strikes

Junior docs strike again

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Junior doctors announced three 48 hour strikes as SR went to press: 9 to 11 March, 6 to 8 April and 26 to 28 April. As this comes after the imposition of the new contract it is a significant escalation.

A poll found 66 percent of people in England support for junior doctors’ strikes, with 41 percent saying they are strongly supportive. Only 16 percent of people say they oppose the walkout.

The BMA will also launch a judicial review as the government failed to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment before making the changes.

Solidarity is on call

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Junior doctors voted by a staggering 98 percent to strike over working hours. Doctor Ron Singer explains the long term issues and BMA activist Yannis Gourtsoyannis talks about the campaign.

The proposed strike by junior doctors is only the second in NHS history. The first was in 1975 over hours of work — then a usual 120 hours a week. The government does not think that the NHS works 24/7. The call for a “full” seven days a week service needed a way round the current junior doctor contract.

Confidence in the balance

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Workers face a massive challenge in taking on the Tories' anti-trade union bill. Julie Sherry draws the lessons from the steady trickle of victorious localised disputes.

The passing of the Tory Trade Union Bill — a fundamental assault on our right to strike — at its third reading in parliament on 10 November acted to focus the mind on the scale of the challenges ahead. The task of defending our unions and mobilising workers to fight the austerity onslaught just got more urgent.

We learned to be bold

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After over 100 days of strike action National Gallery workers voted to return to work last month having won nearly all their demands. Socialist Review and five strikers discussed the lessons learned.

When did you all join the union?

Patrick: Nine years ago!

Eva: I can’t remember if it was before the first strike or not… Less than a year ago.

Lucy: Did you join because of the privatisation?

Eva: Yes.

Instability and crisis in China

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Despite its meteoric growth rates, China may not be the economic juggernaut the Western media portrays. Jane Hardy uncovers the structural tensions and the workers' movements challenging the global superpower.

According to the International Monetary Fund the US has been knocked off top spot in the global economy and replaced by China. This further heightens the hype about China. But a recent book by Matthew Crabbe, Myth Busting China’s Numbers, is critical of some of the statistics. If you take spending power per head, for example, the picture is very different.

Egypt: murder that rocked the regime

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The heartbreaking murder of a young woman activist has exposed the fragility in the rule of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, a well respected member of Egypt’s left wing Socialist Popular Alliance Party, was shot in the chest by riot police as she was preparing to lay a wreath in Tahrir Square on the fourth anniversary of the revolution.

US workers strike for a living wage

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Fast Food striker

Julie Sherry joined a delegation from the British bakers’ union to support a day of strikes by US fast food workers in North Carolina.

The movement of thousands of fast food workers in a series of strikes, spanning 150 cities across the US, has captured the eye of the international media. It’s easy to see why. The movement symbolises something incredible — non-unionised workers, those on the lowest pay, many of them black, many of them parents living in poverty, who work in the most difficult conditions with no job security — have now lost their fear.

The strikes raise questions about the power of the working class today and the challenges facing the trade union movement.

Resisting the outsourcing giants

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Has the outsourcing of groups of workers limited their ability to fight back? Ian Taylor looks at recent strikes that challenge this claim, while Kevin Devine looks at the growth of outsourcing.

Outsourcing need not end workers' power to resist their employer. Strikes by three groups in the last three months - cleaners at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, ancillary workers at Ealing Hospital, London, and Care UK workers in Doncaster - make that clear.

Cleaners at SOAS won improved holidays, sick pay and pensions after taking on multinational ISS, one of the world's biggest employers.

The group of mainly migrant workers struck for three days in March after a long campaign for parity with in-house workers.

A new mood to resist

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Teachers, firefighters, council workers and health workers are all moving to either strike or hold ballots for strikes. Socialist Review looks at the shift in mood and argues that any strikes will be very political.

Suddenly the logjam could be broken. The announcement that Unison members in health and local government in England will be balloted over pay, plus a decision by the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) conference to call a further one-day strike in the summer term and the move for a new round of strikes by firefighters in early May mark a step change on the industrial front.

1914: War in the US Coalfields

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This month marks the centenary of the Ludlow Massacre when US national guardsmen killed 20 striking miners and their families in Colorado. This is the story of one of the most violent episodes in American labour history.

On 20 April 1914 the US National Guard attacked a tent colony of striking miners at Ludlow in Southern Colorado. By the end of the day at least 20 strikers, their wives and children were dead. Thirteen had died in a pit dug underneath a tent where they were sheltering from the gunfire after the militiamen deliberately set fire to the tents.

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