Wednesday, November 29, 2006

JJB Strike Leader Sacked, Urgent Response Required


After the fantastic victory at JJB sports, the managerment have sacked Chris Riley, a leading steward that many will know from his speech at the Organising for Fighting Unions Conference. They have also threatened the convenor, Jon Stewart. - see their appeal for support from below.

The strikers won because of the fantastic solidarity of the strikers, and because the strike was organised to use supporters to put maximum pressure on the company through hitting David Whelan, the owner, at his Wigan football club, and by organising protests outside JJB stores throughout the country. They are calling for pickets to be set up at JJB stores and are planning further strike action if talks tomorrow are not successful.

Send messages of support today to Chris Riley at the email below.
Threaten to organise pickets at your local JJB stores. They can then use these messages in the meeting tomorrow.

We should then get the support back up and running.
Do collections, organise pickets of JJB stores, and invite a speaker to your meetings.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Too many nurses?

Patricia Hewitt has consistently refused to take any responsibility for the crisis in the NHS. Health workers and other hospital employees are sick and tired of her bleating rhetoric about how the NHS has received record amounts of money and that more doctors and nurses have been employed under a Labour government than ever before. Now she is trying to justify cuts, closures and job freezing by claiming that

'some parts of the NHS in England have taken on too many doctors and nurses'

I'm sure that many people would be intrigued to know where these hospitals are that seem to have a surplus of staff. Certainly none of the places I have worked which include Merseyside, Yorkshire, Sussex and Cambridgeshire have such luxury!

She states that she will get the NHS back into budget by March next year which can only mean one thing - more cuts and job losses.

It is vital that effective campaigns oppose the privatisation of our NHS. We are seeing record amounts of NHS money filtering out into the hands of corporate business who are responsible to shareholders. PFI schemes are not only reducing services to those that are the most profitable, they are costing the taxpayer millions as costs spiral.

The Tories are jumping on the bandwagon too, trying to claim to be the party of the NHS. Many MP's are hijacking local campaigns to protest against closures. We should not be fooled by this. Under the Tories the policy on the NHS would remain almost identical to that of New Labour, with closures and job losses, privatisation and cutbacks.

The trade union bureaucracy needs to wake up before it is too late and we no longer have an NHS to defend. This will be one of the key battlegrounds and fights for the unions. We need to push the unions to name the day for national action and be at the forefront of groups such as Keep our NHS Public and Public Service Not Private Profit.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Unison Witch Hunt

Active union member and campaigner Tony Staunton is being subjected to a viscious witch hunt by the Unison trade union. Secretary of Plymouth Local Government Branch and the Plymouth TUC, Tony has been a tireless campaigner against cuts, privatisation and the attack on our pensions.

The attack appears to be politically motivated and a cynical ploy against the left. The main allegation against Tony is that he used Unison resources outside of the rules in printing a United Left newsletter. Following a complaint to the General Secretary, Unison officials arrived at the Plymouth Local Govt Branch office, downloaded material, took away financial and other records and quizzed Branch Administrator and Treasurer (without representation). These heavy handed tactics were used when Tony was leading a delegation to the NHS Together lobby of parliament, which the union was well aware of. Further to this, Unison are currently seeking legal advice to force Tony to hand over 2 personal computers which hold private information concerning him and his family.

Tony is a member of the Socialist Workers Party and RESPECT, a politcal allegiance that he doesn't hide. He has just announced his intentions to stand in the Unison NEC elections. Coincidence? Not very likely - the allegations occured days before Tony's announcement. This is a bitter attack on left-wing trade unionism and we shouldn't take this lightly. The union's links with the Labour Party have to be questioned after what can only be described as a Stalinist witch hunt.

The strength of the trade union movement lies with lay rank and file activists like Tony. What we need is unity in order to fight back against cuts, closures, privatisation and attacks on our pensions. Unions attacking its own members can only serve to weaken collective strength and play into the hands of a neo-liberal government. We need to stand together in support of Tony and say no to sectarian, Stalinist attacks.

The General Secretary
1 Mabledon Place

The Regional Secretary

And a message of support to

Tony Staunton
21 Bayswater Road

Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman

Free market fanatic, friend of Pinochet and tutor of the 'Chicago Boys' Milton Friedman has died aged 94. The economist was the leader of the monetarist school of thought and counted among his followers Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan who followed Friedman's theories in their neo-liberal, free market policy agenda throughout the 1980's.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Melanie Phillips on the BNP trial

Melanie Phillips sinks to new lows in this horrendous piece on the BNP trial. She legitimises Griffin's racist attack on Islam by saying

'There was never any chance of a conviction, for the simple reason that such statements were an attack on a religion rather than a race. It is perfectly legitimate, after all, to say that the enforcement of extreme Islamic precepts poses a threat to the lives of millions of Asians — including, in fact, many Muslims.'

Perhaps the worst part of the article is when she claims that people are drawn to the BNP by action such as a Mosque being built in Newham, on the site of the Olympic Village in what she describes as

'a piece of Islamist triumphalism to be funded by the Tablighi Jamaat, a group described by intelligence sources as an ‘ante-chamber’ to al Qaeda.'

And she clearly thinks that those who don't agree with her reactionary, Islamophobic views should be deported

'Ministers should take a leaf from Australia, whose Prime Minister John Howard regularly declares that people who are hostile to Australian values have no place in Australia and should depart.'

See here for the full article

American Veto on Beit Hanoun

America has again used it's veto in the Security Council and blocked an investiagation into the Israeli attack on Beit Hanoun which killed 19 people. The resolution proposed had also called for Israel to end violence against civillians in the Occupied Territories.

Britain abstained from the vote and US Ambassador, the neo-con John Bolton described the resolution as politically biased against Israel! Russia and France voted in favour.

Fresh from their war-crimes and defeat in Lebanon, the Israeli attack on Beit Hanoun will cost £50 million to reconstruct.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahmoud Zahar in Cairo yesterday that the cost of rebuilding the town of Beit Hanoun, the northern Gaza Strip, after the recent Israeli attacks, which targeted up to fifty million dollars.

He said Zahhar front of the Arab foreign ministers who held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories "that the Beit Hanoun area plagued needed to the value of 50 million dollars for the restoration of what was destroyed by the invasion and the last relief martyrs and the wounded people and injured more immediate and urgent."

Zahhar called the meeting to "carry out effective steps to deter the Israeli occupation from committing further crimes against our people at the international level through the activation of mechanisms that will put an end to Israeli arrogance."

Zahhar stressed on the other hand that "the democratic choice of our people and our concern for the formation of a government of national unity so as to ensure the lifting of the embargo and alleviate the suffering of our people."

JJB Strike

GMB members working at JJB Sports are set for further strike action on 15th and 16th November to improve pay and conditions. A striker who spoke at the 'Organising for Fighting Unions' conference at the weekend condemned millionaire owner Dave Whelan for his aggresive anti-union approach and his paltry pay offer which amounted to 1p per hour for low paid workers, just above the minimum wage.

Ex Chelsea, Liverpool and Scotland footballer David Speedie has been breaking the law and supplying scab workers through his employment agency Lightyear Recruitment Ltd. 2 other companies are also flouting the law.The GMB have protested outside the DTI at their failure to take action against the scabbing companies.

A delivery driver injured 3 pickets this week when he deliberately ran over a promotional canopy which collapsed injuring the strikers, with one requiring hospital treatment. Yet again we are seeing the working class attacked by ruthless millionaires who are only concerned with their profits.

Contact: Sandra Blight, GMB Lancashire Regional Officer on 07740 804049 or Steve Pryle, GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.
Scab agencies
Bond Personnel 01942 743270, Heads Personnel 0161 746 8811, Light Year 01942 511159.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Brown's Empire,,1072-2439057,00.html

Gordon Brown sets out his neo-liberal plans for free trade. He slams the anti-globalisation movement and wants them out of the way. A well know apologist for the Empire and Imperialism, Brown does not even hide his goal of furthering the neo-liberal agenda.

He has a rather distorted view of history when he claims that 'in the 19th Century Britain led the world in equating free trade with liberty...when business and politicians came together for that shared purpose'

So he means the liberty in Africa, where resources were plundered, people were used as slaves, countless were killed and poverty remains. The same liberty in India where people were starved as food was being shipped to the British and they were lorded over by colonial rulers. The liberty that saw a million perish in the Potato Famine in Ireland. The list goes on

We should not be suprised at this from Brown. He is the person who has been writing blank cheques for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has told us there is no money to pay our pensions. He has told us there is no money for our hospitals. And he is the person who is going to continue Blairite neo-liberal policies should he win the Labour leadership.

The time for looking to the Labour Party for answers is over. This morally bankrupt party is full of neo-liberals and reactionaries and has nothing to offer working class people.

Monday, November 06, 2006

People's Assembly

Well, I have been away for a while, and have I missed a lot! I'm back now and before I get round to posting anything else, I will add this about the forthcoming People's Assembly in London on 18th November. Since I last posted, there has been an escalation of Islamophobia coming from all corners. Jack Straw and his racist ranting against the veil, Tony Blair stepping in to comment on the sacking of a school teacher for wearing the niqab, David Davies ourageous outburst and the Murdoch press spinning lie after lie about Muslims.

This is the sign of a weak government and a clear sign that they are losing the 'war on terror'. As we see the death toll in Iraq rising to 655,000 according to the Lancet, and Blair saying they want to finish the job, they continue to demonise Muslims to justify their murderous crimes.

Please see the initiative from the Stop the War Coalition and help build solidarity with the Muslim community.

Islamophobia and the War on Terror

Open to delegates and observersSaturday 18 November 10.00am - 5.30pmCamden Centre Judd Street London WC1HOnline registration available shortly For a registration form, email

How are the attacks on Muslims linked to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? How can the anti-war movement counter those attacks in its continuing campaign to end the Bush/Blair wars? The People's Assembly will bring together peace and anti-war groups, trade unions, faith groups and organisations, community groups, political parties and any other representative organisations wishing to discuss these important issues. Individuals are also welcome as observers.

Speakers include:

Tony Benn
Moazzam Begg, Guantanamo detainee
Jeremy Corbyn MP
David Edgar, playwright
Noreen Fatima, NUS London Metropolitan University
Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition
Kate Hudson, Chair CND
Mohammed Abdul Khar and Abdul Koyair, brothers wrongly arrested in Forest Gate police raid
Paul Mackney, joint Gen Sec UCU
Sami Ramadani, Iraqi academic and journalist
Yvonne Ridley, Islam Channel
Mark Steel, comedian and columnist
Anas al Tikriti, British Muslim Initiative
Walter Wolfgang, Labour Party NEC
Salma Yaqoob, Respect councillor

Why a people's assembly:

When we formed the Stop the War Coalition five years ago, we said that the war on terror would lead to a backlash against the Muslim community and to attacks on our civil liberties. Today we see the bitter fruits of our foreign policy, with growing criticism of Muslims by politicians, racist attacks on mosques and on women wearing veils and increasingly draconian terror laws targeting in particular young Muslims.

Meanwhile the war on terror is unravelling. Even the Generals admit the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are hated by local people and military solutions are failing.
The People's Assembly aims to bring people together to discuss the relationship between Islamophobia and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to organise our campaign in response to war and racism.

We are asking peace and anti-war groups, trade unions, faith groups and organisations, community groups, political parties and any other representative organisations to send delegates to this important meeting. We also welcome individuals as observers.
Please do everything you can to support this event. We must defend the Muslim community and organise against the warmongers who have made the world a more dangerous place