THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 7th June 2019


National News

Airport struggles

by New Worker correspondent

UNITE the union have scored a victory in a pay battle involving hundreds of baggage handlers and check-in staff employed by GH London (formally Azzurra) at London’s Heathrow Airport. They have secured a 9.1 per cent pay increase after workers overwhelmingly backed strike action in a dispute over low pay.

This April over 300 workers at Heathrow’s Terminals 2 and 4 overwhelmingly voted by 99.2 per cent to take strike action. Workers were angry at a series of pay freezes but a strike was avoided after constructive negotiations concluded with an agreement to award workers a 9.1 per cent increase, including 6.1 per cent for 2017 and 2018 on top of a three per cent increase for 2019.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

College strikes

by New Worker correspondent

STAFF at both the West Thames College and New City College took to the picket lines this week on Tuesday and Thursday.

This is the tenth day of strike action by University and College Union (UCU) staff this year. Last month they walked out for four days after action in January and March. The present action is supported unanimously by West Thames College UCU whilst at New City College’s Tower Hamlets campus staff staged a three-day walkout in May over pay, with 97 per cent of members supporting strike action.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

War of words as Tory MPs join race for leader

by Mu Xuequan

THE RACE for the keys to 10 Downing Street has begun in earnest, with a war of words between some of the contenders to replace Theresa May as prime minister.

May has announced her resignation as leader of the governing Conservative Party on 7th June, with the process to choose her successor beginning three days later.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Hunt says he won’t block Assange’s extradition

Sputnik

FOREIGN Secretary Jeremy Hunt, a frontrunner to replace Theresa May as Tory leader and prime minister, says he wouldn’t block the extradition of Julian Assange to the USA.

Hunt argued that it is “absolutely right that he (Assange) faces justice and he has no more reason to escape justice than anyone else who is alleged to have committed crimes.”

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Off the buses

by New Worker correspondent

WORKERS AT Bluestar Buses in Dorset and Hampshire are taking strike action on Tuesday 18th June. Transport union RMT has announced the 24-hour strike in Eastleigh, Totton and Poole, after drivers, cleaners and ticket office staff voted with an overwhelming 87 per cent in favour of taking action over pay. This came about after Bluestar’s failure to make a decent pay offer. Regional organiser Mick Tosh said the firm had offered a three per cent pay rise, worth about 31p per hour. He said the union was calling for a “decent” increase as well as an enhanced rate for hours worked over the 40-hour contract. Mr Tosh said some drivers were expected to work 57 hours per week on a flat hourly rate. Bluestar however, said it believed its above-inflation pay offer was fair.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Own goal

by New Worker correspondent

LOCAL government union GMB has calculated that more than 700 council football pitches have been lost in Britain since 2010, according to figures compiled from Freedom of Information requests made by GMB to all local authorities in Britain.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Airport struggles

by New Worker correspondent

UNITE the union have scored a victory in a pay battle involving hundreds of baggage handlers and check-in staff employed by GH London (formally Azzurra) at London’s Heathrow Airport. They have secured a 9.1 per cent pay increase after workers overwhelmingly backed strike action in a dispute over low pay.

This April over 300 workers at Heathrow’s Terminals 2 and 4 overwhelmingly voted by 99.2 per cent to take strike action. Workers were angry at a series of pay freezes but a strike was avoided after constructive negotiations concluded with an agreement to award workers a 9.1 per cent increase, including 6.1 per cent for 2017 and 2018 on top of a three per cent increase for 2019.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

It’s Not Our Fault

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

IN ITS advertising Citroën claim its Picasso range of cars are “always filled with happiness and laughter” for all the family. They wisely do not claim that the cars are suitable for transporting convicted murderers from one prison to another.

That, however, is exactly what had happened when Steven Jackson attacked a prison custody officer (PCO) on the head as she drove on a busy road at 60 mph. It is uncertain if this was a suicide or an escape attempt, but it was a hair raising experience for the three PCOs concerned, one of whom has now left the service. Jackson was jailed for 26 years for the brutal murder of a women whom he stabbed 40 times and was being transferred between prisons. His sentence has now been increased by 18 months.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Literary Warfare

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Some of Scotland’s literary luvvies are in a tizzy. They are upset that arts quango Creative Scotland has pulled the plug on the Scottish Review of Books (SRB), a magazine whose pretensions to be the Scottish Times Literary Supplement have been a pious unrequited hope since it was founded in 2004. Other luvvies will doubtless be gloating. Despite its claims to be a quality quarterly literary magazine, it was little more than an advertising sheet for the publishers who advertised in it. Although it boasted of a huge circulation for the genre, this was simply because it was given away with the Herald. It was also given away at public libraries, where very slowly diminishing piles sat for months until the next edition came out. This could be some time because the SRB had grave difficulty in maintaining even a quarterly schedule on a regular basis.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

More College News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Elsewhere we report on a partial victory in a pay battle by Scotland’s college lecturers. On Tuesday the official bean counter Audit Scotland issued a damning report of the future of the Further Educational (FE) sector.

It warns that most colleges are forecasting deficits in the next five years.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Korean solidarity in Glasgow

by New Worker correspondent

LAST SATURDAY saw the inaugural meeting of the Korea Friendship Association (KFA) Scotland take place in a trendy cafÉ in Glasgow’s Merchant City.

The packed and youthful meeting was kicked off by Mitchell Wells, the KFA’s Zone Director for Scotland. The Chair of the KFA UK, Dermot Hudson, spoke about his recent visits to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and about the necessity to counter imperialist propaganda about the DPRK. He noted that many news agencies such as NKNews, which are quoted as objective sources by the BBC, are in fact run by former personnel from the CIA. He also warned about the ‘Liberty in North Korea’ organisation that is active in recruiting on British university campuses. He appealed to members of the audience to visit the DPRK to see the reality for themselves.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

An injury to one is an injury to all!

by New Worker correspondent

ANGRY WORKERS took over the lobby in the Hilton Hotel in central London on Saturday in solidarity with a member who worked there for six months and is owed hundreds of pounds after being paid illegally at well below the minimum wage.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

International News

Anti-occupation Israeli soldier jailed

CPI

A DISCIPLINARY body of the Israeli military last week sentenced Roman Levin, a young communist soldier and conscientious objector, to 30 additional days in military prison for his refusal to continue serving in the army. Upon completing his current sentence he will have served a total of 80 days behind bars.

Levin, 19, from the city of Bat Yam just south of Tel Aviv, immigrated to Israel with a few members of his family from the Ukraine when he was three years old. He initially believed his military service would contribute to society and fulfil his duties as a citizen.

“I refuse to continue my military service,” Levin said. “My refusal is an act of protest against an occupation that has lasted more than 50 years and of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza.”

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

America threatens stability in Asia

Radio Havana Cuba

A SENIOR Chinese military official says the actions of the USA on Taiwan and the South China Sea threaten the stability of the region, rejecting accusations made by acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan that Beijing is a threat to East Asia.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Child victims of the same killer

by Elson Concepción PÉrez

VENEZUELAN boy, Geovanny, and Iraqi, Qasim, never met. The first, aged just six, died when his heart stopped whilst waiting for a bone marrow transplant to be undertaken in an Italian hospital, through an agreement with the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, PDVSA. Donald Trump’s sanctions against Venezuela, affecting the Bolivarian nation’s accounts in European banks, resulted in the cancellation of the programme and Geovanny’s death.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

‘Deal of Century’ seeks to destroy Palestinian cause

by Ed Newman

THE US blueprint to end the conflict between Israel and Palestine is seen by Palestinians, and by some other Arab officials and politicians, as a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

China: poverty reduction unparalleled

Xinhua

CHINA’S RECORD in poverty reduction since reform and opening up is without parallel in human history, says a British academic in Beijing.

Since China started the reform and opening-up drive nearly four decades ago, over 700 million Chinese have shaken off poverty, accounting for over 70 per cent of global poverty reduction in the period.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

British investor may build new marina in Vietnam

VNS

JOSEPH C Lewis, a British businessman and investor, has proposed the building of an international marina on the Hàn River after docking his yacht Aviva at Tiên Sa Port for a short visit to Đà Nẵng and Hội An last month.

The British billionaire, who owns Tottenham Hotspur football club, also had a meeting with Chairman of the Đà Nẵng People’s Committee Huỳnh Đức Thơ on board Aviva during the stop.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Features

Why the imperialists hate Huawei

by Deirdre Griswold

THE CHINESE company Huawei has been targeted by the Donald Trump administration. At Washington’s request, last December Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the company. The charge? That the company did business with Iran, contrary to US sanctions on that country.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is still under house arrest in Canada and is awaiting possible extradition to the USA.

Why has Washington focused such animosity on Huawei? Is it really because of Iran, which is also a target of US aggression at the present time? Or is there more to it?

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

French workers push for struggle

by RÉmy Herrera

THE 52ND CONGRESS of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) was held on 13th—17th May in Dijon, France. It was held within a particular context. For more than six months the Yellow Vest movement — despite its complexity and heterogeneity, difficulties and limitations — managed, for the first time in a very long time, to sideline, if not stop, the hated machinery of neoliberal policies.

‘In fact, the last time this happened was in April 2006, when the student and high school demonstrations against the first Employment Contract’ of Premier Dominique de Villepin’s government, under President Jacques Chirac, caused a French government to give in to pressure from the streets.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]