National News

British Gas bosses making a killing

PENSIONERS and disabled people rallied outside the Queen Elizabeth conference centre in Westminster on Monday, where British Gas bosses and shareholders were holding their annual general meeting, to tell them that soaring energy prices are a crime.

The campaigners say that British Gas is making a killing and has made exorbitant profits from the recent very long and very cold winter. The company registered an 11 per cent rise in profits since this time last year, At the same time hard up pensioners and other hard-up people have been afraid to turn up their heating and the number of deaths from hypothermia has soared to around 7,000 last winter.

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Atos rakes in half a billion

THE PRIVATE company that carries out the notorious Work Capability Assessment tests — aimed to reduce Government spending on benefits by pronouncing sick and injured people fit to look for work, last year earned £500 million from the Department of Work and Pensions.

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Massive vote for strike at IT firm

AN AMERICAN-based multinational computer firm previously mired in controversy over a troubled NHS IT programme is accused by the civil service union PCS of stoking a dispute on its new defence contract.

Problems surrounding the NHS National Programme for IT led to Computer Science Corporation’s (CSC) involvement being significantly stripped back and the company reportedly writing off $1.5 billion of investment.

Now the union’s members who work for CSC on a key Ministry of Defence contract administering pay and pensions for the armed forces have voted overwhelmingly to strike over a derisory 0.5 per cent pay offer and the firm’s refusal to allow some staff to be properly represented by their union.

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Photo journalists are not terrorists

NINE PHOTO journalists travelling together in a minvan from London to Brighton to cover an event last month were stopped by police and searched under the Terrorism Act, even though they were carrying their NUJ accredited press passes.

One of the photographers, Jess Hurd, reports that the group were travelling together on 21st April to cover the “March for England” a far-right demonstration in Brighton.

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No public contracts for blacklisters

MEMBERS of the giant union Unite last Saturday protested and petitioned shoppers in Cardiff and Newcastle to gather public support to stop local authorities using construction companies that blacklist workers.

Unite is calling on local authorities to desist from using the services of companies proven to have blacklisted workers and in particular those companies, such as Royal Bam and Kier which appear to be continuing to abuse the basic human rights of ordinary working people.

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Tenants’ health at risk

ONE IN NINE people living in private rented homes says their health has been affected by their landlord’s failure to carry out repairs or deal with poor conditions in their home, according to new Shelter research published last week.

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Parliament security staff strike

AROUND 300 security staff at the Houses of Parliament, represented by the civil service union PCS, went on strike on Tuesday in a long-running row over imposed shift patterns.

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Revolt of the rail workers

IN SEPARATE ballots conducted over the past two weeks, tube drivers, cleaners and TFL electricians and engineers have voted overwhelmingly for action in a series of disputes over attacks on agreements and working conditions, pay and threatened redundancies.

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South London bin workers’ dispute

Refuse collection workers in Croydon and Bromley are preparing for possible strike action, following the breakdown of negotiations over a paltry pay offer.

The collection service in both boroughs is provided by the highly profitable French company, Veolia, which has offered two per cent in Bromley and 1.75 per cent in Croydon.

The giant union Unite, which represents 126 refuse collectors in Bromley and about 50 in Croydon, said that the pathetic offer was in stark contrast to the huge salaries of the bosses of the councils that awarded the contracts, and the 20 per cent increase in profits reported by Veolia.

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For your freedom and ours

Remember Szmul Zygielbojm, remember the Warsaw Ghetto Resisters

SZMUL ZYGIELBOJM was a Jewish socialist political activist — a Bundist — in Poland in the 1930s who went on to become a representative of the Jewish community in Poland under Nazi occupation.

His activities meant he had to flee to London where he was a part of the Polish government in exile. He was a man on a mission, a desperate mission to communicate to the western powers what was going on in the Warsaw Ghetto, in the death camps and what was about to happen with the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and to plead for intervention and for rescue.

But his words fell on deaf ears. Those conducting the war on the Allied side had their own plans and agendas and did not want to hear the horror stories of what was happening to Zygielbojm’s comrades and community.

So he committed suicide as an act of protest, to draw attention to the plight of Jews and others under Nazi occupation, leaving a letter that is a remarkable political statement.

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Camera Assassin!

reviewed by Neil Harris

THERE’S not too much separating the capitalist world from the underworld — the “criminal classes”. In the end, criminals are lazy capitalists; the mentality is much the same, it’s just the work ethic that’s missing.

They tend to have similar tastes when it comes to leisure activities too. So hanging around the sports events, casinos, restaurants, nightclubs, bars and hotels favoured by the rich, you’ll find an entertaining mixture of petty criminals, informants, bent coppers, journalists and the occasional spy: all on the lookout for a good story to sell.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ian Cutler was up to his neck in all this as a staff photographer for Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper. Cutler made a fortune as a “snapper” but had a knack of annoying powerful people; corrupt police officers and gangsters all took violent revenge on him and he became well acquainted with prison food in his time.

Fallen on hard times now, Cutler has been reduced to selling his self-published memoirs; Camera Assassin II, but your local library isn’t going to be stocking this one any time soon. Ghost written by Eddie Chapman, the burglar, con-artist and wartime double agent, this is a foul mouthed insight into working Camera Assassin! life at the News of the World. Luckily for New Worker readers, we’ve carefully read through all the sordid tales of debauchery and excess so that you do not have to.

The book, written by Ian Cutler and Eddie Chapman, has now been updated as Camera Assassin III and it can be downloaded in Kindle or PDF format for just £2.95 at http://www. cameraassassin. Print copies are sometimes available from website mail-order booksellers.

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International News

James Connolly remembered

by Peadar Whelan

REPUBLICANS and socialists from across Belfast’s political spectrum turned out for a ceremony last Sunday to remember socialist republican James Connolly on the 97th anniversary of his execution by the British on 12th May 1916.

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Russia slams Syria no-fly zone proposals

by Lena Valverde

RUSSIA wants an urgent international conference on Syria and objects to setting up a no-fly zone in the country, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Tuesday.

“We believe it necessary for the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition to find a way to fully implement the Geneva communique of 30th June 2012,” Gatilov told the media ahead of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s visit to Russia on Thursday.

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Moscow expels US diplomat for spying

Voice of Russia

THE RUSSIAN government has expelled an American diplomat who had been briefly detained on espionage charges. According to the Russian intelligence service (FSB), Ryan Christopher Fogle, third secretary in the political department at the US embassy in Moscow, was detained on Monday night as he attempted to recruit an officer from one of Russia’s special services.

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Postal workers’ struggle spreads across the world

by Joseph Piette

United States Postal Service (USPS) clerks, carriers, mail handlers and drivers have a lot in common with other postal workers in the capitalist world. In Britain, Germany, Spain, Greece, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, India, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Canada and other countries, postal workers have gone out on strike in the last year to demand wage increases, to defend benefits and to oppose privatisation.

In America postal workers are in a fight to defend the post office from privatisation, which would destroy union wages and benefits, disproportionately affecting communities of colour. Corporate control of mail would curtail mail services to many communities, especially seniors, the disabled, the incarcerated, immigrants, rural communities and people without permanent housing.

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Suffering grows as French troops stay in Mali

by Abayomi Azikiwe

FRENCH Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited the West African state of Mali on 26th April where his troops have been fighting since January. France intervened in the central and northern regions of Mali, supposedly to eject Islamic organisations designated as terrorists by Paris and other imperialist states.

On 25th April the United Nations Security Council authorised the deployment of approximately 12,600 “peacekeeping” troops to Mali to establish bases at various points in contested areas. This UN force is also structured to take the place of a 6,000-person regional African force that has been fighting alongside French troops against three armed Islamist groups in the north.

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Violence hits the Caribbean

by Roberto Castellanos

RALPH Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines recently warned that crime is one of the main obstacles to regional economic integration.

Violence is one of the main problems affecting the paradise islands of the Caribbean.

“If you cannot work a night shift, if greater security for business is needed, if the experts do not want to come because they feel safer elsewhere, we’re in trouble,” he emphasised.

For Gonsalves, high levels of crime in several countries in the area are a disincentive to tourism and discourage foreign investment.

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Unmanned aircraft: no thanks!

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey

THE LATEST gossip has it that pilotless aircraft are soon to take to the skies, ferrying passengers from one part of the globe to another in an entirely automated process. Up to what point do robotics have a use and at which point does the human being become redundant?

“Bugsplat!” shout the controllers of Nato unmanned aircraft, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAV, when from thousands of miles away they target someone on the ground, somewhere hot and far-off. BANG! goes the drone. “BUGSPLAAAATT!” shouts the demented murderer from his computer console as he pumps the air with his arm and gets pats on the back from his fellows in crime in the control room.

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