New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Workers’ reasonable demands

Unite, has come up with a platform of demands to meet the needs, not just of its members but of all working people in the COVID-19 pandemic. It correctly points out that for lockdowns to be effective, working people must be supported.

This means: An increase in Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to a living wage level and available to all workers; the furlough level raised so that no one receives less than the minimum wage; increasing both public service wages and the minimum wage; maintain the £20 uplift in Universal Credit and boost it further; and a right to furlough for those who cannot work due to lockdown restrictions such as school closures.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Working on the front line

BECAUSE we are all told to stay at home and not go out to work, Go North West bus drivers in Manchester are facing the threat of being fired and rehired, which will result in a 10 per cent reduction in the number of drivers employed, an increase in unpaid working hours and drivers’ conditions slashed. These plans had been made before the pandemic, but bosses are taking advantage of the situation to force them through.

The response of Unite has been to make proposals for cost reductions of around £1 million and a pay freeze worth around £200,000 at the company’s Queens Road Depot, suggestions which the company has dismissed as insufficient. After all, it is in the business of making money for its shareholders.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Key workers or not?

ALTHOUGH it is now 10 months since the beginning of the first lockdown, it is still necessary for trade unions to fight for COVID-safe working conditions. Transport union RMT has accused “employers of playing fast and loose in light of virulent new COVID variant”, saying that proposals from the Rail Industry Coronavirus Forum (RICF) will put lives on the line.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

How to Cope with a Pandemic

by our Scottish political correspondent

Calamity Jeane is the nickname of Jeane Freeman, the ex-communist, ex-Labour Health Secretary. Her most recent blunder resulted in her issuing an apology for revealing the location of a secret storage facility for COVID- 19 vaccine in England. Her vaccination strategy also had to be speedily withdrawn from the SNP Government website because it also contained secret information.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Starmer’s curious appointment

IT IS NOT unusual for senior politicians to have spies in their office. West German Chancellor Willy Brandt had to resign in 1974 when it was discovered that his secretary was passing his secrets to the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer has taken an unusual route to avoiding such a scandal. He has appointed a known spy to his office, which means he cannot be exposed for something he discreetly announced.

The appointee in question is one Assaf Kaplan, who has spent five years between 2008– 2013 in the Israeli intelligence services where he worked for Unit 8200, which is its cyberwarfare department. It specialises in spying, hacking and encryption.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

International News

Haiti: Imperialist manipulation meets popular resistance

by G Dunkel

HAITI is by far the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere – yet it has a glorious history as the first independent Black republic and the first nation in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery. Also, the Haitian people militantly resisted US occupation from 1915 to 1934 and carried out a mass uprising that led to Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s election as president in 1990.

These are some of the historical factors taken into account by US imperialists – whose goal is to continue to dominate Haiti – in order to repress the people’s strong resistance to exploitation and oppression.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

France: mergers and bonuses

Revolutionary Communist Party of France (PCRF)

IN HIS New Year Address to the Nation, French President Emmanuel Macron said that by Spring France will be stronger and that a “new model” of a nation will have emerged.

The Revolutionary Communist Party of France (PCRF), however, points out that the “new model” always turns out to be brighter for big capital and darker for workers. The decline in wages, working and living conditions, and jobs continues in France with increasing rapidity. The Lapeyre group [DIY products] plans to liquidate 750 jobs, the Michelin company plans to cut 2,300 jobs, the Danone group [food] plans to cut 2,000 jobs by 2023, Bridgestone is closing its Bethune plant [tyres], 30,000 jobs were cut in the aviation sector in 2020 alone, and this list is growing every day.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Australian farm workers getting organised against big wage swindle

by Ned K

WAGE SWINDLES with farm workers being paid piece rates less than even the minimum legal Award wage have been occurring for years.

As Bob Dylan would say, however, “the times they are a-changing”. In December, the Australian Financial Review reported cases of farm workers being paid the piece-work equivalent of $3 per hour [one Australian Dollar = £0.57].

Farm workers have traditionally been covered by the Australian Workers Union (AWU), but they fell into the trap of focusing organising resources on bigger industrial worksites where there were large concentrations of workers in full-time employment and with a long tradition of unionism. Steel works, aluminium smelters and foundries were the priority, and farm workers, whether picking mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes or cherries for the Christmas dinner tables, were put in the too-hard basket.

Most farm workers do not have continuous employment in the one place all year round but follow the harvest times of many different crops. Many are new migrant workers but there is a significant percentage of farm workers who have worked in the industry for years.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Congress of Lao People’s Revolutionary Party

Xinhua

THE PRIME Minister of Laos, Thongloun Sisoulith, was elected as the new General Secretary of the country’s ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee at the communist party’s 11th Congress held in the capital Vientiane on Friday.

The three-day congress beginning Wednesday has elected the new members of the LPRP Central Committee for the 2021–25 term. Participating in the vote were 768 delegates at the congress, who represented a total of about 348,680 party members nationwide.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Fascism – Indian Style

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

ACROSS the Indian north-eastern state of Tripura, which borders Bangladesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched violent attacks on Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) and other opposition parties last Sunday.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Features

Scandal brings down Dutch Government

The following statement from the New Communist Party of the Netherlands (NCPN) and its youth wing the Communist Youth Movement of the Netherlands (CJB) outlines their response of a major scandal involving child benefits that has brought down the Dutch Government.

LAST FRIDAY the Dutch right-wing Prime Minister Mark Rutte submitted the resignation of his Cabinet to King William-Alexander - just two months before the parliamentary elections will take place. The reason for the fall of the cabinet is the so-called “benefits affair”, which can be better described as a terrible scandal.

The Government will continue as a caretaker to tackle the pandemic until the March parliamentary election, apart from the Economics Minister Eric Wiebes who instantly resigned for his role in the scandal.

This involved approximately 26,000 parents who received childcare allowance being wrongly labelled as fraudsters. These parents were then forced to pay back enormous sums of money (often tens of thousands of Euros) to which they were entitled. There was also a racist element to this because the tax authorities applied ethnic profiling, 11,000 of the cases involved those with dual nationality.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

USA 2021 : An arresting start

by Greg Godels

ANOTHER election cycle brings the USA a new President, another Congress and a new Federal administration. A cynic might see the changes as cosmetic, a mere opportunity for another collection of political operatives to grift, to peddle influence and to accumulate power. Lobbyists favoured by the Democratic Party will now have access to more elected officials and agency and bureau heads, whilst their Republican- favoured counterparts must now work lower on the food chain until their turn comes up again.

Campaign contributions will determine consulting contracts, the flow of government monies and ceremonial appointments. Where some see corruption, others see opportunity.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Bolivia’s political, economic and COVID battles

by Ekaterina Blinova

FOLLOWING the win of Evo Morales’s former minister of economy, Luis Arce, in Bolivia’s October elections, the country’s economy has grown, says Aberto Echazu, Bolivian journalist for La Resistencia Bolivia and political analyst, adding that the Bolivian opposition has not laid down its arms.

Luis Fernando Camacho, the leader of rightwing political alliance Creemos and one of the most vocal proponents of Evo Morales’s ousting in November 2019, has thrown his hat into the Santa Cruz gubernatorial race. Speaking to Bolivian daily Página Siete on 3rd January, Camacho said that he had made the decision to run after the snap October elections that ended in a landslide victory for Luis Arce, the Movement Towards Socialism’s (MAS) presidential candidate.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]