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Monthly Archives: September 2006

RUSSIA is recalling its ambassador to Tbilisi after Wednesday’s provocative arrests of four Russian officers on spying charges, and is beginning a partial evacuation of its personnel from Georgia. Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have worsened in recent weeks, since Georgia and the Western imperialist alliance Nato agreed...
Over two million households are estimated to be struggling to pay Council Tax, according to a new report by the Warwick Institute for Employment Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). Council tax is the subject of an ongoing review but to date, there has been no attempt to identify...
‘I will be seeking a fresh ballot for more strike action,’ NHS Logistics UNISON Maidstone assistant branch secretary Dean Lane told News Line yesterday. ‘Personally, I would like to see another two days of strike action,’ he added. As tomorrow’s deadline for the handover of the NHS supplies organisation to parcels...
‘If the government doesn’t halt the transfer of NHS Logistics to DHL immediately, then action must be taken by the whole trade union movement to stop it taking place.’ That was the reaction yesterday of Paul Harper, UNISON branch secretary at the NHS Logistics depot in Maidstone, Kent, after the...

Chagos Islanders Go To Court

THE case against the Chagos islanders was adjourned for 14 days on Wednesday. They are being prosecuted for their campaign in Crawley for their right to return to the Indian ocean islands from which they were evicted by the Wilson government. They were replaced by the giant US imperialist war base...
WEDNESDAY’S twin votes at the Labour Party conference against NHS privatisation emphasised for all to see just how great is the isolation of the Labour government in its own party. In fact, this just reflects the hostility of the working class and the majority of the middle class to NHS...
MAKING sure women throughout the world can give birth in a health facility, in the presence of a midwife, is the best strategy for substantially reducing maternal mortality worldwide, according to a landmark series of papers published by The Lancet yesterday. The authors are calling on governments and...
A REPORT by business research firm Datamonitor says that people in the UK are borrowing on average almost twice that of citizens in other western European countries. Unsecured UK lending, such as credit cards, was £216bn in 2005 – more than a third of all new non-mortgage borrowing...
THE Labour government yesterday suffered a massive defeat of its plans for NHS privatisation at the Labour Party conference in Manchester, with delegates backing a composite motion from UNISON by an overwhelming show of hands. Only a small group of delegates backed the government in the vote, with huge cheers...
THERE WERE up to 50 pickets and supporters on the picket line at the Maidstone NHS Logistics distribution depot on Tuesday evening at 10 pm, at the start of their second 24 hour strike against privatisation. The five NHS Logistic depots in England are due to be handed over to...
IN his parting speech as Prime Minister to the Labour Party conference, Blair administered his kiss of death to Gordon Brown, telling his Chancellor and the conference that without Brown there would not have been any New Labour. He declared: ‘But I know New Labour would never have happened...
UNISON members at four NHS Logistics depots began a second 24 hour strike, last night at 10pm. Runcorn depot stopped at 11pm. The workers are protesting about their transfer from the NHS to German parcel company, DHL. At the same time Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, has written to Health...
TODAY, a number of Chagos Islanders will appear at Horsham County Court to fight a Claim Form for Possession of Property from West Sussex County Council, which is attempting to end their protest outside the Social Services building in Crawley. Since the beginning of August, nearly 50 islanders...
TONIGHT at 10pm the five NHS Logistics distribution centres will be picketed by striking staff fighting to stop the privatisation of the NHS supplier. They will be supported by even more workers than the first 24-hour strike action last Thursday. The view that was being encouraged by the union leadership on...
THERE should be national action to stop NHS Logistics being handed over to parcel firm DHL in a 10-year contract worth more than £3 billion, Bury St Edmunds UNISON branch secretary Graham Kendall told News Line yesterday. Speaking on the eve of tonight’s second 24-hour strike by staff at NHS...
LAST Friday Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addressed in person a victory rally in Lebanon. ‘Brothers and sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen. On 22 September, you once again surprised the world and truly proved that you are a great, proud, loyal, and courageous people. For some days...
UP TO 5,000 health workers, trade unionists and local residents determined to save their jobs, hospitals and NHS services from massive cuts marched through Nottingham on Saturday. Almost every car hooted its horn in support as the march proceeded down the busy streets of central Nottingham to a rally at...
CHANCELLOR Brown yesterday, on the BBC Politics Show, sought to trump his rival, the outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the competition between them as to who can put forward the most right-wing policies to gain the biggest support from big business. Blair insists that the US and Britain have...
GORDON Brown yesterday confirmed that a government run by him would hand over the running of the public sector to an independent committee, which would have a completely free hand to further the government strategy of privatisation. He said this move followed on from his handing over of decisions on...
UP TO 200 trade unionists from Britain, including leading officials of the TUC and its affiliated unions, including UNISON, the TGWU, Amicus, Prospect and the ATL, took part in a picket of the Zimbabwe High Commission in central London yesterday. The British TUC demanded that all charges are dropped against...
THE first national strike in the National Health Service in 18 years began on Thursday night at 10pm as dedicated health workers and supporters manned picket lines at all five NHS Logistics Distribution Centres across the country. The strikers were determined to stop the sell off of NHS Logistics...
THE situation could not be clearer. The whole of the trade union movement and the majority of non-trade unionists support the 24-hour strike actions called by the NHS Logistics workers to prevent the privatisation of their vital NHS service. It is equally obvious that the Labour government will proceed with...

A Case Of Strange Bedfellows

THE Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has come back from the US convinced that the Labour government must change its position against the use of telephone taps as evidence in criminal cases. What changed his mind, allegedly, was the information that was given to him in the US, as to...
THE Bush administration is pushing legislation through Congress to legalise its unlawful military commissions and indefinite detention without charge or trial, says Amnesty International. On 29 June 2006, the United States Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the case of Hamdan v Rumsfeld. The case concerned Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a...
MERSEYSIDE fire crews will be taking a further two four-day blocks of strike action. The first four days will start at 10.00am on 28 September and finish at 10.00am on 2nd October and the second set of four days will start at 10.00am on 2nd October and finish at...
THE TGWU trade union yesterday warned Blair and Brown that they were ignoring Labour voters ‘at their peril’. ‘Choose fresh policies and leaders’ was the TGWU message for next week’s Labour party conference. In a poll released today, conducted by ICM for the Transport and General Workers’ Union,...
THE indefinite strike of Greek state nursery and primary school teachers, who are demanding higher salaries, is continuing. The leader of their umbrella organisation, Dimitris Brattis, complained of the lack of respect for these workers which the low level of their income proclaims. The centre of Athens was however brought...
THE Hamas-led Palestinian government spokesman Dr Ghazi Hamad confirmed on Monday that the current freeze of the negotiations, regarding forming a Palestinian national unity government, will be temporary and will not affect the chances of forming this government. In a press statement, Hamad added that there is a serious...
A COURT martial in Wiltshire yesterday heard that Corporal Donald Payne was filmed as he abused and swore at hooded Iraqi detainees, in September 2003, after the British army entered and took control of Basra following what was seen as a quick victory in a four week war. The Iraqis...
UNISON members at five NHS Logistics sites – supplying 43,000 items from beds to surgical supplies to hospitals and GPs across England – will walk out on strike tonight against privatisation. Speaking about the first of two 24-hour strikes, a UNISON spokeswoman told News Line: ‘We’ve got five depots meeting...

Muslims Take Reid To Task

HOME Secretary John Reid was denounced as a ‘tyrant’ on a visit to east London yesterday, where he delivered a speech against ‘Islamic extremism’. A man, named by reporters as Abu Izz-e-din, formerly Trevor Brooks, heckled Reid, condemning him for coming to east London where Muslims had been arrested in...
Unison head of health, Karen Jennings yesterday slammed Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt’s claim that the district general hospital is out of date and no limits should be put on NHS privatisation. Jennings said: ‘Patricia Hewitt hasn’t spent a life in the health service. ‘All the TUC affiliates and all the...
‘WOODLEY said “You can stand outside the T&G office for as many years as you want to, it’s not going to change anything’’,’ Gate Gourmet locked-out worker Parmjit Bains told News Line yesterday. A delegation of the locked-out workers lobbied the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) General Executive Council...
LABOUR’S Defence Secretary Des Browne admitted yesterday that the Taleban resistance movement in Afghanistan is making NATO’s attempt to control the country ‘harder than we expected’ and has created a crisis for the imperialist military alliance. Speaking to the Royal United Services Institute in London he said: ‘The Taleban’s tenacity...
‘It wasn’t enough for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to leave thousands of trailers rotting for months unused in acres of swampy fields while Louisiana residents remained homeless,’ say a contributor to the AFL-CIO American trade union federation website. ‘FEMA now has come up with pod houses – big...

Youth reject a life in debt!

AFTER almost 10 years of a Labour government under Prime Minister Blair, young people who get jobs after leaving university find they end up with only 52 per cent of their gross pay. Deductions for tax, pension contributions and compulsory student loan repayments account for the other 48 per cent. A...
‘I am hurt very badly when I see that report in The Guardian,’ locked-out Gate Gourmet worker Parmjit Bains told News Line. ‘The union refused to give us any money. They didn’t pay us. ‘How can we trust our union leaders if they are misleading and misusing the workers? ‘We want union...
IT was revealed yesterday by the Guardian newspaper that it has seen a TGWU agreement which shows that the two BA shop stewards, who took part in the walk-out in support of the Gate Gourmet workers on August 11th and 12th 2005, and were then sacked, are to receive...
‘WE were the first to call for a united, unified, fully sovereign, independent, free, and lofty Lebanon where the state and the government represent all segments of the Lebanese people without any discrimination and we continue to call for this in the wake of the recent war.’ This is...
Over 7,000 striking Merseyside firefighters and their supporters marched through Liverpool last Saturday in a show of strength to demonstrate their determination to defeat plans to axe 140 frontline firefighters’ jobs and cut frontline fire services in the face of a £3.5m deficit. Merseyside Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will end...
THE British Medical Association yesterday denied the Observer newspaper claims that doctors back the ‘reconfiguration’ of 60 hospitals involving the closure of A&Es and maternity departments. A BMA spokeswoman told News Line: ‘(BMA chairman) James Johnson’s remarks are not in line with the Observer headline.’ She was referring to the quoted...
Aides to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced yesterday that he had frozen talks with Prime Minister Ismail Haniya on forming a unity government. This came after Palestinian officials said the US administration had told them the unity coalition deal must be cancelled or amended to meet three conditions the Quartet...
EX SS soldier Pope Benedict XVI yesterday apologised in person for causing offence to Muslims in a speech in Bavaria last week. In his speech at Regensburg University on Tuesday, the German-born Pope quoted Emperor Manuel II Paleologos of the Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire saying that the ‘Prophet Muhammad...
Merseyside has the potential to become a national dispute,’ FBU President Ruth Winters told a mass rally at the end of a 7,000-strong demonstration in support of the striking Merseyside firefighters in Liverpool yesterday. The march started at Myrtle Parade, finishing with a rally at St George’s Square. Winters added: ‘I...

Strike At NHS Logistics

TWO 24-hour national strikes by staff at NHS Logistics were announced yesterday, after the workers voted 3-1 for action against the government’s plans to sell-off the hospital and GP surgery supplies service to parcel firm DHL. It will be the first national strike action in the NHS for 18 years. The...