Anti-union laws

Free our unions!

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:30

As long as there have been capitalists (employers running business for private profit) and workers, there has been a struggle between them.

About how long the working day is. About how much we’re paid. About how hard we’re made to work.

As bosses squeezed workers to get more profit out of us, workers organised to fight back. An individual worker has little power, but when we organise collectively into trade unions we can force concessions from the bosses.

When workers in a workplace, an industry, or a trade group together in an organisation (with regular meetings, subscriptions, elected

Labour Campaigns Together

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 10:31
Author

Colin Foster

A coalition of grassroots Labour Party campaigns has launched a website, Labour Campaigns Together.

Its aim is to press the Labour leadership to include left-wing policies voted through at the 21-25 September Labour conference in Brighton in its manifesto and in the actions of a Labour government.

The key policies are:

• A just transition to a decarbonised economy by 2030
• Build 100,000 social rented council homes a year
• Transition to a 32-hour working week with no loss of pay
• Protect and extend the rights of migrants
• End all forms of criminalisation of rough sleeping
• Free our unions:

Sixth form colleges strike

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 08:35
Author

Hugh Workman

We’ll be striking in 25 colleges on 17 October, and then again on 5 and 20 November.

The feeling I pick up is that oversized classes, workload, management bullying, interpretation of directed time agreements are the big issues, exacerbated by issues of funding and pay.

Sixth Form teachers’ pay has fallen behind school teachers’ pay. We probably need a 15% rise to get us back to the relative level of 2008.

There’s been a general pay freeze, but that has been eased in schools and continued in the Sixth Form sector. The government is trumpeting the end of austerity, but the Sixth Form sector is

Going forward from 20 September

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 07:49
Author

Stephen Wood

The momentum of the Climate Strike on 20 September should tell the labour movement that now is the time to take climate change seriously as a class issue seriously.

Capitalism sees the environment and natural resources as commodities to be exploited, the same way it see human labour. Just 100 major companies have been responsible for over 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.

Climate change is, in short, caused by the drive for profit. It is caused by capitalism.

For the first time in this wave of school-student climate strikes, a number of workplaces organised some forms of action

Schools dispute shows effect of anti-union laws

Published on: Wed, 18/09/2019 - 09:25
Author

Duncan Morrison (assistant NEU secretary, Lewisham, in personal capacity)

What effect have the anti-union laws had on the campaign to boycott high-stakes testing in primary schools?

As the mover of the successful motion at National Education Union (NEU) conference which called for the union to ballot for a boycott of high-stakes testing in primary schools, I was invited to the national working group on the indicative ballot.

At the first meeting of the working group, we had a session addressed by the union lawyer. She pointed out that we could not ballot our members to boycott the tests on the grounds that they do harm to children. That would make the action

Spread the action for 20 September!

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 11:26
Author

Mike Zubrowski

On 20 September, date of the next global school student climate strike, workers at a school in Lewisham will do a photo-shoot with their union group after school, and supporters of Solidarity will then try to persuade as many of them as possible to join a local demo.

Cambridge UCU activists and Solidarity readers are organising a mass lunchtime photo-shoot. There will have been school student walk outs and rallies that morning, and another rally that evening. In the same city, some schools are having early “Power-downs” that afternoon – initiated by staff.

Stevenage looks set to see their

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:39
Author

Ollie Moore, Jay Dawkey, Cath Fletcher and David Pendletone

UCU ballot opens

University staff belonging to UCU are being balloted for strike action this autumn over pay equality, job security, workload and pay deflation.

Working conditions in higher education have been deteriorating. The gender pay gap is over 15%; over 100,000 staff across the sector are on fixed-term contracts; academic staff work over 50 hours in a typical week; and in the past ten years pay has declined by 20% in real terms.

In 2018 an impressive strike forced pre-92 universities to back down on massive pension cuts, but since then employers have refused to compromise and now they

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31
Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

Post workers to ballot for strike

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:43
Author

Gerry Bates

Postal workers’ union CWU is planning a strike ballot of around 100,000 workers in Royal Mail, with the vote due to run from 17 September to 8 October.

The union also balloted Royal Mail workers last year, succeeding in meeting the thresholds of the anti-union laws, but strikes were called off after bosses agreed to a number of concessions, including a reduction in the working week from 39 to 35 hours. CWU now says the company is not abiding by this agreement.

A postal worker told Solidarity: “There are other issues in the background to the dispute as well. There’s widespread bullying and

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 07:45
Author

Sacha Ismail and Ollie Moore

Tube union RMT suspended strikes planned by drivers on London Underground’s Central and Victoria Lines on 3-4 September, after bosses made a number of concessions.

The issues at the heart of the dispute include authoritarian management culture on both lines, and driver numbers on the Central Line particularly.

The union remains in dispute and activists say strikes should be reinstated if management renege on agreements.

Plans for TUC congress

At the time of writing discussions are taking place among labour movement anti-coup people about activities at the 2019 TUC Congress (8-11 September, in

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