London firefighters name new strike days

LONDON firefighters staged a successful strike last Saturday in protest at management threats to sack all who refuse to sign up to new working conditions.

They also plan to strike on Monday 1st November and have announced another strike, for 47 hours, from Friday 5th November to Sunday 7th November.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said on Saturday evening: “Today London’s 5,600 firefighters did the last thing they wanted to do. They went on strike for eight hours, leaving the capital without their expertise.

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Con-Dem cuts fall heaviest on the poor

TRADE unions and campaigning groups have been analysing and commenting on the unfair and unequal effects of the Con-Dem Coalition’s spending review and showing how the massive cuts will have a disproportionate impact on the poor and vulnerable and on women workers.

Poor people will lose more money because of VAT rises and frozen wages; they will suffer more from the cuts in public services and they are more likely to lose their jobs.

A TUC analysis published last Friday said the cuts will hit the poorest ten per cent of households 15 times harder than the richest ten per cent as a result of service cuts announced in the comprehensive spending review (CSR).

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Single parents ‘set up to fail’

THE CHARITY Gingerbread, which supports single parents, warned that single parents are being “set up to fail” by Con-Dem coalition changes that will compel them to look for work as soon as their children are seven-years-old — at a time when provision for childcare is being cut.

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Uniting against the cuts

by New Workercorrespondent

THE MORNING Star and New Worker group in East Anglia met on Saturday 23rd October, after a successful demonstration outside Colchester Council Offices against the cuts.

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Robbing Peter to pay Paul

EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove last week revealed how he plans to fund his “pupil premium” — extra funding for schools with a higher proportion of pupils from poor homes. He will cut the budgets of other schools to make up the money.

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Generation facing scrapheap

THE GOVERNMENT’S comprehensive spending review will put hundreds of thousands of public sector workers out of work and is an unprecedented attack on the welfare state, public services, communities, jobs and benefits, says the civil service union PCS.

Chancellor George Osborne last week announced 490,000 public sector jobs will be cut over the next five years, with a 41 per cent cut at the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Ministry of Justice budget to be reduced by £2 billion, with a 24 per cent reduction in CPS spending.

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‘Get on yer bus!’

THE SECRETARY for Work an Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith, last week told the unemployed to “get on the bus” to look for work — echoing the words of Norman Tebitt in the 1980s.

But the union Unite pointed out that, thanks to Con-Dem Coalition cuts, there will not be so many buses to get on.

Unite has over 100,000 members across local bus, tram and light rail operations, and warned that massive reductions in subsidies for local public transport schemes could result in the complete destruction of the bus as a social service.

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Badges from the Miners’ struggle

PAST PIXELS was launched last year to make images of working class struggle more widely available and it kicked off with a haunting collection of cards to mark the 25th anniversary of the last great miners’ struggle.

Now it’s returned with another tribute to the miners by producing 18 greeting cards depicting the enamel badges of the NUM, many from the miners’ strike of 1984/5.

The first collection of cards can be seen at A set of five greeting cards (one of each image) costs £4.00 including post and packaging. Make cheques payable to “Past Pixels” and send to Past Pixels, PO Box 798, Worcester WR4 4BW.

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French workers continue pension fight

Radio Havana Cuba

PROTESTS against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reforms have entered a new week despite the bill being approved in France’s Senate.

On-off strike action this month has caused chaos. Dockers near Marseille have now lifted their blockade of France’s biggest oil port but vowed not to accept a rise in the retirement age. Pointing out the remaining procedural stages the law must complete, port workers’ union leader Stephane Stamatiou said that even if they do go ahead, “we will not apply it”.

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Uncomfortable truths

Radio Havana Cuba

UNITED States government spokespersons are trying to avoid a direct response to the publication of some 400,000 documents on the WikiLeaks website to soften the blow of the exposure that reveals that the Americans implemented and acquiesced in torture and systematic murder throughout their occupation of Iraq.

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Haiti requiring sustainable aid

Radio Havana Cuba

THE OUTBREAK of cholera in Haiti shows the economic and social defenselessness of the poorest country of the western hemisphere. Last January it was shaken by a devastating earthquake. Unfortunately Haiti is still waiting for the promised aid.

Right now cholera is hitting the north-eastern part of the country. The death toll has risen to 259 people and over 3,000 people infected in areas which were not affected by the quake.

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UN demands end of blockade against Cuba

Radio Havana Cuba

THE UNITED Nations General Assembly has again called for an end to the American blockade against Cuba. The isolation of the United States was seen in the vote on the Cuban resolution for “The Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Blockade Imposed by the United States of America Against Cuba”.

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A Chinese city remembers the Korean War

by Rong Jiaojiao and Xu Yang

DANDONG, located at the mouth of the Yalu River and facing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), seems no different to any other booming Chinese port from afar.

But close up, the city is unique as its past becomes visible — a damaged bridge with shell holes and gravestones of unknown soldiers.

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Workers need jobs, not China-bashing

by Deirdre Griswold

THE OBAMA administration has announced it will investigate China for subsidising its clean-energy industries, which produce wind and solar energy products, advanced batteries and energy-efficient vehicles. This is supposed to be a move for “free trade” and to help American workers, the logic being that if China is forced to give up these subsidies, that will somehow create jobs here.

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Remnants of an empire

by Rob Gowland

SO, DID YOU spend the last couple of weeks sitting up late to watch the Commonwealth Games? Otherwise known as the fragments of the British Empire games.

Most fragmented of all, of course, was Britain itself, which was split up into tiny statelets so the Brits could compete under a bunch of aliases. If the Isle of Man can take part in an international sporting festival in its own right, why can’t it join the UN?

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FIFA fair play? Scandal inflames soccer world

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE LATEST allegations of votes for money involving FIFA officials is, if true, yet another sickening reminder that where big bucks and sport get mixed up, sport, sportsmanship and fair play are mere words bandied around cosmetically to serve as a cover-up for those who milk the system and make fortunes.

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