Make Bristo Square Red Square! Defend Edinburgh University Lecturers and the National UCU Pension Strike

Max Wright, IMT Edinburgh

Beginning this month, the National union of students (NUS) and University and College Union (UCU) have called for four rounds of strikes action in a unified defence against the slashing of Pension benefits. Lecturers at Edinburgh University will be partaking part on this strike. These benefit cuts will lead to a typical lecturer being £10,000 worse off in retirement, at Edinbrugh this is happening even when the university is already reliant on “voluntary” severance deals. Edinburgh IMT call for total support of the action in order to fight back against the increasing levels of Marketisation affecting our education system. The strike action was backed by 88% of UCU members in the largest vote for industrial action ever seen in the higher education sector.

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Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers Need a Socialist Leadership: Vote Richie Venton for USDAW NEC

We publish the statement by Richie Venton below in his campaign for USDAW NEC. and also his statement on the threat from Tescos to axe 17,00 jobs.

USDAW organise some of the most exploited workers in companies such as Tescos, Sainbury’s, Ikea, Co-op, Argos, Aldi and Lidl along with various factories and warehouses. It is potentially very powerful Union.

With a militant leadership and a recruitment drive they could have the Tesco CEOs running scared and with a Socialist programme they could play an integral part in a fight for nationalised, workers controlled, food producers and distributors service. Yet they have a very conservative leadership.

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Battle for Bifab: The Return Bout

By Tam Burke, IMT Edinburgh, Prospect, Personal Capacity

Compared with Catalonia, South Africa or the USA, political life in Scotland for most of last year hardly set the heather on fire. Then in November came the Battle for BiFab when the workers made headlines with their successful fight for the wages they were due. A dispute last November between their employer, Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab), and its customer, Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL), over what payment was still due, threatened the closure of the three yards, Burtisland and Methyl in Fife and Arnish, Isle of Lewis. BiFab said they’d no money coming in to pay wages, so 1400 workers would be laid off. There was no likelihood of the yards reopening. “A hammer blow to BiFab workers and communities in Fife and the Isle of Lewis” declared Gary Smith, GMB Union organiser. SHL said it’d paid BiFab on time in line with the contract. BiFab sought a Notice of Administration, giving just ten short days to find a solution before the yards fell silent. Shocked politicians at every level and of all parties condemned, denounced, exclaimed, wailed, complained and proclaimed that somehow it must not happen, but without any mitigation of the catastrophe.

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Scottish Labour, The National Question and The SNP

By Ross Walker

After two years of utter humiliation following the 2014 referendum, 2017 saw a gradual improvement in Scottish Labour’s fortunes. In June they increased their seats from 1 to 7 in the snap Westminster election. In November, left-winger, Richard Leonard was elected after decades of right wing leadership. The party finished the year with some polls showing them having overtaken the Tories in popularity.

 

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SNP Draft Budget Changes Nothing

By Harvey Dodds, IMT Edinburgh

The draft budget presented by the Scottish Government in December marked a chance for the SNP to embellish the anti-austerity credentials they have earned in recent years with a bold budget. With the tax powers that have been devolved to Holyrood, it would have been possible to significantly raise tax for the highest earners in order to fund redistributive policies, public sector pay, and investment without affecting lower earners. This, however, was not the case. 

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Bifab Workers March on Parliament

by Tam Burke

Several hundred workers, some with their families, from the BiFab (Burntisland Fabrication) energy engineering company marched down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on Thursday, 16th November to the Scottish Parliament demanding action to save 1,400 jobs under threat and payment of their wages. They are still working even though the company says it can’t pay any more wages. This is due to Dutch owned Seaway Heavy Lifting(SHL) refusing to pay for their order of jackets for marine wind  turbines. SHL cite “production problems and cost overruns” by BiFab. This news came out of the blue to workers, union leaders and Government ministers. There is anger at the callous disregard for the livelihoods under threat. The wider community beyond that depends on the spending of BiFab workers will also be badly hit.

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Catalonia and Caledonia

By John Webber, Glasgow

The violent repression of Catalan voters by theSpanish police inspired instinctive feelings of solidarity in people around the world. The shocking brutality of the Guardia Civil against completely unarmed civilians only wanting to cast a ballot was considered unthinkable in a European country. In a few days, the events in Catalonia exposed the anti-democratic nature of both the EU and the Spanish State as the unity of Spain was ensured by force. In Scotland, hundreds of people attended protests in Glasgow and Edinburgh called by the Radical Independence Campaign. In the eyes of RIC and many supporters of Scottish Independence, Catalonian Independence is an inspiration and a fraternal cause. The SNP conference also heard speeches condemning the actions of the Spanish Government and moderate messages of support for independence activists.

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The Calm Before The Storm (Issue 19 Editorial)

By Ross Walker

We’re living in the deepest crisis of capitalism in history, a crisis which has left no country untouched. The banking crash of 2008 has had huge economic, social and political consequences which has forced masses of previously “apolitical” people the world over to take an active interest in what’s going on around them. Terrorism, wars and violent oppression are no longer the monopoly of the so called “developing world” but are entering Europe and north America dramatically. In October the world watched in shock at the Franco era style of police brutality in Catalonia shattering many illusions of parliamentary democracy and the so called, civilised and fair EU.Britain has been far from sleepy. The story of the year, so far, is May’s gross miscalculation in calling a snap election, losing a majority and allowing for Corbyn to lead a popular left wing campaign, inspiring millions to register to vote. We’re now in a situation where for the first time in decades, a left labour leader could very soon become the British prime minister. The Tory party, which was once the most stable bourgeois party in the world is ridden with crisis. May seems more and more fragile by the day and no wonder. Her backbenches are full of equally pathetic slimy scumbags trying to stick the knife in whilst in front of her an ever emboldened Corbyn is watching ready to pounce.

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Leadership Election: Scottish Labour Moving Left

By Amy Dean, Glasgow
The Scottish Labour leadership election came as something of a surprise to political commentators, and indeed Labour party members and representatives, across the country. Kezia Dugdale’s resignation on 29th August did not come after an embarrassing election result or in the midst of controversy. Rather, following the calamitous result in 2015, the June general election actually saw a partial recovery with the party returning seven MPs north of the border and increasing their vote by three percentage points. At the time of her resignation Dugdale cited personal reasons and a feeling that it was time to pass the baton on to someone else, though it has been speculated that she had come under criticism from the left-wing of the party for her lack of support for UK leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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Corbyn’s Labour throws gauntlett to SNP

by Emanuele de Vito, October 2017

The recent general election results should constitute a wake-up call for the SNP leadership. The party did not only lose seats to the Tories, who campaigned on a strong Unionist message, but also lost seats to the Labour Party in Glasgow, The Lothians, Lanarkshire and Fife. Many figures on the left of the YES movement, like Cat Boyd, have announced their support for the left-wing programme put forward by Jeremy Corbyn and Labour, and stated this is not at odds with their support of independence. She’s been followed by many. The SNP is under attack from both sides and this exposes their attempt of papering over the question of class with that of national self-determination, as discussed previously on these pages. Facing a real left wing alternative in Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP can no longer talk the talk without walking the walk of progressive politics. Exposed on both sides, it can no longer try to appease to both business owners and workers.

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