National News

Tax workers on strike

TAX WORKERS employed by HM Revenue and Customs staged a three-hour strike on Monday against a plan to hand sensitive data over to private companies and put jobs at risk.

The walkout between 12pm and 3pm, involving 20,000 of the union’s 56,000 members of the PCS civil service union, was in opposition to a planned year-long trial using private staff in two contact centres in Bathgate, in Scotland, and Lillyhall, Cumbria. In a separate dispute all the union’s members in HMRC’s offices across Britain walked out between 12pm and 2pm on the same day in opposition to a punitive new sick absence system, which threatens staff with disciplinary action instead of supporting them back to work.

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Justice for Joe Paraskeva

by New Worker corresponent

LINDA MORGAN last Saturday, along with her MP Diane Abbott, led a demonstration to present a petition at Downing Street calling for justice for her mentally ill son, Joe Paraskeva, who has been given an indeterminate prison sentence.

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Health unions reject divisive pensions offer

HEALTH service unions Unison, RCN, GMB, Unite and the British Medical Association last week rejected a new, divisive offer on pensions that would still leave thousands of nurses, paramedics, occupational therapists and other key staff paying significantly higher contributions into a pension scheme that would deliver a lot less.

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Wealthy backers of the extreme right

THE ISLAMOPHOBIC English Defence League has been getting support from a property tycoon and a City-based financier, who was questioned last week by police over his links to Anders Behring Breivik, the gunman who murdered 69 people in Norway earlier this year.

A Sunday Times investigation has revealed that Ann Marchini, a mother from Highgate, north London, and Alan Ayling, a former director of an investment fund, have sought to mould the EDL into a credible political force.

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Maternity services face privatisation

UNISON, the public sector union, is warning that the maternity deal between private company, One to One and NHS Wirral is the “thin end of the wedge”.

“The Government is moving steadily towards the privatisation of NHS services” said Christina McAnea, Unison head of health, adding that the Government is wedded to promoting more private deals across the NHS.

She went on to say: “Maternity services are for too important to be entrusted to unaccountable private companies.”

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TV Licensing Christmas strike

HUNDREDS of TV Licensing workers will be on strike in the run-up to Christmas next week in a long-running dispute over pay.

Capita — the company that has just won an eight-year extension to the TV Licensing contract and makes £1 million profit every day — has refused to return to negotiations despite a week’s worth of strike action and clear dissatisfaction among its staff.

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Fashion houses exploit unpaid interns

HM REVENUE and Customs last week warned some of Britain’s biggest fashion houses that they could be prosecuted for failing to pay their interns.

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Shaker Aamer, Britain’s last Guantanamo detainee

by a New Worker correspondent

DOZENS of people gathered in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, last Saturday to demand action from the Government to take action to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, who is still held in the Guantanamo prison by the United States government.

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Time to boot out Boris

by a New Worker correspondent

LONDON students demonstrated outside King’s College last week in protest at a “Back Boris Student Bootcamp” meeting called to support the Tory London Mayor’s campaign for another term next year.

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International News

Socialism is the future!

by our European Affairs correspondent

OVER 100 comrades from 78 parties, including the New Communist Party of Britain, took part in the 13th International Meeting of communist and workers’ parties in Athens last weekend.

Representatives came from 59 countries, including delegations from the ruling parties of Cuba, DPR Korea, Laos, Vietnam and those that participate in government like the South African Communist Party, the two Syrian communist parties, AKEL in Cyprus and the People’s Progressive Party of Guyana.

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Canada’s short-sighted move should be denounced

by Wang Lei

THE CANADIAN government’s decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding global agreement on fighting climate change, has sent shivers across the world.

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US Congress considers more restrictions on Cuba

by Juan Leandro

THE UNITED States Congress is currently discussing a bill that if approved will restrict Cuban-American travel and remittances to Cuba, setting US-Cuba relations back to the Bush era.

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Australia: if they sell off the trees who will see the woods?

by Rob Gowland

AMIDST the plethora of Australian Commonwealth and state assets recently proposed for sale by governments more interested in serving corporations than consumers — assets as substantial as Port Botany and the Port of Melbourne, the harvesting rights for SA Forests and the Sydney Desalination Plant — the sell-off of nurseries owned by Forests NSW at Dubbo, Muswellbrook, Gunnedah, Narrandera, Wagga and Cumberland in Sydney could pass unnoticed. But it is not without significance.

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Nepal: ‘The objective conditions still exist for the revolution’

by Theo Russell

A MEMBER of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) politburo, Indra Mohan Sigdel or “Basanta”, addressed a meeting in London last week, organised by the Second Wave Publications, about the “line struggle” taking place in the party, following a series of setbacks to the cause of advancing to a national democratic revolution.

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Why China has planning and the USA doesn’t

by Deirdre Griswold

ANDY Stern, former head of the giant Service Employees union in the United States, recently visited China as part of a delegation organised by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Centre for American Progress.

Stern, knowing very well that US workers are in the midst of a long-term crisis of unemployment that shows no let up, was highly impressed with the goals of China’s 12th five-year plan, which were explained to the visiting group by high-ranking Chinese officials.

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