Solidarity 384, 11 November 2015

Winter crisis: rebuild the NHS

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 13:08

Pete Campbell, junior doctor

Regardless of the validity of meteorological predictions by the Express, this winter is set to be the worst on record for the patients of the National Health Service. Even Chief Executives of Hospital Trusts are beginning to cry out in alarm.

Chris Smallwood, Chief Executive of St George’s Foundation Trust recently told the Guardian, “The NHS is heading for a real smash, and practically everyone running a hospital knows it. Hospitals are at 100% capacity at the moment.”

Last winter, Accident and Emergency departments missed their targets (of a maximum four hour waiting time for patients)

Keep up the fight against Trade Union Bill!

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 13:04

The Trade Union Bill was getting a third reading in the House of Commons as Solidarity went to press on 10 November.

Campaigners with Right to Strike took a 17 metre long banner reading ″Don′t shackle our unions″ to hold in front of Parliament and leafleted the public. The Trade Union Coordinating Group organised a protest in Parliament Square, also supported by Right to Strike.

The TUC has hailed great “concessions” in the new version of the Bill. But only the rules on notifying police and employers in advance of the use of social media in industrial disputes, which were largely unworkable

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 13:00

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

UCU and Unison members in FE colleges struck on 10 November in a dispute over an imposed pay freeze. In the last six years FE lecturers have seen their pay decrease in real terms as employers have offered a series of below-inflation pay rises — totaling less than 3% since 2009. Both unions are also seeking a guarantee that workers won’t be paid below the living wage. The pay freeze comes in the context of ever tightening budgets for FE colleges, with many colleges having already gone through many rounds of course closures and redundancies. Workers held picket lines at colleges on the morning

Save Lambeth libraries

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 12:53

Hundreds of Lambeth workers and residents came together to march from Brixton Library to South Lambeth Library on Saturday 7 November to protest against cuts and closures to their library service.

Friends of Libraries Groups from each library have rejected attempts by the Council to pit library against library and community against community. A campaigner from West Norwood Friends groups said; “Whether your local library is ‘safe’ or whether it is one which is immediately threatened, local communities must stand together and say defend the ten! We won’t stay quiet just because we don’t face

Vote John Burgess

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 12:50

Ballot papers in the Unison General Secretary election will have now arrived with members. The election closes on 4 December.

Workers’ Liberty members and supporters in Unison are backing John Burgess, and so is the majority of the Unison Left NEC caucus. John is Barnet Local Government Branch Secretary; he has an impressive record of leading a series of fights against the so called “easycouncil” in Barnet and in defence of public services. Other candidates are incumbent Dave Prentis; Heather Wakefield, who represents a section of the bureaucracy split from Prentis; and the Socialist Party′s

The three versions of Brexit

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 12:46

Harry Glass

In the forthcoming European Union (EU) referendum, the question on the ballot paper will be “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

The duty of the revolutionary left is to weigh up these concrete alternatives from the perspective of the working class internationally — its global interests, its European interests and lastly the specific impacts for workers in the UK.

Three possibilities are being floated, the first of which is not an actual alternative at all, while the others, whatever their nuances, are universally worse for working

Indonesians demand action against corporate arsonists

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 12:41

Janet Burstall

On 26 days in September and October, carbon emissions from Indonesia’s peat and forest fires equalled the daily emissions of the entire US economy.

The Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) also calculated that over the course of a three week period from late September, the output of carbon dioxide from the fires during three weeks from late September exceeded Germany’s annual total carbon emissions. Land concession owners illegally light fires every year in Indonesia. Arson is the cheapest way to clear the land before planting oil palms. The fires have caught the world’s attention

Strikes on the rise in China

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 12:32

Gemma Short

Strikes and other forms of industrial action are on the increase in China, as an economic slowdown leads to lay-offs, withheld wages, and factory closures.

China Labour Bulletin (CLB), an independent labour rights organisation based in Hong Kong, reports 593 strike incidents in the third quarter of 2015. There were 372 in the same period of 2014, and 185 in 2013 Q3. 37% of these were in manufacturing and 31% in construction. CLB notes that many of the disputes in the past months were due to large scale lay-offs.

In August 2,000 workers held a week-long protest outside their paper making

Syria: continuation and containment of war

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 12:28

Simon Nelson

The US Government will deploy a group of special-ops forces to northern Syria to help the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), the multi-ethnic opposition that the US has positively “vetted”, and is now willing to publicly arm and support.

The US liberal magazine Mother Jones cites a White House official “the leadership of these groups are vetted as individuals for human rights abuses and ties to terrorism” The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish Peoples’ Defence Units (YPG), linked to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). But by the YPG going under a different banner, both they and the US have more

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