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Monthly Archives: February 2009

TENANTS who attended this week’s council housing inquiry at parliament say a programme of new council house building must begin immediately and projects to sell-off existing estates must be halted. Tenants from Bournemouth, East Devon, Stroud, Crawley, Reading, Southampton, Birmingham, Bolsover, Wolverhampton, Leeds, Sheffield, Cambridge, Harlow and Norwich attended the...
Tens of billions more pounds were wiped off the London Stock Exchange yesterday, in the wake of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) reporting its HBOS subsidiary made a £10.8bn loss last year. LBG added that 2008 profits at its Lloyds TSB business were down 80 per cent at £807m. The group is...
THE American economy contracted by 6.2 per cent in the last three months of last year, as consumer spending dropped by 4.3 per cent and exports collapsed by an annual rate of 23.6 per cent, according to official figures published in the United States yesterday. Retail sales fell at the...
The Unite trade union yesterday slammed former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) boss, 50-year-old Sir Fred Goodwin’s £650,000- a-year pension as the bank reported a UK record corporate loss of £24.1bn and prepared to sack 20,000 workers. Unite joint general secretary Derek Simpson said: ‘Fred Goodwin’s pension is a...

Bourgeois Lunacy At Rbs

YESTERDAY the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced the largest annual loss in UK corporate history of £24.1bn, made up of a £7.9bn trading loss and a £16.2bn write-down of the bank’s assets. It also reported that it is to put a further £325bn of toxic assets (worthless paper) into...
Greek civil servants, teachers, local government and hospital workers took part in a 24-hour national strike on Wednesday, in defence of their pensions rights and against the government’s decision for zero wage rises this year. The action was called by ADEDY, the public sector trade unions federation. Workers’ demonstrations and...
TAMILNET reports that the prominent Tamil Editor Nadesapillai Vithyatharahas been abducted in Colombo. Eyewitnesses told TamilNet that armed persons and men in police uniform who arrived in three white vans Thursday morning abducted Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, 58, the prominent editor of Jaffna-based Uthayan daily...
ENDING damaging staff cuts, bringing all of London’s Tube back into the public sector and getting the network’s upgrade back on track are more important than the name on the managing director’s door, rail union RMT said yesterday. Responding to news that London Underground chief Tim O’Toole was stepping...
THE Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor Straw, on Tuesday, told the House of Commons that he had, as Minister, taken the decision to make use of the ministerial veto under Section 53 of the misnamed Freedom of Information Act. This was to prevent the publication of minutes...
The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) held a 500-strong ‘Keep Royal Mail Public’ national rally before a bigger lobby of MPs on Tuesday against the government’s part-privatisation Bill being introduced in parliament tomorrow. Opening speaker CWU general secretary Billy Hayes told the rally: ‘Today is about people’s democracy against a political...
‘This is just the start of the battle,’ declared Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) deputy general secretary Dave Ward at a mass rally in Westminster yesterday. The 500-strong ‘Keep Royal Mail Public’ rally preceded a lobby of parliament against the government’s part-privatisation plan being introduced to parliament tomorrow. Ward told the...
THE Pakistani Taleban in the Swat valley border areas with Afghanistan have signed a permanent cease-fire with the Pakistan government and are starting to release Pakistan soldiers and paramilitary forces that they have been holding prisoner. All is well. Peace has broken out, pleasing everybody, one would think. However this rash...
US autoworkers union UAW and Ford have reached a tentative deal to modify terms of their agreement on the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) health care trust. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in 2007 the creation of the VEBA trust would safeguard retiree health care for 80 years. This week’s...
‘You have to fight for what is right’, Chase Farm Hospital worker Paulette Wright told News Line at the North East London Council of Action monthly picket of the Enfield hospital yesterday. Supporting the Council of Action’s determination to stop the planned closure of the hospital’s A&E, Maternity and Paediatrics...
YESTERDAY the bourgeois media was full of the thoughts of police chiefs who are preparing for a ‘summer of rage’, and pointing to the 120,000 strong anti-capitalism demonstration in Dublin, in the aftermath of the Greek revolutionary demonstrations, as just the semblance of what’s to come in the UK....
POSTAL workers received overwhelming support from the public last Friday when they collected petitions and letters opposing the government’s plans to part-privatise Royal Mail. Corby delivery members are incensed by the Labour MP Phil Hope’s refusal to support a completely publicly owned Royal Mail despite his previous opposition...
‘Many remain in those torture chambers’, just-returned Guantánamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed said in a statement read out at a London press conference yesterday. Mohamed said: ‘I hope you will understand that after everything I have been through I am neither physically nor mentally capable of facing the media...
Around 120,000 trade unionists and their supporters marched through Dublin on Saturday in defence of their jobs, wages, pensions and public services. The massive national demonstration called by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions was a display of anger at the government and employers’ attempts to put the full burden...
120,000 trade unionists and their supporters, including over a hundred workers who are part of the occupation of the Waterford Crystal plant, marched through Dublin on Saturday. Their march put the do-nothings of the British TUC led by Barber, and Unite’s Woodley and Simpson to shame. Unite members in Waterford have...
GM Europe’s European Employee Forum (EEF) has made the most dire predictions in its February 16, 2009 report. It states that ‘GM’s “Renaissance” plan for Europe is not viable. It will finish off the European GM brands and companies. . .’ It considers that, ‘The approval of the loans for...
Hundreds of occupying Waterford Crystal workers, members of the Unite trade union, will be joining today’s national demonstration in Dublin. It has been called by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) against the government’s attempts to place the full burden of the capitalist crisis on the backs of Irish...
THE joint general secretaries of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, met with Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling at Number 11 on Thursday for crisis talks on manufacturing. According to the Unite statement, ‘The meeting was called by the union leaders because of fears that a plant closure in the car industry...
Syrian doctors who returned from Gaza came back with images of the ‘spilled blood of a people that desired freedom and paid for it in the blood of their children, giving an example to the whole world in resilience, sacrifice and resistance’. The first Syrian medical delegation consisting of ten...
HISTORY has played a huge joke on the Stalinist bureaucracy. Under the rule of Gorbachev and Yeltsin it thought that it would be able to restore capitalism and rejoin what it termed ‘the modern world’ in some style. Particularly under Yeltsin, minor bureaucrats became billionaires overnight, as they seized hold of...
THE Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has called a national demonstration on February 21 at 2pm in Dublin to mobilise workers against the attempts to impose the entire burden of the capitalists banking crisis onto the backs of the working class, while billions continue to be handed...

£700bn of government debt

GENERAL government debt is now over £700 billion as the slump hits public finances. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said: ‘Net debt was £703.4 billion at the end of January, compared with £607.8 billion a year earlier.’ Government borrowing now stands at 47.8 per cent of UK economic output. Last...
TamilNet reports that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) launched an indiscriminate artillery barrage into the newly announced ‘safety zone’ on Tuesday killing at least 108 civilians and causing injuries to more than 200, according to initial details from the medical sources in the area. Every shell that hit the area...
GENERAL Motors yesterday presented the United States Department of Treasury with its restructuring plan to re-establish the bankrupt company through massive sackings of over 47,000 workers in the US, and by slashing all previous UAW agreements governing wages, hours, flexibility, pensions and health care in the US. The UAW US...

Brown Denies Job Change

Gordon Brown yesterday denied that he is about to step down as Prime Minister, adding that there is ‘no possibility of a job called Global Regulator’. Brown told his monthly press conference that newspaper reports talking of his stepping down were just ‘gossip’. He insisted that his priority was to...
A DEMONSTRATION outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square central London yesterday afternoon demanded the immediate release of Binyam Mohamed from Guantanamo Bay. ‘Binyam must be released now,’ said London Guantanamo Campaign member Aisha Maniar, ‘his health is deteriorating, he has said that the British state has been involved in...
CONSUMER price inflation fell in January, much less than was expected by the so-called experts. The Consumer Prices Index reached an annual rate of 3%, marginally down from the 3.1% in December, the official figures have shown. This rate is still almost one per cent above the government’s inflation...
THE accession of President Obama has not in the slightest held up, or held back, the massive air attacks that are being made by US drones inside Pakistan, killing large numbers of people from the air, on the orders of his predecessor, George Bush. Obama is quite clearly taking over...
THE Communication Workers Union will collect petitions and raise public awareness of the threats to privatise Royal Mail when it descends on Corby Town at 11am Friday, February 20. This follows the refusal of Phil Hope MP to sign EDM (Early Day Motion) 428 opposing the privatisation...
IN August 2005 800 Gate Gourmet workers were sacked by megaphone in the car park of the Heathrow company. The TGWU, led by Tony Woodley, verbally denounced the employer but refused to make the workers’ resistance to the mass sackings official and refused to call any action. In a few...
Osama Hamdan, the Hamas Movement’s representative in Lebanon, on Saturday condemned Israel as being fully responsible for any retreat from truce understandings. He also said that the Egyptian mediator at the truce talks should take a stand towards Israel’s procrastination. Hamdan told the Al-Jazeera TV channel that there was full agreement...
Agency workers at BMW’s Mini plant in Oxford erupted in fury yesterday after 850 of them, a third of the Cowley plant workforce, were sacked at an hour’s notice. Workers coming off night shift were summoned to a mass meeting at 5.30am to be read out a notice from the...
Corby Postal Workers have agreed unanimously to campaign against the threat to privatise Royal Mail in Corby despite the local Labour MP Phil Hope abandoning his previous anti-privatisation stance. Last Friday, senior officials of the Communication Workers Union met with Union members in Corby following the growing unrest towards Phil...
EX-BANKER and City financier, Sir David Freud, is Labour’s ‘Workfare’ programme architect. He drew up the plans to force single parents and all but the most seriously disabled onto Workfare, work-for-your-benefit schemes, where refusal would mean a loss of benefit and being plunged into penury. He aimed to progressively harass all...
A team of British officials have travelled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to visit detainee Binyam Mohamed and make preparations for his expected release. A Scotland Yard doctor on Saturday visited him at Guantánamo’s Camp Delta to ascertain whether he was fit enough to fly home. Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British resident, was...

BBC pay fight looms

The BBC has expressed ‘surprise’ at the claim by its recognised unions for an increase of £1800 per person from August 1, broadcasting union BECTU said on Thursday. The BBC’s response to the claim, submitted jointly by BECTU, the NUJ and Unite two weeks ago, draws attention to the substantial...
NHS PATIENTS suffering from the same illness, in the same NHS hospital ward, will now be able to purchase drugs and better care, under a new top-up scheme, if they have the cash, a senior Labour government health official admitted yesterday. This means that rich patients will be able...
‘Tesco is putting more and more pressure on meat suppliers to cut their prices and this is leading to a shocking exploitation of workers and a two-tier workforce,’ Unite organiser Chris White said yesterday morning. He was speaking at a demonstration outside the Central London Tesco store in Regent Street,...
An admission by director of policy and strategy for the Department of Health, Una O’Brien, has stirred up concerns that ‘co-payments’ or top-up fees have brought in a two-tier NHS. At a recent House of Commons health committee evidence session, committee chairman Kevin Baron asked her whether patients on...
THE Political Division of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) issued a political statement yesterday. ‘The Tamil homeland is witnessing one of the worst human tragedies of the 21st century,’ said the Political Division of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) in a statement issued in Tamil on Wednesday. ‘More...

Virgin-Ryanair Job Cuts

The airlines industry was hit with a wave of job cuts yesterday. Virgin Atlantic announced 600 sackings. Ryanair announced cuts in its summer schedule at Dublin Airport, saying they will result in the loss of 200 jobs. These will be among pilots, cabin crew and engineers, as flights are cut. Aircraft maintenance firm...