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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Two new great British train robberies

PASSENGER transport watchdog Transport Focus (TF) issued a report, Make Delay Pay, calling for a shake-up of rail passenger compensation for delays on Britain’s privatised railway system.

The TF report describes the lengthy and complicated claims processes that put off passengers from claiming compensation for delays. It found that only around a third of eligible passengers claimed compensation. Transport Focus is calling for a national website portal for co-ordinating claims to standardise and simplify the process for passengers. It demands a quicker and easier compensation process for passengers, more automated compensation, and for the Government to name a date on when every passenger will be able to get ‘one-click’ compensation. It also wants every train company to offer ‘Delay Repay 15’ to bring consistency to compensation across the network.

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Gearing up for action

ON THE ROADS and in the air, workers are gearing up for action.

In London bus drivers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a consultative ballot, in what Unite calls a “Sick and Tired” campaign over long hours, fatigue and exhaustion caused by poor scheduling of shifts, a lack of rest breaks, a deficiency of decent facilities for breaks and late finishing.

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Doubling up

THE MINORITY Labour administration at Cardiff has said that Welsh firefighters could perform NHS roles on the spurious grounds that the fire services have been so successful in reducing fires that they are now under-occupied, in particular pointing out that many rural fire stations respond to only a handful of fires per month, threatening their sustainability, ministers say.

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Local Government pay

THE THREE main trade unions representing council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have rejected a miserable two per cent opening pay offer from their local authority bosses.

This offer was in response to a demand on behalf of more than a million local government members that would have meant at least £10 per hour for the lowest paid council staff and 10 per cent for everyone else.

Unison’s head of local government, Jon Richards, said: “Council staff run vital local services at the heart of communities across the three nations. They’ve done this through thick and thin, as cuts and redundancies have made their jobs ever more challenging.

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An upmarket strike

THE WEST End of London is not noted for industrial militancy, but that will change at the end of the month when security guards and CCTV operators at Harrods, the posh department store, take strike action.

five days of strikes are planned between Saturday 22nd February and 7th March. The three strikes taking place on Saturdays, their busiest days, will cost them dearly.

The strike follows an overwhelming 97 per cent vote in favour on an 84 per cent turnout. Unite blame the dispute on Harrods’ management imposing a below-inflation pay offer on the workers, which had been decisively rejected in a consultative ballot, rather than return to the negotiating table.

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An Interesting Budget Day

by our Scottish political correspondent

THURSDAY, 6th February was Scottish Budget day. It did not go quite as planned however. The headline in that morning’s Scottish Sun referred to finance Secretary, Derek Mackay. Alas for him, this was not a scoop pre-empting the contents of the budget, instead the headline read: “SNP Chief’s ‘Cute’ Texts to Lad, 16”. Inside it thoughtfully transcribed 270 text messages sent over six months to a teenager whose age was known to the 42-year-old politician.

Later that morning Mackay was an Ex-finance Secretary, and people suddenly switched from speaking about him as a possible first Minister and started to talk about his colourful private life. He is a divorced father of two who came out as gay in 2013. Labour leader Richard Leonard has said that Sturgeon should have sacked him rather than permit him to resign of his own accord. His position as Vice-President of the Paisley and District Boy’s Brigade is said to be under threat.

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The Actual Budget

by our Scottish political correspondent

As for the actual budget, amounting to £35 billion, there is not much to be said for it. It was simply a bit more here and there on a few occasions, and a bit less for a few things. The reductions, such as in legal aid, are generally achieved simply by failing to increase them in line with inflation, so that nobody notices.

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Another Police Matter

by our Scottish political correspondent

Another comparatively minor police matter might add to the SNP’s woes. On Brexit Day the SNP had a stupid stunt in which they had the message “Scotland and Europe” linked by a love heart projected on to the hideous Berlaymont building, which is the European Union (EU) HQ in Brussels. At first the SNP denied it, saying it was message from the EU; but instead an EU spokeswomen said: “We are not in the business of being requested or granting authorisations for people from outside for projecting messages on our building,” before adding that it is a matter for the Belgian police.

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Which way forward for the labour movement?

by Theo Russell

NEW Communist Party (NCP) comrades gathered at the party centre in London last weekend for a seminar to dissect the causes and consequences of the December General Election outcome for the Labour Party, and for the wider trade union and labour movement.

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Standing up to racism in Blackheath

by New Worker correspondent

LOCAL campaigners took to the streets of south London this month to protest against racist and anti-Semitic graffiti that had defaced local shop-fronts and trees. Around 130 people, including two Greenwich councillors and members of the local Trades Council, took part in the rally that at Bartley Park near the Royal Standard pub in Blackheath.

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A Phoney War

REVIEW

by Ben Soton

A Phoney War by Steve Monaghan. Matador, an imprint of Troubador Publishing: Leicester, 2019. Paperback: 336pp, £8.99; ISBN: 9781838591267 Ebook: eISBN: 9781838597603. Kindle: 340pp, £3.99; ASIN: B081B439SP.

STEVE Monaghan’s latest work, A Phoney War, is a sequel to his earlier book Samson’s Syndrome. It starts where Samsom’s Syndrome left off and continues to plot the rivalry between The Chronicle and the alternative media New Times. There are obvious similarities between New Times and the Russian-funded broadcaster RT, whilst The Chronicle resembles the Guardian newspaper. The main focus of the story is rival media outlets spying on each other; using tactics not out of place by an intelligence agency.

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International News

Canadian dirty tricks

Edited from People’s Voice (Communist Party of Canada)

ON VANCOUVER Island on Canada’s Pacific coast, 2,600 members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-1937 are still picketing outside Western Forest Products (WFP) sawmills after seven months on strike, one the union’s longest in Canada. They are struggling to get the company back to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair contract. The union and its members are fighting to maintain benefits, holiday pay and Long-Term Disability, as well as a living wage.

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Stunted Africa

Global Times

AROUND 58.5 million children in Africa are suffering from stunting, creating an adverse impact on the continent’s economic potential, the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina said on Saturday evening.

“Africa is the only continent where the number of stunted children has increased over the last two decades: 58.5 million in 2018, up from 50.3 million at the turn of the century.

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How low can the Israelis go?

by finian Cunningham

NOT ONLY is Israel bombing neighbouring Syria in acts of aggression, the Israeli air force is compounding its criminality by using civilian airliners as cover for their assaults.

That’s the assessment from Russia’s Ministry of Defence (MOD), which says flight data shows that an air raid by four Israeli F-16 warplanes this week near Damascus deliberately put in danger a civilian airliner with 172 passengers onboard.

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Robust measures to contain coronavirus

CGTN

CHINA has taken robust measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak and the panic that is being witnessed in some parts of the world is unnecessary, the Chinese ambassador to the UK told the media last week.

In a press conference at the Chinese embassy in London, Liu Xiaoming reiterated Beijing’s commitment to fight the epidemic and ensure that it does not spread beyond the country’s borders.

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Features

Vietnam’s Communist Party marks 90 fighting years!

Nhan Dan (Vietnam)

TODAY, 3rd February, 2020, the entire Party, people and army of Vietnam proudly celebrate the 90th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam — the Party which was founded, led and trained by the great President Ho Chi Minh.

Over the last 90 years, the Party has led the nation’s revolution to overcome all hardships and challenges and gain many victories, turning Vietnam from an unknown country on the world map into a nation with a prestigious position in the international arena.

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Kirk Douglas: the slave who rebelled

by Michael Berkowitz

KIRK DOUGLAS was Spartacus, the doomed slave who rebelled against the repressive Roman Empire. He was Colonel Dax, the soldier-lawyer who defends three sacrificial French troops who refuse a first World War suicide mission in Paths of Glory. He was painter and social activist Vincent Van Gogh, who took up the cause of the poor and downtrodden in Lust for Life.

Kirk Douglas died on 5th February at the age of 103-years-old. As an actor, as well as activist, Douglas never wavered. In the face of the McCarthy Blacklist, he defied Red-baiters, hiring leftist Dalton Trumbo to write the script for the award-winning Spartacus. In Lonely Are the Brave, in Douglas’s favourite role, he takes the side of the immigrants against police persecution

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Not for sale to the public: The Left Book Club

by Robin Macgregor

Many New Worker readers will have on their bookshelves volumes published by the Left Book Club. Unmistakable in their bright orange paperback or reddish hardback board format, they will be some of the 257 titles published between 1936 and 1948 by the London publisher Victor Gollancz for the Left Book Club (LBC).

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