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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Business booms: jobs go

by New Worker correspondent

YET MORE jobs are going under the guise of the pandemic. Sainsbury’s is cutting 3,500 jobs as result of planning to close 420 standalone Argos outlets, leaving about a hundred and all its meat, fish and deli counters. The Argos shops will close by March 2024, but 150 will open in its larger supermarkets and another 150–200 collection points established. Sainsbury’s meat, fish and deli counters have been closed on hygiene grounds since the March lockdown and will now never reopen.

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Low pay matters

by New Worker correspondent

HALF A CHEER might be raised at the news that the Real Living Wage will increase to £9.50 per hour in the UK and £10.85 in London, a huge increase of 20 and 10 pence respectively. This magnificent increase has been ordained by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) and is claimed to benefit about 250,000 workers. The LWF said it should be paid soon but will not insist on its member companies paying out until May.

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Norfolk workers rise up

From our court correspondent

NORFOLK IS remarkable in Britain for unusually progressive history for a rural area. It was the first county to send an agricultural labourer to parliament in the shape of union organiser Joseph Arch. It was this tradition of agricultural trade unionism that sustained the Burston Strike School for a quarter of a century from 1914.

Now another group of workers are causing a great deal of inconvenient trouble for their boss, who is reported to be extremely angry.

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A Ferry Low Pay Rise

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

CALEDONIAN MacBraynes (Calmac), the publicly owned ferry fleet, is the main link between the Scottish mainland and the islands off the west coast. To the annoyance of some of the bible-punchers it even sails to the islands on the Sabbath.

At the moment ferry workers are involved in a bitter pay dispute that so far has included a derisory pay offer of 0.5 per cent, which transport union RMT described as a “serious kick in the teeth”, particularly given that staff had been working during the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, union members will be voting for industrial action.

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Not Very Excellent

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

One of the SNP’s flagship educational policies, the misnamed Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), has come under fire from a critic who deplores it for causing a decline in both literacy and numeracy at all levels as evidenced by the fact that the best results come from schools that do not use it. Some cynics said it had been devised by people who had never set foot in a classroom since they left school.

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Keeping the Lawyers Busy

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Things have gone fairly quiet in the SNP’s civil war. Members are busy voting for prospective SNP candidates, with Sturgeonite ally Angus Robertson winning a plum Edinburgh target seat. Things are simmering away however – even the loyal Greens voted for a Holyrood motion to demand that the SNP Government publish the legal advice it took about the desirability of prosecuting Alex Salmond for alleged sexual offences. He was found not guilty in court (by admitting most of events with which he was charged and saying they were simply high jinks) and won £500,000 for his legal expenses over a judicial review.

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Biden victory poises new problems for Johnson

by Oleg Burunov

LATE LAST month, former UK Ambassador to Paris and NATO Peter Ricketts warned that if Joe Biden won the US presidential election, Britain “will not have the same prominence it has been used to having in Washington”. Now Lord Falconer, Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, warns of the risk of the UK endangering its relations with the USA under a possible Joe Biden presidency.

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Liverpool says work with China in health fight

THE DEPUTY mayor of Liverpool, also the city’s mayoral lead on business and international relations, has called for greater cooperation between Britain and China in the battle against COVID-19.

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Homage to Engels in Manchester

by New Worker correspondent

MANCHESTER’S Chinese community paid homage to Friedrich Engels at a ceremony last week to mark the 200th anniversary of the great thinker’s birth in the heart of the city in the heart of northern England.

Consul-General Zheng Xiyuan and other diplomats from Manchester’s Chinese consulate along with Chinese students, representatives of Chinese enterprises and members of the city’s long-standing Chinese community, laid wreaths and bowed to the statue of Engels in Tony Wilson Place in central Manchester on the eve of the English national lock-down last week.

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International News

USA crossed 10 million COVID-19 cases

Radio Havana Cuba

THE USA has become the first nation worldwide since the pandemic began to surpass 10 million coronavirus infections as the third wave of the coronavirus surges across the nation.

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Senior PLO official dies of COVID-19

Radio Havana Cuba

SENIOR Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) official and veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has died of COVID-19 on Tuesday at the age of 65. He had been put in a medically-induced coma in an Israeli hospital in October.

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Fighting ends in Caucasus

by our European affairs correspondent

THE GUNS fell silent along the Armenian–Azerbaijani front following a truce brokered by the Kremlin this week. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement agreeing to an armistice in Nagorno-Karabakh following talks in Moscow on Tuesday. All POWs and civilian detainees will be exchanged and refugees will be allowed to return to their homes.

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Armenian communists in new Caucasus peace call

The Communist Party of Armenia has repeated its call for an unconditional ceasefire to end the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in an appeal sent to communist and workers’ parties around the world last week.

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Features

Chile votes against fascism

by WT Whitney Jr

CHILEANS VOTED for a constituent assembly in a national referendum on 25th October. This was an “overwhelming, historical triumph of the people,” declared Chile’s El Siglo (The Century) communist newspaper.

Voters chose either Yes or No on holding a constituent assembly that would create a new constitution to replace the one written under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. They also indicated their preference as to whether the constituent assembly would consist of 155 delegates all elected by the people or would be “mixed”, with half the delegates being members of Chile’s Congress and the other half elected by the people.

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October Revolution: Strengthen people’s struggles!

by Sitaram Yechury

General Secretary Communist Party of India (M)

THE anniversary in 2020 of the great October Socialist Revolution comes at a time when the vast majority of the world’s people are victims of the double-whammy attack on their lives and livelihoods due to the raging coronavirus pandemic, the consequent lockdowns and disruption in their day-to-day life and the deepening economic recession in the capitalist world. In this situation, the significance of the October Revolution and the superiority of Socialism over capitalism is tellingly vindicated.

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Spycops exposed

by Chris Summers

THE Undercover Policing Inquiry began last week, after five years of preliminary investigation. It comes after allegations that for years undercover police officers and MI5 agents engaged in sexual relationships and other deceptions with people under surveillance.

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