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Monthly Archives: May 2006

Pressure mounted on deputy prime minister Prescott to quit yesterday, with Labour MPs queueing up to say he should go despite warnings that if Prescott is forced out, prime minister Blair will follow him. Prescott’s biographer, ‘friend and journalist’ Colin Brown warned those calling for him to quit: ‘The vacancy...
THERE could not be a greater contrast between the policies of the Ukrainian governing parties to join the EU and NATO as rapidly as possible, and the opposition of the Ukrainian working class to both bodies, and its support for Russia. In fact, both countries, Russia and the Ukraine, allow...
YESTERDAY’S 24-hour strike by 200 Aslef members working out of London’s Waterloo Station was 100 per cent solid and will be repeated tomorrow, Aslef EC member Simon Weller told News Line. Weller said: ‘An agreement was put in place after privatisation in 1997 whereby drivers booking on or off prior...
The Wind That Shakes The Barley Directed by Ken Loach Written by Paul Laverty Starring Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Orla Fitzgerald On General Release from June 23 FILM director Ken Loach is to be congratulated on his latest film, ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’. His success in winning the prestigious Palme d’Or...
THE knives were out for disgraced Deputy Prime Minister Prescott yesterday. He is the man who was important to the Prime Minister because he kept the peace with Chancellor Brown, and was the ‘Mr Fixit’ between the Prime Minister and the trade union leaders, easing in his privatisation policies,...
THE Palestinian National Dialogue Conference (NDC) held on the 25th and 26th of May to try to end the armed conflicts between Hamas and Fatah supporters in the wake of the Hamas general election victory issued the following statement at the conclusion of its deliberations. ‘1. The inviolability...
Ministers rushed to attempt a papering over of the yawning cracks in the Blair government yesterday as pressure built up on Deputy Prime Minister Prescott to quit. Criticism of Prescott from Labour MPs and the media had mounted over photos showing him playing croquet at his country retreat while in...
Two British soldiers were killed and two others wounded, by a roadside bomb in Basra last Sunday evening, the Ministry of Defence revealed yesterday. The incident happened in Gizayza, north-west Basra, during a routine patrol in an armoured Land Rover, in support of operations aimed at disrupting the insurgency. An MoD...
Thousands of people on Thursday attended the funerals of four Palestinians who were shot dead during an Israeli operation in the West Bank town of Ramallah one day earlier. The four bodies were taken from the hospital to the late Yasser Arafat’s tomb in the Palestinian leadership compound in the...
NHS watchdog, the Healthcare Commission’s third annual survey of patients who stayed overnight in hospitals, reported that, overall, 92 per cent of patients said their treatment was ‘excellent’ or very good’. Over 80,000 adult patients from all 169 NHS acute and specialist trusts in England in 2005 were surveyed and...
GATE Gourmet locked-out workers picketed the Transport and General Workers Union Regional Office in Hillingdon west London yesterday. They are going to their employment tribunals later in the year and are demanding that the union restores their hardship payments and fights for their reinstatement. Paramjit Brar, told News Line: ‘We want...
PRESIDENT Bush and Premier Blair have admitted their chronic incompetence over the prosecution of the war in Iraq, and have appealed to the rest of the world to come to their aid, and seek a way out of the Iraqi quagmire into which their regimes are fast disappearing....
Public sector union UNISON yesterday reacted in shock and anger to the announcement by Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust that it plans to cut 600 NHS jobs in the face of a £33m deficit. A UNISON spokesperson told News Line if the workers choose to take industrial action in defence of...
LABOUR’S ‘pensions revolution’ is a major attack on the working class, the elderly and the youth. The origin of the ‘revolution’ is not that the elderly are living much longer, so all the coming generations will have to work for much longer to keep them. The origin of the pensions...
Over 400 French and British workers lobbying the Peugeot shareholders’ Annual General Meeting in Paris on Wednesday declared they are determined to fight the closure of the Ryton plant in Coventry. News Line travelled overnight with a delegation of twenty Transport and General Workers’ Union and Amicus trade union members...
Yesterday’s pensions announcement went down like a lead balloon with pensioners who were expecting immediate action to index link the state pension with average wage rises. After objections by Chancellor Brown this is now not going to happen till at least 2012. Millions of workers face working till they drop and...
IN Tuesday night’s vote in the House of Commons on the Blair government’s Education Bill, 67 Labour MPs voted against, wiping out the government’s majority. The government however did not fall over the edge of the abyss. It was saved because the Tory opposition party voted with the government. This vote...
The world’s poor and disadvantaged pay the price of war on terror, says Amnesty International in its annual report 2006 published on Tuesday. Introducing the report, Amnesty said: ‘2005 was a year of contradictions in which signs of hope for human rights were undermined through the deception and failed promises...

Aziz Defends Saddam

IRAQ’s former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz took the witness stand Wednesday to defend Saddam Hussein and his associates from charges that they massacred civilians in Dujail in the 1980s. While he was not involved with the events of Dujail itself, his testimony focused on the series of assassination attempts...
‘Save Peugot Jobs!’ demanded over 400 French and British workers in Paris yesterday. Peugot workers and a delegation of Renault workers from across France joined workers from Coventry to lobby the Peugot shareholders’ AGM. A delegation of 20 Coventry workers had travelled to Paris to demand the Ryton plant stays open. There...
THE Labour government is pushing through the Houses of Parliament a bill that will make desertion and refusal to serve in an occupied country punishable by life imprisonment. Labour MP John McDonnell has led the tiny parliamentary opposition to the bill, calling for the scrapping of the life imprisonment provision...
Northumbria University has stepped back from its decision to make immediate deductions of 100 per cent of pay from hundreds of lecturers belonging to the lecturers’ union NATFHE. At a mass meeting on Monday, NATFHE members endorsed an agreement reached between the union and the university that includes the withdrawal...
EMERGENCY Motion E3 dealing with a ballot for national industrial action was passed unanimously at the CWU Postal Section Conference in Bournemouth yesterday. The Motion, put forward by the Postal Executive, demanded that if acceptable progress is not made on objectives within the next four weeks, a timetable for...
WITH British troops in the south of Iraq in danger of taking heavy casualties at the hands of an insurgency that has taken over Basra, and has always been in charge of Amara, the Prime Minister Tony Blair is doing his best to cut and run out of Iraq. He...
Health unions yesterday condemned NHS bosses’ plans to slash thousands of hospital beds to concentrate on care in the community. The proposition that fewer beds equals better care, is put forward in a briefing paper ‘Why we need fewer hospital beds’ published yesterday by the managers’...
TODAY at the CWU conference postal section, an emergency motion for strike action will be presented. This motion comes after the imposition of the wage deal and the refusal of Royal Mail to negotiate with the CWU. The emergency motion gives Royal Mail four weeks to decide to negotiate, or a...
Israel has grabbed 100 acres more of occupied Palestinian land for the expansion of illegal Jewish colonies as the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed three Palestinian women and a four-year-old son last Saturday. Israel also acknowledged the extra-judicial assassination of a top-ranking anti-occupation activist on Saturday, but denied any attempt...
THE real anti-working class face of the Blair, Labour government is becoming clearer and clearer every day, as the crisis of capitalism deepens. Yesterday was no exception. Sir Alistair Graham, a Blair supporter and chair of the House of Commons Committee on Standards in Public Life, had to admit...
‘The Zionist project is coming to an end; we are freeing Palestine inch by inch, foot by foot,’ a defiant Hamas representative told a Free Palestine mass rally in central London on Saturday. Speaking in Trafalgar Square at the end of a 5,000-strong march, Azzam al-Tamimi said the Israelis are...
The GMB trade union yesterday launched a campaign outside Holy Trinity Church, Clapham Common, south London, to stop venture capitalists asset-stripping the AA. The GMB turned up with a camel and a message for churchgoers that it is ‘easier for a camel to go through the eye of a...
The latest hospital trust to announce staff cuts, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, has said it plans to axe up to 150 jobs. The trust, which runs St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, has been told by the Department of Health it has to make an extra £10m of...
America’s United Steelworkers union (USW) and the South African Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood & Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) have pledged mutual support in meeting their members’ needs, achieving mutual goals and taking concrete steps to change Sappi’s labour practices. Sappi, Ltd. (known during the Apartheid era as...
Israel’s brutal occupation of the Palestinian people has created refugees, death squads, and now starvation in Gaza, and hunger throughout the occupied territories. Thousands of youth and trade unionists will be marching to demand the ending of the Zionist occupation of Palestine today, assembling at Charing Cross embankment...
Hertfordshire fire crews are today striking from 2pm to 10pm against cuts in frontline personnel and fire stations. Hertfordshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has also set two more eight-hour strikes, from 14.00 to 22.00 on Friday 26 May and Wednesday 31 May. It was confirmed last Thursday night that Hertfordshire county...
THE private railway system has, so far, seen many tens of billions of public money thrown at it to make sure that the private companies make big profits and take no risks. Currently, £87 million of the public’s money is spent on it every week of the year. Yesterday, despite this...
YESTERDAY the Italian Prime Minister, Prodi in his first speech to the Senate as Prime Minister said that the war in Iraq had been a ‘grave error that hasn’t solved, but has complicated the problem of security.’ He announced: ‘It is the intention of this government to propose to...
PALESTINIAN medical supplies are running out because of the economic siege in the occupied territories – with supplies of some basic materials already at ‘zero’ – sources at the Palestinian Health Ministry are warning. A report on the critical situation by Na’ilah Khalil, was published by the Palestinian newspaper ‘Al-Ayyam’...
Angry sack-threatened workers from the HP Sauce factory in Aston, Birmingham were yesterday stopped from protesting at the parent company Heinz headquarters in Hayes, west London. Twenty Transport and General Workers Union members had travelled down to London by minibus to protest at the recently-announced closure of the Midlands factory...
Vauxhall Ellesmere Port workers voted unanimously at a mass meeting yesterday morning to reject the voluntary redundancy package put forward by General Motors. They were urged by union leaders to do so until they get assurances over the future of the plant. This followed the confirmation on Wednesday morning by Vauxhall...
The 900 Vauxhall Ellesmere Port workers told yesterday they are being sacked in August have been abandoned by their trade union leaders and the Labour government. Vauxhall chairman Jonathan Browning announced that General Motors in the UK is focusing on ‘the long-term competitiveness of our operations here in the UK’. He...
VAUXHALL Chairman Jonathan Browning announced yesterday that the General Motors (GM) subsidiary is to cut about 900 jobs, by the end of August, at its Ellesmere Port factory on Merseyside. The company is scrapping the night shift at the plant that produces the Astra model. The GM chief in Britain...
The British Medical Association (BMA) last Wednesday, raised that overseas doctors are experiencing discrimination as a result of new immigration restrictions. Since last month, NHS trusts have been barred from recruiting junior doctors from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) if there are suitable candidates from the UK or the...
On the eve of the 58th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe day), Israeli ‘Defence’ Minister Amir Peretz bragged on Sunday of the success of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in shooting dead four unarmed Palestinians and extra-judicially killing two activists in northern West Bank, in the second bloody...
Workers at the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire are bracing themselves for today’s expected announcement by owners GM of 1,000 job cuts. Trade union officials described last week’s talks in Germany as ‘unhelpful’. Conflicting reports that Chancellor Gordon Brown and Trade Secretary Alistair Darling may visit the site today also...
THE sacking of nearly 800 staff was announced yesterday at NHS Direct – the NHS helpline created by the Blair government in 1997. The mass sackings of NHS hospital staff also continued yesterday, with confirmation of plans to cut over 1,000 posts following the ‘merger’ of the Queen’s Medical Centre...