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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

National News

Dangers at work

by New Worker correspondent

RECENTLY when visiting my local supermarket, this correspondent was greeted by the sight of two shop workers sitting on a ‘customer’ who was surrounded by scattered Lindt chocolate bars and had a security-tagged bottle of Jack Daniels protruding from his inside coat pocket. This particular case is an all-too-common example of the violence faced by shop-workers.

Their main union, USDAW, recently issued a report of an annual survey of 6,457 UK stores, which found that found that 5.05 per cent of the staff had been assaulted over the last year. If extrapolated over circa 3,000,000 retail workers, this amounts to over 400 assaults per day. The union claims this is an underestimate because it assumes each respondent was only assaulted once last year and it was conducted in mainly larger trade-union organised stores, which because they employ security guards are safer than smaller non-unionised workplaces.

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Off the busses

by New Worker correspondent

A PROTEST by bus drivers employed by Konectbus at Norwich Bus Station is demanding both recognition for their union Unite and a reduction in their often dangerously long hours.

Konectbus, part of the Go Ahead Group that had a turnover of £3.8 billion with profits after tax of £75.1 million, services many locations throughout Norfolk from local towns and villages, including: Dereham, Watton, Wymondham, Norwich and King’s Lynn.

Many drivers work a 14-hour day, often driving for five and a half hours before getting just the legal minimum break of 30 minutes. Unite has been calling on Konectbus for many months to work with the union to address long hours.

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Gearing up for action

by New Worker correspondent

IN THE south-east London borough of Greenwich around 120 housing repair workers at are taking strike action for two days later this month after bosses reneged on a settlement over a new pay structure.

In October, Unite called off industrial action after a deal was hammered out with the Royal Borough for the carpenters, electricians and plumbers working from the Birchmere depot.

On Tuesday the union accused the council’s management of “backsliding” in failing to implement the new pay structure. Last autumn’s deal promised that the instances when Unite members’ pay can drop will be minimised. There will also be “pay protection” and, most importantly, no imposition of any changes unilaterally.

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Edukashun Newz

by New Worker correspondent

UNIVERSITY and College Union (UCU) members are on the last wave of their long-running strike action over their future pensions. This week talks are taking place between the employers and the union.

Jo Grady, the union’s General Secretary, said that the employers, Universities UK: “have consistently dragged their feet throughout this process in the hope of outlasting us. If that pattern of behaviour continues, we have to be ready to renew our mandate for industrial action and consider all our options.”

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Billions more for Trident replacement

by Oleg Burunov

PENTAGON officials have leaked the Government’s commitment to buying a new generation of nuclear warheads to replace domestically made Tridents, a process that is expected to cost a whopping £31 billion.

The Trident nuclear weapons system, based on Scotland’s west coast, consists of four British submarines armed with eight missiles, each carrying 40 nuclear warheads. At least one British submarine is at sea continuously, carrying the nuclear arsenal.

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X-rated Politics

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

SCOTTISH politics is becoming an X-rated subject. Monday saw the opening of the trial in Edinburgh High Court of SNP former First Minister Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond, who is accused by 10 women of 14 carefully graded sexual offences that were allegedly committed (mostly at Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister) between 2008–2014. The most serious is a charge of attempted rape.

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by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Much of the present warfare revolves around proposals to amend the Gender Recognition Act, which are strongly supported by the Sturgeonites and for that very reason equally strongly opposed by the Salmondistas.

The proposed changes are to end the present procedure of getting a gender recognition certificate that needs a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to live as the opposite gender for two years. Instead, in would come a system of self-identification, in which a certificate could be obtained after six months without medical involvement. The present situation is deemed “demeaning” by transgender activists who denounce those as TERFs or Transphobic Radical Feminists, women who cautiously point out that men could gain access to women’s toilets and changing rooms for improper purposes as a result of the planned changes.

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by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Meantime, another former leading SNP figure is in trouble for not doing the decent thing. Derek Mackay, who resigned as Finance Minister for being caught sending inappropriate messages to a 16-year-old boy, has not resigned from Holyrood – perhaps so that he can collect a larger pay-off if he completes a decade of service as an MSP.

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Since then there has been a succession of delays that resulted in costs mounting and vicious arguments taking place between Ferguson Marine and Caledonian MacBrayne, who run most of the ferries in Scotland.

One of the ships was launched but it had windows painted on it to make it look as though it was more complete than it was. They were hailed as being environmentally friendly because they ran on liquefied natural gas. This is deemed to be greener but transporting it from Qatar makes nonsense of that. Originally scheduled to be completed in 2018, it is not expected to be in service until late next year. Its twin has an even less certain future.

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Gagarin in Greenwich

by New Worker correspondent

ON 12th April 1961 Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. He soon became an icon for the Soviet Union in a tour of the world that included over 30 countries.

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Two of a kind?


by Ben Soton

McDonald and Dodds; ITV. Sundays 8–10pm, commencing 1st March 2020. Creator: Robert Murphy. Stars: Jason Watkins, Pearl Chanda, Tala Gouveia.

AT FACE VALUE a typical Sunday night detective drama to finish off the weekend however, it touches on the issues of class and race that may interest readers.

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International News

US blocks UN support for Syria ceasefire

by Ed Newman

THE USA has blocked adoption of a United Nations (UN) Security Council statement supporting a ceasefire agreed between Russia and Turkey in Syria’s north-western province of Idlib, although the deal has led to direly-needed de-escalation in the province.

Diplomats said the USA stonewalled the measure that Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia had asked the other 14 member states to adopt, with Washington calling it “premature”.

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First Lenin statue in western Germany

by New Worker correspondent

FOR THE first time in history a statue of Vladimir Illych Lenin will be installed in a western German city. After a long-standing battle between the local authorities of Gelsenkirchen and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD), a court has granted permission for the erection of the statue.

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Chinese Red Cross ready to help Italy

by Li Qiao and Liu Xin

THE Red Cross Society of China is considering dispatching a medical team to Italy amidst the COVID-19 outbreak as China gears up to provide support to epidemic-hit countries with both medical staff and supplies, plus its experience in containing the virus.

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International Working Women’s Day!

by Kathy Durkin

THE 8th March, International Working Women’s Day (IWWD), is a day of solidarity with women and people of all genders worldwide who face US militarism, as well as with the world’s workers who are super exploited and abused by imperialist corporations.

Capitalism, with class society, private property ownership and patriarchal relations, is at the root of women’s, gender and national oppression. Global corporations, in their drive for mega-profits, super exploit the world’s workforce, intensify inequality and poverty, and spew racism, bigotry and misogyny.

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Zimbabwe needs to be allowed a fresh start

by Neil Clark

THEY SAY life begins at 40, but Zimbabwe will be marking the landmark anniversary of its nationhood in April against the backdrop of an economic crisis and widespread food shortages.

Things were supposed to improve following the gentlest of coups that toppled the nonagenarian “Father of the Nation” Robert Mugabe in 2017, but for ordinary Zimbabweans the situation is actually worse today than it was two years ago. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported last week that Zimbabwe was facing an “economic and humanitarian crisis”.

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Climate change hits the poorest worst

by WT Whitney Jr

LIKE CAPITALISM’S previous calamities, climate change hits the poorest worst.

Uruguayan ecologist Silvia Ribeiro, reporting on the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos (where one item on the agenda was ‘better capitalism’), notes that: “Transnationals, the main causes of climate change, finally are recognising the gravity of the situation … What they are doing is settling into a new wave of business opportunities, new ways of taking over land and eco-systems and developing geoengineering capabilities.”

Either capitalists don’t recognise reality or, more likely, have turned a blind eye – a covetous one. Climate change, unchecked, promises planetary disaster. All forms of life are threatened. Scientific evidence strongly suggests capitalist forms of production and consumption gave rise to climate change in the first place, and have allowed the process to advance.

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March 1960: American terrorism in Cuba

by Elizabeth Borrego

A TRAGEDY that rocked Havana on 4th March 1960 proved that the USA’s intentions went far beyond just stopping the emerging Cuban revolution. The explosion that shattered the French freighter La Coubre 60 years ago, confirmed Washington’s warmongering intentions to the Cuban people. In addition to Ernesto Che Guevara’s firm expression, immortalised by photographer Alberto Korda, and the cry of “Homeland or Death!” uttered by Fidel Castro the following day, that tragedy would be repeated again and again, until the failed US-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion in Girón in April 1961.

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