Older News & Comment
13.02.14 Defend Venezuela.
The Socialist Labour Party notes with alarm the current violent disorder in Venezuela.
The SLP views the latest disturbances as a further attempt by Venezuela’s foreign backed opposition to subvert the Venezuelan state and the democratic will of its people.
In a number of countries we have seen unrepresentative elements or elites empowered by the backing or expected support of aggressor states in the west.
The result has been civil war, an escalation of bloodshed or the fragmentation of the national state and civil infrastructure.
For many oppressed peoples around the world, the Bolivarian revolution is an inspiration. It is essential that the progressive state of Venezuela does not become another victim.
The SLP calls for the unequivocal rejection by all democratic forces of ‘La Salida’ and the isolation of all elements inside Venezuela who are committed to or colluding in the plan to bring about the overthrow of its government.
Dr Kim Singleton, General Secretary. On behalf of the Socialist Labour Party
Corrupt capitalists given a helping hand by their political cronies.
What a surprise to all of us to find that any potential investigations into the theft of billions of pounds by the corrupt capitalists running the banks and financial institutions in Britain have been dropped!
As has been stated recently, the Tory party is the political wing of the bankers and hedge funds. These people, after causing the near financial breakdown in 2008, have continued their irresponsible and often criminal actions up to the current year. Occasionally, the mainstream media are obliged to reveal glimpses of what is really afoot in the financial sector, as with the illegal fixing of Libor rates. Despite these rare revelations, however, the general public still await prosecutions of the individuals concerned. The corrupt British establishment are certainly looking after ‘their own’ when it comes to paying the price for illegality. The art of kicking sensitive criminal cases into the ‘long grass’ has become a speciality of successive capitalist political regimes in Britain.
Unfortunately, it is the working class in Britain that has been picking up the bill for this massive wealth distribution in favour of the less than 1% ‘have loads’ in the population. The austerity measures placed on British workers by politicians from all the main capitalist parties, including the then ‘new, blue’ Labour party, has been sickening to witness.
What the British economy requires is a complete rebalancing since it is built on such insecure foundations. Today, the reliance on the service and financial sectors has put our economy at a severe disadvantage compared to other states such as Germany. The reason is that there is a political hostility to manufacturing and heavy industry from the British ‘establishment’. They perceive support for socialism coming from the working class employed in these sectors. As a Party, we see the need for urgent action to restore heavy industry in Britain, including clean coal technology mining, steel manufacturing, shipbuilding, railways expansion etc. The rules of being members of the European Union have involved the running down of all these heavy industries. They have been moved abroad to developing countries like China and India. The debate about global warming has also involved right wing politicians in Britain calling for closure of heavy industry. As Piers Corbyn has commented, however, this has been just a cynical political ploy to move jobs abroad to places where Labour rates are lower and the effects of heavy industry on CO2 emissions in Britain are, according to Corbyn, pretty negligible.
Similarly, Britain, once the workshop of the World, has been robbed by the City financiers and their political cohorts of its manufacturing base (as in the Slater-Walker asset stripping era). These are the sorts of industries that can pay real, liveable wage rates, not the flimsy call centre and fast food types of insecure unemployment, with generally low wage rates, upon which the current generation of school leavers is being forced to rely.
The whole political and philosophical circus built around Thatcherism, Reaganomics and Blair-Brownism is outdated, discredited and irrelevant to today’s World.
The current economic woes that the World is suffering from had their origins in the economic illiteracy and consequent policies, including deregulation of the banks, that flowed from the Thatcher, Reagan period of misrule and subsequent ‘like - minded’ regimes.
Further to the economic chaos, however, there were attempts to build a whole revisionist culture alongside the economic backwardness of the period. One example of this was with the wave of ‘revisionist’ right-wing historians in Britain who were naturally promoted in the rabid ultra Conservative leaning British mass media.
The levellers of the English Civil War period, for instance, were deemed by these neo conservative historians as not being radical. The intention was to cut off the British working classes from their philosophical and theoretical roots.
We have now, thankfully, moved on so that today, we are building up a generation of post revisionist historians prepared to look objectively at such subjects.
In the political sphere, however, some in the British media seem unable to move on from the old discredited era. Blair and Brown's cronies and political acolytes are continually wheeled out to put their spin on things. Blair himself, in fact, has piped up again in connection with the forthcoming EU referendum. He states that a ‘no’ vote will result in Scotland being ‘divorced’ from the rest of Britain. This is the same sort of political ‘blackmail’ that we were subject to in the recent General Election when it was said the Scottish ‘tail’ would wag the ‘English dog’.
Blair and the rest of the ‘Establishment cronies’ should consider that there is an alternative scenario. That is of Britain voting to leave the EU followed by Scotland voting to remain part of the whole British political system with the opportunity to revive trading links with the Commonwealth and the rest of the World.
20.07.13 - Ghadar Party Centenary Celebration 2013.
On the centenary of the founding of the Ghadar movement, the Socialist Labour Party extends its comradely greetings and friendship to the Indian Workers Association.
As workers across the world continue to defy the inhuman imperial system, we think today of the sacrifices made by the Ghadar fighters and of the terrible loss of the lives of tens of millions of Indian workers under British occupation. Resistance must be followed by a revolution in the governance of our world. These are the inspirational ideals of Ghadar. While often we mourn, we celebrate and remember the extraordinary triumphs those ideals inspired.
07.03.13 - Socialists in the UK Mourn the Loss of Hugo Chavez.
Following the announcement on 5th March of the death of Venezuelan President, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias, Britain’s Socialist Labour Party has joined anti-capitalist parties and campaigners around the world in expressing its sorrow at the news and its support for the Bolivarian revolution initiated by Mr Chavez government.
SLP President, Andrew Jordan, said that ‘during the course of his presidency, the policies of the Chavez government lifted millions of Venezuelans out of poverty, a transformation in the life of a nation which’ he said ‘could never happen in countries governed by free market economic polices. The Bolivarian revolution’ he continued ‘has ensured that the profits of the country’s oil wealth are enjoyed by its people’.
The party’s General Secretary, Kim Singleton, added that the revolution ‘was changing the fortunes of the South American continent. In offering its oil at fair prices to countries without economic or military muscle Venezuela has shown us a vision not only of a new society but of a better world’. In ‘asserting the sovereignty of its nation states, the revolution’ she said ‘was leading Latin America away from decades of dependency and powerlessness’. ‘
On behalf of the Socialist Labour Party’ said Mr Jordan, ‘I offer my heartfelt condolences to Mr Chavez family and friends and to the Venezuelan people at this time. I re-iterate once again our party’s wholehearted support for the values of the Bolivarian revolution and our firm belief that its ideas and example will continue and flourish’.
February 2012 - Reversal of privatisations shown conclusively to be the way forward for the NHS.
The Socialist Labour Party has long argued that the privately owned drug companies with their vast profits are a major drain upon the National Health Service's financial resources. The profits are, of course, going into private pockets when they could be ploughed back for the benefit of all NHS users.
This logic has, by accident, been showed to be the way forward by the situation in Greece. Because of the vicious financial attacks upon that Country by the undemocratic EU and the sleazy IMF, Greek hospitals have been forced to find massive savings. They have found that by purchasing 'generic' drugs , i.e. those without advertising and with no association with a particular Company, the costs involved have plummeted. This example shows that by taking drug Companies into public ownership, without compensation, NHS purchasing costs can be drastically reduced and resources ploughed into providing more health care. Similarly, the privatisation of hospital cleaning has resulted in vast outbreaks of hospital viruses, unseen in the days when matron used to rule the roost (and not unaccountable private money grabbers). Taking these cleaning services back in house and in effect reversing the privatisation will again benefit the NHS. The overall message for our National Health Service is therefore 'Private BAD', 'Public GOOD'.
In passing, it is worth noting that many of these privatisations were introduced by the Labour Party under Blair and Brown. They have been the 'Trojan horses' of the current ConDem attacks. Only the Socialist Labour Party recognises the health service examples that we should be looking at, including that wonderful beacon of progressive health care in Cuba.
February 2012 - Socialists condemn the use of slave labour in Britain.
As we all know, the Government is 'cooking' the figures for unemployment in Britain which in real terms is currently approaching 9 million as distinct from the official Government figures of 2+ million. Instances occur of 200 people chasing one job. In order to further massage the official figures and to cut down on benefits, many youngsters and others are being sent on schemes, whereby they provide cheap labour for some of the most well known exploiting companies in the Country.
It has even got to the stage where the schemes have meant the employers paying absolutely nothing to the workers involved with the threat that should they withdraw from the schemes, they will be liable to lose any benefits that they can claim. Publicity given to these outrages which amount to use of 'slave' labour, has meant some of the biggest name employers pulling out. British Socialists have been at the forefront of criticism and this has brought a Government backlash against the critics. This has been echoed by sneering political coverage of the Socialist critics from others including the BBC.
Justification for the schemes has included the concept that benevolent employers are only interested in providing work skills. One has to ask oneself the skills required to get an 'A' level in shelf stacking for a supermarket. In reality, all the employers are interested in is getting cheap labour- the cheaper the better. This is one of the basic reasons that trade unionism is needed in all work environments since it is pretty much a universal truth that employers will try to maximise profits by paying employees as little as possible.
The fact that the real value of British wages has fallen over recent decades is largely down to measures introduced such as anti- union laws. Tied to this has been anti- union and worker propaganda in the capitalist mass media, failure of Labour Party supporting trade union leaders to stick up for their workers and large scale non- unionised labour movements from EU countries into Britain.
This has been encouraged by all the capitalist Governments, including, of course, that of Blair and Brown. Labour Party supporting trade union leaders have been more interested in selling insurance and car breakdown cover to members than to defend their terms and conditions. They have also been busy in trying to prop up the collapsing capitalist system. The sooner that they are ousted from their positions the better for British workers. Our people deserve true protection from the ravages of capitalism. As Professor Steve Keen and others have pointed out, there will be no revival in the British economy until we start to pay workers at higher rates, in other words, a reversal of British policies of recent decades.
November 2011 - The Anglo-Israeli Plot to Attack Iran.
To read this article please click here.
November 2011 - Report on the SLP Meetings in Wales.
On 11th and 12th October the SLP hosted very successful meetings in North Wales to campaign against the proposed new nuclear reactor at Wylfa power station on Anglesey.
Arthur Scargill received a rousing welcome in Holyhead and Bangor as he put the case for a safe economic future without nuclear power. He spoke of the dangers of nuclear power and the link between the civil and military nuclear industries.
He expressed concern at the lack of a coherent energy policy in Britain. Having squandered our natural gas reserves by burning them in gas-fired power stations when we could have used coal, our oil reserves are all but depleted, and our coal industry decimated.
In the wake of the Fukishima disaster, when other countries are turning away from nuclear power, the British government is forging ahead with plans for new nuclear reactors.
Scargill explained that Britain is a net importer of energy, reliant on imported gas and coal to meet the nation's energy needs and by 2020 we will be 90% reliant on gas for our energy requirements, 70% of which will have to be imported. This includes the LNG which is being brought into the port of Milford Haven, where there is always the risk of another accident.
The SLP strongly supports the development of renewable energy sources such as wind, wave, tidal, hydroelectric and solar. The development of clean coal technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, are essential to future energy needs and environmental concerns given that the world will burn vast quantities of coal and gas for the foreseeable future.
David Lloyd Jones spoke passionately in Welsh of the dangers to the people of North Wales and acted as interpreter for those in the audience who chose to put their questions in Welsh.
Kathrine Jones, a veteran Greenham Common Peace Campaigner, put the case for the local people of North Wales who neither want nor need nuclear power plants. The SLP is the only political party to be saying so. Plaid Cymru is in disarray since the party's anti-nuclear policy was destroyed at this year's party conference amid fears of their leader losing his seat.
So much for principles! 25 years ago all local authorities in Wales signed a pledge to make Wales a nuclear free zone – it doesn't amount to much today.
November 2011 - Not fit for purpose.
Recent Opinion Poll research in the UK has shown that over 50 per cent of the population wish for us to completely pull out of the European Union. Those in favour of staying in the organisation polled in the 20 per cent range. Why, therefore, are all the main political parties in Parliament representing the minority views and putting three line whips on their M.P's to force them into line in votes on this issue?
The fact is that the financial establishment demands that we stay in the Bankers' run , completely undemocratic Capitalist club that we know as the E.U. Vote against their wishes (as did Ireland) and you are ordered to vote again!
It's function is purely to asset strip some of the member Countries in order to benefit the financial elite (the one per cent as they are now widely being known). Mass unemployment, poverty wages and decimation of manufacturing and other industries is the aim and agenda. The trade union movement is to be marginalised. Countries like Greece and Ireland have been the open laboratories for their experiments.
The logical conclusion to be drawn from British Politics is that Labour, the Tories, the mini-me Tories and the nationalists all support this grotesque Capitalist agenda. Because of the huge financial help given by Big Business to these parties (likely to be backed up by legislation to supplement their funds from state sources), they have huge electoral advantages which skew all electoral results in the UK. The pro-Capitalist M.P's elected have proved to be often corrupt, on the take with expenses etc. and under the influence of Capitalist pressure groups. No wonder that majority opinions on Europe are being ignored. This goes to the very top of our political system. Even those Capitalist M.P's said to be admired by some political observers, such as the seemingly 'sweaty', certainly shifty (after the lies about tuition fees) Vince Cable, are being found out in their financial affairs.
Back in the 1640's, the Levellers recognised the susceptibility of political representatives to corruption if elected for lengthy spells. They therefore called for annual or at most biennial Parliaments. They also recognised the need for laws to be minimal, clear and in plain English. They would have had sympathy with Dr. Phil Hammond's description (on BBC Question Time) of the hundreds of pages of Tory NHS changes presented to Parliament as unintelligible 'Wonk'. They would have been disgusted by the thousands of extra illegalities devised by the last Labour Government which were aimed at the working class.
Because the Labour Party is backed to the hilt by Big Business and Zionist elements, it is not doing it's proper job of being an opposition in Parliament and elsewhere to the ravages of Capitalism. It's foreign policy (on the EU, Middle East etc.) is virtually indistinguishable from the other capitalist parties. In this context, we see Douglas Alexander, the current shadow Foreign Secretary calling for even more Western intervention in Syria, as in Libya. On behalf of which Countries and who in Britain is he speaking for? Shouldn't a responsible opposition argue against foreign military adventures? We have seen the costly mess created by Western intervention in Libya. After the pornographic main media gloating over Gaddafi's death, the only prospect for that country is constant armed internal strife with Western governments' backing (with arms, air support etc.) the fascists and other politically regressive, backward-looking, pro-monarchist militias. Benghazi is said to be lined up as an Israeli colony.
With regard to the huge bailouts of the banks and the billions of 'quantitative easing', Parliament has barely debated any of these hideous financial actions. No main party MP's have called for billions to be handed to the poor in society rather than the rich. The major financial decisions have been done outside of Parliament behind closed doors. There has been a deafening silence from Parliament over these actions. We have to ask , therefore, whether the current British political system is fit for purpose.
It seems blatantly obvious that the answer is NO! and it must be our task to implement a system that fights for the rights, liberties and welfare of the other 99 per cent.
October 2011 - Report on SLP South Wales Public Meeting 18.10.11.
On Tuesday night SLP Wales followed on from their successful meetings in Holyhead and Bangor with a meeting in Maesteg in South Wales. The meeting was chaired by Liz Screen Secretary of SLP Wales and joining her on the platform were SLP Wales President Craig Jones, 30, a teacher from the Rhondda and 23-year-old SLP Party President Andrew Jordan.
Craig Jones was the first to speak and he started by lambasting the Labour Party in South Wales for the way in which they are so eagily imposing 'the cuts' in South Wales. Citing Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT), his own Labour Party controlled local council, Craig demonstrated that the New Labour is making those local council workers who earn the lowest wages in RCT as the ones who are being targetted as the way to save money. Craig went on to explain how New Labour is not the party of the people and is not representing the views of the people of South Wales. He called for those present to instead show support for the party which in May this year secured the second biggest percentage vote increase of any political party in Wales - that of course being the SLP.
Andrew Jordan, as main speaker, outlined the threats posed to Welsh communities not only by 'the cuts' but by the European Union. He stated that "without exiting the European Union and without enacting economic protectionism - no political party can ever promise to bring industry to Wales in the long-term - not unless they make wages lower here than they are in other parts of Europe." Andrew moved on to explain how Tax Research UK have stated that tax evasion leaves the UK treasury £120 billion short every single year and that if that money was collected, as it should be, instead of allowing the people at the top of certain companies to avoid paying it, we would be able to invest in the public services instead of enacting such brutal cuts upon them.
Turning to the Welsh Education System, Andrew explained how Leighton Andrews, the Education Minister in the Welsh Government is fabricating crisis after crisis in the education system leading to young people and workers in the education sector feeling demoralised. Turning to tuition fees, Andrew stated that "When Carwyn Jones, the Welsh First Minister, is standing up for Wales he is in fact making the young people of Wales some of the most in debt in the whole of Europe!" Then turning to nuclear power he criticsed Plaid Cymru for "on the one hand saying they are against nuclear power and on the other hand saying they support the expansion of the Wylfa Power Station on Anglesey because it is the seat of the Leader of Plaid Cymru" explaining that if Plaid Cymru wanted to see real jobs on Ynys Mon they should call for Wales to exit the EU.
Andrew finished by saying that the SLP are determined to carry the momentum of the recent Welsh Assembly Elections into the Local Elections across Wales next May and that they would be standing candidates across the length and breadth of the country.
Sept 2011 - Battle lines are being drawn.
The British Trade Unions are this week throwing down the gauntlet to the British Establishment by saying that they are not prepared to accept that their members should have to bear the pain that is being inflicted upon them from Class based economic attacks. As a result of the growing Capitalist crisis, ever fiercer draconian measures are being planned by the Capitalist Parties in order to take even more from the poorest in society in order to redistribute and maintain the opulent lifestyles of the exploitative elite. Measures planned include wage reductions, longer hours for less pay, lower pension entitlements, worse working conditions and less job security as well as more draconian laws against the Unions.
The defence that the trade unions can put up to this assault will of course be more effective the greater the number of workers and trade unions involved. Solidarity from unions across the board would seem to be a necessity. The TUC should be working full tilt towards this. Large swathes of British industry and services have little or no trade union organisation and so it would also be extremely helpful if the workers in these sectors recognised their mutual interest in resisting the attacks from almost universally exploitative bosses. In other words, they too should support the strike action.
In such a scenario, we are approaching the situation of a General strike. We can imagine the apoplexy of the Establishment and the media should this take place. The hostility of the BBC to such a strike would be taken for granted. After all, the BBC's founder, Lord Reith helped to produce anti- strike propaganda for Winston Churchill's strike breaking efforts in the General strike of 1926. At that time, with the workers winning and solidarity increasing, British workers were quickly sold out by the TUC and the Labour Party, leaving the miners to fight on alone. We can see the modern day parallels, with the Labour Party leadership already distancing itself from the obviously necessary strike action. Every effort from the Establishment and its overwhelming propaganda machine (including the Murdoch Empire) will be made to undermine such action and draw false demarcation lines between striking workers and the population at large.
Whilst the poorest in society are being made to suffer greater inequality, impoverishment and austerity measures, the richest in society are having trillions of handouts made to them and are laughing all the way to the banks (which to them are often money printing machines with no legal come-backs).The rich and privileged are also in the position of often being able to avoid paying their taxes by making use of tax havens and top legal and accounting advice on avoidance. With less than 1 per cent of the population owning more than 90 per cent of the nation's wealth, this sick state of affairs must be brought to a head and so minimum demands about wealth redistribution should form the basis of any mass action in any forthcoming General strike. Pensioners should be guaranteed the necessary funds for happy retirements and students should be guaranteed debt free educations. Policies of full employment and a programme of massive state intervention and public control of British industry and its assets would also seem to be minimum prerequisites. A withdrawal from the thoroughly undemocratic European Union stitch-up which favours rich bankers and the financial elite (the opposite to the current Establishment clamour for closer integration) should also be demanded. Unions should demand the repeal of all anti trade union legislation which has flowed from Labour, ConDem and Nationalist Governments. As Steve Keen (Associate Professor in Economics and Finance at the University of Western Sidney) has stated, along with other distinguished academics, economic progress can only be made if wages begin to rise.
With British Capitalist Party leaders strutting the globe like the neo-Colonialist vampires that they are, we would certainly be blessed if they stayed abroad, out of our hair. Cameron and Co. have already paraded themselves in Ireland, fancying that they have made a 'financial' conquest there. The latest preening and posing has taken place in an as yet unconquered or totally subdued Libya. We feel sure that Colonel Gadaffi would welcome into his arms (and Nation), those politicians that have inflicted so much economic devastation upon our own Country (as well as his). The list might include Blair, Cameron, Straw, Hoon, Hague, Fox, Brown, Clegg, Clarke, the Milibands etc. Who knows?, Mrs Thatcher might even be up to the trip abroad. We, certainly would be a lot better off without these parasites imposing further hardships upon us.
So we call upon the TUC and British trade union movement to distance itself from failed, warmongering, Capitalist political parties and take up their true role in society as progressive forces with the aim of bringing about a more just, equitable, happy and tolerant British society, bringing peace and prosperity to all the people of this Country. We should also unite in making every effort to spread these socialist principles throughout the world.
Sept 2011 - Sickening Intolerance and Double Standards from Labour Party Leadership.
Fascist states such as Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy and 1930's/early 1940's Japan showed an intolerance to any groups that did not fit in with their rulers perceptions and state regulations as to how people should conduct their lives. Coupled with this was a state-encouraged hatred of peoples with different ethnic origins. Before and during World War 11, therefore, there was persecution by these states of Communists, Socialists, Trade Unionists, Slavs, Chinese, Gypsies, British, Hindus, Sikhs, Moslems, Africans, Jews, Mongolians etc.etc.
These outrageous fascist views still persist in some backward elements of many societies. We therefore have the frequent attacks upon trade unionists from Capitalist political parties and the right- wing media. There are also the frequent (sometimes covert) racist attacks emanating from these same sources and included in these are those upon so-called 'travellers'. The Capitalist state wishes to have complete control over people's lives and of course these people are more difficult to 'supervise' and 'track'. There is also the Establishment's natural fear of people who may in any way lead 'different' (in this case closer-to-nature) lives.
As it happens, these travelling people have often played a very honourable part in securing the liberties of the British people. The Tinker, John Bunyan (famous as the author of Pilgrim's Progress) fought in the New Model Army during the English Civil War. Colonel John 'Tinker' Fox was a very effective and prominent cavalry officer fighting around the Midlands for Parliament during the same conflict. Gypsies fought in the British Army in both World Wars with two of them winning the Victoria Cross.
There is a current legal action to remove travellers and gypsies from their own land at the Dale Farm site at Crays Hill, Essex. This action is by Conservative controlled Basildon Council. The opposition councillors (including Labour Party ones) are opposed to the proposed Tory evictions. They have very solid support. This comes from no less than the U.N. which has ruled against the action to evict on the grounds of DISCRIMINATION based on RACE and ORIGIN. The UN statement says 'We call on the Government to suspend the planned eviction which would disproportionately affect the lives of the gypsy and traveller families'. Similarly, Amnesty International has condemned the eviction.
The Tory Councillors also have notable support. This comes from no less than Ed Miliband of the Zionist Labour Party leadership. He has talked down his nose at these oppressed people saying that the 'law' (as distinct from any moral considerations) must be followed in these circumstances. In fact, the law is not at all clear in this case, but irrespective of this, Miliband has no time for his own local councillors.
Now this comes from the same Ed Miliband whose father, Ralph, was, as a Jew, forced to flee to this country from Belgium in 1940. His family was grateful enough in accepting the sanctuary that Britain, with its relatively anti-reactionary views on asylum, was offering in those times. These values had been won over centuries of conflict by ordinary people including the 'travellers'.
Ed Miliband is obviously a political pygmy in the New, Blue Labour mould, with no generosity of heart or compassion. He is showing despicable intolerance (unlike that shown to his own family) and the highest of double standards in this case. He and many of his Labour colleagues received free state educations which they deny to future generations. He is opposed to workers taking strike action to preserve their livelihoods, terms and conditions. He is the worst sort of reactionary. He leads a Party (like the Tories and mini-me Tories) with blood from foreign adventures and wars dripping in profusion from their hands in the pursuit of foreign oil and conquests.
Sept 2011 - Some are "in it", some are not!
Directors of the UK's top companies have massed pension pots worth an average of £3.9m, according to a trade union study published today, reports the Independent's daily briefing. The Trade Union Congress said that its annual Pension's Watch survey found that the average defined benefit pension of directors from the FTSE 100 had risen by £110,000 in the past year.
The same paper reported, that much of Italy ground to a halt yesterday (6 Sept) during a national strike to protest against austerity measures. More than three million teachers, transport workers and public servants boycotted work, with demonstrations taking place across the nation.