National News

FBU announces 24-hour strike

FIREFIGHTERS in England and Wales will strike again over attacks on their pensions after the Government confirmed it would implement a new scheme without further negotiations.

A 24-hour strike — the longest yet in the three-year campaign — will take place from 9am on Thursday 12th June, with another set for 10am- 5pm on Saturday 21st June.

In addition between the two strikes firefighters will not carry out any voluntary overtime — which is routinely needed by many fire and rescue services to maintain fire cover — or conduct training of strike-breakers between the beginning of the first strike and 9am on Sunday 22nd June.

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Huge profits from PFI sales

PRIVATE contractors involved in Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts have found yet another way to squeeze huge profits from them — at the cost of taxpayers, the users of the health and education services and the people employed to provide the services.

As some of the original contracts start to mature contractors are making huge profits after rapidly selling on state school and hospital projects shortly after finishing them, despite being awarded long-term contracts by the last Labour government.

Companies that were awarded contracts to build and maintain state schools for 25 years have been doubling their money by “flipping”, or selling on PFIs projects just four years after finishing them.

The chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, described the huge profits as “a total scandal” and said it meant “we have all been ripped off”.

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‘EDL have no place in Stevenage’

by New Worker correspondent

ONCE again local anti-fascists outnumbered members of the Islamophobic English Defence League (EDL) last Saturday in the latest of a series of marches the EDL has staged in eastern England in recent months — this time in Stevenage.

But local police showed themselves to be incapable of counting and estimated the EDL numbers at about double what they really were. And they seemed incapable of hearing as EDL speakers called for the formation of anti-Muslim attack groups and declared: “We will take the law into our own hands.”

Furthermore while they allowed this to go forward they restrained a larger group of anti- fascists in a car park, revealing a shocking bias.

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Merseyside posties refuse to deliver the Sun

POSTAL workers in west Lancashire have said they will walk out if they are made to deliver free promotional copies of the Sun this week.

The paper has agreed not to distribute the issues in Liverpool because of the continued anger at the way it reported the 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy. It is understood six members of staff in Skelmersdale were at Hillsborough on the day of the disaster.

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Outrage at anti-homeless spikes

THE INSTALLATION of ground spikes in places where homeless people have been sleeping in some parts of London has sparked outrage throughout the social media. Hundreds of people are losing their homes through cuts in benefits, rising rents, the bedroom tax and problems paying mortgages, through divorce, through mental illness and other causes.

And the sight of sleeping bags on pavements in central London has returned and is increasing rapidly. Homeless people seek sheltered doorways and other spots out of the wind and rain to try to sleep.

But this has prompted those in up-market areas to install the blunt spikes in the nooks and doorways to prevent homeless people sleeping there.

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Benefit cuts kill

THE LIVERPOOL Echo last week reported the death of a young mother who had been ordered to claim the new Personal Independence Payment (replacing Disability Living Allowance) — and was then denied any benefit payments for six months.

At the same time it has been revealed that disabilities minister Mike Penning has been caught giving false evidence to a Parliamentary committee on the way contracts for the assessment of disability benefits have been awarded.

Annette Francis was found dead at her home in Garston on 22nd May. She had been suffering severe mental illness but had not received a single penny of disability benefit for six months, since the Department for Work and Pensions had stopped her claim for Disability Living Allowance and told her to apply for PIP. She did so — but was still waiting for her first payment at the time of her death. She leaves an 11-year-old son, who is currently in the care of his great-aunt.

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Eleven-day strike at Tilbury

MOVES by the hardline management of SCA Logistics, based at Tilbury docks, to drive down wages by introducing zero-hours contracts have sparked an 11-day strike which started last Thursday, 5th June.

The dockers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, started the 11-day stoppage at 06.00 on Thursday and it will run until 05.59 Monday 16th June. The strikers number about 24.

The dispute centres on fears that the permanent workforce will be replaced by lower paid agency/casual workers on zero- hours contracts. The workers staged a 48-hour strike on this issue at the end of last month.

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Kew News

by our Gardening Correspondent

ON MONDAY unions representing workers at Kew Gardens in west London and local Tory MP Zac Goldsmith handed in a 100,000 signature petition at Downing Street opposing huge job cuts at Kew Gardens.

The gardens are not just an agreeable facility for the well-heeled constituents of the millionaire MP. As former Director Sir Ghillean Prance said: “The scientific work of Kew is vital for the future of biodiversity and for climate change studies.”

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Midwives consider strike action

MIDWIVES could take strike action for the first time in protest at what they say is ministers “assaulting” their living standards by denying them a one per cent rise promised to all NHS staff.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the midwives’ union, has taken the unprecedented step of recommending to its members in England that they agree to take industrial action, including strike action, to try and force a coalition U-turn.

Any industrial action by midwives could cause chaos for maternity units, which even ministers accept are under-staffed and under huge pressure because of the baby boom.

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Strike for victimised housing worker

WORKERS at the One Housing Group (OHG) took four days of strike from Friday 6th June in support of the victimised lead Unite rep at the association.

This follows a ballot in which members of Unite voted by 89 per cent in favour of strike action which started on Friday and ended on Tuesday morning. It affected OHG sites across London and the south east.

Unite is concerned that its rep is being victimised as he was suspended immediately before a negotiation meeting in which the union would have raised the prolonged six-year pay freeze imposed on staff, but not for the top executives.

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RMT backed London Taxi protest

THE TRANSPORT union RMT backed a massive protest by thousands of London taxi drivers on Wednesday 11th June.

It centred around Trafalgar Square from 2pm onwards, aiming to gridlock the capital, as organisations representing the trade unite in defiance of measures being driven through by Mayor Boris Johnson which amount to an all-out assault on the industry.

RMT backed the protest, under the banner “Cabbies against Boris”, which has been mobilised against the many improper and unlawful decisions imposed on the taxi trade by Transport for London and the Mayor.

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Angus council to cut more than 600 jobs

by our Scottish Political Correspondent

ANGUS COUNCIL, which is run by the Scottish National Party, plans to axe between 600 and 700 workers over the next two or three years as a result of a recently agreed £19 million package of cuts according to municipal union GMB.

According to local GMB official John Begley the council recently got rid of its top management team at huge cost and replaced them with a whole new “People’s Directorate” at an added cost of approximately £346,000. The new management immediately cancelled an unwritten mutually agreed “no redundancy policy”.

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PCS fights passport office cuts

THE CIVIL service union PCS has threatened industrial action if job cuts that have caused the current passport backlogs are not addressed.

A letter landing on Passport Office chief executive Paul Pugh’s desk this morning states the union attributes the current crisis to “major job cuts and office closures during the past five years”, as well as the increasing use of private companies.

It comes as the union is preparing to hold a consultative ballot of all its quarter of a million civil and public service members with a view to taking part in joint union action over pay, starting with a one-day strike in July.

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Confucius Institute opens in Scotland

The Scottish Confucius Institute for Business and Communication was officially launched last week at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland’s capital to enhance cultural and business exchanges between Scotland and the Chinese side.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Institute, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Mike Russell hailed the strengthened cooperation and exchanges in various sectors including education and business between the two sides.

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International News

Rebuilding Egypt’s economy top task for Sisi

by Marwa Yahya

AS VICTORY celebrations were reverberating throughout Egypt after former military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected president, others worry about the problem of reviving an economy hammered by three years of continuous political turmoil.

Sisi will inherit an economy burdened with a high percentage of the population living below the poverty line, along with high illiteracy and unemployment rates, falling investments and declining tourism revenues.

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Solidarity with the Cuban Five in US

by Juan Leandro

WASHINGTON DC is experiencing some lively days. The US capital is, for the third time in a row, the theatre of public expressions of solidarity with the three Cuban anti-terrorist fighters who are still criminally imprisoned in the United States.

Legislators from at least a dozen countries, lawyers, religious leaders, mayors from many cities, artists from the screen and the theatre, peace activists and many other personalities are attending.

The public demonstrations and other activities are requesting the US Government to release Gerardo Hernandez, Ramòn Labañino and Antonio Guerrero, serving long sentences in US Federal penitentiaries.

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Taliban attack buries Pakistan peace process

by Muhammad Tahir

THE FRAGILE peace process in Pakistan is now practically dead following the Taliban’s bloodiest attack last Sunday on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city, which killed 28 people, including 10 militants.

The attack took place as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is trying to engage the Taliban in negotiations to end years of fighting. But the airport attack has dashed hopes for the continuation of the process.

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Syrians vote for Al Assad!

by Dr Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

For the past few days the entire world’s attention has been focused on Syria and the Syrian people, who have given a lesson in democracy to the majority of the world’s countries and people.

Yes, the Syrians belong to a civilisation of more than 10,000 years. The Syrians are again led by President Bashar Hafez Al-Assad. Like his late father, President Bashar has taught the world the art of politics, steadfastness and pragmatism as well as many other lessons in democracy, freedom and the national defence of people and rights. A country with such a historic leadership would sacrifice everything to hold its head high among nations.

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The Battle of Red Lion Square

15th June 1974

by Caroline Colebrook

THIS COMING Sunday will be the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Red Lion Square — an important event in the history of anti-fascism in Britain in which Kevin Gately, a young anti-fascist student, was killed and many other anti-fascists were injured during what was effectively a police riot.

At the time the main fascist enemy on the streets was the National Front, notorious for its violence and its policy, put forward by Martin Webster, of “kicking its way into the headlines”.

It was winning some support on its strongly anti- immigration platform but not far beneath the surface, its hard core centre was solidly neo-Nazi — not only racist but outand- out fascist.

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Greek Communists break with the EU “United Left”

by Dimitrios Kivotidis

THE CENTRAL of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) has decided that their two newly elected MEPs will not join any of the political groups of the European Parliament.

In the past the KKE was a member of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) bloc in the European Parliament. The GUE/NGL started as a confederal group but the existence within that group of the Party of the European Left (EL), which tries to impose its own positions and pass them off as those of the whole group has proven a great obstacle for the communist struggle within the EU Parliament.

The homogenisation of the EL and its overt support towards the EU led the anti-EU positions of the KKE being increasingly attacked and distorted and the dissenting opinions of its MEPs not being taken into account and being silenced.

The fundamental role of communists in the EU Parliament is to expose the anti-popular measures that are being put forward through the EU institutions, in order to strengthen the popular struggle against the imperialist EU.

This fundamental undertaking is hindered by political groups and parties who pose as communists or socialists but support the existing structure of the EU and present it as something different than an imperialist construct that serves the EU monopolies.

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People’s China leads the World in the development of Wisdom Studies

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

In the 21st century, with the ever deepening process of globalisation and the development of information technology, human society is facing new and challenging problems. Due to the unprecedented complexity of these problems, a superior and outstanding wisdom is required.

But as the development of information is at its height, knowledge can be retrieved at any time. The rapid development of science and technology has led to unprecedented material growth, and this in turn has led to an accelerated rate of development of education in modern society. There is now an urgent need to develop the subject of Wisdom Studies so that society can benefit fully from its presence.

Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration — 2013

THE HUMAN brain, through its capacity to think, analyse, assess, and logically organise, has given birth to two great outpourings of the intellect, namely religion and secular science. The former is represented by a mixture of imagination and environmental observation, whilst the latter abandons a priori the requirement for imagination and strictly limits itself purely to the observation of natural processes.

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Russian Communists on Ukraine

Gennady Zyuganov

Chair Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

THE CENTRAL Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation expresses its deep indignation at the events in Ukraine.

The Bandera-fascist junta that seized the power in Kiev goes on with its bloody punitive action against civilians. Security agencies under Kiev’s control subject residential areas, hospitals, schools and kindergartens to artillery attacks and aviation raids regardless of the mass victims among civil population. These actions have all the indications of open terror and ethnic cleansing.

[ Russian Communists on Ukraine ]