Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Bulletin No.14
Monday 23 May 2011
Spanish square austerity protests grow by the hour.
Thousands of people have massed in city centres across the country in a swelling movement that began on May 15, the biggest spontaneous protests since the property bubble exploded in 2008 and plunged Spain into a recession.
Youtube video here http://bit.ly/l2swYo. Report here: http://bit.ly/kOtQM3 and picture here: http://bbc.in/maRLRV and live streaming from Puerto del Sol can be found here http://bit.ly/isU8tT
TUSC calls conference on 16 July in London to plan strategy for year ahead to 2012 elections – 10.30 registration for 11am start.
The TUSC Steering Committee met on 9 May and agreed to call together everyone who stood as a candidate, their agents and key campaign supporters in the recent elections to review the recent campaign and plan ahead for the coming year.
In addition, the conference will probably be extended to include all of those who may be thinking of standing in the 3 May 2012 local elections in 128 English Local Authorities and all Welsh Councils. You can see the full list here: http://bit.ly/jPuYoV
The TUSC Steering Committee will be meeting on 13 June to discuss an agenda for the day. The emphasis will be on discussing the strategic and campaigning lessons of our recent campaign and planning early for the 2012 elections. It is likely that there will also be a separate meeting, on another date, to discuss the Greater London Assembly and London Mayoral elections which also take place in 2012.
We will let you have further details about time and venue. Plan to arrive and register for a conference starting at 11am. There will be a small registration fee to help pay for the event but we will keep the costs low to enable as many to attend as possible. If you have suggestions about items for discussion please let us have them at email@example.com
From the Unions
PCS votes for co-ordinated strike action to fightback against ‘brutal government’.
Mark Serwotka said ‘In leading our members into battle, not only do we know it’s right to do so, but we can be proud of that fact that already we have helped four other unions come to the conclusion that we have come to, and if we make a stand in June, we could be the difference that gets millions of others out on strike as well, that could turn the tide against this government. I know that’s the right thing to do. I know it’s going to be tough. But I have confidence in you as our activists and our members to deliver… a massive strike, and begin the fight back against this brutal government.’ Watch the video here: http://bit.ly/jT9EHf
Heathrow Express rail workers vote 95 per cent in favour of strike action in pay dispute.
RMT members based at Heathrow Airportand Paddington will strike for 48 hours on Friday May 27, and for 24 hours on Friday June 24. Further action will also be scheduled in July. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: ‘The company knows it has tabled a completely unacceptable pay offer that is loaded with strings, yet despite a massive vote for action by our members it has made no attempt to negotiate or improve its offer.’ For more read here: http://bit.ly/jFvcHM
FBU conference prepares for national strike action
A strike in the fire service over changes to the pension scheme came a step nearer today as the Fire Brigades Union conference asked members to ‘prepare for national strike action.’ Read more here: http://bit.ly/khtbeH
UCATT warns HSE cuts risk workers safety
Construction union UCATT is warning that planned cuts in how dangerous incidents are reported will greatly increase dangers in the workplace. Last week the Health and Safety Executive announced that from September 2011 it was closing its infoline and that in future the reporting of accidents and dangerous incidents could only be undertaken online. For more: http://bit.ly/mqFA1f
Turkey criminalizes union action
The Turkish government has filed criminal charges against 111 union leaders, members and supporters which carry prison terms of up to 5 years in connection with a 2010 demonstration in Ankara. The Ankara action was in support of 12,000 workers made redundant overnight following the privatization of the state tobacco monopoly TEKEL. Read more here http://bit.ly/j9FIqG
Defend Iraqi Trade Unions
The Iraqi government have launched a crackdown on unions, with a heavily politicised committee appointed to take over union elections, assets and offices: See http://bit.ly/l98cGX
Minneapolis Grocery Store Cleaners Launch Hunger Strike
A mad dash to outsource cleaning services to the lowest bidder has cut wages to minimum wage (sometimes less) with no benefits. A Minneapolis worker center announced a hunger strike to protest the conditions. See:http://bit.ly/kKVwvA
Cuts action coming up
Picket of Pickles, Cambridge
UNISON and the PCS Cambridge Branches are holding a ‘Picket of Pickles’ from 6pm on Tuesday 24 May at Bridge Street in Cambridge. Bring banners, placards, friends and family and let’s give Pickles a warm Cambridgeshire welcome.
Bolton Uncut: Defend Our NHS
Bolton TUC and Uncut campaigners are organising a protest outside Barclays Bank in Bolton Town Centre from 12:00 lunchtime on Thursday 26 May to protest at money for bankers while cuts are being made to our NHS. Organised by Bolton Trades Council
Yorkshire regional conference on cuts
Saturday 28 May 2011, 12:00 noon at the PCS Office, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, Leeds LS2. A conference to discuss building the campaign across Yorkshire. Entry £2 - proceeds go towards funding the Jarrow March for Jobs.
CornwallSleep-Out Protest Against Supporting People Cuts May 29th
The Supporting People service which provides sheltered housing and homelessness support, is being slashed by 40 per cent despite Cornwall having the second highest rate of homelessness in England. A ‘sleep-out’ demonstration is taking place on 29 May from 8pm until 7am the next day outside Truro Cathedral. Bring a sleeping bag! Hot drinks will be provided. More information here.
Food prices, food crisis…what’s going on?
The food crisis and its consequent misery, starvation and deaths are not inevitable, says Hamid Sodeifi, but are rather the necessary and rational outcomes of a socio-economic system whose sole objective is the creation of profits. Short article here: http://bit.ly/j1fxzT
It takes more than 600 lawyers to run a privatized railway
A response from TUC and rail unions to the McNulty Review on rail value for money, can be found here PDF file (188,405 bytes). Bob Crow explains why nationalized railways would serve us all better on Radio 4 Today programme here: http://bbc.in/lMjw05 (it begins at 1hr 13 minutes) and reveals that Network Rail has a mere 600 lawyers to deal with legal problems arising from fragmentation.
Don’t mess with May Day
The government have launched a consultation on moving May Day bank holiday to October. But why not keep it and have an extra October day as well? We could do with it! Send your message to the consultation and help raise support on Twitter: http://www.tuc.org.uk/keepmayday
Boss replies to low tax criticisms
'I couldn't care less. I will continue to do what I do'. Stefano Pessina, chairman of Boots, when challenged on criticisms that last year Boots had only paid £25m in tax on profits of £637m.
Wage theft in the US: http://www.wagetheft.org/
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TUSC aims to bring trade unionists, socialists and anti-cuts campaigners together to stand candidates at elections who are committed to representing working-class interests. Resistance to the cuts is vital, but we also need a political alternative to the policies of cuts and privatisation. TUSC believes that a new working-class party is needed that campaigns for a democratic socialist society run in the interests of the millions not the millionaires.