National News

Blacklist victims win day in court

WORKERS who have been locked out of employment for years because their names appear on a secret list of left-wingers, trade unionists and “troublemakers” last week won the right to take their fight for justice to the courts and bring the shadowy organisation, “The Consulting Association”, to the dock.

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Victory! How the sparks beat the bosses

THE LABOUR Representation Committee (LRC) website last week carried a report from Steve Kelly (Unite London Construction) and Russ Blakely (Unite Portsmouth District 0750) on the inspirational campaign by construction workers against attempts by construction bosses to impose new terms and conditions across the industry:

Construction workers have won a marvellous victory. The attempt to cut to wages and conditions by a group of profit-hungry construction bosses has been beaten back by the heroic action of ordinary rank and file workers.

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Cheque-book justice for workers

THE CON-DEM Coalition government is planning to introduce charges for workers seeking employment justice through industrial tribunals.

The TUC warns that this will make justice inaccessible for many workers and give a green light for bad employers to discriminate, to fail to pay wages and to dismiss workers unfairly, knowing there is little the workers can do about — if they are not in a union. The Government claims the tribunal system is too expensive for taxpayers to support and encourages workers to pursue frivolous cases.

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Fight against tar pits development

CAMPAIGNING residents near Denby in Derbyshire are preparing to re-fight a battle they thought they had won four years ago against commercial development of nearby land that is seriously contaminated with toxic tar pits.

The Commercial Estates Group (CEG) wants to build a whole new village of between 1,000 and 3,000 homes at a place called Cinderhill, along with new places of employment, schools, health services and road improvements.

The local council, Amber Valley Borough, insists: “It would remain a fundamental requirement for any development in this location to secure remediation of the tar pits and other derelict and contaminated land.”

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Don’t privatise police

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison last week commented on the news that large swathes of police services could be outsourced to the private sector.

The proposals come from some regional police forces that privatisation is the only way they could cope with the cuts being imposed by the Government.

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Gangmasters watchdog undermined

THE CON-DEM Coalition government want to weaken the powers of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), which monitors agencies and employers of casual labour.

The GLA was set up a few years ago after the tragedy of the 23 Chinese immigrant cockle pickers who were drowned by a fast incoming tide at Morecambe Bay in 2004. They were pressured to work in an area that was known to be dangerous.

The incident provoked outrage, especially among trade unions, over the extreme exploitation by gangmasters of vulnerable immigrant workers living and working in shockingly poor conditions and paid a pittance.

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PCS backs anti-workfare campaigns

THE PUBLIC and Commercial Services union, the main union for staff in jobcentres and benefits offices, is encouraging its members and supporters to join demonstrations against a fast food giant participating in a controversial Government scheme providing free labour.

The union supported demonstrations across the Britain last week against McDonald’s which, unlike some other major companies and charities, is still signed up to the Government’s work experience programme.

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A tribute to Karl Marx

by New Worker correspondent

KARL MARX died in London on 14th March 1883 and his memory has been recalled ever since by the working class movement throughout the world. And last Saturday his immense contribution to the socialist cause was recalled at a reception at the New Communist Party’s London centre to mark the 129th anniversary of the passing of the man, who together with Frederick Engels, founded scientific socialism.

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Sinn Fein: lessons from Ireland

by Theo Russell

SINN Féin vice president Mary Lou McDonald TD told a seminar in London last week that the new European “fiscal compact” is “an insidious treaty which will institutionalise a regime of hardship overseen by the EU, institutionalise austerity policies and emasculate the political process in Ireland”.

She was addressing a Sinn Féin seminar, “Economic Crisis — lessons from Ireland” at the House of Commons, on the same day as the Irish government reluctantly announced a referendum on the pact. Two weeks ago the EU-IMF “Troika” visited Dublin and warned that if Anglo-Irish Bank bondholders were not repaid, “a financial ‘bomb’ would go off” in Ireland.

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International News

Putin returns to Russian presidency

by our European Affairs correspondent

THOUSANDS of supporters of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gathered at the famous Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow to celebrate Putin’s triumph in the country’s presidential election.

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Sarkozy plays the race card

by Ounissi Sonia

A FEW weeks before the opening bell of presidential election rings, incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy has shifted to the far right in his re-election campaign with a focus on immigration and national identity.

Both issues have long been key electoral issues. In 2007 Sarkozy’s attitude towards security and the Muslim minority paved the way to power. Five years on, and well behind in the opinion polls, the conservative politician seeks refuge in far right rhetoric to extend his five-year mandate.

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Netanyahu & Obama meet over Iran

by Adam Gonn

ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with US President Barack Obama for their ninth and likely most significant meeting between the two.

“This is one of the most important meetings that an Israeli prime minister will ever have in Washington because this will determine whether or not Israel is going to use force against Iran or not,” Professor Eytan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan University said prior to the meeting.

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Two women premiers in CARICOM for the first time

by Diony Sanabia

WITH ALMOST four decades of existence and 15 full members, women now have a greater presence in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in decision-making and as national leaders.

For the first time ever, the regional bloc that was created after the signing of the 1973 Chaguaramas Treaty has two women Prime Ministers, both of whom are leading administrations who aim to meet the needs of their compatriots.

The Prime Minister of Trinidad-and-Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, 59, was joined by another woman prime minister of a CARICOM country when Portia Simpson Miller, 66, was sworn in as Jamaican Prime Minister on 5th January.

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‘Occupy Wall Street’ and the American Revolution

by Chris Mahin

AS THE “Occupy Wall Street” movement continues, it may be helpful to look at history to see how those fighting for change have mobilised in earlier times. One such example is the American Revolution of the 1770s.

The American Revolution of the 1700s shows the tremendous importance of introducing new ideas into the fight against the powerful.

In 1763 Britain took control of Canada after defeating France in the French and Indian War. The Parliament in London soon began taking steps that pushed the residents of Britain’s 13 American colonies toward rebellion.

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International Women’s Day ‘I am woman, hear me roar’

by Zhao Ruixue

INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day is on 8th March. What does it mean to China’s young women today? Zhao Ruixue finds out.

Only two to three generations back, or just about 100 years ago, Chinese women were still largely relegated to the duties of giving birth, doing housework and farm work. They could not have imagined the great degree of independence that their granddaughters or great-granddaughters would be enjoying today in China.

Dong Xiaoxia, 30, armed with a bachelor’s degree and currently working for a State-owned enterprise, is just one example.

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Greeks struggle against a new colonialism

by G Dunkel

WHILE the stock markets in the United States and Europe have recovered — a bit — and the Greek workers have not had a general strike and massive protests for a few weeks, the struggle is far from over.

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