Solidarity 198, 23 March 2011

Fight Tories class war budget

The 2011 UK Budget will once again be more fuel on the Tory Government’s class war fire.

The class war being fought by business and the bosses is to prepare the economy to withstand and facilitate the worst cuts and attacks on the working class and labour movement since Thatcher. Whatever Goerge Osborne says about it being a “budget for growth” this is what is going on. Unenploymement is rising. Living standards are falling. Average earnings are falling. Those trends will continue.

UCU action shows the way

The University and College Union (UCU) lecturers’ strike on Thursday 24 March is the first ever national strike of UCU members in both further and higher education. The action is over a number of issues. Pay, jobs and pensions in higher education and pay and pensions in further education.

Pensions is the issue that is providing most of the heat in this dispute. The clutch of proposed changes to the University Superannuation Scheme and the Teachers’ Pension Scheme would result in all members paying more, working longer and getting far less.

Pensions: fight like the French!

The generalised attack on public sector pensions that the UK government is pushing through now is not unprecedented.

The French government did the same, going for wide-ranging “reforms” of retirement law last year, pushing up the retirement age, and reducing workers’ pension entitlements.

The major difference so far is that the French government was met with a massive strike wave which came close to bringing it down.

Industrial news in brief

The Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) is moving towards escalation in a dispute against victimisations on London Underground.

Strikes against cuts in Lambeth and Tower Hamlets

Library workers in Lambeth have voted unanimously, in an indicative ballot, for strike action against job and service cuts.

Unison has 90% union density in Lambeth Libraries; if it goes ahead, strike action would shut all of Lambeth’s libraries.

All “enquiry desk” staff are facing redundancy, and the mobile library service is closing as a result of a proposed Cultural Services restructure. As well as providing advice, enquiries desk staff run reading groups and story times.

Royal Mail job cuts

Two London mail centres could close as part of a Royal Mail restructuring plan, which puts over 700 workers and 1,000 managerial jobs on the chopping block. A further 1,700 head-office posts could go in a future review.

Centres at Nine Elms and Bromley-by-Bow face complete closure, and Royal Mail bosses have warned of further cuts to come; the company says that up to half of the UK's 64 mail centres could face closure by 2016.

Women in the Paris Commune

Women’s role in the Paris Commune was not limited to the morning of March 18 when a crowd of working class women put themselves between the cannons in possession of the National Guard (the citizen’s militia) and the troops of the National Assembly, led by Adolphe Thiers; the action which sparked the revolution. Throughout the 72-day reign of the Commune, women organised, argued, theorised and fought alongside men to defend and develop the revolution.

The Clubs

Why we should not denounce intervention in Libya

An individual, a group, a party, or a class that “objectively” picks its nose while it watches men drunk with blood massacring defenceless people is condemned by history to rot and become worm-eaten while it is still alive. (Leon Trotsky)

Libya: views on the Western intervention

Three more viewpoints on the Western intervention from other socialists. We print them to promote further debate. Much more contentious debate can be found on our website

Cannot oppose if only way to prevent massacre

Given the urgency of preventing the massacre... and the absence of any alternative means of achieving the protection goal, no one can reasonably oppose [the UN Security Council resolution]...

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