National News

Hospital cleaners demand proper pay

AROUND 200 cleaning staff employed at four south London hospitals took strike action on Monday in support of their demand for a proper wage, including sick pay and unsocial hours’ payments.

The workers, members of the GMB union, are employed by Aramark, an American based multinational outsourcing provider, which, the union says, can well afford to pay proper wages.

This is the first strike against Aramark in Britain and it has affected the Maudsley, Lambeth, Lewisham and Bethlem hospitals.

The vote in favour of industrial action was 97 per cent. The strikers are seeking a living wage of at least £10 an hour, and fairer arrangements for sick pay and unsocial hours’ payments. Currently a two-tier system operates.

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Toxic air legal cases rise

THE GIANT union Unite last Tuesday (15th March) revealed that it was pursuing legal action against a number of British airlines on behalf of 61 cabin crew after they were exposed to “toxic cabin air” whilst working on board aircraft.

The news of the individual legal cases comes ahead of Thursday’s (17th March) Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons on cabin air safety and aero-toxic syndrome, which was secured by Jonathan Reynolds MP.

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Lambeth Council agrees to bulldoze Cressingham

THE LONDON Borough of Lambeth, under the control of Blairite right-wing Labour, last week agreed to bulldoze the council estate at Cressingham Gardens.

The decision comes as a slap in the face to local residents of Cressingham Gardens who have campaigned long and hard to save their homes and who submitted an alternative, cheaper plan to repair the homes.

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Britain expected to sign defence deal with Ukraine

DONi News Agency

BRITAIN will sign a 15-year defence treaty with Ukraine providing for an increase in the number of joint training missions and British military instructors, Ukraine Presidential Administration spokesperson on military operations Andriy Lysenko said last Saturday.

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Secret NHS cuts in budget

THE BUDGET that Chancellor George Osborne delivered last week is now in tatters, with many parts having been withdrawn and the rest in a state of suspension.

But while the cuts to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) for disabled people hit the headlines not many noticed £650 million in “secret cuts” to the NHS.

These hidden cuts include changes to public sector pensions but with no extra budget to cover them, which will leave NHS trusts with a big bill that will have to be paid by cutting services.

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Opposition to scrapping of parent-governors

THE GOVERNMENT announcement last week that all schools must become “independent” academies and that there will be no more parent-governors of schools in England has provoked strong opposition.

Parent-governors are to be dropped from all school governing bodies in England in favour of professionals with the “right skills” — meaning business skills.

Until now places have been reserved on school governing boards for elected parents but, under plans outlined by education secretary Nicky Morgan in the White Paper published on Thursday, those roles will now be abolished.

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Across Scotland workers are fighting against Tory and SNP austerity

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THE PUBLIC and Commercial Service union is taking on the SNP government over a low-pay dispute at one of Scotland’s major museums. Six weekend strikes are planned at the Edinburgh National Museum of Scotland.

Starting on the Easter weekend and ending appropriately on May Day, it is fighting against the SNP’s withdrawal of weekend working allowance for the lowest paid staff at the Museum.

The dispute has run for over three years when the allowance was withdrawn from new staff, creating a two-tier workforce. The union has been engaged in fruitless talks with the management and government.

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Standing up to racism in Glasgow and Cardiff

IN GLASGOW the Stand Up to Racism March and rally attracted thousands. Estimated attendance ranged from the police figure of 2,000 to the organiser’s 5,000.

Before the march Gary Christie, of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “This year we have witnessed ever greater numbers of people fleeing for their lives in pursuit of protection.

“The response in Scotland to this has been overwhelming... Yet, across Europe we have seen increasing negative political rhetoric towards refugees. Scotland can be a beacon for the rest of the UK and Europe in how to welcome and treat refugees”.

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Marx has not gone away

by New Worker correspondent

COMMUNISTS from many countries gathered in Highgate Cemetery last Sunday to mark the anniversary of the death of Karl Marx 168 years ago and to remember his life’s work and all the millions of people around the world who are carrying it forward.

The embassies of Venezuela and Cuba had sent representatives, and there were communists from Ireland, Bangladesh, Iran, Italy and many other places.

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International News

How the Syrian Army beat NATO’s terrorists

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey

BETWEEN 100,000 and 200,000 mercenary terrorist forces poured over the Syrian borders from Jordan, Turkey and Israel, the logistics being provided by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and their master the USA, whose attempt to invade Syria when Assad was fighting back was thwarted by Moscow.

How did President Assad win? Russia established objectives from the beginning; President Putin is a master of leadership and diplomacy, a policymaker of a class and professionalism that the world has rarely, if ever, seen, and that is the reason why Russians vote for him time and time again in free and fair democratic elections.

He stated from the very beginning Russia’s objectives in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria, namely to stabilise the democratically elected government forces and to beat back Takfiri terrorist elements from the main centre of population.

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Belgian prosecutor says 15 kilos of explosives found in Brussels

Sputnik

ACCORDING to the Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw, two suicide bombers were identified as el Bakraoui brothers.

Khalid and Brahim el Bakraoui carried out suicide attacks at Brussels airport and on the metro on Tuesday, the federal prosecutor confirmed on Wednesday.

According to the authorities, the airport bomber Brahim El Bakraoui had left a video will on a computer.

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Features

The business of forgetting

by Rob Gowland

I WAS watching Antiques Roadshow last week and two members of the public were explaining how the jewels they had brought along to show the programme’s experts had been smuggled out of Russia after the Revolution by their grandparents.

The expert they were talking to was full of admiration for their grandparents’ ingenuity in sewing the jewels into the hem of their garment, and also full of sympathy for the plight of the poor émigrés.

No one commented that the jewels they smuggled out were the property of the Russian people or that at the time of the Revolution, the bulk of the Russian population lived in extreme poverty. Smuggling jewels out of the country was actually stealing from the Russian people. Nor did anyone point out that émigrés who fled the new Soviet state with quantities of jewels concealed in their baggage or about their person must have obtained those jewels by exploiting the labour of poverty- stricken serfs, poor peasants, or workers in mines and factories!

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Australia: Safe Schools fights homophobic misinformation

Guardian Australian communist weekly

“IT’S ONE thing for politicians to use electioneering to sledge one another but it’s a very different thing to use that same mechanism to hurt vulnerable people in the community,” said the Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt.

“This leaflet is factually incorrect and deeply damaging. A review of research in this area that was undertaken by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) shows the children of same-sex couples are likely to be at least as well adjusted, socially, emotionally and academically, as other children,” said Dr Liz Short, speaking for the APS.

Psychologists, faith leaders and marriage equality advocates have condemned an anti-gay leaflet, saying the damaging claims, including against the children of same sex parents, show how damaging and divisive a marriage equality plebiscite campaign will be. The leaflet, authorised by former Liberal MP and Lyons Forum founder Chris Miles, claims that the children of same-sex couples are, amongst other things, more likely to be unemployed and sexual victims, and to have higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and drug abuse.

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Unable to prevail through ground war US bombs Somalia

by Abayomi Azikiwe

ON 7TH MARCH the Pentagon announced it had killed 150 members of the al-Shabab (“the youth”) guerrilla movement in a bombing operation in Somalia.

These military actions are part and parcel of a broader United States strategy to dominate the Horn of Africa. The administration of President Barack Obama has continued the military and political intervention in Somalia aimed at remaking the political landscape of the East African state, which shares borders with some of Washington’s closest collaborators in the region, including Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.

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Cuban—US diplomatic relations

Statement by President Raul Castro on the anniversary of the announcements regarding the decision to re-stablish diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States

ONE YEAR has gone by since the simultaneous announcements made on 17th December 2014, by the presidents of Cuba and the United States to re-establish diplomatic relations between both countries and work to improve our relations. One year ago, on a day like yesterday, as part of the agreements reached to find a solution to issues of interest for both countries, we were able to announce, to the great joy of all of our people, the return to our homeland of Gerardo, Ramon and Antonio, with which we made true the promise made by Fidel who had asserted that our Five Heroes would return.

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