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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Slow motion dispute

by New Worker correspondent

IN LATE August we reported that in the West Midlands staff at the Sandwell Leisure Trust were on strike protesting against changes to pay and conditions at the Trust that affected 280 workers, who were threatened with the sack if they did not toe the line. This was just one stage in a dispute that began in March.

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Labour pains

by New Worker correspondent

WORKERS in two unions representing workers in a prominent employer have given different verdicts on the offer of a two per cent pay rise. Members of Unite have rejected the offer and voted in favour of strike action, whilst those in GMB have “reluctantly” accepted it by 61.5 to 37.5 per cent. Unite is holding talks today before a final decision on strike action.

That organisation is the Labour Party, which is having financial troubles due to it spending most of its energies alienating and getting rid of many of its members.

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Assorted victories and new battles

by New Worker correspondent

WORKERS AT one of the last surviving remnants of the Sheffield steel industry have won a 3.5 per cent pay rise. Community, the union which incorporates the old Iron & Steel Trades Confederation, reports that the Finnish multinational Outokumpu’s Rod and Bar stainless steel plant has conceded “a substantial bonus, a 3.5 per cent pay increase and, most notably, increased sick pay”.

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THE PANDEMIC may not yet be over but renewed speculation over independence shows that normal political life is at last returning to normal north of the border. The SNP government has tasked an 11-strong civil service team to work on plans for another referendum and the latest opinion poll shows that nearly a third of Labour’s supporters would back a call for another independence poll.

Back on the labour front, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland’s main teaching union, has announced that its members had given an overwhelming thumbs-down to a miserable pay offer. On a 53 per cent turnout, a massive 98 per cent voted to reject the deal that only amounted to one per cent plus a £100 one-off bonus. Another major teaching union, the NASUWT, also rejected the proposed pay deal early last month.

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Judges to the Barricades

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Further up the social scale, the legal profession has taken umbrage at SNP plans to ‘reform’ the legal profession. No less a figure than Roddy Dunlop QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, effectively the general secretary of the Scottish lawyers’ trade union, has accused the SNP of acting unconstitutionally.

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Power Grab

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Meanwhile the SNP have managed to build a broadly based opposition to their recent Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill. Despite its name it does not actually seek to reform the coronavirus but will, in the event of a recurrence of recent events, allow the SNP Government close schools, introduce lockdowns, order courts to conduct hearings remotely and release prisoners early. Many of the law’s provisions could be activated without voting in Holyrood and there would be minimal parliamentary oversight about the details.

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More trouble ahead for BoJo

by Oleg Burunov

ON MONDAY, Boris Johnson said that he was “going to get on” with his job after an investigation into a string of parties held at his official residence in Downing Street during the COVID‑19 lockdowns found there were serious “failures of leadership and judgment”.

With senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report on the alleged lockdown parties at Number 10 released on Monday, the main focus now shifts to a Metropolitan Police probe into the matter after detectives revealed that they had obtained at least 500 pages of evidence and about 300 images taken at purported Downing Street social gatherings between 2020 and 2021.

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Bloody Sunday remembered in London

by Theo Russell

AROUND 100 campaigners gathered in London’s Parliament Square on 27th January at a commemoration of the 50 years that have passed since 13 civil rights activists were shot by the Parachute Regiment on 30th January 1972 in Derry.

Speakers at the ceremony, organised by the Terence MacSwiney Commemoration Committee, paid tribute to the innocent victims of the terror unleashed by the Paras on that Bloody Sunday in the occupied north of Ireland.

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We will remember them!

by New Worker correspondent

NEW Communist Party leader Andy Brooks joined comrades, war veterans, diplomats and anti-fascists to remember the victims of the Holocaust at a ceremony in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum in south London last week.

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International News

Solidarity prevails at the Winter Olympics

by Wang Xinyi

THE LIST of visiting dignitaries for the Winter Olympics grows as the much-anticipated sports gala that practices Olympism and solidarity amidst trying times opens this week in Beijing.

The guests include at least 32 foreign heads of state, heads of government and heads of international organisations. The unprecedented gathering of global leaders amidst COVID‑19 signals in itself strong support and expectations for the Games, as well as a common call for unity and sports neutrality.

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Left to die on Paris street

by Ed Newman

THE DEATH of a famous and elderly Swiss photographer on the cold streets of Paris, after being ignored for nine hours, has caused shock worldwide.

Eighty-five-year-old René Robert fainted whilst on a walk in one of the most crowded areas of Paris. He couldn’t get up, and then died of hypothermia after being ignored for nine hours.

The death has shocked France and has shamed the capital city in news worldwide. Robert died likely because people assumed he was just another street person in a fabulously rich city where homelessness is somehow a common sight. The person who finally checked on Robert was a homeless person, who probably knew all too well the indifference of Paris to people sleeping rough, even in winter.

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Justice – American style

by Guillermo Alvarado

THE NEWS that the longest-held political prisoner in the USA, indigenous leader Leonard Peltier, has tested positive for COVID‑19, brings to light once again the details of his unjust imprisonment and all the lies and falsehoods that were concocted to sentence him to two life sentences.

It is not gratuitous to say that he is a political prisoner because during his trial the FBI hid fundamental evidence, blackmailed witnesses to force them to lie and manipulated documents of the prosecutors.

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Features

Remembering Bloody Sunday: Robert Ballagh’s

The Thirtieth of January

by Jenny Farrell

WHEN Robert Ballagh, the outstanding contemporary Irish painter, found a growing need to make a statement on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, he felt more and more drawn to paintings that had impacted on him in the past. The most compelling one in relation to the Derry massacre was Goya’s The Third of May, a painting depicting the execution of Spanish people on Spanish soil by the invading French army. Ballagh’s painting is entitled The Thirtieth of January. The parallels in the situation are clear: On Bloody Sunday, Irish people were executed on Irish soil, by British soldiers.

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Liz Truss: not an Iron Lady but a chocolate soldier

by Mark Blacklock

SO WHO is Liz Truss, the British Foreign Secretary whose remarks about China’s international ambitions were so bizarre they caused a former Australian prime minister to call her “demented”?

There are probably people in China wondering right now whether she is really mad and even whether she wants war between their nation and her own.

After all, she did say she believed that China could possibly launch its own war of aggression in the Indo-Pacific and that it could be inspired to do so if Russia was to invade Ukraine.

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USA: Amazon workers rally against corporate greed

by Jacob Buckner

THE AMAZON Labor Union (ALU) held a rally outside JFK8, the e-commerce giant’s hub in Staten Island, New York on Martin Luther King (MLK) Day on 17th January. For several months, organisers have been collecting signatures for an upcoming union vote at the facility, where thousands of workers prepare and send out millions of packages to customers each day.

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Call to remember Soviet victims of Nazi terror

by Ilya Tsukanov

LAST WEEK people marked Holocaust Day (HMD) at ceremonies all over the world. Now Russian survivors of Nazi camps are asking Vladimir Putin to create a day to commemorate the genocide of the Soviet people during the Second World War.

The International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, also known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the millions of victims of the Holocaust. On that day 77 years ago, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz – the Third Reich’s most notorious and well-known death camp. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was formally proved by the United Nations in 2005.

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