Solidarity 090, 23 March 2006

Save and extend workers’ rights - French students and workers show how to fight back

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 15:29

Sofie Buckland, Daniel Randall, David Broder, Sacha Ismail and Laura Schwartz were in Paris on 18 March for the demonstration against employment reform.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in Paris against the French government’s “Contrat Première Embauche” (First Employment Contract, CPE) proposal, which will allow employers to summarily sack workers under 26. The demonstration was part of a national mobilisation that brought more than a million protesters onto the streets across France, and part of a national campaign that shows no sign of ebbing.

Although we were

Clear out Labour’s millionaire clique - Not state funding, but union control!

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 15:15

“I’m a pretty straight sort of a guy” — Tony Blair

“New Labour”? Old Tory sleaze! Plus an unctuous, creeping-Jesus hypocrisy which would be uniquely Blair’s if his other self Gordon Brown dropped dead.

But it’s more than Tory sleaze. More than its simple equivalent.

Money-grubbing politicians; the buying and selling of political favours and “honours”; lucrative entwinement with the rich and the super-rich; poking political snouts in the slurping trough where the big bourgeois porkers feed – that is the very stuff of Tory politics.

It was the stuff of Liberal politics when there were Liberal

Lessons from France

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 15:13

The French CPE-CNE law will extend the casualisation of labour in order to subvert all workers' rights to the needs of “flexibility” demanded by French bosses.

This is not an issue just for young French workers. The Irish Ferries and Gate Gourmet disputes last year both demonstrated that across the world jobs are more and more insecure and workers' rights increasingly ignored.

“Precarité” is the dynamic of globalised capitalism. The demonstrations and strikes in France show that the whole working class, not just students, see standing up to capitalism's attack on young people as their own

Self-defence in Baghdad

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 15:11

The Iraqi Freedom Congress, a group linked to the Worker-communist Party of Iraq, reports that some districts of Baghdad are organising neighbourhood self-defence against the sectarian militias.

“In Zafaranyia and Husseinya, Mahmoodya, the Iraqi Freedom Congress has initiated a defence committee for the people’s security... In Basra, thousands of IFC leaflets have been distributed. They have been very well received and, in the meetings, people have begun to chant: ‘Neither Shia, nor Sunni: we believe in humanity!’...

“Rasheed Ismail, IFC leader in Zafaranyia, has announced the creation of a

Brown chops at civil service

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 15:11

By Colin Foster

On 22 March Gordon Brown delivered, as a City economist commented, a “steady-as-you-go Budget”.

Since 1998 the Government has regulated public spending by multi-year “Comprehensive Spending Reviews”. We are still in the span of the 2004-7 Review. The crunch will come with the 2008-11 Review, to be finalised in 2007.

Probably that will halt the increase in public spending since 1998, and so remove the padding which as yet softens the impact of the Government's manic “marketisation” of public services. The shape of it can be seen in the Health Service, where the Government is

Help Iraqi workers’ voice get heard!

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 15:09

by Martin Thomas

About 20,000 marched in London on 18 March against US/ UK troops in Iraq, and against war on Iran. Workers’ Liberty activists and others distributed leaflets for the Iraq Union Solidarity campaign, and did a bucket collection for the Iraqi unions which raised £289, about the same as on the bigger demonstration of March 2005 and much more than on the last “Stop The War” demonstration, September 2005.

The “Stop The War” organisers, however, did not share the desire of many demonstrators to hear and support the voice of Iraq’s organised workers. Dashty Jamal, a British

Chicago’s biggest ever demonstration

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 15:04

By Joseph Grim Feinberg

Some time in late February, word began to spread around Chicago about a protest against HR 4437, a bill passed by the House of Representatives and currently being discussed in the Senate which would criminalise undocumented immigration, as well as aid given to undocumented immigrants (for more information see www.ilrc.org/HR4437.html). A humble-looking activist website had announced, in English and Spanish, “Unite! March against HR 4437. General Strike!” (www.somosunpueblo.com)

By the day of the protest, organisers predicted that several thousand people would turn out

Build from March 28!

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 15:01

by a unison member

Build unity; reach out to other sections of the working class; organise hard-hitting action — and local government workers can win the huge battle over pensions due to open on 28 March.

The local government unions announced on 15 March that they have ballot majorities of around 80% to strike. They want to defeat the Government’s plans to abolish the “Rule of 85” which allows local government workers to retire on a full pension at 60 if they have 25 years’ service.

The unions are moving into action — late in the day, but they are moving. One worker due to strike on 28 March

Cottam power station - A win for solidarity

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 14:59

By Polly Maclean

It looks as if the construction workers at Cottam power station, near Lincoln, may have won a victory in their brave fight to win union-agreed wages and conditions for the Hungarian workers imported to work alongside them.

On 21 March, the nineteen workers who had been sacked after striking unofficially (and therefore illegally) were reinstated, and the contractor employing the Hungarian workers, SFL, agreed to put the Hungarian workers on union-agreed terms.

There are issues still to be resolved. The site — where a desulphurisation plant for the power station is being built

BT - Media and Broadcast win

Published on: Sat, 25/03/2006 - 14:57

On the eve of taking strike action against the compulsory transfer of satellite broadcasting staff to a company owned by Barclays private equity, CWU members won agreement that any transfers would be voluntary.

Staff were worried that with future technological change any compulsory transfers would in time lead to mass redundancies from the new company. The agreement was brokered the evening beforestrike was to start, action that would have affected major sporting events over the weekend.

The vote for action was overwhelming, approximately nine to one, and included both staff who were

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