National News

Fast Food Rights Day of Action

by New Worker correspondent

STARTING at a McDonald’s in Sauchihall Street in Glasgow, last Thursday dozens of marchers, some dressed as Ronald McDonald clowns to conceal their identity from their bosses, headed down for a rally at the junction near Glasgow Central Station, christened for the day as “Greedy Bosses’ Corner”.

It was in honour of Fast Food Rights Day of Action — the 14th of April. This international campaign is aimed at securing £10 an hour for fast food workers. Despite working for highly profitable companies few workers get paid above the minimum wage.

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Living wage ‘clawed back’

RETAIL workers throughout Britain are finding that the meagre rise in the “living wage”, formerly known as the minimum wage”, is being clawed back by employers through the withdrawal of perks, overtime rates, paid breaks, staff lunches and staff discount prices.

Last Monday, just over two weeks after the new minimum pay rate of £7.20 an hour for over-25-yearolds came into force, MPs will debate the effect the 50p rise in basic pay has had on thousands of workers.

But according to a report in the Observer, companies are withdrawing overtime and Sunday pay, bonuses, free food and paid breaks in order to keep the wage bill down.

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Remembering Walter Ayles

by Alex Kempshall

TRADE unionists and labour movement activists came together last Sunday to honour the life of Walter Ayles, one of Bristol’s conscientious objectors during World War One. The event, organised by Bristol’s Remembering the Real World War One group, culminated with the unveiling of a Blue plaque in the St Andrews district of Bristol. Relatives of Bristol conscientious objectors were also present, one of whom unveiled the plaque.

Roger Balls set the scene by reminding those gathered that a few days before the start of the war Bristol dockers had held an open meeting addressed by Ernest Bevin (national organiser Dockers Union) and Ben Tillett (general secretary National Transport Workers Federation), which took the position to oppose the war.

Colin Thomas, author of recently published biography of Walter Ayles, Slaughter No Remedy, gave a brief résumé of Walter’s life.

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Greenpeace gives Nelson a face mask

GREENPEACE activists last Monday travelled around London fixing face masks to 17 famous statues, including Lord Horatio Nelson at the top of his column, to highlight the dangerous levels of toxic air pollution in London.

They also penetrated Parliamentary security to give the statue of Oliver Cromwell just outside Parliament a mask — leaving security officers there worried about the effectiveness of their anti-terrorist precautions.

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RMT calls for Leave EU vote

THE TRANSPORT union RMT last week called on people to vote to leave the European Union in the 23rd June referendum, one reason being to save the Scottish Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry services from privatisation.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash made the call at a meeting at the Scottish TUC, which began its annual congress on Monday.

Clyde and Hebrides Ferry services, which are currently operated in the public sector by Caledonian MacBrayne, are being put out to tender under EU regulations with Serco bidding to take over the service.

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Junior doctor’s suicide note to Jeremy Hunt

DOCTOR Rose Polge, a 25-year-old junior doctor, has killed herself, leaving a message to Jeremy Hunt in her suicide note.

Her body was formally identified last week after it washed up on a Dorset beach near Portland Bill headland on 1st April. She left a note behind in her car with a message for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Dr Polge’s car was found in February at Anstey’s Cove near Torquay, the town where she worked. She was reported missing from Torquay on 12th February, when she walked out of hospital half way through her shift. Concerns had been growing for her safety ever since.

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Scottish TUC

A LITTLE-NOTICED gathering took place in Dundee’s Caird Hall this week. This was the annual gathering of the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC). Apart from the gracious speeches from the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish Labour leaders, the mainstream newspapers and broadcasters deemed the event unworthy of much attention.

About 400 delegates, representing 33 unions and 18 trades union councils, made their way to the city. Once the home of “Jam, Jute and Journalism”, all but the last have been lost to Dundee.

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Marking Korea’s Day of the Sun in London

by New Worker correspondent

FRIENDS and supporters of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) were invited to the DPRK’s embassy last Friday evening, 15th April, to mark Korea’s Day of the Sun, which coincides with the birthday of Kim Il Sung 100 years ago.

Many of those attending brought flowers to lay in front of a portrait of Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il.

The DPRK ambassador Hyon Hak Bong made a brief speech outlining the life and achievements of Kim Il Sung, who began his revolutionary work against the Japanese occupation of Korea at just 14 years old.

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Science in the Pub

Citizen Science: what makes an expert?

by Kate Viscardi FOR March’s Science in the Pub (PubSci), Gail Austen, a PhD student at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, discussed Citizen Science, asking “what makes an expert?”

Although “Citizen Science” is a new term, the practice goes back a long way. Amateur, novice, non-professional and similar terms sound pejorative, but Gail argued that practitioners can actually be very knowledgeable and the important thing is that everyone is involved. There are lots of different levels, from the wealthy amateurs of the 19th century, like Darwin, to indigenous groups who have intimate knowledge of the biodiversity of their localities. She showed a photo of a member of a hunter-gatherer tribe holding a smartphone — yes, it certainly looked anachronistic but the purpose was deadly serious — they use the phones to monitor poachers’ movements.

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International News

Cuba’s Communists slam Obama visit

Xinhua

CUBA’S Communist Party congress ended its third day of closeddoor sessions on Monday with the approval of new economic and social reforms for the next five years while one of its top young leaders harshly criticised US President Barack Obama’s rhetoric during his visit to the island last month.

The 1,000 delegates of the party congress approved changes to the process of economic reforms for the following five years, which are aimed at opening up a private sector without renouncing socialist economic principles.

The new additions or modifications to the guidelines are related to the role of foreign direct investment, the introduction of advanced technology and know-how, and the improvement of local government bodies, amongst other issues.

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Argentinian President Involved in Panama Papers Scandal

by Pavel Jacomino ARGENTINIAN President Mauricio Macri is apparently involved in corrupt practices that have Panama as its centre.

A press report from the Spanish EFE news agency disclosed that in Buenos Aires an Argentine District Attorney, Federico Delgado, has been appointed to investigate the Argentine President. Why you may ask? Well, the name of the Argentine President has surfaced in papers linked to the world-wide financial scandal known as the Panama Papers, a trick that has been used by many wealthy individuals to hide tax evasions in their respective countries.

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Chinese traitor condemned to death

by Gao Yinan

HUANG Yu has been sentenced to death for leaking top state secrets to foreign agencies. A Chinese court sentenced the former scientific researcher to death for espionage and selling state secrets. He sold tens of thousands of copies of classified information to foreign spy agencies, including 90 top state secrets.

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Kerry: reckless, provocative, dangerous

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey

WHAT IS it with United States Secretaries of State? How does Washington manage to choose the most pig-arrogant, ignorant, abrasive, insolent wannabe Statespersons time after time — persons like Kerry who are way out of their depth, have no idea what diplomacy means and insult their country by kowtowing to the lobbies whose interests they serve?

Remember Colin Powell with his series of lies about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? Remember his “wonderful” foreign intelligence, which turned out to be a doctoral thesis copied and pasted from the Net a decade earlier, then “sexed up” by Tony Blair’s office?

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Ankara’s all-out war: Turkish army kills Kurdish civilians in Syria

Sputnik

THE TURKISH government’s war against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in the southwestern part of the country has turned out to be a deadly crackdown against Kurdish civilians, not only in Turkey but across the border in Syria, Russia Today (RT) reported.

“Kurdish civilians living in northern Syria have been attacked by Turkish forces waging war against the PKK in southern Turkey. People have suffered daily from cross-border shelling,” RT said.

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Donetsk Communist Party Congress

Initiative Communiste

THE SECOND Congress of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of Donetsk (KPDNR) took place on the 2nd April. Founded on the 8th October 2014, the party has made impressive progress, due in part to assistance from comrades of Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU).

The party is well organised and active across the republic. The Congress involved 128 delegates drawn from the party’s 27 city and district committees. Additionally many members of militias who were away fighting the fascist junta in Kiev could not be present.

The fighting not only prevented many intended delegates from attending but the representative of the CPU was also forced to send his greetings by telephone. His message described the CPU’s underground work in fighting against the terror of the fascist junta in Kiev.

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Features

The Easter Rising a page in Ireland’s centuries-old national movement

by Theo Russell

Part one

IT IS 100 years since the Easter Rising in Ireland, which saw six days of heavy fighting in Dublin from 24—29 April 1916.

The Rising was second only to the 1917 Russian revolution amongst the many revolts and mutinies of the First World War, and a harbinger of the break-up of empires that inspired anti-colonial fighters around the world to step up their struggles. The London Times even tried to blame the “agitation” that had started in Ireland for causing the 1919 Amritsar massacre, when British troops murdered 380 Indian men, women and children at a peaceful protest.

Like the Spanish Civil War, the Rising is still a battleground of heated debate many years after it occurred. Ireland stands out for having an entire school of historians, the “revisionists”, which according to Peter Berresford Ellis, the socialist writer and major figure in the Connolly Association, is “a neo-colonial one, an anti-nationalist school which, in its mildest form apologises for English imperialism in Ireland, or, in its strongest form supports that imperialism”.

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