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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

National News

Pay rise then hours cut

by New Worker correspondent

A SIMILAR, but smaller battle is taking place at La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls School in Clapham, south London, where the small independent street union, United Voices of the World (UVW), has accused the state-funded school of cutting hours, practising a “culture of discrimination” and poor health and safety practices.

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Pay rise wanted

by New Worker correspondent

AT READING’S Royal Berkshire Hospital 23 security guards have been taking strike action since mid-December in an effort to secure a £12 per hour wage and £13 per hour for their supervisors. The third wave of strikes by employees of Kingdom Services Group Ltd started on Friday and will continue until Sunday.

So far bosses are refusing to increase their miserable offer of £9.30 per hour and £10 for supervisors. Unite’s regional officer Jesika Parmar said the strikes could continue into March unless Kingdom made a better offer. She added: “This is truly a ‘David and Goliath’ struggle for a group of lowly paid workers against a massive corporation with deep pockets, and the fact that our members have received great support from the Reading public and further afield shows that people can see a glaring pay injustice.

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Pay rise cancelled

by New Worker correspondent

AT ST HELENS on Merseyside, workers at the historic 196-year-old glassmaker Pilkington are being balloted for strike action over the company’s failure to implement a promised 2.5 per cent pay rise.

The 100 plus Unite members at the glassmaker’s Cowley Hill and Greengate sites are to vote on the rise, agreed in 2019 and which was supposed to be implemented last March. The union accuses the company, now owned by the Nippon Sheet Glass group, of having budgeted for the pay increase but using the pandemic as an opportunity to disregard the agreement.

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Nearly 50 years on

by New Worker correspondent

A ONE-YEAR-OLD dispute is nothing compared with the long-running case of the Shrewsbury 24 however, which makes the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House look like a model of brevity.

That the national builders’ strike of 1972 is still a live issue is due to the tenacity of the Shrewsbury 24 campaign who have taken up the cause of the group of ordinary trade unionists arrested for taking part in the strike.

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No pay deal

by New Worker correspondent

WHILST some frontline workers have been offered a pay rise, even if the offers are not worth much, one group have been told firmly they are not getting a penny. Britain’s 22 passenger rail companies, now effectively nationalised, have been told that there is no budget to increase wages for their 62,000 workers. Although the railways have been bailed out to the tune of around £10 billion, that is aimed at shareholders, not those who do the actual work.

Instead, a two-year pay freeze is the order of the day. That passenger numbers are only about 15 per cent of normal is the official reason. Needless to say, rail unions are furious.

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Bad for Business

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Ian Blackford, the former banker and present-day company director who has a part time job as the SNP’s Westminster leader, has rightly come under fire for complaining about the death toll caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

His disgust at the deaths is at least partly motivated by the fact he is the £1,000 per hour Chairman of Golden Charter Trust (GCT), the investment arm of Golden Charter, a major funeral plan provider. It was in that capacity he lamented that: “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic including the ‘lockdown’ measures introduced by the Government led to a reduction in cash coming into the trust from the sales of pre-paid funeral plans. In the same period, there was an increase in the level of maturity payments to funeral directors due to the excess deaths primarily arising from the pandemic.” He cheered up the shareholders, however, by adding that: “However, this is expected to be a temporary position and there are positive signs that income from funeral plan sales is returning to expected levels.”

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Another SNP War

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

In the normal run of things, a reshuffle of opposition front bench spokespersons would hardly be worth noting. The sacking of Joanne Cherry QC from her role as SNP Justice spokesperson at Westminster, however, shows how frightened Nicola Sturgeon is of internal opposition. Cherry was a favourite of assorted Remainers beyond the SNP for her failed legalistic attempts to reverse Brexit. Sturgeon even changed party rules to prevent her standing for a Holyrood seat as an MSP where the more successful lawyer (and ally of Alex Salmond) could replace the failed one that is Sturgeon.

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Did Biden intervene over the Irish vax row?

by Svetlana Ekimenko

IRISH officials possibly threatened to use their government’s connection to US President Joe Biden to force the European Commission (EC) to backtrack on its threats to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol and impose export controls on COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Telegraph.

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HS2 protesters dig in

by Chris Summers

SEVERAL ACTIVISTS protesting against a high-speed rail link have been evicted from a park in London but a hardcore are believed to be holding out in tunnels that they dug underground. The protesters, who oppose the construction of the HS2 high-speed railway, have gone underground – literally. The activists say they have “prepared for a lengthy siege” in the tunnels as they’re making a last-ditch attempt to stop HS2, which they believe is “expensive, unpopular and destructive’’.

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International News

Adding fuel to the fire in Myanmar

Global Times (Beijing)

THE SITUATION in Myanmar is a global hot potato. The Biden administration demands that the Myanmar military release those detained and threatens to re-impose sanctions on Myanmar. But in the statement issued by Washington, there is no such word as “coup” to describe the action of the Myanmar military. But a few countries such as the UK have called it a “coup”. This shows that the situation in Myanmar is a thorny issue for Washington.

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Moscow tells US to stop meddling


THE KREMLIN has told the Americans to stop interfering in Russia’s internal affairs following comments by Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraging unauthorised rallies taking place across multiple Russian cities.

Supporters of detained opposition vlogger Alexei Navalny took to the streets for the second week in a row on Sunday. Navalny, who returned to Moscow earlier this month, was placed in detention for repeated violations of the terms of his probation following conviction for fraud and money laundering in 2013.

“The USA’s flagrant interference in Russia’s internal affairs is just as much a proven fact as the hyping of fakes and calls for unauthorised protests by Washington-controlled online platforms. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s support for the violation of [Russian] laws is another confirmation of Washington’s behind-the-scenes role,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

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Kosovans establish Israeli ties

Radio Havana Cuba

Israel and Kosovo established diplomatic ties on Monday, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a ceremony held over Zoom in Jerusalem and Pristina, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and his counterpart from Kosovo, Meliza Haradinaj Stublla, signed a joint declaration establishing ties.

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Protesting farmers stay put in Delhi

by Rishikesh Kumar, Advitya Bahl and Deexa Khanduri

LAST WEEK the law and order situation in the Indian capital spiralled out of control as protesting farmers barged into Delhi, breaking police barricades at the border. The farmers’ leaders have vowed to continue their protests against three farm laws that aim to ‘reform’ the agricultural sector.

It has been several days since the Indian capital witnessed a massive clash between police and protesting farmers, and the camps of the agriculturalists protesting on the outskirts of Delhi look deserted. Since 26th November, thousands of farmers, stationed in semi-makeshift camps, have blocked the roads in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana that lead to Delhi.

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GameStop, Reddit: what we all should know about the stock market

by Erica Kadel

THE LAST few days have seen GameStop and Reddit become the meme-of-the-week and take significant headlines. Some media outlets are saying the recent turn of events “isn’t funny; it’s stupid” whilst celebrity billionaires like Elon Musk crack jokes on Twitter.

Redditors are claiming that they are crashing Wall Street and yet the market is as bullish as ever. What should we be taking from all of this? In short, we must seize this moment to educate about how the stock market works, who it works for, and how we can institute true changes that benefit everyday people.

To understand what has happened, it is important to start at the beginning for a short lesson in what shares are. Shares are slices of a business. Shares like those of GameStock (a video game and electronics retailer) have been sold on a public market. There are many avenues to buy and sell shares, and the one that is most important to understand for this tale is Robinhood. Robinhood is a free app marketed towards regular people who don’t have the funds, the interest or the time to invest through investment firms, hedge funds and the like. As its name implies, RobinHood would have us believe that its mission is to steal from the rich and give to the poor, but, as with all free services, if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product.

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Merkel readies her exit in Germany

by Victor Grossman

THE AMERICAN nightmare, tight-lipped and pouting, was finally forced to gallop off to its luxurious stable in Florida. Almost every European joined in “Hurrah!” cheers as they watched him go!

In Germany, national elections will also be featuring the departure, in this case after 16 years, of a very different kind of leader, Angela Merkel. The results are still nine months away, but we all know how much can develop in just nine months!

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