Solidarity 366, 3 June 2015

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 03/06/2015 - 08:45

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Train drivers for Southern rail will vote on a new pay offer, after they voted by 91% and 95% for strikes and action short of strikes to win a better deal.

The strike votes, which saw turnouts of around 85%, followed the rejection of the company's initial pay offer of a 2.65% increase even against the recommendation of officials from the drivers' union ASLEF. Such resounding votes against union recommendations are rare anywhere in the labour movement, and show a clear strength of feeling amongst Southern drivers to win a better deal.

Strike plans were suspended, however, after Southern made a

FIFA: worse than capitalism

Published on: Wed, 03/06/2015 - 07:56

Tom Harris

The seminal radical football podcast “This is Deep Play” once made this perceptive point about football: far from being a form of escapism detached from real life, football is like a mirror, vividly reflecting everything that’s playing out in capitalist society at large.

If you want to go to the football to get away from big business, gentrification, bigotry and corruption, you won’t be in for much luck — they’re all there. Happily, all the collective solidarities and human kindnesses, all the spontaneous moments of joy and humour will also be there, often in distorted and exaggerated form.


LGSM told they can’t march with the unions at Pride

Published on: Wed, 03/06/2015 - 07:53

Gerry Bates

The final London Open Meeting for the organisation of this year’s Pride march (Saturday 27 June) discussed the decision to separate the trade union block from Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM).

LGSM, following on from the popularity of the film Pride, has been given a position at the front of the march. But the trade unions are in Block C of the march (i.e. at the back), and way behind the prime sponsors of Pride, Barclays, Starbucks and Citi Group. Yet the TUC has also been a big sponsor of Pride, donating up to £400,000 over the years.

According to the Pride Board, the trade union

Labour needs a socialist candidate

Published on: Wed, 03/06/2015 - 07:51

Michael Johnson

After the election the Blairites were first out of the traps, hurtling into television and radio stations to give long-prepared statements, with no evidence, about how Labour had shifted too far to the left under Ed Miliband.

But under Miliband, Labour’s approach was to accept the Tories’ argument that austerity was necessary but to promise slightly fewer cuts. In the last stage of the election campaign, the leadership bolted on some panicked, but real, social democratic pledges.

Now, even these limited ideas are facing the chop from the leadership candidates.

Andy Burnham, desperately

Fight Tory attacks on our unions!

Published on: Wed, 03/06/2015 - 07:41

Maria Exall, CWU and Campaign for Trade Union Freedom (personal capacity)

The first Conservative government for 18 years will introduce a Bill to beef up existing anti-trade union laws in the UK.

Whilst the proposed restrictions on strike action had been well signalled in advance, the inclusion of a change to union political funds was unexpected.

The Tories are demanding a 50% turnout threshold in a ballot and an additional 40% yes vote requirement in “core public services” (health, education, transport and fire services), They hope to make it impossible for unions to organise lawful strikes.

There will be new time limitations on ballot mandates which will allow

Sharpening our politics against the Tories

Published on: Wed, 03/06/2015 - 07:38

Monty Shield and Vicki Morris

On Saturday 30 May, around a thousand people marched from Waterloo station to Westminster Bridge against the planned £12 billion cuts to public welfare services

Protesters, organised by UK Uncut, hung a banner from Westminster Bridge overlooking Parliament, reading “austerity is a lie”; it was collectively painted by activists while on the bridge. The banner could be seen along way down the bank of the Thames!

Another protest, against scrapping the Human Rights Act, began at the same time. Additionally, numbers dropped quickly to only a few hundred. In contrast, the police had an especially

What cost fossil fuel?

Published on: Tue, 02/06/2015 - 18:07

Paul Vernadsky

Fossil fuel capital continues to avoid paying the costs of its industry for air pollution and other health hazards, effectively receiving more in subsidies than the total health spending of all the world’s governments, according to a new IMF report.

How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies? Published last month found that fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3 trillion (£3.4 trillion) a year, equivalent to $10 million a minute every day.

More than half the figure is money governments are forced to spend treating the victims of air pollution and the income lost

Labour and UKIP

Published on: Tue, 02/06/2015 - 18:02

Matt Cooper

UKIP’s overall third place in votes in the 2015 general election is terrible news.

That one-in-eight voters chose a party, which has thrived in a culture of anti-politics and disillusion by wrapping an ill-defined core of neo-liberal policies in bright anti-immigration colours, is a tragi-comic symptom of the awfulness of British political culture.

The left should not overestimate the significance of UKIP’s reactionary bile. In many ways it remains an external faction of the Conservative right harking back to a semi-imagined Thatcherite-Conservative heyday. Its success was limited. That UKIP

The left and the General Election

Published on: Tue, 02/06/2015 - 17:55

Harry Glass

The post-mortem on the 2015 election ought to rage on the British left, though it is doubtful whether there will be much contrition from the main protagonists.

Rightly, assessments will examine how the ruling classes’ first team did it, the limitations of Labour’s leadership and politics, why the Liberal Democrats collapsed, UKIP’s four million votes, the SNP’s tsunami and the Green ascendency. But one unavoidable question is the responsibility the left for this class-wide defeat.

The left might appear marginal, but it is not irrelevant. The left is a political school for young people, an

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