Click the attached file to scroll through Janine's report on the work of the ETF Women's Committee. This report was presented to RMT Women's Conference on 4 March.
After my breast cancer surgery, the factors which indicate whether I would benefit from chemotherapy were inconclusive. There was one further test available. The Oncotype DX test examines the activity of 21 genes in the tumour tissue of patients with early-stage oestrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) invasive breast cancer and calculates whether chemo will be effective or not.
My score was low (14/100), and so, like many others since this test was developed a few years ago, I do not have to go through the puking, hair-losing agonies of fighting cancer by throwing poisons at it. So far, so good.
So, what’s the catch? My tumour had to be sent to the USA to be tested. This took a few weeks, which delayed the start of my radiotherapy, reducing its effectiveness of in preventing the cancer returning. Radiotherapy is supposed to start within six weeks of surgery; mine started twelve weeks after. Only time will reveal the impact of this delay – but it could mean that my cancer comes back when it would not have done so otherwise.
The true story of how Leonard Cohen learned his guitar style ...
Leonard walked in Murray Hill Park
And heard a young man play
Circled by listeners and courting them
In some mysterious way
With black hair and acoustic guitar
By the tennis courts stood he
Picking out a lonely-sounding
An acrostic poem ie. one in which the first letters of each line spell out the key word:
Looks like this, does it, liberation?
Isolated from supplies, routes closed, blown from the skies
Barrel bombs bowled along alleys
Enclaved civilians tweet from their graves, farewells from beneath
Rubble, the stones where their homes used to be
Aleppo cries, crumbles, defeated, they see
Tyranny returning, triumphant, burning
Inhabitants gathered, culled, or running for their lives
Out of the city, fleeing as they wouldn't if they had actually been freed
No, this is not what liberation looks like.
Once more with apologies to Leonard Cohen ...
It never was a secret plan
The rise to power of Macho Man
He never used a subtle schmooze to woo you
Behold the hero of the hour
The billionaire who fought the power
The phoney rebel called out Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah
They’re backward, stupid, racist, sexist
They voted Trump, they voted Brexit
They must be mental, mad or sick
They’re racist and they’re thick
Good people didn’t vote this way
Bad people don’t do what we say
They don’t accept the politic
They’re racist and they’re thick
Boris arms the Saudis
They use those arms to kill
He says if we don't arm them
Then other countries will
So when I next see Boris
His nuts will meet my knee
And if I get arrested
Then this will be my plea:
Oh officer, I claim my act
Was for the greater good
And if I hadn't done it
Some other fucker would
- France - Women trade unionists have been concentrating on increasing women's involvement in the unions, and on campaigning against violence against women. At Gare du Nord railway station, African women cleaners are often sexually assaulted by male bosses. Some men say that it does not matter, that women are making it up, or that they 'have a chip on their shoulder'.
- Italy - There is very good legislation on women's rights - for example on maternity - but the economic and cultural situation means that women are still disadvantaged. Italy has the lowest rate of women's employment in Europe, and needs investment in public services and industries to create jobs for women. As the government cuts welfare services, it relies on women to act as unpaid carers.
- Belgium - In the Port of Antwerp, an agreement has been signed by the union and the employer regarding women's employment on the docks. this emphasises equal recruitment policies rather than quotas. But the employers need challenging to ensure that they abide by the agreement.
- Netherlands - Some men - even some union men - say that women who work on the docks are taking men's jobs. And they say that if you do a 'man's job' then you must go along with 'men's humour' ie. sexist banter. As a minority, women are abused, whether through 'jokes' or touching. The solution is not new laws but the enforcement of existing laws, but the Inspectorate is understaffed. Migrant women workers are taken on in jobs with only a few hours work, and then told that they must give sexual favours to get more work. Women are not confident to complain about abuse, so the union is using organisers from other countries to speak to women in their own language.
- UK - I reported on the ScotRail victory and ongoing fight to defend guards' jobs; the abuse of women cleaners; the impact of ticket office clsures and de-staffing of stations.
- Many countries - A recurring theme in reports from the various countries is that European Union legislation is useful, but that it needs to be monitored and implemented, with sanctions against companies that do not abdie by gender equality policies. Employers find ways around legislation, so legislation is not enough.
Jean-Louis Colson (on the right of the photo) from DG-MOVE - the European Commission's Directorate General on transport - outlined the Commission's work on women and transport, and the consultation it is currently running.
For the Commission, the main 'challenge' is that not enough women work in transport. Only 22% of transport workers are women, across all 28 EU member stations (the Commission's document states that "22% of women work in the transport sector" but this is incorrect; the statistic is as I give it here). It is even more unbalanced in certain transport sectors: road and rail workforces are only 14% women; air transport is a bit better, with 38% women. Jobs within transport are also unbalanced: in the rail industry, 60% of human resources staff are women, but only 3% of drivers.
I was very pleased to receive this letter ...
To: Janine Booth, Marxist trade unionist and poet
20 October 2016
Dear Comrade Janine,
We heard with great concern about your breast cancer diagnosis. We hope that your treatment goes well and that you have a speedy and full recovery.