Cyber Monday protests at Amazon, action alert for Kevan Thackrar, and more class struggle news and events for early December

Cautiously pessimistic

Another quick roundup of news and events:

In workplace news, the CWU’s appeal has been defeated and the courts have upheld the ruling blocking them from taking strike action on the back of their massive strike vote. It’s worth stressing how serious this is: first the law blocks strike action in cases where there isn’t a big turnout on the ballot, and now the courts are ruling that any effective campaign to get a big strike vote out becomes “improper interference”, leading to a situation where workers are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

On a more positive note, plans to outsource the jobs of NHS staff in Bradford and Frimley have been defeated. While no date has yet been set, members of both GMB and Unison working for the road gritting department of Carmathenshire County Council have voted to strike over pay, with yet…

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Rinse and Repeat

scottish unemployed workers' network

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This handful of cases from a recent stall perfectly illustrates once again the horrors of the UK benefit system, and why we need to keep pushing. We are determined to keep going until real change is made.

Ernie is a young man who has, for some time, been claiming the Limited Capability for Work element of Universal Credit. He approached us in a state of some anxiety. An administrative cock-up had left him facing a loss of his Universal Credit income.

His case was undergoing reassessment. He had duly turned up for his medical assessment, but they were running behind and could not see him on the day of his appointment. An alternative date and time were arranged. When Ernie turned up for the rearranged appointment, he was told he had missed it. He went straight to the Jobcentre and explained the situation. He was told to put a note…

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Class struggle events listing, Nov 25-Dec 1st

Cautiously pessimistic

Another quickish listing of upcoming events for the next week. In passing, I’d just like to plug the new Spycops resource, and also to mention that the Nottingham College dispute has ended after a new deal was accepted, as has the one by non-academic staff at the University of Birmingham.

The big thing coming up soon is the eight days of strike action being taken at around 60 universities over pensions, pay and conditions by UCU members, from Monday 25th through to Wednesday 4th December. A similar ballot by Unison members working in non-academic roles returned a majority favouring strike action, but didn’t pass the 50% turnout needed. Having said that, UCU Left advise that “Successful pay ballots allow other workers who are not in UCU to participate in strikes. (It is unlawful for employers to discriminate by union membership and branches can extract statements…

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‘Living and Dying on the Factory Floor’ – by Dave Ranney

Angry Workers of the World

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This book is a thoughtful and easy-to-read account of the author’s experiences in various industrial workplaces in the US in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We’ve all heard about militant steel workers in Chicago, but there was a lot more going on than that, and at a variety of workplaces, many of which never made the headlines. Dave’s book takes us through some of these stories, as we learn about the shop-floor dynamics, the relationships with his co-workers, the ways work is organised, racial divisions, how to oppose migration raids and the nightmares of coming up against the union bureaucracy. The depiction of personal lives and relationships is really touching. The best way to get a feel for the book is to read this interview with Dave:

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/02/david-ranney-living-dying-factory-floor

The humble approach of the author makes him a personable and likeable guy. Even though he was a militant (in political…

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To Kill the Truth: exactly how thick and cynical is Jonathan Freedland?

Pamphlet: We want a new society – and don’t we need it!

Angry Workers of the World

GettyImages-1177970611_0The current system is in crisis, everyone can see this. What we cannot see is an alternative. We wrote this pamphlet for a discussion about alternatives. The first step is to understand where we are coming from, how the current system emerged. We then have to get to grips with how the system works, or rather, how it makes us work. There would be no alternative to this system if it would not show clear signs of crisis – so we have to know what actually causes this crisis. There would be no alternative if those who are exploited and oppressed would not have tried to fight for a better society. We have to learn from those who came before us. 

We don’t write this as experts. We write it as workers, who don’t just want to stare into the headlights of global events as victims. If we don’t…

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The media bias on antisemitism in the Left and Labour is now putting the lives of British Jewry at risk

Never forget who the real antifascists are!

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

It was reported last week that far-right extremists are the “fastest growing problem” in domestic terrorism, with almost a third of plots discovered by security services as being based on “rightwing ideology”. The police have found “extreme Nazi death cults” radicalising children as young as 13, which is clearly a successful tactic given a 16 year old has been found plotting to bomb synagogues to “start a race war”. Yet, despite this this horrific proliferation of an ideology lethal to both Jews and other ethnic minorities, if you looked at the British press as a whole it would appear that it is actually the traditionally anti-racist Left or Labour that are the primary existential threat to British Jewry. In fact, suggesting otherwise has become so deeply controversial that many shy away from even discussing it, let alone writing about it; I cannot count the number of pitches…

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