socialist

13 January 2014

spotExploratory drillers told to "Frack Off"

Demonstration against fracking on Barton Moss in Salford, 12.1.14, photo M Kilsby

Over 500 trade unionists and environmental campaigners demonstrated against fracking on Barton Moss in Salford

13 January 2014

spotHuge anger at inquest verdict on killing of Mark Duggan

Mark Duggan was not holding a gun and was not threatening the police, yet he was shot twice and killed [Updated 15 January 2014]

13 January 2014

spotThe underbelly of prison privatisation

Private prisons and particularly Oakwood - run by G4S - have once again been in the news

13 January 2014

spotPupils chase hated Gove around their school

Students at Marling school, Stroud, show visiting Gove their anger, January 2014, photo C Moore

Education minister Michael Gove was left cowering in a classroom in Marling school

13 January 2014

spotPCS protest against tax office closures

Public and Commercial Services union representatives will demonstrate outside HM Revenue and Customs' Whitehall headquarters tomorrow (14 January) ahead of a decision on tax office closures

15 January 2014

spotPensioners are not economic 'joy riders'

Austerity: 'We're not being feather-bedded' I am not often driven to put pen to paper but the following headline, "Someone needs to fight the selfish, short-sighted old", on a recent Guardian article by ex-MP, ex-prisoner Chris Huhne did nothing for my blood pressure

15 January 2014

spotThem & Us

City bonuses: Finance chiefs in the Square Mile will scoop £10 billion out of a total bonus pay-out of £19 billion

15 January 2014

spotGove wages war on history teachers

Education secretary Michael Gove sees the centenary of World War One as a chance to push his call for a school curriculum promoting the glories of the British Empire

15 January 2014

spotSeattle: '15 Now' minimum wage campaign launched

On 12 January, 450 people in Seattle attended the rally to launch '15 Now', an organisation set up to carry forward the campaign to secure a $15 an hour minimum wage in the Washington state city and across the US

15 January 2014

spotWorkplace news in brief

NSSN affiliate: The Probation Officers union Napo has become the eighth national union to affiliate to the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)

15 January 2014

spotMore attacks on further education funding

The government has withdrawn funding for students on level three and four further education courses

15 January 2014

spotBuilding the Socialist Party

Help make the Socialist even more effective in 2014: In 2013 the Con-Dem government and their mouthpieces in the right-wing press stepped up their war against working class people, writes Sarah Wrack, Paper sales campaigner.

15 January 2014

spot"I'll be voting for the trade unionists"

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters in Lewisham held a weekend of election campaigning on 11-12 January

15 January 2014

spotFilm review: 12 Years a Slave

In Steve McQueen’s film, based on the story of Solomon Nothup's captivity, the barbarism of slavery is clear

15 January 2014

spotOrganising fast food workers

Officials from bakers' union BFAWU recently held a 'fast food forum' with campaigners from groups including Youth Fight for Jobs

15 January 2014

spotUniversity bosses' snouts in the trough

Warwick: The vice-chancellor of Warwick University, aptly named Nigel Thrift, has been awarded a pay rise of a whopping £16,000

15 January 2014

spotAriel Sharon: a brutal architect of monstrous crimes

The butcher of Sabra and Shatila has died. Ariel Sharon, once known as the "Father of Israeli settlements", died after eight years in a semi-coma, following a stroke while still prime minister in January 2006

15 January 2014

spotTeachers need a strategy to win

With the attacks on pay and pensions already largely in place, and attacks on conditions soon to be added, the NUT urgently needs to agree a workable strategy to put to beleaguered teachers

15 January 2014

spotUnison: National anti-cuts battle needed

"Will they even empty the bins?" - so read the headline in our local paper reporting on the cash crisis in Labour-led Wolverhampton council

15 January 2014

spotSupport Glasgow care workers fighting attacks

Unison members in Glasgow city council's residential homes for older people were on strike from 13 January for 48 hours to resist cuts in pay, unacceptable changes to job roles and a move to 12 and a half hour shifts

15 January 2014

spotRMT v Johnson: Union prepares to defend London Underground

Protesting against the proposed London Underground ticket office closures and job cuts, photo Paul Mattsson

Protesting against the proposed London Underground ticket office closures and job cuts, photo Paul Mattsson

The RMT London tube workers have voted by 77% in favour of action against the brutal attack on jobs and terms and conditions by London Underground, TfL management and Tory Mayor Boris Johnson hoping to have his 'miners moment'

15 January 2014

spotEvict the Con-Dems!

Hull protest against the Bedroom tax - Debt = Slavery, photo Lash

Scrap the Bedroom Tax NOW: Tory welfare-slashing minister Iain Duncan Smith should resign. The millionaire architect of the hated 'bedroom tax', has illegally imposed the tax on tenants not liable to pay it

16 January 2014

spotSalford workers and environmentalists challenge council

200 workers, service users , carers, community activists and environmental activists lobbied their council

16 January 2014

spotTeachers strike against threatened redundancies

Abbey special school is not in financial difficulties, but faces losing six teachers

20 January 2014

spotSt Helens council: Making cuts while hoarding reserves

A recent application by myself under the Freedom of Information Act to the local council here in St Helens revealed a reserve of £89 million

20 January 2014

spotGateway college: NUT strikes against management "observations"

16 January 2014 NUT strike, Gateway sixth form college in Leicester , photo S Score

Over 30 National Union of Teachers members mounted a picket line on 16 January outside Gateway sixth form college

20 January 2014

spotPay me - I'm a banker!

Nationalise the banks to stop the fat-cats rip off rewards: It's a tough time for bankers. The EU has decided to cap bankers' bonuses at 100%, and so condemned those earning more than £410,000 to "only" get paid double their salary

21 January 2014

spotLenin's revolutionary legacy

Vladimir Lenin

In an attempt to answer the description of Lenin by capitalist historians as a brutal dictator, some on the left turn to Lars T Lih. Peter Taaffe reviews Lih's book: "Lenin"

22 January 2014

spotReal living wage now

Mitie cleaning workers striking for decent pay on 21 January 2014, photo Neil Cafferky

Mitie cleaning workers striking for decent pay on 21 January 2014, photo Neil Cafferky

End poverty pay scandal: The Con-Dems tell us we're in a 'recovery'. Well, it doesn't feel that way to most of us. Far from it

22 January 2014

spotLincoln marches against racism and fascism

On 18 January, around 150 people marched under the banner of Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism (LARF)

22 January 2014

spotStop cuts in Kent

A protest against £2.5 million of cuts to Kent's children's centres will take place on Saturday 15 February

22 January 2014

spotCarlisle petition

Carlisle Socialist Party handed an anti-cuts petition to the city's council executive on 15 January

22 January 2014

spotWorkplace news in brief

Bus drivers' strike: About 60 drivers, members of Unite, at First Hampshire and Dorset were on strike for 24 hours on 20 January in a dispute which has seen their pay fall dramatically behind their regional counterparts

22 January 2014

spotAn open letter to Tristram Hunt

You have made it clear that you will revive the idea floated during the last Labour government of regular "relicensing" of teachers

22 January 2014

spotMiliband's Tory policies: What exactly is the point of Labour?

Miliband fails to provide answers in Stroud, photo Gloucestershire SP

Ed Miliband and his shadow cabinet are going hell for leather with speeches and newspaper columns. They want to show how fit they are for election in 2015

22 January 2014

spotBenefits Street: A caricature of poverty

TV review: Channel 4's recent controversial "documentary" series, Benefits Street claimed to depict life for residents of poverty stricken James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham

22 January 2014

spotStop the NHS sell-off

Oppose all cuts and privatisation: The National Health Service is still being privatised bit by bit but the process is speeding up rapidly

22 January 2014

spotBedroom tax loophole: Can legal tactics be effective?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that tenants who have been continuously entitled to housing benefit since at least 1 January 1996, and who have occupied the same home since that date, are exempt from the bedroom tax

22 January 2014

spotFracking - profiting from environmental destruction

"We're going all out for shale" - said David Cameron at the same time as he announced bribes to councils and local planning authorities in order to spread fracking operations across the country

22 January 2014

spotThem & Us

Cost of living: 85 super-rich people in the world, in total, own as much wealth ($110 trillion) as half the world's population of 3.5 billion people

22 January 2014

spotEgypt referendum: no enthusiasm for new constitution

To no one's surprise, 98% of Egyptian voters said yes to the new constitution in the recent referendum

22 January 2014

spot"Ireland is a success story" rhetoric is based on spin

The entire 'success story' rhetoric of the Irish government, the European Commission and their hangers-on when promoting Ireland's bailout exit is based on empty spin, hyperbole and untruths

22 January 2014

spotStop the student debt spiral - day of action 6 February

Young people march for a future, photo Senan

Part of a week of action opposing student loan privatisation: The Student Loan Company (SLC) is up for sale.

22 January 2014

spotYouth Fight for Jobs campaign in Croydon

Socialist Party members held a successful Youth Fight for Jobs campaign stall in Croydon, South London on Saturday 18 January

22 January 2014

spotTransport workers have power to defeat cuts

Almost 1,000 jobs to go, all ticket offices to be closed, workers to lose as much as £10,000, new grades on lower wages. This is what faces Londoners if the Underground workers lose the battle that looms over the city

22 January 2014

spotTeachers need a date for national action

Teachers are facing yet more attacks on our conditions, when our existing intolerable workload is already driving many teachers out of the profession

22 January 2014

spotMore action needed to defend Probation Service

I recently attended a Unison seminar regarding the government's proposals around the probation service

22 January 2014

spotProtest against Atos 'assessments' on 19 February

Protests are planned to take place outside Atos assessment centres across the country

22 January 2014

spotPublicity alone can't save sacked union branch official

Polly Toynbee, well-known Guardian journalist and prominent Labour Party member, recently wrote a column highlighting the case of Charlotte Monro, chair of Whipps Cross Hospital Unison branch

22 January 2014

spotRobert Burns, insurrectionary poet

Every year the narrow-minded, conservative Robert Burns establishment ritually recite the same few poems and repeat ancient propaganda myths about him

22 January 2014

spotCapitalism is a system in crisis

This is the case for socialism: We say there is an alternative to endless misery. Today, more than ever before in human history, enormous wealth, science and technique exists which could, if properly harnessed, easily provide all of humanity

22 January 2014

spotLeeds' forgotten dispute: The 1913-14 Corporation Strike

During the 1911-14 Great Unrest many strikes took place in and around Leeds, including the lockout of textile workers in Aireborough

27 January 2014

spotSpelthorne residents demand fire cuts are stopped

There was standing room only at the packed public meeting last wednesday at Staines Community Centre

27 January 2014

spotTSSA votes for strikes in London tube dispute

The TSSA rail union has voted to strike in the dispute over the Mayor's plans to close all 260 Tube ticket offices and axe nearly 1,000 jobs

27 January 2014

spotUnite ballots Ford workers for strike action

Over 5,000 Ford workers are being balloted for strike action, over job security and pensions

28 January 2014

spotFloods: fully-funded environmental planning needed

Residents in Somerset still find their homes underwater four weeks after the initial floods.

28 January 2014

spotUniversity workers continue strike action over pay

UCU members at SOAS in London striking over pay on 28 January 2014, photo Helen Pattison

UCU members in Higher Education have again walked out over pay

29 January 2014

spotDebate on the environment

The European Union Framework for climate and energy conference recently agreed, after much wrangling, only a timid response to the threat of climate change

29 January 2014

spotDetermined strikes can stop London Underground in its tracks

With the Olympics a fading memory, London Underground (LU) intends to implement the years of austerity that it had to forgo in order to keep tube workers onside for the games

29 January 2014

spotA waste of a Friday evening

Much against my better judgement I was persuaded to attend Radio 4's Any Questions on Friday night (24 January) along with other comrades from the Socialist Party

29 January 2014

spotPCS leadership elections

The elections for the leadership of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) will start soon, with nominations closing on 6 March

29 January 2014

spotNUT activists meet to push for action

The Local Associations National Action Campaign (LANAC) is meeting on 1 February in Leicester. LANAC was set up in 2012 to organise and argue for a fighting programme for the National Union Of Teachers

29 January 2014

spotNSSN launched in south of England

Trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners from all over the South of England gathered in Bracknell on 18 January to launch the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) in the region

29 January 2014

spotWorkplace news in brief

Ford ballot: Over 5,000 Ford workers are being balloted for strike action in a dispute over job security and pensions

29 January 2014

spotThem and Us

Not giving Atos: Atos, the private company used by the government to conduct its work capability assessments of disabled welfare claimants, is notorious for accusations of harassing claimants

29 January 2014

spotNew mineworkers' strikes in South Africa

Workers and Socialist Party calls for democratic control of the action: The ongoing struggle of mineworkers in South Africa for a R12,500 (£900) a month minimum wage has exploded into strikes in the platinum mines once more - called by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu)

29 January 2014

spotLand Registry threatened with sell-off

The Land Registry has been a part of the UK civil service since 1862. However, a consultation currently underway threatens to remove the vast majority of it from the public sector

29 January 2014

spotLandlords, the real beneficiaries of benefits street

Channel Four's infamous Benefits Street 'documentary' has featured a squalid four-bedroom rented home that is so riddled with damp that water runs down the walls

29 January 2014

spotSocialist Party Northern region conference

As we waited for our room for the Socialist Party Northern region conference to be opened, we attempted to assure members that this cold and sleety weather was unusual for Gateshead

29 January 2014

spotPlymouth TUSC plans for 2014 elections

On Thursday 16 January Plymouth's Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) meeting of 2014 took place in preparation for the May elections where 19 seats are up for grabs

29 January 2014

spotLeeds Labour breaks bedroom tax promise

On 15 January, Leeds city council (LCC) sent bailiffs to a tenant who could not pay his bedroom tax

29 January 2014

spotCarmarthenshire council rats

A glimpse of the response to the massive cuts to council services in Wales was highlighted this week by the direct action of one Carmarthenshire resident

29 January 2014

spotBrighton Green referendum offers no alternative to cuts

Brighton and Hove's Green Party leader Jason Kitcat wants to follow up last year's attack on the city's bin workers' wages with further cuts in the council's 2014-15 budget

29 January 2014

spotSupport the tube workers' strikes

London Underground workers are defending jobs and a public service, photo Paul Mattsson

No closure of ticket offices - stop job cuts - no compromise on passenger safety: The battle lines are being drawn ahead of the tube strikes which start on 4 February

29 January 2014

spotRecovery? More Tory Lies!

Glasdow residential care workers strike against pay cuts of up to £15,000 a year, photo Socialist Party Scotland

Councils are announcing yet more cuts as they carry through Con-Dem austerity. Getting angry is a rational response but won't alone stop them. Here we report on two groups of workers organising effective resistance...

29 January 2014

spotDavos: World capitalism means increased inequality

Socialist Seattle councillor hands out '$15 now' placards, photo Socialist Alternative

Behind the headlines and speeches trumpeting 'economic recovery', inequality is so blatant that even the capitalist leaders cannot ignore it

29 January 2014

spotWe need councillors who stand up for us

TUSC on the 28 March 2012 NUT London strike and demonstration, photo Socialist Party

On Thursday 22 May a little bit of history will be made. Hundreds of working class people – some of them already organised socialists, but many of them ordinary workers, trade unionists, young people, members of their local communities – will stand before the electorate and ask for votes

29 January 2014

spotDerbyshire: 'Old Labour' cuts hurt just as much

Thera Trust strike: Standing up for care workers in Derbyshire, photo East Midlands SP

Derbyshire county council's recently elected Labour administration has announced £157 million of cuts over the next three years, attacking the most vulnerable in society

29 January 2014

spotBakers union launches fast food rights campaign

BFAWU members taking part in the TUC Manchester NHS demo in September 2013, photo Paul Mattsson

Activists from the BFAWU union have met for their first young members' conference

30 January 2014

spotKshama Sawant's response to Obama speech

Watch this video by Socialist Alternative Seattle City Councilor Kshama Sawant, a real fighter for the 99%, responding to Obama's state of the union speech

31 January 2014

spotFuture Directions dispute settled

The long-running dispute by care workers at Future Directions in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, has ended in a settlement involving significant concessions from the employer, which their union Unison sees as a victory

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