strikes

Schools out!

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The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is preparing to ballot over 200,000 members in England and Wales for strike action against below inflation pay rises.

The ballot starts on 28 February and NUT activists are confident that it will lead to the first national strike by teachers in more than 20 years, on Thursday 24 April.

The decision to ballot was taken after the government announced a recommendation from the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) that teachers should get an increase of 2.45 percent in their pay in September 2008. This would be the first year of a three-year pay deal, which would see below inflation pay rises until 2010.

Whose lines are they anyway?

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Striking screenwriter Howard Rodman spoke to Socialist Review about challenging the studios over royalties from the "new media".

I believe that the development of "new media" is a technological shift comparable to the advent of TV and home video. But "new media" is a misnomer. I would cite one of my favourite picket line photos: a baby in a stroller with a sign which reads, "It's old media to me." Anyone who has studied this, or lives in a house with a teenager, already knows this. As William Gibson famously said, "The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed."

Unity in action

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On 5 November I was sacked after 25 years from the job I loved as a community psychiatric nurse. Three days later 150 community mental health workers went on strike indefinitely for my reinstatement.

I might have felt a bit of shame and embarrassment if any of the trumped up charges were true, but I was even sent a letter on the day of my suspension promoting me to senior practitioner. My crime was speaking out about government plans to transfer NHS care to the voluntary sector and publicly protesting my innocence.

As a result my colleagues are taking 14 days of strike action. Their amazing commitment of time and energy is not just about freedom of speech and myself; it is driven by the frustration of working in services being cut to ribbons.

The politics of the post strike

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The postal workers' strikes have seen 130,000 workers taking action, with picket lines in every town and city across the country. Charlie Kimber looks at the impact of the dispute and how the political fallout has led many union members to question trade union links with the Labour Party.

For the past four months the strikes in Royal Mail have been the central question of working class struggle. It was always going to be a major battle, an important one for every trade unionist.

Make your vote count

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No doubt readers of Socialist Review are aware of the PCS dispute with the civil service and associated employers with the latest national strike which took place on 1 May.

We have been taking action over industrial matters - pay offers below inflation, job cuts, compulsory redundancies, attacks on conditions, the damaging effects of privatisation and outsourcing. But the problems public servants face (and not just PCS members, by any means) are the industrial relations consequences of decisions made by politicians.

They have decided that there must be a business case for everything. They consider that the pursuit of social benefit no longer justifies policy. There has to be a potential for profit to make any activity worthwhile to them.

Heathrow Dispute: Bring the Bosses Down to Earth

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Strikes and solidarity are needed to bring the Gate Gourmet bosses' union busting operation to a standstill, argues The Walrus.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Gate Gourmet dispute has been the way it has taken the lid off what goes on at Heathrow airport - the biggest workplace in Britain. Concerted attempts by parts of the media and by the BA boss, Rod Eddington, to whip up an outcry over unofficial strike action have not been at all effective - mainly because the overwhelming impression has been that of a wildcat management acting in the most despicable fashion against a workforce made up almost entirely of Asian workers.

Civil Service: Strike Bowlers

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The battle for the future of the civil service has begun.

Civil servants from the PCS union have responded to Gordon Brown's 104,000 job cuts threat with a two to one strike vote. The strike was on 5 November, just after Socialist Review went to press.

This will be the first national dispute in the civil service for over ten years, bringing together benefit workers, customs officers, museum curators, librarians, tax officers, court assistants and many more.

The Thaw Sets In

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The anti-capitalist and anti-war movements of the last five years show enormous similarities with the movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s. But there is, so far, one big difference.

The years 1968-74 saw a huge increase in the level of industrial struggle in many countries. There has so far been nothing on that scale this time round, despite big one-day general strikes in several countries (although, unfortunately, not yet in Britain). The wave of demonstrations and strikes among French teachers in the summer of last year has been the exception, not the rule.

The Heat is On

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Strikes and pickets are now back in the news. Pay heads a list of grievances that express growing frustration with New Labour. Peter Morgan explains why workers are getting more awkward.

There is clearly something going on with workers in the offices, factories and workplaces of Britain. It can best be summed up in a single word: confidence. Today our side seems to be winning more disputes than it loses and sometimes this happens without a strike taking place. Often it is simply the case that a resounding yes vote for action in a ballot is enough to win.

Nursery Nurses: The Building Blocks of Struggle

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For eight weeks over 4,000 nursery nurses have been on all-out strike across Scotland.

This is the latest action in a fight for decent pay that has been going on for over two years. Prior to the strike the top rate of pay for a nursery nurse was £13,800. Despite ever increasing responsibilities, they had not been regraded for 16 years. Crucially the strike also became a battle for national pay and conditions after the association of local authorities in Scotland (Cosla) told nursery nurses that new deals would have to be settled with individual councils.

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