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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

State of the Nation

by New Worker correspondent

A GRIM portrait of the state of British public services since the defeat of Gordon Brown’s Labour Government in the 2010 election has been published by local government union Unison.

A survey of 330 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales examined the changes in local services between 2010 and 2019 for several important council services, including youth centres, lavatories, libraries and subsidised bus routes.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Redundancy woes

by New Worker correspondent

THE MUCH heralded rescue from bankruptcy of travel agent Thomas Cook has not been the complete success the headline writers would have. According to Unite the Union, which represents many workers in the company, only 21 per cent of its members are back in full-time work. Even these comparatively lucky ones are now earning far less than before and with hours that are far less family friendly.

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Pay victory

by New Worker correspondent

ON A MORE positive note, it is pleasing to report a victory at Whirlpool’s Bristol tumble dryer factory in Bristol where the threat of strike action has forced the company to agree to pay workers at least £10 per hour and offer jobs to long-serving agency staff.

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Three seconds to settlement

by New Worker correspondent

THE STRIKE on South West Railways (SWR) in defence of guards on safety ground remains solid in its second week. The company claim that it is running just over half its normal trains but on some routes all trains are being replaced by buses. This means that from four stations on the West of England line the earliest possible arrival at London Waterloo is 1pm. It is a telling commentary on the importance of the railways that some well-heeled commuters in Devon have been taking flights from Exeter to London City airport and even find it cheaper in some cases than taking the alternative GWR trains.

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Postal battle

by New Worker correspondent

ALSO IN the West Country, strike action is looming on Christmas Eve and the preceding day in an area between Bristol and Bath, as postal workers prepare to take action to oppose the sacking of one of their colleagues.

They are fighting to win back the job of Paul Hollow, a postman at Keynsham Delivery who was fired by Royal Mail under the absence process, after a series of personal tragedies and ill health — but his colleagues voted to take strike action because the absences he was dismissed for were caused by a series of personal tragedies.

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On the Streets

by our Scottish political correspondence

SHOPPERS popping into the Glasgow branch of Hotel Chocolat for sustenance after a hard morning choosing the latest Prada designs from the House of Fraser on Buchanan Street often have their day ruined by the sight of beggars asking them to spare some change for a bed in a hostel.

As in most cities in Britain, homelessness is a growing problem. Now Glasgow’s SNP-run City Council has come under investigation from the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR), which is taking legal action assess the council’s homelessness services after concerns that the council was failing in its legal duty to provide place in temporary accommodation for those who are, or are at risk of, becoming homeless.

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Blue Flashing Lights

by our Scottish political correspondence

To lose one Chair of a quango might be regarded as a misfortune — but to lose three in as many years might be more than carelessness.

Such is the fate of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), which is supposed act as a watchdog over the police. The Chair, Susan Deacon, has resigned saying: “I have increasingly become convinced that the governance and accountability arrangements for policing in Scotland are fundamentally flawed, in structure, culture and practice, and I conclude that there is little more I can do to make these arrangements work effectively” to fulfil its functions of acting as a watchdog over the police. She also suggested “that the Scottish government thinks afresh about how the police service is scrutinised and held to account and how, or if, a better separation between politics and policing, a

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Paper Cuts Across the Border

by our Scottish political correspondence

Journalists belonging to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) working for Newsquest titles in Glasgow have voted 86.7 per cent in favour of strike action over job cuts.

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Red Under the Bed, the sequel

As Western intelligence concludes yet another investigation against people who may or may not be Russian spies, Sputnik recalls a few similar cases from the not-so-distant past.

A COMBINED effort by British, Swiss, French and US intelligence has recently procured a list of some 15 individuals who were allegedly Russian spies moving within Europe via France’s Haute-Savoie region between 2014 and 2018, says Le Monde, a leading French daily.

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For peace in Korea!

by New Worker correspondent

KOREAN solidarity activists returned to the Marchmont Centre in central London last weekend to hear a Democratic Korean diplomat talk about the current situation on the Korean peninsula, at a joint meeting organised by the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) and the Friends of Korea committee.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Chinese young footballers in London

CHINESE youth footballers were greeted at the Chinese embassy in London last month as they start their introduction to the ‘beautiful game’ in Britain.

Minister Ma Hui met the youth football delegation led by Tang Jiuhong, Deputy Secretary-General of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (SCLF), on 29th November. The delegation is sponsored by SCLF and Jaguar Land Rover China Youth Dream Fund.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Friends of Hong Kong

by New Worker correspondent HONG KONG’S “pro-democracy” demonstrators have a wide range of supporters. They are regularly described as such by the BBC and by the British press such as the cuddly liberal Guardian.

Our very own Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW) has weighed in on the side of the protesters, saying: “fighting for the right of genuine self-determination in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang and even Tibet needs to be part of an historic struggle for a socialist confederation with China.” Given that the demonstrators like waving the former colonial flag and playing the American national anthem on their megaphones, it is possible that SPEW has slightly misjudged the situation — the protestors seem fonder of their latest allies, neo-Nazis from the Azov Battalion in Ukraine have openly boasted of arriving in Hong Kong pretending to be journalists.

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International News

American workers win three times: Health Workers

by Sue Davies

ON 12th August, more than 57,000 health care workers at Kaiser Permanente in California authorised an unfair labour practices strike, set for early October. They were joined by 26,000 Kaiser workers in other states. That would have been the biggest US strike since the Teamsters’ walkout at United Parcel Service (UPS) in 1997. The last contract for members of the Service Employees-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) expired on 30th September, 2018. In December 2018 the National Labor Relations Board (no friend to labour) charged Kaiser with failure to bargain in good faith.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

American workers win three times: Grocery workers

by Sue Davies

Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 has been negotiating for a new contract at Giant and Safeway stores in the Baltimore/Washington, DC, area for more than two months. Their goals include “wages we can live on, schedules we can depend on, health care we can afford and retirement we can count on..

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American workers win three times: McDonald’s workers

by Sue Davies

After a seven-year class-action lawsuit over wages and working conditions, 38,000 workers at corporate-run McDonald’s restaurants in California will share in a $26 million settlement. The company signed off on the settlement on 25th November. According to a ‘fight for $15’ email, the company cheated thousands of cooks and cashiers out of minimum and overtime wages, violating federal and state labour laws. They told employees they couldn’t take meal or restroom breaks, and made them pay for uniforms. “But the McDonald’s workers in California stood up for their rights and held the second-largest private employer accountable for breaking the law. This is the most McDonald’s has ever paid to workers for wage theft” (25th November).

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India becoming a cyber colony of the USA

by B Arjun

INDIA’S right-wing nationalism is as cockeyed as its populism. At one end it talks about its indigenous moorings and claims to fight cultural imperialism imposed by English language and western values, on the other hand it is relentless in pursuing its deep seated desire to be a part of the Anglo-Saxon imperium.

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Yellow Vests protests continue

THE long-running ‘Yellow Vests’ protests in France are continuing unabated. This time rail and other transport workers have been at the forefront of opposition to plans by President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to ‘streamline’ (ie cut) pensions.

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France’s Neo-colonial War

by G Dunkel

SEVEN years of France fighting to control Mali burst into the open on 25th November as two French military helicopters collided. They were trying to land commandos on a totally dark night in a cloud of fine black sand that the ‘copter blades had kicked up. Thirteen French soldiers died instantly.

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Features

The greatest propaganda campaign of them all

by Rob Gowland

I YIELD TO NO ONE in my admiration for Comrade Stalin. He led the Soviet Union from the 1920s to the ‘50s. He combated the counter-revolution both outside the USSR and within the country, especially from those who had penetrated the ranks of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). He fought tenaciously to make the new Soviet state secure from internal sabotage and espionage even as he led the Party’s efforts to put the country’s agriculture on a collective basis so they could feed their people whilst they proceeded with the essential and massive process of industrialisation.

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