Several months ago
there was a report in some British papers of an unusual speech by the Governor
of the Bank of England, Mervyn King. The speech gives a glimpse of a discussion
that must have recently taken place amongst the British capitalists, and which
the Gate Gourmet dispute is a direct consequence of. It is about the use of
cheap immigrant labour to drive down wages and worsen working conditions.
dispute that erupted at the Gate Gourmet company in August is symptomatic of
what is really happening in the British labour movement. The strike of the Gate
Gourmet workers received strong support from the workers at British Airways who
paralysed Heathrow Airport and inflicted heavy losses on the company. The
class solidarity expressed in this dispute is an indication of what is to come
throughout the whole of the British labour movement.
The Houses of Parliament cleaners made history by staging their first
walk-out on the morning of 20th July. At 10 am the strikers assembled
outside St. Stephens’ entrance together with some MPs, parliamentary
staff and the media to publicise their demands. The strikers were
chanting slogans like “Low Pay, No Way” while some of them were
brandishing placards and mops.
Over the past weekend the Annual National Conference of the 67,000
strong college and university lecturers union, NATFHE, which took place
in Eastbourne, Britain, unanimously agreed to support the Bolivarian
revolution and the measures that it has taken to help the workers and
poor in Venezuela.