Home 2007 January

Monthly Archives: January 2007

£900m PFI COLLAPSE!

‘WE absolutely call for pfi to be abandoned, it is a failed system which is costing the nhs billions,’ a UNISON spokeswoman told News Line yesterday. Speaking after the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee issued a report saying that the government had handed the £900 million Paddington Health...
EX-LABOUR MP Alice Mahon is considering taking the NHS to the High Court after the service refused to allow her access to a drug that will prevent her losing her sight. Mahon, 69, lost most of the sight in one eye due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and...
THE Hamas and Fatah Palestinian factions have held their fire in the first few hours of a truce that took effect yesterday afternoon in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian mediators helped Hamas and Fatah leaders reach the deal after five days of fighting that left more than 30 people dead. Under...
OVER 200,000 civil servants from over 200 government departments, agencies and public bodies are taking part in one-day national strike action today. The strike by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) against the axing of 100,000 jobs announced by Gordon Brown, will be followed by a two-week overtime...
At the last minute yesterday afternoon, the Transport and General Workers Union called off today’s 48-hour strike by British Airways cabin crew. The TGWU announced that the three-day strikes planned for February were also called off. TGWU general secretary, Tony Woodley, held a joint press briefing at 3pm with BA...
ON Wednesday over 200,000 civil servants and over 200 government departments will be strike bound for the day. Civil servants from all government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies will be taking part in a one-day national strike which will see pickets, rallies and demonstrations...
PALESTINIAN Prime Minister Ismail Haniya on Sunday called on President Mahmud Abbas to adopt a quick decision to withdraw all members of the security apparatuses under his command and remove all military roadblocks that were set up on the Gaza Strip roads. In a brief statement delivered at...
‘There should be no question of making patients pay for operations that are considered essential by their doctor or consultant,’ insisted UNISON head of Health, Karen Jennings yesterday. Jennings was responding to a suggestion from NHS boss Dr Tim Crayford, president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, that...
‘It’s outrageous – asking workers to work more hours for nothing and hand back a day’s pay,’ Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust UNISON branch secretary Marion Birch told News Line yesterday. Referring to a leaked memo, Birch said: ‘The suggestion was to work extra overtime and not get paid. ‘It’s...
‘THE time is now right to support the PSNI’ (Police Service of Northern Ireland), Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told delegates at the Sinn Fein conference in Dublin yesterday, before it voted to accept joining the PSNI Policing Boards. He added that the party had to become involved in...
UNISON has given official notice to the NHS employers Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust that 250 of their staff will take their first day’s strike this Wednesday, January 31st. This follows a 91.6 per cent ballot result in favour of strike action. The strike action will be taken by...

Occupy Chase Farm!

HEALTH chiefs on the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Strategy Board, yesterday denied that the decision has already been taken to shut the A&E unit at Chase Farm hospital in north London. The board, which is due to come forward with two options for ‘public consultation’ on the future of...
THE Blair government is now under attack from all sides, after its Prime Minister turned yellow and refused to attend the House of Commons debate on Iraq, to defend his policy that has resulted in 650,000 dead Iraqis, and a colossal expenditure of over $400 billion, with nothing...
‘We don’t want macho management or macho trade unionism, we want an honourable compromise,’ said Transport and General Workers Union general secretary Tony Woodley yesterday. He was speaking after British Airways advised passengers to make alternative travel arrangements ahead of next Tuesday’s two-day strike by cabin crew. This came after the...
BA yesterday threw the TGWU’s attempt at a compromise out of the window when it announced that all of its planes will be grounded next Tuesday and Wednesday, the 30-31 January, at Heathrow, and that all internal and EU flights will be grounded at Gatwick airport. In place of conciliation...
OVER 200 local residents, hospital workers, pensioners, community workers, trade unionists and others opposed to the closure of the Maudsley Hospital Emergency Clinic staged a demonstration to keep it open outside Southwark Council on Wednesday night. The demonstration took place ahead of a meeting of the council. Some protesters even tried...
BUSH opened his 2007 State of the Union speech with an open admission that his regime is facing defeat both at home and abroad. He said: ‘We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies – and the wisdom to face them together. . . We...

Blair Ducks Iraq Debate!

PREMIER Blair boycotted the House of Commons debate on Iraq yesterday in an unprecedented show of contempt for the bourgeois parliament. Before he left the chamber he dismissed a Liberal Democrat call for UK troops to leave Iraq by the end of October, saying it would send a ‘disastrous signal’. Lib...
TRADE unionists from across the public sector spoke out on Tuesday, demanding action from the TUC to stop the privatisation of the NHS and all the public services. Speaking to News Line before and after a 1,000-strong rally in Westminster Central Halls, they said that every service is being ripped...
OVER 1,000 trade unionists from all the public services joined a TUC rally at Westminster yesterday, where they demanded that their leaders call action now to stop privatisation. The rally in Westminster Central Halls was addressed by Gail Cartmail (Amicus), Mark Serwotka (PCS), Dave Prentis (UNISON), Mary Turner (GMB), Tony...
THE government’s policy of mass sackings of civil servants, of driving down their wages, and of outsourcing and privatisation has driven civil servants to decide to take one day official strike action on Wednesday January 31. 61.3 per cent of members voted for strike action. A direct response to the...
A NEW report from Cardiff University’s Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology has added to the portrait of a maritime industry where fatigue is endangering crews, vessels and the environment said the maritime Union of Australia (MUA) yesterday. It was released to make it available for study before the...
Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s investigation began more than three years ago when Belfast welder Raymond McCord claimed that his son, also called Raymond, had been killed by a police informer. What has emerged from her report is that in a constituent part of the United Kingdom, the north of...
IYAD Allawi, the former Iraqi puppet prime minister at the time of the US assault on Fallujah, and the leader of the Iraqi List, said yesterday: ‘I fear the situation in Iraq is bad and I fear a further slide towards disaster.’ Allawi is a secular Iraqi politician...
Collusion between Special Branch officers and a loyalist death squad was made possible by support at the ‘highest level’, Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan said yesterday. Members of a north Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force death squad involved in up to 15 murders while working as police informers, were protected by Special...
‘We won, as we should have done, because it was wrong and the police were wrong’, anti-war protester Brian Haw declared to cheering supporters after winning his latest legal battle to maintain his demonstration in Parliament Square. Police claimed Haw, 57, from Redditch, Worcestershire, posed a threat as terrorists...
HEZBOLLAH Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah said in an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV broadcast on 19 January: ‘We will accept a transitional government that would hold early elections. ‘We also accept a national unity government whose primary duty would be the endorsement of the international tribunal. Second, it should...
TUITION fees must rise by 100 per cent to £6,000 a year if universities are to cover their teaching costs, is the main conclusion from a survey of university managers. The managers also suggest that the fees for science subjects will have to be raised by over 200 per...
Banks and developers will make £23 billion in profits and interest over the next 30 years by building NHS hospitals under the government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI), health campaigners have calculated. A report by the Keep Our NHS Public group accused the government of carrying out the ‘patchwork privatisation’ of...

Sadr Aide Arrest

‘We are angry. This is a kind of revenge’, the spokesman for anti-occupation Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said yesterday after US troops and Iraqi special forces arrested the al-Sadr organisation’s Baghdad media director. Abdel Mehdi al-Matiri added: ‘Sheikh Abdel Hadi al-Duraji was arrested at midnight (2100 GMT Thursday) along with...
Doctors and nurses yesterday hit back at health secretary Patricia Hewitt’s complaint that the government should have capped GP’s pay. Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association GP’s Committee responded to her comments: ‘The increases in GP pay were directly linked, at government insistence, to demonstrating the quality...
TRADE unionists, youth and local NHS campaigners voted unanimously at a meeting on Thursday night ‘to establish the North East London Council of Action’. The job of the Council of Action is to stop hospital cuts and closures by organising occupations, strikes, demonstrations and all means necessary. ‘All over the country...
CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown has spoken of the need for a ‘new world order’. He is not embarrassed that this is what President Clinton and then President Bush have been fighting for, allied to Prime Minister Blair, for the last 10 years. The highlight of the Clinton-Blair collaboration was the...
NOBODY knows the number of botched or mismanaged operations being carried out by the private Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs) businesses, funded by the government to perform work for the National Health Service (NHS). This is the dangerous situation that has been exposed in an interim study carried out by...
THE government has plans to abolish head teachers in schools and replace them with ‘Tesco-style chief executives’! That is the warning being made by the teachers’ union, the NUT, which also blames the government for a growing recruitment crisis. An independent study commissioned by the NUT found that ‘Bureaucracy, external...
The secrecy surrounding Labour’s favoured Independent (private) Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs) has been slammed by the government’s own watchdog. Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker complained that a lot of private treatment centres did not provide contractually required ‘hospital episode statistics data returns’. She said yesterday: ‘There is a paucity of...
Serious Crime Prevention Orders dubbed ‘ASBOs for suspected criminals’ were unveiled at a press briefing by Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker yesterday. The new civil orders are contained in the Serious Crime Bill announced in the House of Lords on Tuesday and published in the House of Commons yesterday. They can...
Commenting on the government’s NHS ‘reforms’, Professor Ham, a former Director of Strategy at the Department of Health said: ‘The foundations have been laid for a complete transformation of health care delivery. ‘We are shifting from an integrated system, in which the National Health Service provided virtually all the care,...
LAKSHMI Mittal, the Indian-born billionaire has donated £2m to the Labour Party, it was revealed yesterday. The fifth richest man in the world, who owns the largest steel corporation, said he appreciated the work that the Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown had done in...
HEALTH workers and campaigners descended on Parliament from many parts of the country yesterday, to defend their hospitals. ‘My hospital is under threat. It’s a general hospital in the south,’ said Nicki Greenslade, RCN member and staff nurse at St Richard’s, Chichester. ‘Originally they were talking about downgrading us. They said...
THE ‘re-configuration’ of 60 District General Hospitals (DGHs) means a huge reduction in National Health Service (NHS) hospital capacity. This will result in the loss of consultant-led care for large sections of the population and privatisation of the remaining provision. When the ‘new’ Labour government took office in 1997 it adopted...
THE UK inflation rate has leapt to an 11-year high of three per cent according to the government’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI) which grossly underestimates the real cost of living increases as far as working class families are concerned. For example, these families now have to pay huge increases in...
THE government is planning ‘behaviour orders’ for people considered to be at risk of committing a violent crime. Class prejudice, ie racial and working class profiling is to rule, with those found to be guilty of some future crime finding themselves punished in advance by having a curfew inflicted...
A 96 per cent vote by British Airways cabin crew to strike over management by imposition and the breakdown of respect and industrial relations was confirmed yesterday morning by the Transport and General Workers Union. Speaking at a meeting of the cabin crew, Jack Dromey, T&G deputy general secretary,...
BELARUSIAN president Alyaksandr Lukashenka has blamed the Russian government for the oil transit crisis earlier this month. Speaking to reporters while casting his vote in the local elections in Minsk on Sunday he said: ‘As of today, I do not see any problems with regard to the issues where serious disagreements...