Sunday, August 30, 2009

Workers' Fightback: Update 16

With local councils around the UK preparing to slash services in the midst of the economic crisis, this week saw the first occupation of council property. The action at the Sedgemoor Splash in Somerset may have been short-lived - lasting just twenty-one hours - but it will surely set an example for others over the coming months and years.

The Tory-run council closed the pool this weekend, and plans to sell the land it lies on. So far, the only bidder has been supermarket giant Tesco. According to Socialist Worker, about thirty people took part in a 'swim-in', "including trade unionists, Labour councillors, disabled swimmers and children. Occupiers include[d] members of the RMT, Unite, CWU, NUS and Unison unions".

Throughout their day of action, the occupiers posted frequent updates on their 'Save Sedgemoor Splash from closure' Facebook group. These included reports that security were trying to starve out the demonstrators, only allowing in one packet of crisps! After a court injunction was granted to the council, the action was voluntarily brought to an end.

Following the look at the situation facing postal workers in last week's update, there has been more 'unofficial' strike action, this time in Dundee. Meanwhile, The Commune argued that such wildcat actions are the way to fight Royal Mail bosses, concluding that:
"It is this kind of action that can put Royal Mail bosses on the back foot and give other post workers around the country the confidence to stand up to management’s offensive — no matter how much the CWU wants to talk about “talks” — in the lead up to the national ballot."
There has also been further reports of unrest in China, with skirmishes here and there showing the extent of anger about to explode in this pivotal nation for the global capitalist system. On 17th August, hundreds of villagers in Shaanxi province broke into a smelting factory widely acknowledged to have poisoned more than six hundred children. Once inside, they tore down fences and smashed trucks.

On 21st August, three thousand people protesting against a proposed canal in the neighbouring Hubei province blocked roads and violently confronted the Special Task Force police. A forced evacuation of the area lies ahead, so it seems more battles over the canal are inevitable.
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