Former miners’ union leader Arthur Scargill urges support for Palestine (Photo: Phil Turner)

From the miners to Palestinians—that was the message from two big demonstrations in South   Yorkshire last Saturday.

Over 1,000 people marched alongside the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign on the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave after a rally outside Sheffield City Hall.

Former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill urged solidarity with Palestine.

He added that he had been honoured to fight alongside the miners and women who took an active part in the strike including picketing.

He said there were points when the strike could have won, criticising the leaders of steel unions and the Nacods union for backing down.

Derbyshire striker John Dunn said, “We stood proud, we never bowed, we never faltered and that’s what we celebrate.” He added, “We’re still here, we’re still fighting.”

He said that problems today cannot be blamed on people who come here on boats fleeing wars. The election will mean “changing one set of establishment goons for another who won’t change anything” when we need to abolish the rotten system, he added.

Lawyer Gareth Peirce, who defended miners arrested at Orgreave, said it was clear to both the ruling class and the strikers that they were fighting a war.

Some Orgreave demonstrators also attended the “End the Genocide” Palestine protest in Rotherham. Some 1,000 marched in the town centre.

One of the organisers Hafsah, from Rotherham Friends of Palestine, said,

“Rotherham was filled with Palestinian flags as the people of Rotherham marched to say—no more.

“No more bombing. No more occupation.”

Phil Turner

100-day action plan does not include settling strike

General secretary of the UCU union, Jo Grady, has put forward a 100-day plan for how she wants to shape the union going forwards.

It’s an utterly uninspiring plan that gives little actual direction to members, especially the ones facing widespread redundancies in their workplaces.

The document focuses largely on how the union can better bargain with employers, fight legal campaigns and build union participation.

There is no mention of strikes or industrial action in the whole of the document.

Workers have voted for strikes time and time again at both congresses and in their branches, but Grady’s plan feels like an attempt to justify her stopping of the strikes.

Joined up national action is the only way to stop the bosses from taking a sledgehammer to workers jobs across higher education.

Yet Grady’s plan doesn’t even mention redundancies once.

And the members of the Unite union who work in the UCU office have said there has been no “tangible movement” in their dispute with their UCU bosses.

The Unite members said the union was undermining “existing industrial recognition agreements, failure to agree key working principles and heavy‑handed use of disciplinary procedures”.

The members have voted to take five more days of strikes. The trouble at the top of the UCU points to one thing—workers need to continue to try and seize control of their union.

Asda revolt over cuts in hours

Workers at Asda supermarkets don’t want to pay for the poor financial choices of the bosses.

On Thursday last week 500 protesters gathered outside an Asda store in Bournemouth.

Shop floor workers are angry that as many as 16,500 hours have been cut in just two years.

The cuts come as Asda’s private equity owners hold significant debt.

Some shop staff on minimum wage were protesting at being paid £2.80 an hour less than colleagues in distribution centres.

Workers are also angry about other issues including management ignoring safety concerns and poor training. These issues have sparked a number of strikes and ballots across Britain.

As the banner reads, workers and supporters want “a new deal for Asda workers”.

School strikes now and in September

At St Benedict’s Independent School in west London, school workers are set to strike after management attempted to slash their pension scheme.

They were set to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Wednesday and Thursday of next week, and 3, 4, 5 September.

It’s good to see strike dates set for September—workers should continue the fight as soon as the new academic year begins.

Education workers strike over academy

Workers at Byron Court school in Brent, west London, are fighting privatisation plans that would see the community school join the Harris Federation academy chain.

They were set to strike on Wednesday of this week despite management bringing in agency staff to try to break the strike.

After Ofsted failed the school, an academy order was announced. But the Ofsted inspection was politically motivated, with the inspection handled badly and workers intimidated.

Firefighters turn up heat in East Sussex

Firefighters in East Sussex have passed a motion of no confidence in the senior leadership team of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

The FBU union passed the motion as areas of East Sussex have been left without sufficient fire cover.

Recently introduced IT systems have lost crucial data and there has been insufficient training for firefighters in crucial areas.

Cleaners want to sweep out low pay

Cleaners at Kings Chelsea Estates are in dispute with their bosses.

The members of the Caiwu cleaners’ union demanded overtime pay and want an end to overworking, understaffing and unequal, unfair wages.

They have already forced the bosses to sit around the table with them.

Submarine workers will not go under

Workers in the GMB union have escalated action at the engineering giant Rolls Royce. Workers on the submarine programme in Derby have escalated ongoing industrial action to an overtime ban.

Action began in April this year as bosses failed to provide an acceptable pay offer.

Rolls Royce has full order books. Its submarine programme recently announced that it would provide all the nuclear reactor plants that will power Britain’s new attack submarines.

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