No.48 March/April/May 1997

Scots Fight Back- people resist cut backs by local authorites

Social Justice- Dockers fight harbour company scabs

Magnet- workers go on strike

Hillingdon Support - hospital workers seek support

world to win- news from around the world

nobody's fool - a new society:what you cannot vote for

inside info - there in there for us, we are out here for them

Squatters Resist

No to fortress Europe

Women FightBack

Days that Shook the Tarmac

Korea Opportunities

Bouganville Resists

Working on a Chain Gang

Lost in Limbo

Useful Addressses

Scots Fight Attacks By Labour and Tories

In April 1996, when local government in Scotland was reorganised, the Tories deliberately ensured the new authorities had less money than they needed to run the services we rely on. They did this by cutting central government grants, capping spending and vindictively redrawing boundaries, particularly in Glasgow, where it's more affluent suburbs have been given to neighbouring councils.

  Services including schools, nurseries, community centres, sheltered housing schemes, libraries and sports centres are facing redundancies and savage cuts. These cuts are largely being made by Labour politicians who are more interested in their own power, position and perks than standing with the working class to fight the Tories. And New Labour have made it clear that there will be little change if they win the general election.

  Across Scotland, people who use services, workers and other members of local communities have been coming together to fight this calculated, premeditated attack on working people. They are building on last years victories when a number of services including schools and neighbourhood centres were saved by community occupations and campaigns.

  Despite initial inaction and delaying tactics, demands from grass roots members has forced the leadership of several local government unions to successfully ballot for days of strike action, including 6 March when tens of thousands of council workers were out on strike across Scotland. In Glasgow, this forced the Council to abandon its budget meeting until the following Monday, when again, thousands of staff walked out and lobbied the Council. Other actions have included:

  • Jan. Self-organised group of disabled people force the council to reverse their plan to evict them by staging an overnight occupation.
  • 25 Jan. 20,00 people march through city centre to protest at education cuts.
  • 10 Feb. Cuts in transport for voluntary groups are reversed after users lobby the Labour Group meeting.
  • 17-24 Feb. Library staff strike.
  • 20 Feb. Thousands of council workers strike, mass lobby and illegal march outside City Chambers. Residents of sheltered housing scheme in Govan, including one man aged 100 who took part in the hunger marches of the 1920's and 30's stood side by side with a new generation of activists to address a rally to protest at the scrapping of the warden scheme. Residents not able to leave their homes, showed support by hanging towels from their windows.
  • 4-6 Mar. Hundreds of staff in Property Services strike.
  • 5 Mar. Over 100 social work staff walk out in disgust as cuts in jobs and services are announced.
  • 9 Mar. 30+ social work staff picket on Sunday morning to uphold a ban on overtime working.
  • 10 Mar. OCCUPATION on 10th March of City Chambers, Glasgow by Community Halls & cuts activists angered by the closure of their centres.

    Kirkcaldy, Fife
  • 22 Feb. Over 500 people marched in protest at cuts in jobs and services.

    Stornoway, Western Isles
  • 3 Mar. Children and parents lobby Scottish Secretary Forsyth over education cuts.

  • 21 Jan. Families demonstrate over cuts at meeting of Wester Hailes Partnership Board.
  • 6 Feb. 500 demonstrators march in protest at council cuts - roads blocked, apparently inspired by actions of French workers.
  • 12 Feb. Launch of Save Our Services campaign
  • 13 Feb. Catering workers hand councillors cold packed lunches in protest at plans to axe hot school meals.
  • 20 Feb. Disabled people demonstrate against cuts in access project.
  • 22 Feb. Children and parents from 3 schools held marches to protest at school closures. Petition handed to Scottish Secretary.
  • 6 Mar. Over 600 strikers and service users demonstrate at council meeting.

  • Social Justice for the Dockers

    16 months ago, 500 Liverpool dockers, many with 20-30 years service, were sacked for refusing to cross a picket line. The privatisation of Britain's ports in 1989 opened up the way for Mersey Harbour & Dock Company to use casual labour to do docker's jobs.
    On 20th January, dockers, seafarers and other workers in 105 ports and cities, in 27 countries joined workplace meetings, work-to-rules, demonstrations at British Government overseas offices and held full-scale strikes:
    * West Coast U.S.A - all ports stopped for at least 8 hours. in Los Angeles alone, over 100 cranes were stopped, with 32 ships in harbour and another 16 due that day.
    * Denmark - The ports of Arhus and Copenhagen had 24 hour stoppages.
    * Liverpool - A continuous mass picket of Seaforth Container terminal, and 3 cranes occupied for 27 hours, prevented unloading of the Lake Crie for 35 hours.
     The picket of dockers and Women of the Waterfront included delegations from the victorious occupation of the Glasgow engineering firm, Glaciers, and the Darlington kitchen firm, Magnet where workers remain sacked.
     A major march in London on April 12th for Social Justice (no matter who is elected!) is sponsored by the Liverpool Dockers, reclaim the Future and other workers in struggle. For more details of the dockers dispute. Contact Liverpool Dock Shop Stewards Committee c/o 19 Scorton St., L6 4AS, tel 0151-207-3388. see also CI No.47 and Subversion No.18 (Large SAE from Dept. 10 1 Newton St., Manchester M1 1HW).

    Picket Power

    Building workers in Northampton hit back against James King Associates and picketed a site after 13 workers had been laid off without pay. After a successful picket, King capitulated and paid full wages, helped by the involvement of Brian Higgins, UCATT Branch Secretary. In a separate case, Higgins (who is unemployed and blacklisted) is being sued by UCATT official, Dominic Hehir for exposing his breaching of grievance procedures for workers in London.

    Magnet Repels

    350 Magnet Workers sacked in September '96 in Darlington for demanding their first pay rise in 3 years. AÊparent company Director, Mr. Antonini, paid himself £772,000 for 12 months 'work'! The former employees of the kitchen unit company have got support from Job Centre workers who blacked adverts for scab replacements. They have also linked up with Hospital strikers in Newcastle, the Liverpool Dockers, the 31 workers sacked at Critchley Labels in south Wales for demanding union recognition, and anarchists who have helped to picket Magnet showrooms. Donations (to Magnet Family Hardship Fund ) & Messages of support to Magnet Strike Committee c/o Ian Crammond, 109 Jedburgh Drive, Darlington DL3 9UP

    Hillingdon - Support Needed

    Hillingdon Hospital Workers are another group of workers who have learned who their true friends are in a dispute. Unison refuse to pay hardship money, 18 months after being sacked by Pall Mall and continue to undermine solidarity for the workers who have linked up with others in struggle. Contact Malkiat Bilku on 0956-135311.