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Monthly Archives: November 2006

Bus drivers have backed a call for a major cut in their driving hours. At a conference in Eastbourne organised by the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) yesterday they supported a demand for the maximum driving time to be four and a half hours in one continuous period. TGWU leaders...
Health unions yesterday accused the government of a ‘reckless gamble that could risk people’s lives’ over plans to close centres and axe 700 Blood Service jobs. A joint statement, covering UNISON, Amicus, TGWU, RCN and GMB, added: ‘The unions are calling on management at NHS Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT)...
WHILE President George Bush was condemning EU leaders for not sending more forces to Afghanistan to fight the Taleban, officials of the main central Asian regional ally of the US, Pakistan, were telling EU officials that they should have the courage to admit that they have been defeated by...
‘This is further repressive legislation from a very repressive government – attacking the most vulnerable,’ mental health service worker and user Jo Squires said outside Parliament on Tuesday. She was part of a 500-strong lobby of Parliament during the second reading of the Mental Health Bill in the House of...
THERE has been a spate of hectic diplomatic activity in the Middle East, since the Israeli defeat in the Lebanon and the Congressional mid-term elections delivered a stunning rebuff to the Middle East policy of President George Bush. As a direct result of this big defeat for Bush,...
A ceasefire in the Gaza Strip was holding on Monday for a second day, despite continued violence in the occupied West Bank where two Palestinians were killed during an Israeli military operation. Agreed in a late Saturday phone conversation between the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian president, the truce saw...
The Labour Party yesterday admitted it faces ‘acute cash flow problems’. It was responding to the publication of Electoral Commission figures showing that the main capitalist political parties owe a total of almost £60m in loans. The loan figures show the Tories owe £35.3m, Labour £23.4m and the Liberal Democrats £1.1m. It...
METROPOLITAN Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur has submitted a document to the Labour government’s Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, calling for new laws that would make it illegal to shout slogans, carry placards and banners, and wear headbands that could be considered by the police to ‘cause offence’. The call to...
Civil rights organisation Liberty yesterday urged the government not to give police powers to arrest demonstrators for ‘offensive’ chants and/or slogans on placards. This followed news that the Metropolitan police is to lobby the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur has prepared a document listing police proposals...
Hezbollah has warned America and the UN against ‘being party to’ Lebanon’s ‘internal conflicts’. Hezbollah TV Al-Manar last Saturday reported on statements by Hashim Safiy-al-Din, chairman of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, during a school graduation ceremony, in which he said that ‘the call by the head of the illegitimate government,...
ON FRIDAY, the exchange rate of the dollar plunged down against other major world currencies and gold rose by 1.2 per cent to $638.5 an ounce. The euro went up 1.2 per cent reaching a 19-month high at $1.31, the yen was up 0.5 per cent and sterling up by...
Over 1,500 trade unionists, youth and local residents last Saturday defied the rain to march and rally outside St Helier Hospital, near Sutton in Surrey, against plans to close the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department. ‘Keep our hospital open! Save St Helier!’ they shouted. Trade unionists and residents told News Line...
There needs to be a 50 per cent increase in the number of hospital consultants by 2010 to ensure ‘a safe service’, the President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England has warned. Bernard Ribeiro said the government’s target of 2,700 more consultants in England and Wales by 2010...

US Under Attack In Baghdad

A US military post came under attack in Balad on the outskirts of Baghdad yesterday as explosions rocked the Iraqi capital, despite a round-the-clock curfew. This followed a night filled with the sounds of mortars and occasional bursts of gunfire. Resistance fighters yesterday fired at least two mortar rounds, setting the...
IT is now obvious that the Labour government is setting out, at breakneck speed, to privatise the NHS. It has set up private treatment centres consuming a massive chunk of the NHS budget without setting any target that the private sector must reach for the block funding it receives. While the...
APPEARING at the Gate Gourmet sacked workers employment tribunal yesterday was Brendan Gold, TGWU national secretary for civil aviation transport. He was also responsible at the time when BA transferred the company to Gate Gourmet. On August 10 last year he arrived at the site at about two o’clock in the...
LAST Thursday two leaders from the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah, and the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, underlined the need to strengthen national unity and expedite the formation of a national unity government to extricate the Palestinian people from the circle of the international siege imposed on...
THE Iraqi Ba’ath Party has issued a communique warning that the execution of Saddam Hussein is a red line that must not be crossed. The statement reads: ‘Now that Tony Blair has admitted that his policy in Iraq was the biggest disaster in the modern history of Britain, repeating what...
THE Gate Gourmet locked out workers’ employment tribunal in Reading continued yesterday with the case for the sacked workers. First to appear was Sajit Sandu, vice-chair of the Joint Consultative Committee, who explained that on August 10 he had been called back from a shop stewards meeting at about 10am,...
PALESTINIAN doctors reported on Wednesday evening that five Palestinians, including a child and a woman, were killed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip following Israel’s security cabinet decision to continue their military raids and ‘targeted killings’. Four Palestinians were killed when Israeli ground troops...
THE death toll of civilians in Iraq reached a new high of 3,709 in October, with sectarian violence to blame for most of the killings, a United Nations report said on Wednesday. ‘Sectarian violence seems to be the main cause,’ the report said, adding the death toll for September was...
PRESIDENT George Bush is due to meet with his puppet Prime Minister of Iraq, Maliki, in the Jordanian capital of Amman, to discuss Bush’s policy for ‘one last push for victory’ in Iraq. This policy has now been modified to include an intensification of the training of the Iraqi ‘security...

Pensions Strike!

‘UNISON is having a special local government pensions conference in February. The branches have forced our leaders to concede this so we can call strike action,’ UNISON Hertfordshire County Branch officer Paul Meaton told News Line yesterday. He was one of over a thousand trade unionists from across Britain...
Amnesty International on Tuesday renewed its call for a comprehensive and independent UN-led inquiry into violations of international humanitarian law committed during this year’s Israel-Hezbollah conflict. The call came as the organisation published its latest and concluding report into violations committed during the conflict. The report focuses on Israeli attacks in...
Nurses are the worst paid professional group working in the public sector, according to new evidence from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) released yesterday, Tuesday 21st November, 2006. The RCN is calling for nurses to be given a morale-boosting pay award in 2007 to help bridge the current pay...
Students and lecturers at Reading University yesterday condemned Monday’s decision to axe the university’s Physics Department. Philip Diamond of the Institute of Physics said the decision was very disappointing. The controversial proposal was approved by the University Council, while over 200 students and lecturers protested outside the meeting which was guarded...
THE backwardness of British capitalism was revealed yesterday for all to see when Reading University shut down its Physics Department. As usual, the reality is the exact opposite of the Blair government’s propaganda, that it is dedicated to the development of the most advanced sciences. The heaviness of the blow delivered...
AS contract negotiations between local Houston janitors in Texas, USA and five national cleaning firms continue today, people of faith and conscience from around the country are making plans to fly to Houston to pay witness to the struggle in Houston to lift thousands of janitors out of poverty....
AT a time when the privately owned treatment centres are being handed billions of pounds of the NHS Budget, without any investigation of just how many operations they are actually carrying out, NHS hospitals are going to be made to advertise for patients and to struggle for their ‘share’...
The arrogance of Metroline’s boss in talks with the Transport and General Workers Union, coupled with the failure to move sufficiently on pay, means Londoners will face another day of travel misery today. Negotiators from the union said that talks at the Arbitration And Conciliation Service (ACAS) broke down after...
FOLLOWING last Friday’s published remarks of Labour Minister Margaret Hodge, one of Blair’s closest political friends, describing the Prime Minister as practising ‘moral imperialism’, adding that she had been suspicious of him since 1998, the news for Blair has gone from bad to worse. Forced by the Iraq and Afghanistan...
Following on the heels of two days of record-breaking acts of non-violent civil disobedience in Houston, last Friday janitors and their supporters spoke out against being charged by mounted police. More than 1,700 janitors, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are in the fourth week of a strike...
THE Labour government is visibly collapsing day by day, with even ministers expressing opposition and saying that they had doubts about Blair’s foreign policy as long ago as 1998. The Minister concerned, Margaret Hodge, unburdened herself at a Fabian Society dinner. She described Blair’s foreign policy as ‘moral imperialism’ which...
THE current cash crisis at Worthing and Southlands Hospitals is the result of a ‘manufactured’ funding deficit. This is due to the government’s belief that health services in the South of England are over-funded, says campaigning group KWASH (Keep Worthing and Southlands Hospitals). Campaigners have joined with consultants at Worthing and...
FORMER Gate Gourmet general manager Hans Bosch, who has now left the company, gave evidence on the fourth day of the Gate Gourmet employment tribunal hearing in Reading yesterday. He was asked if on 10th August 2005, when the company bussed in 130 ‘seasonal workers’ while at the same time...
Confirmation that manufacturing employment levels are at their lowest since 1841 drew an angry and frustrated response from the Transport and General Workers Union. Tony Woodley, TGWU General Secretary said the report from the Office for National Statistics meant that the industrial revolution has almost come full circle. Woodley said: ‘Having...
PRESIDENT BUSH and his military advisors were yesterday poised to announce ‘one last big push’ for victory in Iraq, and that 20,000 more US troops will be sent into the country for that purpose. This policy is an expression of Bush’s horror at, and opposition to, the notion that he...
GATE Gourmet managers yesterday continued to present their witness statements on the third day of the sacked Gate Gourmet workers employment tribunal in Reading. They referred to the events of the 10th and 11th August when 800 workers were sacked and locked out. Karon Curl, Human Resources officer of the...

Worthing NHS Cuts Opposed!

Two Worthing Hospital intensive care consultants have produced their own ‘Fit for whose Future?’ report, opposing plans to axe the hospital’s emergency services. Dr Richard Venn and Dr Lui Forni challenge the arguments given for a ‘shift from hospital to community care’. Their’s is a response to the NHS South...
Motorists honked their horns in support of the Chagossian islanders who marched through the pouring rain to Crawley Town Hall yesterday, to demonstrate against the Blair government and the local council. The islanders chanted: ‘Give us back our island!’ ‘Forty years of exile – Give us back our security! –...

Bbc Strike Days

BECTU yesterday named two new strike dates for its BBC News members, on the 23 and 24 November. ‘They are trying to bring in a rota pattern that is totally unworkable,’ BBC engineer and BECTU rep, Tim Walton, told News Line on the picket line outside BBC Television Centre in...
YESTERDAY was the second day of the Employment tribunal for Gate Gourmet sacked workers where they are bringing their claim for unfair dismissal. Kay Collins, Human Resources Manager, gave evidence concerning the employment of casual labour on the day that 800 Gate Gourmet workers were sacked. She confirmed that about 130...
‘WE will not be silenced’ is the message from Diego Garcian islanders who will be marching to Crawley Town Hall today, to protest against the government and the local council. They are angry that Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, on behalf of the Blair government, is appealing against the High Court...
THE Prime Minister with his grip on office weakening fast, yesterday through the Queen’s speech brought forward his familiar and well known programme of attacks on the working class, attacks that have still not been completed after over nine years of trying. These included a pledge to...
Privateer Global Solutions Ltd (GSL) has been criticised again for its management of Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs). Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers published today her findings on Tuesday of a follow up inspection of Oakington IRC in June of this year. Once again several recommendations from a previous inspection had...