Left Luggage

The socialist strategy site

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

A reason to be cheerful

Posted by Left Luggage on July 2, 2009

As we’ve previously commented, the state of working class industrial organisation in Britain does not compare favourably to our European neighbours. A detailed article in the International Socialism journal in March highlighted the slow disintegration of independent networks of militant shop stewards as a major factor contributing to the decline of industrial militancy. The number of workers per shop steward has risen, and there seems to be some degree of stagnation. The majority of shop stewards are over 40 and have held their position for 8 years or more.

The National Shop Stewards Network was set up to attempt to reverse this decline, and to build links between trade union activists in different industries. NSSN is now three years old, and had its third annual conference last Saturday. While there is no formal membership structure at present, the conference was open to unpaid shop stewards from any union in Britain. Full time union officials could attend in an “observer” capacity only.

The conference was more of a rally than a policy-making forum, but it was one of the better rallies I have attended. In the morning we heard some rousing speeches from Keith Gibson and Owen Morris – both members of the victorious Lindsey Oil Refinery Strike Committee. Gibson explained how stewards used mobile phone networks and held mass meetings every morning to communicate with members. Morris was at pains to defend the action Lindsey workers took in February over the use of non-union foreign contractors. He said:

My members might be working in Aberdeen one week and Cornwall the next. According to our national agreement, no matter where they’re working they get paid £14 per hour plus expenses, plus bonuses, plus lunch. Companies have been using Polish workers and paying them £4 per hour. We, as working class people, can’t accept that.

Also on the platform was newly elected Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins. He gave inspiring accounts of community campaigns that built public support for the SP in Dublin, including the campaign against water charges in the mid-90s and the exposure of the shocking treatment of Turkish migrant workers by Turkish multinational GAMA in 2005.

After lunch there was a choice of workshops on different topics related to trade union struggles. I attended the talk on the crisis in the Post Office. Activists seemed united in seeing the national office of their union – the CWU – as an obstacle to their attempts to organise resistance.

The day ended with a closing rally, the highlight of which was an address by the RMT rep for the London Underground cleaners, Clara Osagiede, who recounted the successful campaign to get cleaners the London Living Wage. Pretty much the last act of the conference was to elect a steering committee of 50 shop stewards to decide policy for the organisation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | 4 Comments »

Total victory?

Posted by Left Luggage on June 26, 2009

Striking workers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery, in Lincolnshire, and those construction workers at sites around the country appear to have won a stunning victory. News reports suggest that energy giant Total has backed down after its sub-contracting firms sacked 647 of the Lindsey workers on last Friday. According to the reports, unions Unite and the GMB have also secured assurances that the 51 workers who were made redundant, sparking the wave of wildcat strikes across the country, “will also be offered the chance to return to work”. Furthermore:

Unions have also won assurances that thousands of contract workers at power plants, refineries and gas terminals across Britain who also walked out in sympathy will not be victimised for their actions.

The proposed deal will be put to workers on Monday and while we haven’t seen the finer details, this appears to be a massive victory for the workers and a humbling climbdown by Total. The two-week long wildcat strike at Lindsey alone is estimated to have cost Total €100m (£85m) and, according to the company, “had put major investment into the building of its HDS-3 desulphurisation unit at risk.

Additionally, as Left Luggage has previously written, the initial laying-off of 51 workers seemed a clear-cut attempt by Total to force out militant workers and to kill-off the solidarity strike as an effective tool, possibly by deliberately provoking a walkout. Gregor Gall has pointed out that Total seemed to have selected for redundancy those workers who played a key role in the February strikes over the use of sub-contractors bringing in foreign workforces. Apparently, bosses at the site said the 51 workers would not be redepolyed because they were “an unruly workforce who had taken part in unofficial disputes and who won’t work weekends.” Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary, said: “This is a clear case of victimisation on a par with the notorious industry blacklists.”

Right now, this looks like a huge victory for the Lindsey workers. What’s more it demonstrates once again – to workers at Lindsey, the others sites that took action, and to the wider labour movement – the effectiveness of solidarity strikes and the use of flying pickets. Both very important lessons.

Some of the workers have now lost two weeks wages through the solidarity strike, and contributions to the hardship fund are still necessary.

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | 1 Comment »

Lindsey and the Left’s priorities

Posted by Left Luggage on June 22, 2009

For those who follow such matters, the dispute over the sackings of 647 workers at the Lindsay Oil Refinery escalated today when more than 3,000 workers at construction sites elsewhere in the country walked out in solidarity. Many of these sites had already come out either last week or earlier this year, but we also see in the Lindsey dispute how crucial is the tactic of the flying picket, which is being used by workers at the refinery. In a remarkable showing, according to the BBC, the walkouts included:

• 900 contract workers at Sellafield in Cumbria
• 400 workers at two LNG plants in west Wales – South Hook and Dragon
• 200 contractors at Aberthaw power station in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales
• 200 contractors at Drax and Eggborough power stations near Selby, North Yorkshire
• Workers at Fiddlers Ferry power station in Widnes, Cheshire
• Contract maintenance workers at the Shell Stanlow Refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
• 60 contract maintenance workers at Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire
• More than 1,000 workers at the Ensus biofuel site in Wilton, Teesside

The dispute centres upon the laying off of 51 contract workers who had been at the forefront of unofficial walkouts at the Linconshire refinery in January and February this year that spread throughout the country. The redundancies came as 61 other jobs were handed out to other workers. This led to hundreds of construction workers at the site walking out to defend their sacked colleagues. After a week of wildcat strikes throughout the country,energy giant Total on Friday sacked the entire striking workforce and gave them until 5pm today to reapply for their jobs. A BBC news reporter described the protest at Lindsey this morning:

The first wave of workers marched for nearly a mile from a neighbouring refinery. Police had to close the road as hundreds of protestors paraded through the centre of this industrial estate. As they gathered in the company car park, union officials called for unity – for a show of defiance.

The workers responded. Led by Phil Whitehurst from the GMB, they queued to set their dismissal letters alight. Dozens of them threw the papers into a blazing dustbin to cheers from the crowd. As the bucket smouldered behind us, I asked some of them if they were really prepared to put their principles before their job. The answer was always a resounding yes. I asked again, would they be re applying for their jobs. No, they said resolutely. Some even sounded disgusted at the suggestion.

-Keep reading>

Posted in News, Strategy, Unions, Workers' struggles | 2 Comments »

Sackings an attempt to kill off solidarity strikes

Posted by Left Luggage on June 18, 2009

Although they have hardly been picked up in the left blogosphere, and have barely got a mention in the mainstream media, wildcat strikes have hit the UK’s construction industry once again in recent days. The dispute is focussed on the Lindsey Oil Refinery site, the centre of the nationwide unofficial walkouts in February this year which became synonymous with the “British Jobs for British Workers” slogan and were criticised by much of the left.

The latest round of action began on June 11, after 51 workers at subcontracting company Shaw UK were made redundant without proper consultation while another company on site, RBC, had recruited 61 workers. Apparently, workers at Shaw UK were at the forefront of the wildcat action earlier this year. Workers say “most of the 51 redundancies were stewards, activists or union members.”

While the British left’s focus is on events on the streets of Tehran, there have been solidarity walkouts at industrial sites across the country, including at Drax and Eggborough power stations in North Yorkshire, at the Fiddler’s Ferry power station at Widnes in Cheshire, at Ratcliffe power station in Nottinghamshire, at the BOC oxygen plant at Scunthorpe, at BP’s Saltend refinery near Hull, and at Aberthaw in south Wales.

Around 1,200 contract workers at the Lindsey refinery, owned by Total, struck this week over the redundancies. The latest news is that bosses have sacked 900 workers for taking unofficial industrial action. Following the redundancies which appear to have been an attempt to force out trade unionists, this move must be seen as an effort to blunt the tool of the solidarity walkouts for good. They have undoubtedly been costly for Total and the subcontractors and with these sackings they clearly to kill them off.

The scale of the walkouts, mostly in solidarity and at risk to workers in other sites, has been hugely impressive and the left’s coolness towards them has been remarkable. Both the GMB and Unite unions are looking into the possibility of a national ballot of construction workers and leaked documents show planning is underway by the Engineering Construction Industry Association to undermine the ballot.

In that light, the sackings take on even greater significance. The stakes have been raised considerably and the response from workers at Lindsey and at sites across the country over the coming days will have a major impact on the balance of forces in the industry and the future of solidarity strikes in general.

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | Leave a Comment »

Poll suggests Labour will stagger on

Posted by Left Luggage on May 22, 2009

ICM pollAre these not the epoch-changing times for British politics that some have predicted?

A story on The Guardian website today is headlined “Quarter of voters to reject mainstream parties at EU elecions”, based on an ICM poll that puts the combined total (from those who expressed a preference) for Labour, Tories and Lib Dems at 72%. But reading beyond the headline to the data itself, what seems really extraordinary is that the poll indicates an increase in support for all three main parties compared with the 2004 European elections. The Tories are up +3% to 30%, Lib Dems have increased in support +3% to 18%, and even Labour has gained +1% to take the party to 24%. Given the depth of the public anger over the recent MPs expenses revelations this is most unexpected. While the Guardian report attempts to exaggerate the poll’s findings somewhat, it seems that the predicted meltdown of support for Labour is not quite upon us. This polls seem to indicate the possibility of its staggering on in the same grim fashion, rather than anything more terminal.

It also shows support for the British National Party is lower than many had expected, at only 1% according to the ICM figure, although this is likely to be an underestimate due to the reluctance of those polled to own up to supporting the BNP. At present this is down from the 5% it achieved in 2004. From the (admittedly small sample of) data gathered by ICM in another recent poll (pdf), support for the far right seems to be highest among men, those aged 18 to 24, and voters in social class C2 (skilled manual workers), showing again that the far-right’s support is strongest among working class people. They also seem to be stronger in the Midlands than the North or South. Clearly it is to be welcomed if the BNP do suffer a decline in support, but it should not distract from the Left’s task: building of working class political organisation to fill the vacuum the far-right is attempting to exploit. A poor BNP showing cannot be a charter for the “anyone but the BNP” strategies of mainstream anti-fascism to persist.

Other notable figures from the EU election poll are the increase in support for the Green Party, which is up +3% on its 2004 result at 9%, and the decline in stated support for UKIP, down -6% at 10%.

It’s worth being cautious about all these figures, not only because they produce counterintuitive results. The full data sets are not yet available on ICM’s website, but it seems certain that the sample will have included a large percentage of “don’t knows” that could radically alter this picture, or put a cross by the BNP on polling day.

One thing is certain, however: yet again the Left has let an opportunity slip. In the midst of both the largest economic and political crises in generations, there is no credible challenge from the Left whatsoever. The electoral platform No2EU doesn’t register even 1% in the poll, which should be unsurprising given how late in the day they launched their campaign. In any case, once again the Left is out of contention.

Posted in Anti-fascism, Elections, European Union, Labour Party, News | 2 Comments »

Leftovers #6

Posted by Left Luggage on May 10, 2009

In this week’s digest, we feature debate on the Left over the outcome of the Visteon dispute, critical thoughts on union bureaucracies, differing reports on a demonstration calling for an amnesty for illegal immigrants, and an article blaming the media for knife crime.

In the aftermath of the Visteon dispute there has been some debate around the Left blogosphere as to what extent the outcome was a victory for the workers. We mentioned previously The Commune‘s analysis which, through speaking to some of the workers, questions the role of the Unite union bureaucracy, argues ending the Enfield occuaption was a tactical error, and raising the issue of pensions, which has not been resolved. Blogger Liam McUaid argues the outcome was a “partial victory” and posts an abrasive article by Socialist Democracy’s John McAnulty that focuses on the loss of pensions and jobs. In response, Andy Newman at Socialist Unity argues that the outcome was a clear-cut victory, and with a close analysis of the factors at play argues that the workers won the best deal possible:

It was an heroic and inspirational fight, that blew away the cobwebs of inertia that had greeted the closure of Woolworths, and other job losses.

But before we get too carried away with our assesment of the workforces’ bargaining position, let us consider that Visteon were seeking to close the factories, so the occupations were an interruption to cash flow stopping the selling the assets, but were not hitting their production; and secondly that through the use of threats of courts, police and bailiffs, only Belfast was still in occupation at the time a deal was reached.

That is, the leverage that the workforce had over Visteon and Ford was potentially peaking when the deal was agreed, and there was a substantial risk that if the deal was turned down, the bailiffs would have gone into the Belfast plant, and the pickets at Enfliend and Basildon would boil down to a hard core of last-standers, like the tragic defeat at Gate Gourmet, while the rest of the workforce melted away.

Now it is possible to construct other scenarios, but experience of the British labour movement over the last few years suggests that this would be a likely enough scenario to base calculations upon it.
-Keep reading>

Posted in Leftovers, News, Workers' struggles | Leave a Comment »

Militant trade unionist sacked

Posted by Left Luggage on May 7, 2009

As we reported previously, Rob Williams, Unite trade union convenor at Linamar Swansea and vice-chair of the National Shop Stewards Network, was sacked by the company’s management last week, and then temporarily re-instated following militant action by the Linamar workforce. This update comes from The Commune:

Disgracefully, however, Rob yesterday had his sacking confirmed. Negotiations between Linamar management and [Unite joint general secretary] Tony Woodley took place all day in London, but Linamar did not shift.

Meanwhile at the Swansea plant Linamar revealed their brutality. Massive intimidation of the workforce took place – including foremen going around the shop floor threatening workers with the sack if they dared walk out in support of Rob. The bosses even went to the ludicrous lengths of removing the door from Rob’s trade union office.

This brutal action by Linamar is an attempt to return to the nineteenth century. What Linamar do not realise, however, is that all hell is going to break loose when workers, both in the Swansea and the wider labour movement, hear how Rob and his members have been treated.
-Keep reading>

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | Leave a Comment »

Visteon workers’ victory

Posted by Left Luggage on May 4, 2009

Workers at Visteon factories in Enfield, Belfast and Basildon have won a major victory after forcing the company to offer redundancy payouts. The deal comes over a month since the 610 workers at the three plants were sacked with no notice, and told they would receive no redundancy pay or pensions. In response, they occupied the factories, mounted 24-hour pickets and protests across the country at Ford showrooms. The motor parts company was formerly owned by Ford but was “spun-out” in 2000, when workers were told they would retain the same terms and conditions. On the deal negotiated by Unite, which was accepted by the Basildon and Enfield workers on Friday and Belfast workers yesterday, the Morning Star is reporting:

Visteon, despite claiming that its British subsidiary had gone bankrupt, was now prepared to pay out an “enhanced redundancy package” that includes “special payments” of 52 weeks’ pay backdated to last November, which could be worth up to £50,000 for some of the longer-serving staff.

The offer also includes all the cash that the workers were owed for the redundancy notice that they were never given and, although the question of pensions remains unresolved, workers at all the Visteon plants were in no doubt that they had won a huge victory.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that this deal goes beyond the redundancy terms offered by Ford and will see the workers given preferential treatment if they apply for jobs at Ford’s UK plants.

Unite said a renewed deal, which goes beyond the Ford redundancy terms, had been accepted unanimously by the union’s convenors and shop stewards. The proposed settlement deal will see a considerable lift in the redundancy package offered to workers with long service and who previously worked for Ford.

Some 510 out of the 610-strong workforce are former Ford employees. Workers with shorter service can expect to receive 10 times what they would have received in statutory redundancy pay. Ford has also agreed to give preferential treatment to former Visteon workers who apply for work at Ford’s UK plants in the future.

There is some reaction from Visteon workers to the deal at the Socialist Worker website. The workers have said they will maintain the Belfast occupation and the pickets in Enfield and Basildon until the redundancy agreements are signed, sealed and the cash delivered to workers’ bank accounts.

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | 1 Comment »

Leftovers #4

Posted by Left Luggage on April 29, 2009

A slightly delayed view of the last week, featuring an interesting analysis of how the Left should deal with the police, a new blog aiming to address strategic questions facing socialists outside the “mainstream Left”, more school protests and a reflection on the political complexion of Labour after the next general election.

Following our article on how the Left should respond to crime, blogger A Very Public Sociologist has a very though-provoking piece on the other side of the coin: how should left-wing activists deal with the police (or, rather, for the moment, talk about dealing with them).

The obvious difficulty is outside a revolutionary situation, calling for the abolition of the police invites derision and dismissal. The far left in Britain has either tended to argue this position regardless, compounding their isolation from the bulk of the politically interested population (take your pick from among the colourful array of ultra-lefts), or have maintained a strategic silence […]

It may be good on the diagnosis of crime but is decidedly poor in what can be done about it, creating the impression the left is soft on criminality and completely unserious about it. Obviously, this is not good enough – it leaves us disarmed in front of those communities where crime and anti-social behaviour is endemic.

He cites the example of the Socialist Party, which has a set of “transitional demands” on law and order issues and suggests that democratic control -Keep reading>

Posted in Leftovers, News, Strategy | 1 Comment »

Shop steward who supported Visteon occupations sacked

Posted by Left Luggage on April 28, 2009

Rob Williams, the Unite convenor of the Linamar car parts factory in Swansea and vice chair of the National Shop Stewards Network, was called into the directors’ office of the plant on Tuesday 28 April and told that he was being sacked for “irretrievable breakdown of trust”.

This blatant victimisation of one of the leading left-wing shop steward activists in the car industry was met by an immediate production line walk-off by the day shift. They surrounded Rob’s union office after management called in police to forcibly remove Rob from the building. Rob has been very active in the campaign of the sacked Visteon car parts workers and has recently visited all three of their plants. His sacking is likely to be linked to his role in this struggle. The Visteon Unite convenors are demanding that Rob be reinstated and they, alongside many others, are calling on Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley to also back the immediate reinstatement of Rob.

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | 1 Comment »

Prisme workers save their jobs

Posted by Left Luggage on April 24, 2009

Workers who occupied the Prisme Packaging factory in Dundee for 51 days will end their occupation today, after saving their jobs. They anticipate they will sign a deal with a backer to allow them to set up a workers’ co-operative. A new company, Discovery Packaging and Design Ltd will be launched on May 1.

A statement from the workers said: “Our occupation began to secure our redundancy payments and other monies that were denied to us by our employer when we were sacked. However, during the occupation we also decided to fight to safeguard our jobs because we believed there was a viable business, even if our predecessors did not.

“This victory would not have been possible if it had not been for the support we have had from the general public, trade unionists, socialists and many others. This support and solidarity has been overwhelming and has helped give us the energy and determination to carry on for more than seven weeks.

“We said at the beginning of this that we were little people who had refused to be little anymore. We are proud of what we have achieved and our dignity is intact. We showed we would not be walked over by an uncaring employer. We want to thank all those who have supported our struggle over the last 51 days, your support has been invaluable. Thanks once again to you all.”

The Prisme workers will be leaving the factory together and united at 5pm today.

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | Leave a Comment »

Parents occupy South London primary school

Posted by Left Luggage on April 23, 2009

The spirit of the Glasgow school occupation and the Visteon workers has spread and parents of children at Lewisham Bridge School in South London have occupied the roof of the school in protest at its closure.

You can read about the background here. There is also a facebook group.

Parents involved in the occupation would really appreciate any visits to the school or anyone who can do shifts on the roof. The BBC, Evening Standard and others have already been down to cover the occupation.

There will be a public meeting outside the school tomorrow (Friday 24/4) at 3.30pm. The school is on Elmira Street, Lewisham, SE13 7BN. A map can be found here. Messages of support can be put on the facebook group and sent to handsofflewishambridge@yahoo.co.uk.

We fully support the parents involved in this protest and wish them every success.

Posted in Education, News | 1 Comment »

Voices from the factory occupations

Posted by Left Luggage on April 23, 2009

For activists in London there looks to be an interesting and potentially inspiring public meeting tomorrow with speakers from the Visteon factory occupations. The meeting, organised by the Socialist Party, takes place at 7.30pm on Thursday, April 23, and features:

  • Frank Jepson, Unite convenor at Basildon Visteon (also a No2EU candidate for the Eastern region in the forthcoming European elections).
  • Kevin Nolan, Unite convenor at Enfield Visteon.
  • Rob Williams, Unite convenor at Linamar (formally Visteon), in Swansea.
  • Speakers have also been invited from Belfast Visteon.

The event is in Room 101, University of London Union (ULU), Malet Street, WC1E 7HY. The nearest tubes are Euston and Euston Square.

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | 2 Comments »

Democrats without democracy

Posted by Left Luggage on April 21, 2009

The decision of Alice Mahon, former MP for Halifax, to leave Labour will have dealt a further blow to the hopes of those socialists operating within the party that it can be “reclaimed” for the Left. Certainly one of Labour’s finer MPs for her 18 years in Parliament, the fact that she resigned from the party she had been with for virtually her whole life was significant enough. But of greater significance was the fact that she abandoned Labour not simply on grounds of policy, nor because of the current e-mail slurs scandal as has been reported, but largely because of its inherently “undemocratic” structures. Writing about her resignation, she made this clear:

A machine was put in place to crush anything remotely connected to Old Labour. Conference was changed beyond recognition, any dissent ruthlessly stamped on by the new spin masters. Delegates were sought out and pressurised into supporting New Labour policies even if they were against what the local party had decided. […] Party members have effectively been banned from any decision making. […] New Labour have done such a good job of demolishing our democratic structure that I realised there was nothing I could say or do to change things from within.

Members of the Labour Representation Committee report that even within this organisation there is a debate underway between those who favour a Labour-focussed approach and those who see the party as a lost cause, though for the moment it is firmly tied to Labour. Susan Press, LRC vice-chair and a councillor in Calder Valley, made clear that while she regrets Alice’s departure, she believes it was the wrong decision strategically, at least for the moment. At the same time, Susan admits there is basically no democracy within Labour. She recently stood as a prospective parliamentary candidate in both Keighley and Calder Valley, losing both elections. She says:

I feel more disillusioned than ever before. As Alice said yesterday, the old ways of changing policy just aren’t there any more. And, after what has happened to me as a candidate in Keighley and Calder Valley, I honestly think left-wingers do not stand a chance of beating the machine. The selection process would have to change radically to maje it a fair contest with a level playing field. […]

The truth is that at the moment democracy is not something we have, either as Party members nor as PPC candidates.It’s all decided in rooms which may not have smoke any more but which still serve to block anyone who might not toe the line.

I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing will change until after the General Election. If it doesn’t, then even lifetime Labour members like me may well vote with our feet. I am truly sorry Alice Mahon has left Labour, but I understand why she did.

Yet given what both Alice and Susan say about the party’s democracy, and what is apparent from recent selection battles in Greater London and in West Yorkshire, there is clearly scant hope of “reclaiming” Labour (whatever this would mean politically) if only because the party is structurally incapable of being captured through democratic means.

Posted in Labour Party, News, Strategy | Leave a Comment »

Leftovers #3

Posted by Left Luggage on April 20, 2009

We’ve had an eye of the US this week, following some remarkable poll results from across the pond and the publication of three of our articles on American websites. Our pieces on crime, the unions and strategy for the Left all went down well in the States, at a time when socialism appears to be creeping back onto the mainstream American agenda. We reported last week that only 53% of the adult population in the US prefer capitalism to socialism according to a Rasmussen poll (among under-30s support for capitalism and socialism was evenly split at 37% to 33%).

How should the Left take advantage of this promising situation? Liberal US magazine The Nation addressed exactly that question by launching a discussion last month on the way forward for socialism. Under the heading, “Reimagining socialism”, a range of leftwing commentators from around the world offered their views on the best strategy for the American Left. One positive aspect of the discussion was the way many authors stressed the need to focus on values and vision. Michael Albert’s contribution was a good example of this.

Perhaps predictably, most of the authors failed to identify the working class as the agent of social change, so there were few detailed prescriptions for how to build working class self-organisation. Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher Jr. recommended that socialists try to build on “the social movements that are battling injustice every day” and argued that “we have to build organizations, including explicitly socialist ones, that can[…] develop leadership and advance local struggles.” Red Pepper’s Hilary Wainwright pointed to what she saw as encouraging developments: “traditional actors, most notably a minority of trade unions, showing a capacity to play a new and intrinsically political role, -Keep reading>

Posted in Leftovers, News, Strategy | 1 Comment »

Protest at Visteon factory

Posted by Left Luggage on April 17, 2009

A protest has been called in support of workers at the Visteon factory in Enfield, North London, after talks between the Unite union and management broke down.

Sacked workers said they are stepping up their 24-hour picket at the plant after rejecting the “derisory” offer from Visteon management.

Meanwhile, workers involved in the ongoing occupation at the Belfast factory picketed a Ford dealership and have been served with a notice ordering them to leave the building by Tuesday, April 21.

A rally will be held tomorrow (Saturday, April 18) from 11am at the Enfield Factory, in Morson Road (Gate 5), EN3 4NQ, near Ponders End train station, Enfield.

Posted in News, Unions, Workers' struggles | Leave a Comment »

Gaining a hearing

Posted by Left Luggage on April 16, 2009

While our focus is on strategic issues facing the British Left, we’re pleased that our analysis has been attracting interest from elsewhere. Two major left-wing American websites recently featured our work, sparking positive feedback from readers.

Our article examining whether the Left should tackle crime was used on the Dissident Voice website, while our analysis of the different recruitment strategies used by trade unions and left-wing political groups, and their wildly differing effectiveness, was reused on the popular Znet site.

We’re noticing there are many people discussing the way forward for the Left right now, and we’re glad to be able to contribute to this debate.

Posted in Left Luggage, News | Leave a Comment »