National News

Rail regulator steps in over 1,500 maintenance job cuts

THE TRANSPORT union RMT last Monday welcomed confirmation that the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has directly intervened with the Government over the safety issues raised by the union over the threat by Network Rail to axe 1500 track and signal maintenance jobs.

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Awol charge for Joe Glenton

LANCE Corporal Joe Glenton, who refused to do a second tour of duty in Afghanistan because he believed the war was wrong, and who has joined the campaign for peace, last week faced a charge of being Absent Without Leave (awol) after the more serious charge of desertion was dropped.

There is speculation that the Ministry of Defence wanted to avoid a long courtroom examination of the legality of the war in Afghanistan.

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Cadbury workers march on London

COACHLOADS of workers employed by the giant chocolate confectionary company Cadbury’s descended on Westminster last Tuesday, the day that Cadbury shareholders formally voted to accept the hostile bid from the American cheese company, Kraft.

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Union pressure blocks BNP US speech

A HOTEL in Washington DC last week refused a booking for a racist convention that had booked room under the misleading name of “American Renaissance” at which Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party, was booked to speak.

This followed pressure from trade unions on both sides of the Atlantic; from the British union Unite and from its partner union in America, the United Steel Workers (USW). These unions are linked in the first international union, Workers Uniting, which spans the United States, Canada and Britain.

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Ucatt attacks bosses’ safety complacency

CONSTRUCTION union Ucatt is calling for increased vigilance and demanding that companies do not take a complacent attitude to safety, after two construction workers in Scotland were killed within a 12-hour period.

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BA cabin crew dispute in court

THE DISPUTE over new schedules for British Airways cabin crew began at the High Court last Tuesday as the hearing before Sir Christopher Holland in London will resolve whether there should be a permanent injunction preventing BA from imposing cost-cutting proposals commenced.

Steve Turner, national officer for civil aviation for the giant union Unite, said: “This court case is about a matter of huge importance to workers everywhere. It’s about whether an employer can, without due notice or negotiation, systematically change the long-standing contracts of employment of its workforce.

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Universities will reject thousands

HUNDREDS of thousands of young people who have been studying hard for their A-levels will not be given a university place because of Government spending cuts on the universities, according to Universities UK, the higher education body.

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LRC backs PCS Land Registry members

IN OCTOBER 2009 the Land Registry published proposals last week that include around 1500 job cuts. This will involve closing five Land Registry Offices (Croydon, Tunbridge Wells, Portsmouth, Stevenage, and Peterborough) and the privatisation and outsourcing a number of LR functions.

John McDonnell, who chairs the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), said: “To be cutting back an organisation like the Land Registry just when the Government is arguing the economy is coming out of recession is another example of New Labour short termism.”

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Bloody Sunday remembered in the Midlands

THE TROOPS OUT Movement, which campaigns for British withdrawal from Ireland, held its annual Bloody Sunday Remembered meetings in the Midlands in January. The 1992 BBC film, Remember Bloody Sunday, by Peter Taylor was shown and the main speaker was Cahil McElhinney, whose brother Kevin was shot dead by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday, 30th January 1972.

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Honouring the victims of the Holocaust

by a New Worker correspondent

VETERANS of the Second World War, ambassadors of the former Soviet republics, local dignitaries, communists and members of many progressive groups gathered last Wednesday, 27th January, in bitter cold in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park by the Imperial War Museum to remember the Nazi Holocaust and its victims.

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International News

Shutdown paralyses life in India-controlled Kashmir

Xinhua news agency

A COMPLETE shutdown was observed in Muslim majority areas throughout Indian controlled Kashmir on Tuesday to protest at the killing of a teenager by the police in the provincial capital of Srinagar. Business and shops remained shut and traffic was off the roads in Srinagar and other major towns of the region.

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Who are the real looters?

Workers World (US)

WE’VE ALL seen the images so many times: a Black youth, or maybe it’s a Black mother, or a Black pensioner taking food, clothing or other goods “illegally” from a store.

This person is possibly hungry, undoubtedly poor and in some level of distress ? whether it be from the ravages of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; the combined devastation and racist neglect in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005; or even the righteous anger, in response to police brutality, that leads to rebellions. The person has few, if any, options and, in all probability, hasn’t had any for a long time.

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UN urges quick solution to Cyprus problem

UNITED Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called upon the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities on Monday to proceed quickly and with “more courage” to a solution of the Cyprus problem.

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The global capitalist crisis haunts Davos

THE DAVOS World Economic Forum celebrates its 40th anniversary beset by an unprecedented global crisis of the capitalist system, whose effect could reverberate for much longer than the experts agree, particularly in two very sensitive issues: job losses and the consequent restrictions of consumption. While heads of state and government, business leaders, experts and executives of multilateral organisations discuss measures to restore the system, the number of jobless is growing world-wide.

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Top Hamas leader slain in Dubai

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THE PALESTINIAN Muslim Brotherhood has blamed Israeli intelligence for the assassination of one of its commanders in the Emirates last month. Mahmoud Abdul Raouf al Mabhouh, was found dead in his hotel room the day after he arrived in Dubai.

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Obama: a one term president?

by Rob Gowland

AT THE 2007 International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in Minsk, which I attended, the US delegate surprised more than just me with his announcement that the CPUSA had “put the class struggle on hold” until Bush’s conservatives were defeated. No one quarrelled with the idea that the defeat of the neo-cons (as the Americans call their present crop of big business reactionaries) should be the top priority for the Left in the USA at that time. But surely securing that defeat must be an integral part of the class struggle and not something that can be set apart from it?

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The Holocaust as a lesson

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE 27th JANUARY was designated as the Day to Remember the Victims of the Nazi Holocaust, the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by Soviet troops. What those Soviet soldiers found there, the largest of the many concentration camps spread throughout Europe from Germany to the three Baltic States, stunned the world into silence, as images of the most shocking cruelty leaked out.

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A Better World is Possible

Radio Havana Cuba

THE CREATION of a better world has always been the driving force of trade unionists, church representatives, anti-globalisation activists and politicians from different sectors. Ten years ago these people created the World Social Forum in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in order to join actions against the neo-liberal policies and the stifling formulas of the international financial organisations.

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