Solidarity 300, 16 October 2013

Support the teachers' strike!

On 17 October teachers in London, the South East, and South West will strike as part of a campaign of opposition to a whole series of attacks on our pay and conditions.

This is the third and final part of a calendar of regional strikes, each one covering a bigger area than the last. A national strike is planned in November. If the previous strikes in the North West on 27 and Yorkshire, the Midlands, and the East on 1 October are anything to go by, then 17 October will be well-supported, will feature large marches and rallies, and will help build union organisation in schools.

Brazilian teachers face state repression

The ongoing struggle of teachers in Brazil faces increasing state repression.

Teachers have been involved in continuing struggle over the past few years. In 2010 teachers in Sao Paulo were involved in strikes over pay, demonstrations every Friday were repressed by police.

Starting in 2012, the union called strikes to make the government implement a minimum wage for teachers that had been voted through the parliament five years ago.

FBU back in action

Firefighters in England and Wales will take further strike action for five hours on Saturday 19 October in the ongoing dispute over pensions.

The action takes place after firefighters in Scotland voted not to strike for the time being, after the Scottish government offered some concessions. The ballot result is a blow to united action in the face of a common attack and a significant fault line for future negotiations on other matters.

University workers strike

University staff are preparing for strike action over pay this autumn after the three biggest campus unions backed campaigns to force up the employers’ offer of just 1%.

Lecturers’ union UCU voted for strikes by 61.5 to 38.5% and action short (generally seen as a more effective tactic in the sector) by 77 to 33%. 64% of Unite members backed strikes, and Unison members also did so by a slim margin.

Relaunch teachers' workload fight

The teachers’ dispute on workload, currently being run jointly with a campaign on pay and pensions, needs relaunching on a wholly new basis.

If NUT and NASUWT are serious about using school-based action to frustrate Gove's reforms, win real gains for teachers across the board and build strength and confidence for the national strike action then some basics would need to be put in place:

• Encourage the building of joint action committees in every school

• Publicise every dispute and pour resources into winning

Ralph Miliband and Israel-Palestine

Ed Miliband’s father Ralph Miliband, a Marxist writer denounced by the Daily Mail as “the man who hated Britain”, left behind him two well-known books, Parliamentary Socialism and The State In Capitalist Society.

Less-known, but also valuable today, is a thin volume of letters in 1967 about Israel-Palestine between Ralph Miliband and his friend Marcel Liebman, who was then a contributor to the semi-Trotskyist Belgian weekly La Gauche.

40 years ago: the “Shrewsbury 24”

1972 saw a major wave of industrial action in Britain. There were more work days lost to strike action in that year than in any since the General Strike of 1926.

Greek university workers' five week strike

After closing the state broadcaster ERT, laying off thousands of workers, putting the padlock in hospitals and other public services, the Greek government now plans to sack about 1,700 university administrators.

The government faces a budget gap in higher education. They want to find a 33% cut and have decided workers must pay. The workers will all be sacked if they cannot first be redeployed (which, given the extent of the cuts, looks unlikely).

Lampedusa's racist horror

The indescribable horror of what happened off the island of Lampedusa on 6 October, and the subsequent grotesquely cynic parade of public grief by a political class wholly culpable for the conditions that led to it, speak eloquently of the morally putrid fabric of bourgeois Italy.

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