Solidarity 223, 2 November 2011

Greek referendum on eurozone deal

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 10:01

On 31 October Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced plans for a referendum on the deal decided by eurozone leaders on 26 October which further “bails out” Greece (in fact, bails out the international banks which have lent to Greece, and demands destructive cuts in Greece).

His decision followed a wave of strikes and mass protests which disrupted Greece’s official celebrations of a national anniversary on 28 October.

Papandreou’s gamble succeeded in one thing: embarrassing the opposition parties. Although they had voted against the deal in Greece’s parliament, the opposition parties

28 October: Greeks say “no” to the Troika

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 09:58

On 28 October, all over Greece, the usual yearly parades to commemorate Greece’s refusal to surrender to Mussolini in 1940 — “No” Day — were turned this year into protests of defiance and resistance against the newly imposed austerity measures of the Pasok government and the EU-ECB-IMF Troika.

It is the custom that school students and armed forces parade and show their respects to politicians and religious leaders on the saluting stands. However, the expected patterns of events were turned upside down.

In Thessaloniki, the crowd shouted slogans: “Bread, Education, Freedom: the Greek junta did

Fascists attack Occupy Newcastle

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 09:49

At 3am on Sunday 30 October the Occupy Newcastle camp was attacked. People were punched, knocked over and kicked, one occupier was hit in the face, bricks were thrown. Nobody had to be hospitalised but it could have been worse.

On the previous day a group of around 100 from the Scottish Defence League, English Defence League and National Front turned up at the camp at the Monument in the city centre.

Originally they intended to counter-protest an anti-Islamophobia rally initiated by Counterfire. Since that was cancelled, they decided instead to target a Revolutionary Communist Group stall

Wins for Tube union

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 09:46

Tube workers’ union RMT has scored two more important victories in its fight against the victimisation of union members.
Sacked drivers Jayesh Patel and James Masango have won reinstatement.

James will be back at work on 14 November, while Jayesh – who has been working a stations job since he was “dipped” from his job as a driver in June — will return to driving trains in February.

The victories came as RMT prepared a strike ballot of all train grade members.

The victories bring the total of successful reinstatement campaigns since December 2010 to eight, an impressive testimony to the RMT’s

PCS and 30 November: strategy needed

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 09:42

By a PCS activist

PCS has a live mandate for action from the June strike so we are not balloting again.

The union has organised a number of reps’ briefings, which have been used to discuss ideas as to how we can make N30 even bigger and better than J30. It’s good that there is a realistic assessment going on of where we were weak last time in terms of membership support, picket lines etc., and there are moves to address this.

On the downside, reps have not been thoroughly briefed as to how the actual pension changes will affect members. What are the proposals for increased contributions? What

Mass sackings threat in Doncaster

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 09:36

Nearly 10,000 workers at Doncaster council could face losing their jobs unless they agree to worse contracts imposed by council bosses as part of a £7.5 million cuts programme.

Negotiations on the package, which includes a 5.4% pay cut for many workers, were not due to conclude until mid-November, but bosses have attempted to short-circuit that process by blackmailing employees into accepting the new terms.

Paul Smillie, the convenor for 800 members of the Unite union at the council, said his members were “up in arms” at the way council bosses had disregarded an ongoing negotiation process.

Building pensions strike in South London

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 09:34

By a Unison activist

My union, Unison, has been slow in readying the union to fight the government’s attacks on our pensions.

This means that my branch have had to throw everything at building for the ballot. We’ve used a number of tactics to try and ensure a big turnout for the ballot.

• A week before the ballot opened we held an all members branch meeting focused on pensions. 250 members attended and voted for two motions, one which laid out how we will build for a large turnout and the other which commits the branch to fight for a strategy to win based on the widest possible rank and file

GMB begins strike ballots

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 09:32

GMB, Britain’s third largest union, launched its ballot for strike action on public sector pensions on Monday 31 October.

GMB members across three different pensions schemes (local government, civil service and NHS) will be balloted in a vote that close on 16 November. Also balloted will be GMB members working in Parliament, meaning that MPs will be met with picket lines at the House of Commons. The ballot for the parliamentary workers (including catering and security staff) closes on 15 November.

In the past months, GMB officials have been most explicit about the need for further action

Left debates the euro and Greece

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2011 - 09:28

By Martin Thomas

On Monday 31 October, a New Political Economy Network (NPEN) seminar for academics, journalists, and political figures, at the offices of the Guardian, discussed the eurozone crisis.

Larry Elliott, economics editor of the Guardian, introduced, arguing that the eurozone project has come to the end of its road and that the answer is “to rip this up and start again”.

Costas Lapavitsas from the School of Oriental and African Studies put it more sharply: the left must campaign for debtor-led default (Greece stopping payment on its debts) and exit from the eurozone. Greece will then

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