Home 2013 February

Monthly Archives: February 2013

‘The bullying and intimidation of our members’ representatives by STM Security, is utterly deplorable,’ said Bob Crow yesterday. He added: ‘It is the issue at the heart of this long-running dispute. ‘It represents a pre-meditated assault on this trade union in a desperate attempt to try and undermine RMT’s growing strength...
THE NHS trade unions have split with Unison and the RCN voting at the national NHS Staff Council on Tuesday, to support changes that will mean the end of national agreements, while the GMB and Unite voted against. The GMB stated afterwards that the ‘NHS is exposed to...
FULL-scale nhs privatisation under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act and cuts to terms and conditions of NHS Staff pose real threats to the National Health Service, the GMB and Unite warned yesterday. A meeting of the NHS Staff Council took place at Unison HQ on Tuesday,...

Italy ‘Ungovernable’

THE bourgeoisie of Europe woke up on Tuesday morning to discover, to their horror, headlines proclaiming that the third largest economy in Europe had become ‘ungovernable’ and threatens to bring down the eurozone. Monday night’s announcement of the general election results in Italy immediately sent the capitalist money markets into...
THE Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is facing lengthy delays in companies signing new recognition agreements with the union which has replaced the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the majority union in the platinum sector. The official recognition process at Impala Platinum, has been stalled for nearly...
UNITE and GMB officers, members and supporters held a lunchtime protest outside the Unison head office in London yesterday, where the NHS staff side meeting was deciding on proposed changes to the Agenda for Change national pay agreement. Unison and the RCN leaders have agreed to accept the changes. But Sarah...
EUROPEAN stock markets fell sharply yesterday, with the election result in Italy producing no government, but marking a massive vote against austerity. Italy’s FTSE MIB index fell 4.4%, while London’s FTSE 100 fell 1.3% and share markets in Frankfurt and Paris fell by more than 1.5%. The yield on Italian government...
IN January the European Trades Union Confederation (ETUC) issued the call for trade unionists across the continent to rally on the eve of the European Summit, being held on the 14/15th March, under the slogans ‘Against austerity’ and ‘jobs for young people’. Responding to this call the British TUC has...
EGYPT’S Port Said entered its eighth day of a mass civil disobedience campaign on Sunday in response to the killings of protesters during clashes with security forces last month. Groups of demonstrators closed down the Raswa and Nasr customs checkpoints and halted railway movement, while more than 35,000 workers from...
‘SLAVERY should go and our rights given!’ demanded London Overground workers who were lobbying the London Mayor’s office yesterday in preparation for their February 28th strike against ‘inhumane and barbaric’ conditions. In July 2012 the Travel Safe workers won union recognition and are now members of the RMT railway workers...
ISRAELI authorities have hospitalised three Palestinians on hunger strike, an Israeli prison services spokeswoman said last Friday. Ayman Sharawna, Jaafar Azzidine and Tareq Qaadan were transferred from Ramle prison to hospitals in Israel for medical tests, Sivan Weizman said. Azzidine and Qaadan, who were taken to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre,...

UK loses AAA credit rating

Late last Friday, Moody’s Investors Service, one of the world’s three main credit rating agencies, downgraded the sovereign credit rating of the UK and stripped the country of its coveted triple-A rating. For over a year, all three ratings agencies have put Britain on ‘negative watch’; now Moody’s has taken...
THE POUND is set to fall dramatically when the money markets open in the City of London today, following Britain’s first ever sovereign ratings downgrade at the end of last week. After the European markets closed on Friday night, ratings agency Moody’s moved against Sterling, stripping the UK of...

Defend The Fire Service

ON Monday 25 February the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will be holding a budget meeting at 10.00am at City Hall, at which his attempts to save £45m by shutting 12 fire stations, removing 18 engines and slashing 520 firefighter posts will be discussed. The mayor’s opponents have organised a...
THE European Commission (EC) yesterday admitted that the eurozone economy would contract in 2013, saying it will shrink by 0.3%. The EC warned that Spain, France and Portugal have failed to cut overspending to agreed targets. Spain’s government deficit was 10.2% of the country’s economic output in 2012, well above the...
THE new Japanese Premier, Shinzo Abe, is now in Washington in talks with President Obama, who declared last year that confronting China in the Asia Pacific region was the US’ main preoccupation. Yesterday he was busily cementing the US alliance with Japan, which is currently stoking up war fever...
THE government’s proposed changes to the GP contract in England risk putting targets before patients and could seriously destabilise local patient services, GP leaders warned yesterday. The warning came in the British Medical Association’s (BMA’s) response to the government’s consultation on proposals to make sweeping changes to the English...
THE pound fell sharply on Wednesday against both the dollar and the euro as the money markets were shaken to the core by the unexpected news that the powerful Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee had been split over the issue of embarking on a further round of quantitative...
TODAY, hundreds of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli jails are refusing food for one day in solidarity with the four leading Palestinian Prisoners – Samer Issawi, Tariq Qaadan, Jafar Ezzedine and Yamna Sharawna who have been on a continuous hunger strike. They have chosen peacefully to protest their illegitimate detention...
On Tuesday, NHS North West London announced that it would close A&E departments at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Central Middlesex and Ealing Hospitals. Two million west London residents are affected and 100,000 have already signed petitions opposing the closures. Those people have been ignored. Charing Cross Hospital will be demolished and most...
Hezbollah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah gave an impassioned speech via a giant screen, during a celebration at the Sayyid al-Shuhada Complex in Beirut’s Southern Suburb on Monday, to mark Hezbollah Martyrs’ Day anniversary. ‘Brothers and sisters: The slogan of this year’s anniversary is the “martyred leaders on the path to...
‘WE’LL do whatever it takes to save our hospitals,’ GMB National Officer for the NHS Rehana Azam told News Line yesterday. She was responding to the announcement by NHS North West London that it intends to close Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing District General Hospitals. The decision was confirmed...
IRISH Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Chief Economist Paul Sweeney has told a high level global economic summit involving the IMF, World Bank and international trade union federations that Europe must make good on its June 2012 promise to separate Ireland’s private and bank debt, if the country is...
FOLLOWING Monday’s report that the eurozone contracted by 0.6% in the last three months of 2012, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) followed suit, revealing yesterday that it also contracted in the same quarter. The Paris-based think-tank said there was a 0.2% contraction across its 34 member states...
IAG chairman Walsh plans to axe 3,800 jobs – a fifth of the Spanish Iberia airline’s workforce – in a country where unemployment is at 26% while youth unemployment is over 50%. Riot police have been clashing with the striking workers during their five-day stoppage in protest against the sacking...
THE Fire Brigades Union in Northamptonshire is extremely concerned at reports suggesting a possible merger of the fire and rescue service and the police, which firefighters believe will damage the service to the public. Firefighters were alarmed to find out from media reports last week that high-level talks have already...
THE news that has emerged that the Tory police and crime commissioner for Northamptonshire, Adam Simmonds, has been in secret talks for twelve weeks over the merger of the county’s fire service with the police is much more than a cost-cutting exercise. If carried through to its logical conclusion, as...
‘WE will be balloting for further action, this issue is not going to go away,’ NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet told News Line yesterday. Speaking at the picket outside Broadcasting House in central London, she said: ‘It’s a brilliant, solid turnout for the strike today. ‘It demonstrates the huge support the...
STERLING dropped sharply against the dollar and the euro yesterday, leading currency speculators to describe the UK economy as ‘stagnant’ and accuse the Bank of England of ‘cheering the pound down’. Sterling was down to a seven-month low against the dollar, while against the euro it hit a 15-month low. The...
FIGURES publicised by Labour’s shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, have shown that one third of England’s hospitals have been completely full at some time in this new year. The average occupancy rate of NHS hospitals stood at close to 95 per cent throughout January – and on one single...
A COMMUNICATION Workers Union (CWU) report to its Postal Policy Forum on ‘National Talks – The Future of the Royal Mail Group’, has told branches to be prepared for a national strike ballot. The report warns that ‘the new management structure is now more centrally led and command and control...
ENGLAND’S hospitals have been dangerously full of patients during the month of January, the Labour Party warned yesterday. Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘Too many hospitals across England are operating beyond safe occupancy levels. Due to cuts to council care budgets, many are having to sail dangerously close to...
GREEK Statistics Authority (ELSTAT) announced catastrophic unemployment and recession figures in its monthly report on Thursday. ELSTAT stated that youth unemployment (15-24 years old) reached 61.7 per cent last November. ELSTAT also said that over 1.35 million workers, 27 per cent of the total workforce, were registered as unemployed in Greece...
ASSAILANTS shot dead an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander in Syria while he was travelling by road from Damascus towards the Lebanese capital Beirut, the Iranian authorities said on Thursday. Iran’s elite fighting force have named the slain man as Commander Hassan Shateri, in a statement on its website that said...
A KING’S Fund report has warned that government cuts and staff shortages led to a 38 per cent increase in A&E waiting times in the last quarter of 2012. The think-thank’s report said: ‘The proportion of patients waiting more than four hours from arrival in A&E to admission, transfer or...
SPEAKING at the Royal United Services Institute on Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Hague reported that: ‘On January 16th, a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked a gas production facility in the Algerian desert. Thirty-nine hostages from nine countries died, including six British nationals. It...
The high-tech way Amazon processes orders and tracks inventory disguises the fact that it is also a traditional labour-intensive mail order retail business that exploits its staff, as well as dodging taxes, claims the GMB. On Wednesday, the GMB protested with anti-social behavioural orders (ASBO’s) at nine workplaces in protest...
OFFICIAL figures released yesterday show that the economy of the 17 nations that comprise the eurozone suffered an overall crash of 0.6% in the fourth quarter of last year – leading to the situation being dubbed the St Valentine’s Day Massacre of the eurozone. For the first time in history...
ARMED squads of the Greek riot police using tear gas and truncheons attacked hundreds of small farmers who were protesting by blockading a motorway on Wednesday just outside the city of Lamia in central Greece. For a month now small farmers in central and northern Greece have been staging rallies...

Eu Slump Deepens!

THE slump deepened across the eurozone in the final three months of 2012, official figures out yesterday show. Eurozone GDP shrank by 0.6% in the fourth quarter, which was worse than forecast and the sharpest contraction since the beginning of 2009. It marks the first time the region failed to grow...

Inflation to soar–King

‘INFLATION is likely to rise further in the near future,’ Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King warned yesterday, describing it as ‘stubbornly above the 2% target’. He blamed inflation on ‘external pressures’ and acknowledged that he had no idea how high it will go, admitting, ‘it is actually impossible...
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S annual State of the Union speech was dominated by the internal situation of US capitalism, and his search for Republican partners to tackle the fantastic indebtedness of US capitalism which requires a great new war, this time a class war against the US workers, tackling its...
Over 500 students, lecturers and other academic staff, and privatisation-threatened support workers, held a vibrant march and rally on Tuesday afternoon, in support of the ongoing Occupation at Sussex University. Over 70 students occupied the campus conference centre at Bramber House a week ago to reinforce their demand that...
THE COALITION government’s slave labour ‘Back to Work’ programme was dealt a major blow yesterday when, in a unanimous decision, three judges from the Court of Appeal ruled that the regulations under which they operate are unlawful and must be quashed. Cait Reilly 24, a University of Birmingham geology graduate,...
FRIENDS OF Newport Art Gallery are appealing to Newport City Council to Save the Newport Art Gallery Temporary Exhibitions Programme (T.E.P.) Newport City Council’s proposed budget cuts in the Learning and Leisure budget will see the Temporary Exhibitions Programme (T.E.P.) scrapped and the post of visual arts officer...