Edinburgh IWW statement on Scotrail/RMT railworkers strikes.

The Edinburgh Branch of the IWW extends our solidarity to Scotrail workers and RMT members across Britain over the issue of Driver Only
Operated (DOO) trains . We support this strike on the principle of an
Injury to One is an Injury to All.

The move to DOO trains will mean  that without conductors, drivers cannot ensure the safety of passengers(especially the disabled) and further , drivers are put in a more risky and dangerous position themselves. Clearly Scotrail and other train companies across Britain are putting profit before safety, describing this move as  “competitive” and “modernisation” and looking behind the rhetoric we  can see that this is an attempt to open the way to future attacks on  jobs and conditions.

This attack, this putting profit before people is  in essence no different from the 19th century workhouse-like  conditions of Sports Direct warehouses or the recent cuts in hours and pay for retail workers with the increased Minimum Wage.All we can  learn from these instances is what should be by now plainly obvious- that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common. Our interests are not just different but opposing factors within  society.

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IWW supports UCU HE action on pay, anti-casualisation and gender pay gap

Are we in the 21st century or the 18th?  We do not need to tell you the importance of education for both individual development and flourishing communities.  But over half of academics are on insecure contracts, nearly half of UK universities use zero hours contracts for teaching and approaching 50 years after the equal pay act women academics still earn £6100 per year less than their male colleagues.

We applaud you for taking action to end casualisation and the gender pay gap as part of your pay campaign and offer you our support and solidarity. Fighting discrimination and inequality are important to the IWW.  We also recognise that your campaign on pay, casualisation and the gender pay gap is part of a wider struggle for the type of education we want, which is free to everyone, embedded in communities and encourages thinking and asking awkward questions, not privatised and opened up to short term profiteers, as encouraged by the Westminster government white paper.

Endorsed by  Edinburgh IWW, Clydeside IWW and Scottish Education Workers Network (SEWN)

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A picket line at a previous HE strike at Glasgow University, December 2013

For more information on the strike: ‘What is this dispute about?’ (UCU)

 

 

 

 

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May Day 1918

Glasgow has a proud tradition of radical politics, one that is particularly important to remember when the government is promoting jingoistic celebrations of World War I centenaries. During the four years of that devastating conflict, the Glasgow working class engaged in a series of mass actions to protest the war and the profiteering that accompanied it.

One event that deserves special mention took place on May 1, 1918. By then, the war had been grinding on for nearly four years, with casualties already in the millions. Glasgow’s workers, who built the ships and many of the munitions deployed by the British military, were ready to act. Although many workers were eager to pressure the government to bring the war to an immediate end, the War Cabinet, a coalition of Tories, Liberals and the Labour Party, suppressed any open opposition.

Through his determined and courageous opposition to the war, John Maclean had become a folk hero among the Glasgow working class. Maclean had consistently urged the anti-war Left to move beyond merely passing anti-war resolutions to organising political strikes that would shut down the war industries. In early 1918, Maclean began pushing for a one-day general strike to commemorate May Day.

May Day had been marked by massive demonstrations in Glasgow for several years before World War I began in August 1914. Tens of thousands would march from different tenement neighborhoods to converge on the Glasgow Green. A dozen or more platforms were set up around the Green so that marchers could decide which speakers to listen to. Thus, no one organisation dominated, while everyone got the chance to present their point of view.

Still, as exciting as these marches were, they were planned for the first Sunday of May, which did not usually coincide with May Day. Work was therefore only minimally disrupted. Maclean sought to break this practice and proposed, instead, that the march be scheduled for May 1, with the explicit intention of making this a dramatic protest against the war.

For the first years of the war, Maclean and his small group of supporters within the Scottish division of the British Socialist Party had been isolated within the wider anti-war Left. Only in early 1918, as grass-roots support for a policy of active resistance rapidly grew, was there a widespread acceptance of Maclean’s strategy. A broad coalition of left-wing organisations called for a march to the Green to take place on May Day itself. Unfortunately, by the time the march took place, Maclean was again in prison for speaking out against the war.

On Wednesday, May 1, 1918, factories and shipyards throughout Glasgow and along the Clyde were closed as tens of thousands of workers quit work to join the neighborhood marches heading for the Green. The marchers held placards demanding a rapid end to the war and the immediate release of Maclean from prison, themes echoed by those who spoke to the crowd. It was a stirring day and one that should be remembered.

Nearly a hundred years later, May Day in Glasgow is celebrated by a lackluster march sponsored by the Scottish TUC. Once again, the march is held on a weekend and not on May Day itself. (By chance, the coming May Day falls on a Sunday.) The radical Left needs to revive the spirit of the true May Day, so that in the coming years we can renew the events of May 1, 1918.

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Liverpool IWW Statement on the Hillsborough Verdicts

Liverpool IWW

thesun

The Liverpool branch of the Industrial Workers of the World union massively welcomes today’s announcement of the Hillsborough inquest verdict. Finally, ‘The Truth’ that working class people of Liverpool and all around the world have known for 27 years has been officially recognised – ultimately, the South Yorkshire Police killed 96 Liverpool football fans.

For many of us growing up, living and working in Liverpool and surrounding areas, the Hillsborough Disaster and the events that happened in its aftermath were of massive personal significance. Almost everyone on Merseyside knew someone who had been there. Many of those who were fortunate enough to come home physically unharmed still bear the psychological wounds to this day, and hopefully this verdict will give them some peace.

But if we may say so, today is as much about the final victory of working class people over the political establishment’s attempts to cover up the…

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Strike Back! – May Day 2016

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Strike Back! – Spring 2016

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Interview: Resisting the cuts in Dundee and across Scotland

The second Action Against Austerity conference is this Sunday, 3rd April (11am-5pm, Fred Paton Centre, Glasgow).

Here’s an interview we did earlier with one of the organisers, fellow Wobbly Andy Duncan, about the network,  Dundee Against Austerity and his thoughts on how we can more effectively fight the cuts in 2016.

dundee against austerityCan you tell us about Dundee Against Austerity: who’s involved and what have you been up to in Dundee?

Dundee Against Austerity, evolved from Dundee Against ATOS, and Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions. A small core of folk, of different politics and no politics, have conducted regular street protests, against benefit sanctions, fuel poverty, workfare exploiters, and all aspects of austerity. We have been able to sustain these actions for over four years, and are recognised by folk in Dundee for our support for the Dundee Porters’ Strike and direct action demos. We cooperate with other grassroots groups involved in different forms of action, notably the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network (SUWN), who are conducting a strong advocacy campaign. As well as stalls every month at Dundee Buroo, we also have regular stalls in the schemes of Dundee.

What do you think 2016 will hold for claimants and the class struggle in Scotland?

I believe that 2016 will become a lot more severe for ALL benefit claimants, jobseekers, disability claimants, and following Osborne’s latest statement on the need for more austerity, I think the deferred tax credit reduction will be back on the table. I believe all grassroots groups will need to up the anti, as local government cuts will really start to bite. I also think that “the trade union movement” has no choice but to act against these cuts. Grassroots groups have solid experience and should demand a voice at any future demos and rallies proposed by the so-called vanguard of the working class. The trade union movement is stuck in the 1980s mode of operation.  This was blatant during the Porters’ Strike – they had no ideas or actions that would make the strike successful.   Dundee Against Austerity had to propose setting up support groups and organising pickets of the health secretary’s offices. At every turn we need to come up with innovative ideas and tactics, or we will be stuck on the “march and rally” roundabout.

What is Action Against Austerity and where would you like to see it going?

Action Against Austerity is an innovative idea to link grassroots groups and actions.  Groups involved in AAA vary, with all forms of politics and ideas in the mix but, following our last conference in 2015, I believe we have set the groundwork for a focal point for groups who are classed as “non-bona fide”.  This in itself gives all who participate in AAA a platform to make our voices and ideas heard. Another conference is being planned for March 12th, and planning/organising meetings will take place.  The first is on the 25th January in Edinburgh, with a further meeting in February. I would like to see AAA progress to become a collective bloc, politics aside, that can come together for a common cause. Austerity and the rabid attack on our class, will continue regardless of which party governs us. Therefore, as I’ve stated before, we must up our game, develop new tactics, share our ideas and encourage our class to resist.

How can people elsewhere in Scotland get involved in fighting austerity?

In every town and city in Scotland, the effects of austerity are there to see: foodbanks, kids’ clothing banks, soup kitchens. There are numerous reports about child poverty, about the working poor, about open attacks on the disabled. We have a Scottish Government who pay lip service to being anti-austerity, and charities and churches who state that they are helping the poor. The real defence of the working class in alleviating poverty is the working class. We must strive to get our message out in the schemes and communities by using all means that we have available:  through the media, social media, direct action. As the austerity agenda ramps up, folk will have no option but to resist, therefore grassroots groups need to become more visible, more vocal and more involved in as many issues we are able to cover. We must endeavour to get our ideas out by any means necessary.

Dundee Against Austerity – http://www.facebook.com/DundeeAWS/
Action Against Austerity – http://www.facebook.com/actionagainstausterityscotland/

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