National News

Firefighters’ strike ‘unavoidable’

FIREFIGHTERS in England and Wales are preparing for strike action after governments in Westminster and Cardiff refused to reach a compromise in talks with the Fire Brigades Union. But proposals from the Scottish Government mean that industrial action might not happen in Scotland.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “As a result of the refusal of governments in Westminster and Cardiff to see sense on firefighter pensions, it now appears that strike action is unavoidable in England and Wales.

“Almost 80 per cent of firefighters voted in favour of industrial action if no progress could be made, but we have tried everything to avoid strike action being necessary.

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Widow’s death a ‘serious mistake’

THE DEATH of Gloria Foster, an elderly woman who was left without food and medication for nine days after the agency that was looking after was raided and closed by the UK Border Agency, was described as a “serious mistake” in her care.

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Met ‘heavy handed’

LAWYERS representing many of the 300 arrested at demonstrations in East London a week ago have criticised “heavy-handed” tactics used by police.

Solicitors at Hodge Jones and Allen which is representing many of those arrested during protests against Islamophobic group the English Defence League, said bail conditions imposed by police raise “fundamental questions about the right to free speech.”

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CWU response to Royal Mail privatisation

THE COMMUNICATION Workers’ Union (CWU) last Thursday responded to the Government’s announcement that it is proceeding with the privatisation of the Royal Mail.

The union issued a statement: “The Government has today announced that it is pressing ahead with plans to privatise Royal Mail at the very same time that 125,000 postal workers are voting on strike action.

“CWU says the plans to sell are a betrayal of the British public — 70 per cent of whom are against privatisation according to a [Sunday Times] poll at the weekend.

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GMB to ballot on new Labour links

THE GMB general union last week announced its intention to ballot its 4,000,000 members over a new relationship between union members and the Labour Party, as proposed by Ed Miliband.

A speech by Ed Miliband on changes to Labour-union financial links in the wake of Falkirk affair has sharply divided opinions among union leaders.

GMB warns its portion of individual funding for Labour could collapse by 90 per cent.

The GMB is to take the first steps within a matter of weeks to ballot its members over whether they want to continue to pay part of their political levy to the Labour Party.

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Police attack Hovis pickets

UNION officers of the BFAWU (bakery union) last Monday called for a “massive show of strength” to support the bakery workers at the Hovis bread factory in Wigan after police clashed with pickets outside the factory early that morning.

Three pickets were arrested at the start of the second of three weeks of strike action in a dispute over the use of workers on zero hours contracts.

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Felixstowe workers vote to strike

PORT workers at Felixstowe docks last week voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over proposed changes to their terms and conditions.

Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), which owns the port, and members of Unite union are in dispute over proposed changes to employment, including the reduction of bonus payments.

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Stirling workers strike

MEMBERS of the public sector union Unison employed on IT work by Stirling council in Scotland last week took strike action after refusing to accepted a £130-a-month pay cut.

A survey of Unison members employed in all departments showed that 98 per cent said they felt bullied and intimidated by a letter sent by Stirling Council asking them to sign new contracts.

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An afternoon for Korea

by New Worker correspondent

FRIENDS of the Korean revolution returned to the historic Lucas Arms in north London on Saturday for a further celebration of the foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Academics and school students joined Korean solidarity workers to take part in the meeting called by the British Juché Idea Study Group at the Kings Cross pub, which has been a working class venue for many years and was the place where the Committee to Defeat Revisionism for Communist Unity was founded to challenge the leadership of the old Communist Party of Great Britain in 1963.

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International News

South African builders win pay struggle

by Yang Yi

CONSTRUCTION workers in South Africa have ended a three-week strike after their employers agreed to a wage rise, according to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

The union made the announcement after the construction companies represented by the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors acceded to the NUM’s demand for higher wages last week.

“We have scored a major victory as the construction workers could get a wage increase by up to 12 per cent,” said NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka. Around 90,000 construction workers embarked on their strike on 24th August, demanding the wage rise on the basis of their monthly salary of 4,000 rands (£310).

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Russian oil company returns to Iran

by Oleg Nekhai

THE RUSSIAN state owned comp a n y, Zarubezhneft, has been given the right to work in Iran. The company will develop Hayam, one of the largest natural gas condensate deposits in the country. The gas deposits alone are estimated at 260 billion cubic metres.

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Greek government condemns fatal attack on activist

by Fu Peng

THE GREEK government and political parties have strongly condemned the fatal stabbing of a Leftwing activist in a Piraeus port suburb, as the detained suspect admitted to the attack and his affiliation with far-right Golden Dawn party, police said.

The death of Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year old musician, outside a cafeteria early on Wednesday, in an alarming escalation of political violence, has shocked Greek society.

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Australian elections The lines are drawn

by Bob Briton and Tom Pearson

The right-wing Liberal-National party Coalition won the Australian general elections last week and ending Labour’s six year run in power.

THE COALITION took out a comfortable victory in last week’s federal election and will now claim a “mandate” to implement a truly reactionary programme on the people of Australia. Assessments vary.

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Venezuelans support action against graft

by Roxana Marquez

THE NEW style of government implemented by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is based on close, direct contact, with the people, in order to know about their problems and provide for prompt solutions. and the fight against corruption is one of its priorities.

As it was stated by the vice-president of the National Assembly Dario Rivas, the struggle against corruption is a necessary battle backed by the great majority of the citizens of Venezuela, because they are certain sectors that are attempting by their actions to appropriate for themselves part the nation’s coffers, which are assigned especially for actions aiming at improving the life of those who need it most.

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Allende was an example of resistance and courage

Granma

A member of Allende’s bodyguard recalls 11th September 1973 in La Moneda Palace WHEN student leader Luis Renato González Córdova was given the responsibility of forming part of President Salvador Allende’s bodyguard, known as the Personal Friends Group (GAP), he was only 19 years of age, but it was a position he really wanted, given his affection and respect for the leader of Popular Unity.

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Kurdish lawyers’ trial

A DELEGATION of six leading barristers and solicitors from Britain has arrived in Istanbul to observe the sixth hearing of a major counterterrorism case.

The delegation, which includes international human rights barristers Margaret Owen OBE, Hugo Charlton, and Mark Jones of St Ives Chambers, as well as Tooks Chambers’ Bronwen Jones and Law Society Human Rights Committee members Tony Fisher and Ali Has, will join several dozen international observers from across Europe to witness the trial of 46 Kurdish lawyers taking place on Tuesday 17th September.

The observers will witness the sixth hearing in what has been condemned by human rights activists as an unlawful and political mass trial. The lawyers have been accused of supporting terrorism and being members of an illegal organisation, having acted as legal representatives for imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan. Some had not even met him in person. It is for this work that the lawyers are being persecuted.

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Miami Five book too much for Miami radio

Prensa Latina

A RADIO station in Miami cancelled an interview with the author of the book What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five, saying it was “too incendiary”.

WLRN, a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, sent an email to Canadian writer Stephen Kimber cancelling the interview that was scheduled to be broadcast live.

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From Pinochet to Suharto the US supported dictators who ‘killed their own people’

by Deirdre Griswold

“HE IS KILLING his own people.” How many times have we read and heard that?

It is the endlessly repeated phrase that is supposed to make us hate the head of Syria enough to justify the killing of many more Syrians with US cruise missiles. Do the people who sprinkle such phrases in their “news” reports even think about them?

When did the US government suddenly decide that governments that kill their own people should be “taken out”?

Eleventh September was the 40th anniversary of the 1973 fascist coup in Chile that brought down the social democratic government of Salvador Allende, who had been trying to narrow the big gap between rich and poor in that country through a variety of social reforms. Allende was killed in the coup, along with thousands of other Chileans. General Augusto Pinochet, who led the coup, was therefore responsible for “killing his own people” many times over.

Did Washington go to the United Nations to condemn the coup? Did it institute sanctions against Pinochet’s brutal military regime? Did it do anything about it, other than make sanctimonious, toothless statements about human rights?

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Features

Chemical weapons: the hidden truths

by Manlio Dinucci

THE HAMMERING by politicians and the corporate media about chemical weapons use in Syria, which, according to secret CIA “evidence” was used by government forces, has generated the widespread false impression that it is only Syria that now possesses such weapons and threatens the rest of the world with them. That’s the power of the weapon of mass distraction, which is able to focus public attention on a single point, making everything else vanish.

Germany in 1915-1917 was the first to use chemical weapons: first liquid chlorine and phosgene, later the asphyxiating and blistering agent mustard gas. In response Britain and France also produced this deadly gas. The nerve gas Tabun, which causes death by suffocation, was discovered in 1936 by researchers from the German company IG Farben (the same company that produced Zyclon B, used in gas chambers). In 1936 Italy used chemical weapons in Ethiopia and had already used them in Libya in 1930.

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