National News

GMB warns Notts CC cuts will cause chaos

THE GMB general union last week warned Nottingham County Council that it would not sit and watch whilst essential services that benefit thousands of people in need are wiped out leaving the public to suffer the dire consequences.

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NHS union official under threat

SUSSEX healthcare branch of the public sector union Unison is bracing itself for a fight with the management of Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust (SASH), which is threatening to sack Zena Dodgson, the elected Trade Union Facilitator and replace her with an appointee.

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Success from Leeds striking bin workers

MEMBERS of the GMB and Unison public sector unions working in the Leeds city council refuse department have won their 11-week dispute over the council’s plans to slash pay.

The workers, who stayed solid during 11 weeks on strike, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new deal securing their wages.

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Colchester vigils for Joe Glenton

from Mike Fletcher

THE COLCHESTER and District Trades Council, along with the Colchester Stop The War campaign have decided to launch a regular vigil every Sunday outside Colchester barracks when Lance Corporal Joe Glenton is being held prior to his court martial for refusing to fight anymore in Afghanistan.

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Whistleblower wins

AN EQUALITIES officer, who was harassed and sacked for blowing the whistle on management, has been awarded £442,466 in compensation for loss of earnings, supported by her union, Unison.

Pauline Scanlon, from Saltburn by the Sea, Cleveland, has been forced to take a lower paid job in a call centre since she was dismissed from her job at Redcar and Cleveland Council.

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Compulsory overtime?

HARPENDEN MP and former Tory Cabinet minister Peter Lilley has attacked Thameslink train drivers as “militants taking coordinated action to prevent trains running”. The “crime” of these “extremists” is to exercise their legal and contractual right not to work overtime.

“God save us all from a Tory government,’ said Keith Norman, general secretary of the train drivers’ union Aslef. “Is compulsory overtime one of the policies they haven’t mentioned yet?”The over-excited Hitchin and Harpenden MP frothed in Parliament about his constituents wanting compensation for disruption “caused by drivers refusing to work overtime or on rest days”.

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Supreme Court backs the banks

THE NEWLY established Supreme Court — which replaces the House of Lords as the court of final appeal — last Wednesday revealed its true class colours by ruling in favour of the banks in a long running dispute with the Office of Fair Trading over the punitive charges banks make for unauthorised overdrafts.

Millions of customers hoping to be refunded thousands of pounds in overdraft charges have been disappointed.

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Police accused of DNA fishing raids

A RETIRED police superintendent has claimed that police officers in England and Wales are making spurious arrests just to get people on to the DNA database.

He told the Human Genetics Commission (HGC) this was the “norm”. The HGC now is calling for new guidance for police to regulate when it is appropriate to take a sample of DNA.

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Finance workers fight

IN A YEAR when workers in the financial services industry have experienced unprecedented numbers of job losses, workplace representatives from banks and insurance companies across Britain last Tuesday arrived in Brighton for the Unite conference for the financial sector.

Despite tens of billions of pounds spent to rescue the senior bankers from themselves, 50,000 jobs have been lost in the last 12 months.

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FBU calls for recognition of flood response work

THE MAJOR floods over the past week days have once again highlighted the central role firefighters play in responding to a range of emergencies.

Firefighters, working with other agencies, have been at the heart of the operation to protect the safety of the public.

The Fire Brigades Union has expressed concern that this central role is still not recognised by Government. Planning for and responding to flooding is still not considered to be core function of the Fire and Rescue service and the Government has refused to make it so despite lobbying by firefighters since the floods of 2007.

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Bullies target Gay & Trans workers

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison has teamed up with Company Magazine to launch a Bully Busters campaign in light of recent survey findings.

They are calling for the Government to clamp down on harassment and revise the current Dignity in the Workplace Bill to include an anti-bullying policy, which is enforced by employers.

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Engineering dispute settled

MEMBERS of the GMB and Unite unions last week votes to accept a settlement to the long-running dispute that arose out of grievances at a number of civil engineering and power generation construction sites earlier this year, including the Lindsey oil refinery.

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International News

Israel move to head off US

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

ISRAEL moved to head off American pressure by offering a number of concessions to the Arabs this week. The Netanyahu government has called for fresh talks with Syria, offering a temporary and partial halt to settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank while now ready to release a number of prominent Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier held by Hamas in Gaza for the past three years.

But the “concessions” are largely cosmetic and it will take a lot more than that to kick start the stalled “peace process”.

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Russia: more sell-offs and customs union

GOVERNMENT assets worth $2.6 billion will be sold off under a 2010 privatisation plan endorsed by the Russian Government on Tuesday, according to Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina.

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Another CIA torture centre discovered in Lithuania

THE QUIET Republic of Lithuania has hit the international headlines after ABC News revealed the existence of a secret prison in that country. The CIA used the now not-so-secret prison to torture prisoners.

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Panama hands over its sovereignty

THE RECENT decision of the government of Panama regarding relations with its neighbours in the region raises the question: What direction is Panama, headed by businessman Ricardo Martinelli, taking and why?

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Climate change at Copenhagen

by Renée Sams

THE BIGGEST United Nations climate summit in history will take place in Copenhagen on 7th December and for two weeks representatives from 200 countries will finalise a global agreement in an effort to prevent catastrophic climate change.

For the past two years negotiators have been working on proposals for discussion at the conference and they are calling for three demands to be made legally binding.

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Soviet legacy could have saved Baltic economy

by Ivan Tulyakov

IT IS AN open secret that four former Soviet republics — Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine — are amongst those countries that have suffered most from the economic crisis.

The inflation rate in those countries continues to grow because of huge debts, although the rate in many other countries begins to decrease. The crisis-struck states experience the phenomenon of stagflation because of the low GDP — this phenomenon is well-known to many Americans from to the crisis of the 1970s.

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Cuban students prepare for YCL congress

A number of activities organized by the Federation of University Students to celebrate the forthcoming Ninth Congress of Cuba’s Young Communist League, the UJC, have got underway across the country.

Activities, to run through the end of December, began last Friday at 4 pm with a mass outdoor party around the popular Havana intersection of 23 and G Singer — songwriters, music groups and dance troupes also joined the university students’ carnival ensemble to inaugurate the event.

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The corporate agenda

by Rob Gowland

AS EVERYONE knows, the 11th September terrorist attacks on New York and Washington gave the Bush White House the opportunity to unite the USA behind a right-wing agenda of increased military action abroad and greatly increased restrictions on democratic rights at home.

The US Patriot Act, which overrides many of the fundamental freedoms afforded US citizens in their much-touted Constitution, was passed opportunistically after the 11th September terrorist attacks with very little debate. In Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11 he records Congressman Jim McDermott alleging that no Senator read the bill.

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Democratic Korea: football qualifying — a natural outcome

by Sim Ryon Hwa

THREE years ago a foreign newspaper carried a meaningful article entitled “The DPRK aims at the world,” which made a profound and objective analysis of tremendous development of Democratic Korea’s sports, especially football, in a comprehensive way.

The DPR Korea national football team proved that it was not a mere conjecture. They earned a berth for the 19th World Cup as the second placer in Group B at the final Asian qualifiers that ended on 17th June this year.

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The intellectual emptiness of Human Rights Watch

by Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver

HUMAN Rights Watch (HRW) is again going too far against the Cuban Revolution in a vain attempt to sully the island’s impeccable work for the dignity and authentic human rights of more than 11 million Cubans.

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