By Frances DavisIn the face of an increasingly belligerent management approach, intent on seeking a confrontation with the union, Unite cabin crew members began seven days of industrial action last weekend, with three strike days set to be followed by four further days to begin this coming weekend. The stakes in this dispute should not be underestimated.The dispute focuses on the union’s opposition to British Airways’ attempt to impose significant contractual changes on the workforce that would reduce pay and conditions. Proposals include the extension of working hours and the cutting of crew levels. The union has not sought such a confrontation and has consistently made clear its willingness to negotiate. In contrast, BA’s management have set a path of belligerence, intent on breaking the union’s strength. Having deliberately provoked the current action by tabling last week a worse offer to its workforce than the one it had been offering previously, the management have further sought to intimidate staff not to join the strike action including with threats such as losing travel privileges and even being sacked, and to organise scabs.
By David James
Anyone who wants to understand why Cameron chose to launch his attack on multiculturalism last week, to the delight of the English Defence League and other fascist groups, need only follow the daily tracker polls carried by YouGov – which are a useful resource. Cameron’s speech was an attempt to bolster Tory support by one of the oldest capitalist manoeuvres – attempting to promote racism to divert the population’s attention from the real problems that are affecting them.
By Jennifer Nash
Photo Alexander Howell
The coalition government has launched a massive assault on students which will cause significant social and economic damage. It plans to increase tuition fees from £3290 to £9000 per year, alongside huge cuts of 40 per cent to the higher education budget. Also the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for students studying in Further Education will be axed. This move will deny poorer students the opportunity to study beyond secondary school.
By Stephen MacAvoy
By Nicky Dempsey
The 2010 Budget was not designed to aid the recovery from recession, or help narrow the public sector deficit or even boost New Labour’s electoral prospects at the forthcoming general election.
A useful analysis of the Budget measures can be found here. The most telling aspect of it is a complete reversal of the 2009 Budget stimulus measures. These amounted to £50bn in increased spending over the previous year, £26bn of which was an increase in discretionary spending, not just upward pressure on spending arising from the recession.
By Frances Davis
This Saturday the fascist English Defence League (EDL) will be demonstrating yet again, this time in Dudley in the West Midlands, to whip up racist hatred against Muslims. (See leaflet for UAF protest)
This follows a series of similar mobilisations by the EDL in the recent period, in Harrow, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester , Stoke upon Trent and most recently in Bolton. On every occasion the EDL has sought confrontation, often violent – a flavour of what fascism represents, and what will happen if they get even the tiniest foothold in any part of society. As the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has pointed out, despite its attempts to present itself as a legitimate expression of so-called 'English patriotism' and making the ludicrous allegation there is a need to oppose 'creeping Islamification', the EDL is in fact a violent, street fighting fascist organisation. The majority of the EDL’s so-called demonstrations have resulted in physical attacks, most recently in Bolton , where its demonstration was followed by a stabbing allegedly involving the EDL.
The huge upturn in student militancy in the past month is a significant boost to every progressive who wants to defeat the Tory-led offensive against the working class. It is the beginning of forces in Britain joining the resistance against the capitalist offensive which has been unfolding across Europe.
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