Home 2007 September

Monthly Archives: September 2007

FIVE thousand Royal Mail workers in north, east and south-east London are striking today, after voting overwhelmingly in ballots to fight ‘executive actions’ by management. A 24-hour strike by the Communication Workers Union in south-east London began yesterday, with delivery offices in north London also striking from last night and...
POSTAL workers, members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are on strike today in north-east and south-east London against Royal Mail’s plans to axe 40,000 jobs, impose an effective pay cut, bring in flexible working and make draconian changes to pensions. This localised action has been provoked by the state-owned...
The democratically elected Hamas government has called on Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries on Wednesday to stay away from a US-sponsored Middle East peace meeting expected in November. Hamas said in a statement on Tuesday: ‘The Palestinian government warns that the autumn conference will be a new gateway to...
THE government’s Healthcare Commission published a report yesterday which called for National Health Service (NHS) hospital trusts to ‘do more to ensure they consistently provide dignity in care to older people, including offering adequate nutrition and privacy’. Caring for Dignity reported ‘that in some cases, there are inadequate arrangements for...
EMERGENCY brake problems that led to the suspension of the Hammersmith and City, Circle and District lines were first raised on Tuesday, London Underground’s biggest union, the RMT, said yesterday. Services on all three lines were suspended or severely disrupted after several trains were found to have the same...
‘Unsatisfactory’ government proposals mean a new junior doctors ‘medical training disaster’ is looming, warned the British Medical Association (BMA) yesterday. Commenting on the proposals to prevent a repeat of this year’s ‘MTAS’ (Medical Training Application Service) fiasco, the BMA warned that any computer system to recruit junior doctors in future...
‘Basra Police Chief Abd-al-Jalil Khalaf revealed that there is a conspiracy to assassinate religious figures in Basra Governorate during the holy month of Ramadan,’ Al Sharqiah television in Iraq has reported. In a press conference, Khalaf said those accused of carrying out assassinations against representatives of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani,...
FOREIGN Secretary David Miliband, the ‘rising star’ in the government, was given the task of presenting Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s foreign policy strategy at the Labour Party Conference on Tuesday. As with other keynote speeches, Miliband’s, the second longest of the conference at 15 minutes, was the result of...
ABOUT 73,000 carworkers, members of the 600,000-strong United Automobile Workers (UAW) trade union, went on indefinite strike at 11am on Monday at General Motors’ (GM) 70 plants in the United States. There has not been a national strike at GM in the US since 1970. The strike is ostensibly over...
A MASS strike at General Motors plants across the United States began on Monday morning as 80,000 car workers walked out at 11 am local time after contract talks over health care costs and job security broke down. Tens of thousands of United Auto Workers members streamed out of dozens...
Rationing of NHS treatments is becoming more widespread, a survey of GPs and hospital doctors for ‘Doctor’ and ‘Hospital Doctor’ magazines has found. Of the 653 respondents answering questions on the consequences of rationing, 107, 16 per cent, said patients had died early as a result. More than half, 349, said...
THE leaders of big trade unions lined up behind Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth on Sunday to ensure that the conference cannot, in future, vote on motions proposing policies. Two motions on rule changes were put to the conference and the results of the...
Reports that another large employer has labelled the Howard government’s Industrial Relations laws as ‘farcical’ and ‘pointless’ is further evidence that the government’s IR laws are in ‘disarray’, says the Australian Congress of Trade Unions (ACTU). ‘A newspaper report . . . states the Australian Cleaning Contractors Association, which represents...
In a nationalistic speech to the Labour Party Conference yesterday, prime minister Brown made sweeping promises to improve public services. Hardly mentioning the world capitalist crisis, he claimed the ‘stability’ of the British economy had helped it weather a ‘recent wave of financial turbulence’. In a sop to the unions he...
The Iraqi refugee crisis is reaching breaking point, Amnesty International said in its report ‘Millions in Flight’, published yesterday. Help from the international community has been ‘seriously inadequate,’ it concluded, focusing particularly on countries like the UK which participated in the invasion of Iraq and hence ‘carry particular...
THE two wings of the bourgeoisie are now going at it hammer and tongs to both exploit and abuse workers from the new EU states, many thousands of whom have come to the UK looking for a better life. First of all you have the Bank of England and the...
At the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth yesterday, Chancellor Alistair Darling stressed his support for the banks. In his keynote speech, moving the resolution ‘Prosperity and Work’, Darling said: ‘Our financial services industry is strong. It has an international reputation. ‘It is vital to the economy.’ Pledging his allegiance to the bosses...
UP TO 500 protesters marched in Crawley on Saturday to demonstrate against the building of a new immigration detention centre at Gatwick Airport. The lively demonstration left the Memorial Gardens in Crawley Town Centre to chants of ‘No borders, no nations, stop deportations!’ and ended at the present immigration...
THE UK's civil stockpile of separated plutonium is now over 100 tonnes, enough for the production of 17,000 nuclear bombs. The stockpile has almost doubled in the last 10 years, showing that the end of the Cold War saw a massive expansion...
LIBERTY this week asked the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to determine if Christopher Alder’s death in police custody has been properly investigated and if he suffered inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of the police.  The ECHR will hear that no one has been held accountable for...
THE Brown government has not just guaranteed all of the Northern Rock bank deposits, it has also underwritten its so called ‘commercial paper’, that is all of the worthless ‘promises to pay’, which cannot be honoured, and left the bank with many tens of billions of debts around its...
PALESTINIANS are remembering 25 years since the Sabra and Shatila massacre in the Lebanese capital Beirut – in which over 2,000 defenceless Palestinian refugees were slaughtered. And following last year’s defeat for Israel in Lebanon, they are also affirming that they will not give up the struggle for their homeland. The...
THE announcement by the CWU of a programme of two 48-hour national strikes across all sections of Royal Mail, along with a programme of rolling strikes, is a huge blow against the Royal Mail management and its main supporter, the Brown government. It is a big victory for the determination...
HAMAS has condemned the latest Zionist decision on Wednesday to declare the Gaza Strip a ‘hostile entity’ and to cut off vital fuel and electricity supplies to it. The democratically elected Hamas movement slammed the decision as ‘collective punishment’ for the 1.5 million residents of the impoverished territory, one of...

Cwu Resumes Strikes!

THE Communic-ation Workers Union announced yesterday that there will be further strike action in response to Royal Mail’s draconian and destructive proposals on pay and business changes. There remains no agreed pay deal, which was due on 1st April 2007, and the pay offer is linked to...
A FATAH spokesperson denied on Sunday that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) intends to ask Washington to postpone the US-sponsored conference on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict planned for November. The announcement comes two days before US Secretary of State, Condoleeza rice, arrives in Jerusalem to garner support for the planned...
FOLLOWING the decision of the US federal Reserve Bank to reduce its interest rate by 0.5 per cent, double the expected 0.25 per cent cut, shares on Wall Street rocketed upwards and all the proprietors of the indebted banking and mortgage institutions cheered, at the breathing space that they...
SHARES in Northern Rock slumped yesterday leaving the Brown government contemplating the £28 billion guarantee it has given to secure its deposits. Financial markets around the world have been further inflated by the 0.5 per cent cut in interest rates to 4.75 per cent by the US Federal Reserve bank...
QUEUES of worried and angry savers continued outside Northern Rock banks yesterday. At the Harrow branch many queuers told News Line that they did not trust Premier Brown and Chancellor Darling’s assurances that all of the deposits were guaranteed. Arun Oza told News Line: ‘I came yesterday before 9am and went...
YESTERDAY was an historic day, with Prime Minister Brown pledging to bail out the banks. At the TUC Congress, Labour Party leader Brown told the trade unions that they could not have above-inflation rate wage rises, and would have to put up with staged wage rises, which are in...
THREE veteran leaders of the UAW have sent an open letter to Ron Gettelfinger and the UAW leadership expressing their concern that the leadership is considering establishing a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, or VEBA health care trust fund, to cover the health care of hundreds of thousands of...
FRENCH Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Sunday that in relation to Iran: ‘We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war,’ he said in an interview broadcast on French television and radio. ‘We must negotiate right to the end,’ with Iran, he said, but underlined that...
Trade unions have been labelled ‘factory terrorists’ by the regime of Gloria Macapagaal Arroyo in the Philippines. Picket lines are being attacked and troops have been placed in workers’ communities to maintain ‘peace and order’, it was alleged by the revolutionary Filipino trade union, KMU yesterday. In the trade union...
YESTERDAY morning frantic savers once again laid siege to Northern Rock bank branches, determined to withdraw their savings, following the scenes over the weekend, which saw savers recover over £2 billion from the bank. Under this pressure the bank which had already lost 32 per cent of its share price...
Central to the Royal Mail ‘Pay Offer and Modernisation Agreement 2007/09’ are the sections on ‘flexible working’. These put the workforce at the minute-to-minute disposal of the employer in a way never before attempted by an employer in relation to a British trade union. Implementation is due on 8th October 2007...

Greenspan Lashes Bush

Alan Greenspan, the former head of the US Federal Reserve has released his memoirs, ‘The Age of Turbulence’, just as the economy goes into open crisis and ahead of a critical Federal Reserve Bank meeting. The man dubbed ‘the Oracle’ will tell his own tale of nearly two decades...
ANYONE who was wondering why, at the TUC Congress, when union leaders were moving resolutions calling for coordinated industrial action against the Brown government’s below inflation staged wage ‘increases’ for the health service and local government, they constantly warned Brown that these must not be repeated next year, and...

US Drives For War With Iran

THE Iranian government yesterday denied US charges that it was smuggling arms into Afghanistan to help the Taleban destroy NATO tanks and bring down helicopters. ‘We have no interest in instability in Iraq or Afghanistan’ the paper quotes an Iranian official as saying. ‘We have good neighbourly relations with the heads...
Postal workers across the country are up in arms demanding their union, the CWU, proceeds to immediately name strike dates after Royal Mail’s decision to press ahead with imposing draconian attacks on pay, jobs, conditions and pensions. Communication Workers Union (CWU) branches say the ‘modernisation’ programme is completely...
BRITISH troops have just scuttled out of Basra, leaving the various militias of the city in full control. They have settled down at Basra airport, where the troops are not protected by the hardened defence structures of the Palace, but live in very exposed tents. However, the mortaring of...
THE Socialist Arab Ba’ath Party in Iraq has affirmed that the report presented by the two assistants to the American president in Iraq, Ambassador Crocker and commander of the occupation forces Petraeus, did not deviate from what Iraqi patriots and many observers and politicians in the United States and...
THE governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, in a letter to the House of Commons Treasury select committee has warned that efforts by the other central banks to pump ‘liquidity’ into the financial system to shore it up ‘will sow the seeds of a future financial crisis’. He...
Human rights group Liberty yesterday called for stronger privacy protection as a YouGov poll revealed that a majority of UK citizens believe Britain is a ‘surveillance society’. In a report released yesterday, Liberty catalogues ‘the numerous ways in which ordinary Britons have increasingly become “suspects” subject to intense surveillance since...
In a paper submitted to the House of Commons Treasury Committee, Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England warned yesterday: ‘The recent turmoil in financial markets has increased uncertainty in the world economy.’ He claimed: ‘But the source of the problems lies not in the state of the world...
VOTING takes place this Sunday in Greece for the snap general election the current right-wing government of the New Democracy party called to avoid the consequences of its reactionary policies. But this scheme backfired dramatically when nearly the whole of southern Greece was engulfed in huge destructive forest fires that...