National News

Success for fracktivists

by New Worker Correspondent

ENVIRONMENTAL activists opposed to the Government plans to invest heavily in fracking to supply Britain’s energy needs arrived early on 25th July in the Sussex village of Balcombe to thwart attempts by the giant energy company Cuadrilla to start fracking for shale gas.

Fracking is the process of extracting shale gas by drilling very deep into the layers of gas-bearing rock and the pumping water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into the rock to make it fracture and yield up the trapped gas.

But it is a very controversial technique, associated with causing earthquakes and the contamination of drinking water sources with gas, leading to methane emanating from water taps.

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Anti-fascists embarrass neo-Nazis

by New Worker Correspondent

AS THE Islamophobic English Defence League splinters into warring factions and the British National Party is now a shadow of its former self, it has fallen to the more extremist hard core neo-Nazi fractions to continue to milk the tragedy of the murder of Lee Rigby for all they can.

And so last Saturday the “English Volunteer Force” (modelled on the violent Ulster Volunteer Force) organised a rally in Croydon close to the UK Border Agency’s Lunar House, where immigrants and asylum seekers have to come for interviews and to sign.

The rally was aimed to harass and intimidate these people and the civil servants who work in Lunar House.

But local anti-fascists, including members and supporters of Unite Against Fascism, We are Croydon and the civil service union PCS organised a counter demonstration. And they outnumbered the fascists by over 200 to 40.

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Police find no crime in Falkirk

THE GIANT union Unite has called on the Labour party to lift the suspensions of the two union members at the centre of the so-called “Falkirk affair” over the selection of a Westminster Parliamentary candidate.

It comes after police said there were “insufficient grounds” for a criminal investigation.

The chair of the union in Scotland, Stevie Deans and Unite’s favoured candidate, Karie Murphy, were suspended by Labour last month, following complains over the payment of subscription fees for newly recruited members of the constituency party.

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New police powers criminalise sarcasm

THE GOVERNMENT is about to pass legislation which will criminalise any behaviour perceived to potentially “cause nuisance or annoyance”.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill also grants local authorities, police and even private security firms sweeping powers to bar citizens from assembling lawfully in public spaces.

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NHS DIRECT gives up on 111

NHS DIRECT last week gave notice that it wants to withdraw from its contracts to supply the 111 NHS non-emergency telephone advice service in England.

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Strike against ‘rogue bailiffs and profits’

COURT staff who collect fines and fixed penalties walked out on strike last week over Government plans to privatise their work.

The union says the move will put the collection of courts fines in the hands of private bailiffs. Following the revelation earlier this month that G4S and Serco had been overcharging on their electronic tagging contracts, the union called on the Government to halt the privatisation plan.

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Outrage at UKBA ‘Racist Van’

BUSINES Secretary Vince Cable last week attacked his Tory colleagues for launching a “stupid and offensive” crackdown on illegal immigrants, via the so-called “Racist Van” and accused them of being obsessed with migration figures.

He said the Liberal Democrats had not been consulted, adding that Immigration Minister Mark Harper’s decision to send vans bearing the message “go home, or you’ll be picked up and deported” round London was designed to create fear among the public.

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Gas companies fog the figures

A REPORT issued last week by the parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) accused the giant energy companies of failing to deliver figures that would allow their rate of profit to be calculated.

The committee also criticised the industry watchdog Ofgem for failing consumers by not insisting on more transparency from the energy companies.

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No justice for workers

TRADE Unions last week spoke out angrily against the introduction of fees up to £1,200 to take a claim to an industrial tribunal, which they described as “unjust, disproportionate, elitist” and a barrier to tribunal cases.

It is estimated 150,000 people a year will be affected by the new up-front fees of £1,200 to take a claim to employment tribunal. Critics say the “worker bashing” charges be an insurmountable legal hurdle preventing thousands from seeking justice.

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£1 billion slice of NHS for sale

THE GOVERNMENT last week invited bids for a contract worth between £700 million and £1.1 billion to provide health services, including end-of-life care for older people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

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Cuts to gangmaster watchdog

UNIONS are protesting at a Government decision to reduce automatic inspections by an agency set up to protect low-paid contract workers in the agriculture and food industries could lead to an increase in rogue employment agencies.

From October the Gangmasters Licensing Authority [GLA] will no longer automatically send an inspector to check that agency workers are being paid properly and working under safe conditions before it grants a business or employment agency a licence to operate.

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Rally to defend legal aid

by New Worker correspondent

PROTESTERS gathered outside the Old Bailey in London and Manchester Crown Court last Tuesday evening for a rally in defence of legal aid, organised by the Justice Alliance.

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BARAC protest links racism in US and Britain

by New Worker correspondent

BLACK activists, anti- racists, trade unionists and other progressives gathered at 2pm outside the United States embassy in Grosvenor Square in London last Saturday for the start of a protest against global racism and injustice.

The protest was organised by Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) and supported by Operation Black Vote, the National Black Students Campaign, and a number of unions, pressure groups and anti-racist organisations.

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International News

DPRK Marks 60th anniversary of Korean War Armistice

by Xelcis Presnol

THE DEMOCRATIC People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) marked the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement with a military parade on Saturday.

North Korea’s top leader Kim Jong Un was seen standing on the upper podium overlooking Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square to inspect massive throngs of marching soldiers and a display of weapons, including armoured vehicles and trucks carrying cannons, multiple rocket launchers and missiles. Also, helicopters, fighter jets and an unmanned aircraft flew over the podium.

The director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, Choe Ryong Hae, said in a speech that the DPRK considers peace a top national priority and its military is tasked with safeguarding the country from foreign aggression.

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Cuba commemorates 60th anniversary of Attack on Moncada

by Ed Newman

CUBAN President Raul Castro presided over the national ceremony in Santiago de Cuba last week marking the 60th anniversary of the 1953 attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes garrisons.

The event was attended by heads of state and governments from Latin American and Caribbean countries, such as Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Uruguay’s Jose Mujica, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, Antigua and Barbuda’s Winston Baldwin Spencer; Saint Lucia’s Kenny Davis Anthony and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ralph Gonsalves and other leaders and officials.

Veterans of the attack on the Moncada barrakcs, guests from different countries and solidarity organisations, along with 10,000 Cubans attended the ceremony, which took place on the campus of the 26th July school complex on the site of the former Moncada barracks.

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Baristas of the world, unite!

by Kimball Cariou

BARISTAS are starting to organise in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, and fast food workers have become increasingly militant in the United States. These two developments are linked to the efforts by big corporations to squeeze out maximum profits, at the expense of the huge service industry workforce in North America.

The recent Nova Scotia case has drawn considerable media attention, after Halifax employees at the Just Us! coffee cooperative chain joined Local 2 of the Service Employees International Union. The chain says that any new shops that open will be unionised. This is not the same as organising a big transnational food company. Just Us! Co?op set out in 1995: “To become Canada’s first Fair Trade coffee roaster... a small, but bold experiment to show that the coffee business, and all businesses, could be done differently, putting `People and the Planet before Profits’ locally and globally.”

Even so, it took a sharp struggle to make this breakthrough. Last April two Just Us! employees, who went to the Labour Board claiming that they were fired for their union activities. Putting “people before profits” apparently did not immediately extend to front line employees, as sometimes happens in cooperatives.

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TU-134 — the legendary Soviet airliner

by Oleg Nekhai

THE FIRST flight of the Tu-134 airliner took place 50 years ago in 1963. The Tu-134 airliner was one of the most successful projects in the field of passenger airplane construction. It went down in the history of civil aviation as the most mass-produced short-haul Soviet airliner. Tu-134 planes were exported to Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Vietnam.

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Features

US and British postal workers fight privatisation

by Joseph Piette

A BRITISH parliamentary spokesperson announced on 13th May that the world’s oldest postal service would be privatised this autumn. Royal Mail opened to the public in 1635. The US Postal Service, originally part of the British postal system, is also threatened with privatisation by powerful congressional and corporate forces.

Postal workers, however, are organising resistance to the for-profit theft of the “people’s post office” in both countries. “Save our post office!” will be a main chant in nationally coordinated protests against privatisation on 26th and 27th July , the USPS’s 238th birthday.

“Save our post office” is also seen and heard all over Britain as postal workers there rally and stage rolling strikes to fight Royal Mail’s privatisation.

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The Chernyaev Diaries

P a r t 2

by Neil Harris

ALTHOUGH he was the deputy head of the CPSU’s International Department responsible for relations with Foreign Communist parties, politically Chernyaev had given up on Communism years before. His plan for the International Communist Movement was to convert it into a pro-Russian social democracy.

By August 1985 the fallout from the British party’s extraordinary congress had reached Moscow and was dealt with in the International Department’s report for the XXVII Congress which included; “information for Gorbachev about Rotschtein’s [ Andrew Rothstein ] letter to him, about the situation in the Communist Party of Great Britain and about our line”.

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