National News

Blacklisted workers stage Manchester protest

SKILLED building workers who have been victimised by the operation of illegal blacklists last month staged a protest in Manchester outside a £350 million shopping development.

The workers say their union activities are being used against them by firms involved in the Rock Triangle project in Bury, Greater Manchester.

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Refinery workers’ ballot produces new pay offer

by Caroline Colebrook

A STRIKE ballot organised by the GMB union among workers employed at some of Britain’s largest power refineries last week produced an overwhelming vote for strike action against employers being allowed to ship in workers from other European countries on lower pay and conditions.

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Fascists arrested after Birmingham clashes

AROUND 90 people, mainly fascists belonging to the “English Defence League” - a loose mob of racist former squaddies, football hooligans and BNP members - clashed with anti-fascist protesters in Birmingham city centre last weekend.

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National Grid jobs at risk

MEMBERS of GMB and Unison employed by the National Grid are set to strike on Friday 11th September over plans to cuts hundreds of jobs as the company seeks to save £7 million.

The workers votes by 95 per cent for action over the company’s plans to offshore and outsource their work to a low wage economy.

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Neo Nazi jailed for terror plot

NEIL LEWINGTON, a white supremacist who planned to wreak havoc on Muslim families with homemade nail bombs, was given an indeterminate sentence last week at the Old Bailey but was told he must serve at least six years.

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BNP on BBC’s Question Time?

THE BBC has provoked controversy by giving the British National party a platform for the first time on Question Time, its top current affairs programme.

Nick Griffin, the BNP leader who was elected to the European Parliament in June, is expected to be on the show in October. The corporation has decided that the far-right party deserves more airtime because it has demonstrated “electoral support at a national level”.

The Stop the BNP campaign reports that the move has caused consternation among politicians, with some Labour MPs and at least one Cabinet minister pledging to boycott Question Time.

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Cuban mood at Burston rally

LOUIS MARRON of the Cuban embassy gave the keynote speech at this year’s annual Burston rally in Norfolk. And there was Cuban music and dancing in the year that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

The event commemorates the 25-year long Burston school strike by local children that began in April 1914 after local authorities tried to sack their teachers, Tom and Kitty Higdon.

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Call for 137,000 NHS job cuts

A REPORT prepared by management consultants McKinsey for the Government calls for around 137,000 NHS jobs to be cut by 2014 if it is to meet planned efficiency savings.

Health service unions have reacted strongly. Karen Jennings, head of health for the public sector union Unison, said: “The McKinsey report comes up with the same old formulaic answers and their much-repeated mantra of job cuts, as the answer to NHS savings.

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No Sunday trains produces new deal

THE BOSSES at London Midland trains have produced a new pay deal for staff after they were able to run only one train last Sunday.

Previously the company had paid double time for Sunday working and relied on staff volunteering to work Sunday shifts.

When they withdrew the double-time pay no one showed up last Sunday and the company was unable to operate.

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A gala of poetry in London

POETS and singers gave the media a taste of things to come last Friday at the launch of the Poetry Olympics Enlightenment festival that will revolve around shows at the 100 Club in Oxford Street and venues in Kensington and Chelsea.

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The big squeeze

by Andy Brooks

We Sell Our Time No More by Paul Stewart, Ken Murphy et al, pbk, illus., 272pp Pluto Press London £19.99

FIRST of all a word of warning: despite the snappy title this is not a rank-and-file saga about struggle on the shop floor but rather an academic study of the problems facing workers in the face of a renewed employers’ assault on their terms and conditions.

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Features and International News

Green progress?

by Renee Sams

THE GOVERNMENTS of the world are at last beginning to take the problem of climate change more seriously but environmentalists are warning that it is not enough. The latest reports from scientists working in Greenland show that the situation far from improving is escalating at an unprecedented rate.

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Iraq: Ramadan offensive continues

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

IRAQI resistance fighters are continuing their Ramadan offensive against the American army of occupation and their local puppets. An American base in western Baghdad was rocketed and four American soldiers were killed by roadside bombs in a wave of attacks and bombings across occupied Iraq this week.

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Second World War: Mein Kampf

by Alfred Browne

I HAVE long been confused about the origins and early events of the Second World War, not just because I am now 88. My confusion dates back 70 years to that September morning when, delivering Daily Workers, I learned an ultimatum by Neville Chamberlain to Hitler to cease his attack on Poland had expired and we were at war with Germany. Like many others I was already confused about our alliance with and guarantee to Poland. What did we have to help that country stave off German aggression? Nothing except words of condemnation.

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A universal health hazard

by Rob Gowland

RECENTLY my wife Pat and I joined about 150 other people at a rally in Wyong on the New South Wales Central Coast to protest against long-wall coal mining under the Dooralong and Yarramalong valleys where we live. Protests against coal mining are now so frequent as to be commonplace up and down the NSW coast and in the Hunter Valley and the Liverpool Plains - in fact wherever coal is to be found.

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Afghan headache for Obama

THE LATEST news from Afghanistan must be very discouraging for US President Barack Obama, who has had several setbacks lately and is suffering from his worst ratings in the popularity contest that is the US presidency.

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Palestinians unveil new US peace plan

by Saud Abu Ramadan in Ramallah

A SENIOR Palestinian official has revealed details of an American peace plan drafted by President Barack Obama for a permanent peaceful solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

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South Africa backs action against firms

SOUTH AFRICAN victims of apartheid seeking compensation from foreign multinationals which supported the racist regime have been boosted by their newly elected government’s decision to support their class action in the American courts.

The position being taken by President Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) administration is the exact opposite of the one taken by his elected predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, whose government refused to support its citizens’ case.

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