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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

National News

In and out of the office

by New Worker correspondent

AT THE Swansea headquarters of the Drivers, Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA), civil service union PCS has forced management to delay further the planned increase of staff numbers in the COVID-19-hit office. Management brought over 2,000 staff back into the workplace last September, leading to an outbreak of around 600 cases of COVID-19 during the second wave. Now, with the easing of the lockdown restrictions, they want to accelerate the return of more staff over a two-week period.

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Recognition battles

by New Worker correspondent

IN February we reported that outsourced cleaners employed by Ecocleen at La Retraite, a Roman Catholic Girls School in south London, were fighting for the recognition of their street union, the small United Voices of the World (UVW). The battle began when workers’ hours were cut when the London Living Wage was secured, which resulted in a £150 annual pay cut. The cleaners were also denied sick pay and other terms and conditions parity with the school’s directly employed support staff. The school also had a lax attitude to COVID-19 precautions, forcing cleaners to work when the pandemic was at its height.

Now they have won another victory having already won, in March, a 24 per cent wage increase, parity in sick pay, improved health and safety procedures, and an almost total recovery of wages that were withheld after a COVID-19-safety walkout. Recognition for the union has now been secured by the largely Latino migrant workers.

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Vampire bosses

by New Worker correspondent

BOSSES HAVE a tendency to oppose workers seeking wage increases in order to enhance profits for shareholders and themselves. But sometimes they spend more money fighting industrial action than it would take to resolve the dispute so as to teach the workers and others not to be uppity. One such case is the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust at Burnley, who have spent about £150,000 in trying to lessen the impact of a strike by 21 biomedical scientists whose pay agreement, which management have reneged on, would only cost £50,000 to settle.

Unite the union made this estimate based on the fact that industrial action costs the Trust more than £40,000 per month as a result of overtime payments for additional shifts to non-union biomedical scientists and to the managers brought in to break the strike.

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Crumbling image of arrogant, self-righteous BBC

by Shi Xi and Liang Jun

AMIDST mounting pressure, the BBC announced Monday a review of its editorial practices and governance after an inquiry into its 1995 interview with Princess Diana unveiled damning failings at its heart.

Reiterating its apology, the BBC Board said it fully accepted the inquiry report, which found the BBC fell short of “high standards of integrity and transparency” over its interview with Princess Diana.

Only the apology came a quarter-century too late. The BBC failed not only the British royal family but the public across the globe.

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THE SNP claim to be in favour of recycling. This was confirmed when the new shrunken SNP Cabinet was unveiled. It has only nine members compared with the former 12.

The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, retains that status but he has lost his role as Education Secretary and got a new post of Minister for COVID Recovery. This means that he will not be answering any awkward questions when an important OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] report on the decline of education is finally published now that the votes have been safely counted.

This apparent demotion is also a promotion because it means that Sturgeon’s loyal ally Swinney will be able to poke his nose into virtually any department on the pretext that their activities have something or other to do with ‘COVID recovery’.

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COVID-19 Priorities

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Nicola Sturgeon demonstrated her sense of priorities in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis when she announced that she was going to stop referring to the new strain as “Indian” as everyone else does, claiming that name would cause prejudice, and would henceforth call it “April-02”. She later referred to a “Kent” strain, which must surely see her prosecuted for Kentophobic racism, but she presumably calculated that there were no votes to be lost using that term. This is obviously a more important matter than discussing how COVID-19-positive patients were sent to care homes, resulting in over 3,000 residents dying.

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A damp squib in the Black Sea

by Finian Cunningham

THE MEDIA reported last week that the Royal Navy had sent a “warship” to the Black Sea in support of Ukraine against alleged Russian aggression. But to describe HMS Trent as a “warship” is a bit of a stretch.

It is actually an offshore patrol boat that is more commonly used for intercepting contraband and illegal fishing vessels. It is only armed with machine guns and has no missiles. It’s as harmless as a rowing boat armed with a catapult, as one joker put it.

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Death Disguised

by New Worker correspondent

RIDDOR, Covid and under-reporting is the title of a short but damning report published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Sunday. It demonstrates that there has been massive underestimation by employers, public and private, of the number of deaths from COVID-19 contracted in the workplace.

RIDDOR is the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, which was established in 2013.

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Palestine: No Justice – No Peace!

by New Worker correspondent

LONDON comrades got a warm welcome when they joined hundreds of thousands who marched through London on Saturday in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Friends, old and new, were pleased to see us back on the street and NCP leader Andy Brooks was interviewed by Lebanese TV at the start of the demonstration.

Some 250,000 people took part in the biggest demonstration of support for the Palestinian cause seen so far on the streets of Britain. The march, called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Friends of Al Aqsa, ended in a rally in Hyde Park. There, amongst a sea of Palestinian flags and placards, left Labour MP John McDonnell and other speakers denounced Israeli aggression and call for justice for the Palestinian Arabs.

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International News

EU rage at Belarus landing

by Gaby Arancibia

EUROPEAN leaders condemned the forced weekend landing of a Ryanair flight on Monday and began the process of banning Belarusian airlines from flying over the European Union’s airspace or landing in its airports.

Earlier, a Lithuania-bound Ryanair flight was grounded in Minsk, Belarus, over a bomb threat that turned out to be fake. Amongst the passengers was Roman Protasevich, however, a Belarusian journalist who co-founded the banned Telegram channel Nexta, and his companion Sofia Sapega, a Russian citizen. Both were detained during the stopover.

Protasevich’s Nexta channel was designated as extremist by the Belarusian authorities for reportedly facilitating the unrest that unfolded in the wake of the election results. Since being taken into custody, Protasevich has appeared in a video message that was shared on the Telegram app, in which he states that he has no health issues and that he is co-operating with the Belarusian investigators.

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International observers arrive in Syria ahead of elections

by Wyatt Miller

AN INTERNATIONAL solidarity delegation landed in Syria on Sunday to observe elections set to take place on Wednesday, 26 May, when voters will decide the next president of the Syrian Arab Republic.

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Running for their lives

by Guillermo Alvarado

THE COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life almost everywhere, but it has not wiped-out other scourges preceding the health crisis, including the need for millions of people to leave their homes to save their lives.

Thus, in 2020, despite the pandemic, some 55 million people had to move within their own territory to escape violence, armed conflicts or natural disasters.

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Tibet: From Serfdom to Socialism


DODRAMOG, 86, was born a serf in present-day Shigatse in south-west China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. In his eyes, there were only three kinds of days in old Tibet.

He said he had been trapped in an endless circle – one day serving his lord without pay, one day working for more fortunate serfs to fill his stomach, one day farming on land rented from his lord, and then starting all over again.

“At the end of the year, I hardly had any highland barley left for myself after paying the rent and repaying the grain borrowed in the previous year,” he said, adding that he also had to pay all kinds of taxes to the lords.

Now, 70 years after the peaceful liberation of Tibet, Dodramog and other Tibetans are living much better lives as the region has made unprecedented strides in social and economic development and pushed for the well-rounded development of the people.

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Behind the glamour of World Cup football

by Al Neal

BEHIND the glamour of major sporting events and global competitions lay the mangled, scarred and broken bodies of the workers – low-wage slaves – who make it possible for us to enjoy such visceral entertainment.

The body count in Qatar, sight of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, continues to rise. Thousands of migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died over the last decade whilst building Qatar’s 2022 World Cup stadium.

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French Generals warn of ‘civil war’

by Valentin Cartillier

A GROUP of military personnel in France, both active and retired, have penned an open letter to President Emmanuel Macron warning him of what they see as the perils facing the country.

The letter, begun by Captain Jean-Pierre Fabre-Bernadac, currently has over 24,000 signatures, including 25 retired generals, around 100 high-ranking serving and ex-officers, and more than 1,000 other military personnel, either active or retired, alongside thousands of others who’ve pledged support for the letter. The exact numbers of each group are difficult to tell as only the first 1,500 signatures are available on the website,

The letter warned Macron of the “perils” of “Islamism” and “anti-racism” facing France and that the country could soon descend into “civil war” because of his weak-handed approach. The letter was published in the right-wing Valeurs Actuelles (Current Values) magazine, which called it a “letter embedded with the conviction and commitment of these men attached to their country”.

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Palestine: There is no equivalence between the oppressor and the oppressed

by Declan Kearney Sinn Féin National Chair

I VIVIDLY RECALL my friend Ashraf Suliman, the former South African ambassador to Palestine, telling me during a visit to Ramallah on behalf of the Sinn Féin leadership in 2018, that Israel’s occupation and human rights abuses against the Palestinian people was far worse than the experience of apartheid in South Africa.

During the last 12 days I have listened to mainly western journalists and commentators, including some here in Ireland, speak about “escalating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians”.

To analyse what’s been happening in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank of Palestine from that premise is completely misplaced.

There is no equivalence to be drawn between the oppressor and the oppressed.

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