The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 19th August 2005
Gate Gourmet strikers
Welcome To Our Weekly Digest Edition
Please feel free to use this material provided the New Worker
CHAOS FEAR AND PANIC
by our Arab Affairs correspondent
While Bush shuns peace protesters outside his Texan
holiday ranch and Blair basks in the Caribbean sun, their minions are
desperately trying to get their squabbling puppets in Baghdad to agree
to a draft constitution this week.
The first deadline was passed on Monday as the stooge politicians, all
representatives of sectarian and communal factions, have failed to
agree to a share out of whatever power the occupying force decides to
But arguments over a new “federal” Iraq inside the US “Green Zone”
military compound in Baghdad are largely meaningless. The puppet regime
has no authority or credibility inside or outside the country and the
writ of the Anglo-American army of occupation barely goes beyond its
garrisons and bunkers.
The Americans have failed to blunt the current resistance offensive,
whose lethal raids and bombings have sent US casualty rates soaring in
August. Attacks on American convoys have doubled over the past
year and now run at about 30 per week.
In the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar the US Marines want their
forces doubled to contain the resistance that a Marine spokesman
admitted now controlled “whole cities”.
Anti-American feeling is reaching boiling point in the Anbar provincial
capital of Ramadi following the massacre of civilians last Friday by US
forces. An American tank opened fire on worshippers leaving a
mosque, raking the crowd with machine-gun fire for three minutes and
cutting down over 40 civilians.
Dr Umar al Ani, the head of Ramadi hospital said 19 of those hit were
killed instantly. Seven of the dead were children. The rest were taken
to hospital in a serious condition. Three later died of their injuries.
The huge crowd that attended the victims’ funerals on Saturday included
members of the resistance and later one of them said the partisans
would give the American double what the Americans had given to them on
Now they’ve started to take children hostage. In the oil-town of Beiji
five Iraqi children under the age of ten were arrested and held at the
US army camp outside the town this week. And that’s where they’ll stay
unless the townspeople turn in other Beiji youngsters who appeared on
satellite TV playing with the helmets and weapons of dead US soldiers
killed in a resistance attack last week.
Back in the capital, Baghdad, some 30 Iraqi civilians were killed when
a popular labourers’ hotel was attacked by US helicopter gunships. A
number of guests, mainly Iraqis coming to Baghdad looking for work,
were having their breakfast outside the building. It is believed that
Americans mistook them for resistance fighters.
Paper constitutions and bogus elections have failed to give the
imperialists the legitimacy they need to perpetuate the occupation so
once again Bush and his generals are turning to brute force and even
wilder gambles to try and retain their place in the Arabian sun. Though
attempts to build a new international “coalition” against Iran over the
nuclear issue have, unsurprisingly, had no takers, the dirty work of
the CIA goes on.
Iran has formally accused Britain and the United States of inciting
unrest amongst its Arab and Kurdish minorities following riots in
western and north western Iran last week.
“According to some information, the Americans intervened in north
western Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Reza Asefi told the media in
Tehran. “This is not acceptable at all” he said, adding that because
the United States is stuck in Iraq it is trying to divert attention
from its plight by sowing unrest across the border.
“Some of the provocateurs were trained in a part of Iraq which is under
the control of Britain,” Asefi declared. “We have made objections and
warned Britain about the repercussions of such behaviour. We hope it
won’t be repeated in the future”.
That remains to be seen. The American troops are gripped with panic and
fear. Their generals don’t know what to do to quell the revolt that is
turning into a national revolution as Bush and Blair’s dreams of world
domination turn to dust.
Wiser counsel in Washington and London may argue for an exit strategy
via the United Nations but until the war party in America and Britain
is defeated the danger of war spreading throughout the Middle East
BRITISH AIRWAYS services
from Heathrow Airport last weekend were brought to a standstill by an
unofficial walkout by baggage handlers in solidarity with the sacked
catering workers at Gateway Gourmet, the American-owned company that
supplies in-flight meals to BA.
The reaction was spontaneous at the appalling and provocative way the
Gateway Gourmet workers had been treated. The company had long been in
financial trouble and had been locked in negotiations with the
Transport and General Workers’ Union over redundancies.
In the middle of these negotiations the company introduced 130
new temporary seasonal workers – on lower wages and reduced conditions.
No wonder the Gateway Gourmet workers were shocked. If the company
needed extra workers, why was it trying to make redundant the workers
it already had?
It was all part of a carefully worked out plan to sack the entire
current workforce and take on instead a new workforce at much reduced
wages and conditions. The workers, as expected, stopped working. While
in the company car park they were told by megaphone that they had 20
minutes to return to their posts or be sacked. The message was garbled
and many did not hear or realise what was happening.
The company then sacked its entire staff, including those on
holiday or off sick, on the grounds that they were taking part in an
“illegal strike”. The sacking notices had been prepared beforehand, as
had the new lower-paid workforce.
Then the Daily Mirror published a leaked company memo, revealing
that a year ago Gateway Gourmet had planned exactly such a manoeuvre to
provoke its workers into a strike in order to sack the lot and replace
them with a cheaper workforce. The chances of such a strike spreading
within the airport had been recognised but discounted.
As news of the company’s cynical tactics spread, solidarity has
poured in for the workers from all around the globe. The irony is that
in Britain, the TGWU is barred by law from supporting the strike by the
Gateway Gourmet workers and the spontaneous solidarity action by the
baggage handlers. All the union can do is to act as a go-between,
trying to negotiate a settlement and it must dissociate itself from the
strike – or face bankruptcy.
This case like no other illustrates how Britain’s anti-trade
union laws allow outrageous employers to walk all over the workforce.
The company claims it wants to get rid of “outdated 1970s working
practices” – meaning workers having any rights at all. They seek to
replace 1970s working practices with the “master and servant” laws of
the 18th century.
TGWU general secretary Tony Woodley calls for the repeal of the
anti-union laws that breach the conventions of the International Labour
Organisation – to which Britain is a signatory. Our working class has
fewer freedoms and trade union rights than those in Europe or the
United States and bosses take advantage.
Woodley goes on to say that this case highlights the dangers of
the contracting out culture where large “respected” companies like BA
sub-contract work they used to do themselves to cowboy companies like
Gateway Gourmet who will cut wages and conditions to a bare minimum
using the most outrageous manoeuvres but allowing BA to pretend the
dispute is outside of its control.
But Woodley also says that repealing the anti-union laws will
improve workplace relations and this will benefit everyone involved.
He’s wrong. Like many other social democrats he rejects the
concept that there is an irreconcilable difference between what is good
for the bosses and what is good for the workers. He tries to appeal to
the better nature of the capitalists, asking them to recognise that
solidarity and collective bargaining is a natural impulse for workers.
The employers know it only too well, which is why they ban it if they
This is a class war. The contradiction between the interests of the
bosses and the interests of the workers is the fundamental driving
force that will eventually lead to the overthrow of capitalism.
The bosses know it and our trade union leaders should know it too. It
is a no-holds-barred war. Asking nicely is not good enough. The
organised working class must be organised strongly enough to be in a
position to demand or it will always be weak and outmanoeuvred by
To the New Communist Party Page