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Monthly Archives: March 2013

THE Department of Health has published an 80-page response to the Francis report into the failings at Mid Staffs Hospital. This is called ‘Patients First and Foremost, The Initial Government Response to the Report of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry’. There were an estimated 1,200 excess deaths in...
DOCTORS and nurses’ leaders are calling on the government to amend controversial NHS regulations to make it absolutely clear that patient care will have priority over competition. They warned that there are increasing concerns from doctors and nurses that enforced competition and privatisation are just days away. Dr Mark Porter, chair...
THE two biggest teachers unions have begun their annual conferences, where they will challenge the government over pay, Ofsted inspections and England’s Academies and Free Schools, which seek to employ teachers without academic qualifications, set their own pay rates and terms and conditions of service, including pensions, and are...
A FURTHER nail was driven into the coffin of British capitalism this week with the release of figures showing that the income from overseas investment has collapsed, pushing the gap between imports and exports to a massive £57.7 billion – a shortfall of 3.7% of GDP – the worst...
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday that the composition of a UN group to be assembled to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria must be fully representative and include China and Russia. Spokesman Hong Lei’s remark came after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said...
BBC journalists and technicians walked out across the UK at noon yesterday at the start of a 12-hour strike over cuts and a ‘bullying culture’. Broadcasting, cinema and theatre technicians union BECTU and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said: ‘The industrial action is in protest at close to 1,350...
1.9 MILLION people who pay no Council Tax in the poorest households in England will pay an average of £140 a year tax from next week because of benefit changes coming into force, anti-poverty think-tank the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) warned yesterday. The report, written by the New Policy Institute...
FURIOUS CYPRIOT workers took over the streets of Nicosia on Tuesday and occupied the Bank of Cyprus. The occupation took place on the eve of the government imposing special controls that would limit withdrawals in the event of the bank’s opening today. The ruling EU Troika is terrified that...
An overwhelming majority of teachers, lecturers and support staff have noticed a change for the worse to their living standards since the 2008 financial crisis, according to an Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) survey. More than 80% of respondents said they have less disposable income now, with 43%...
Thousands of Bank of Cyprus employees remained in occupation of the bank’s Nicosia headquarters in defence of their jobs yesterday, after hearing that the ‘restructuring’ agreed in the EU bailout deal involves thousands of bank job cuts. The occupation began on Tuesday after the country’s largest commercial bank announced plans...
OCCUPIERS at the University of Sussex are fighting a court injunction to forcibly remove them from the campus. Students at the university have been occupying the Bramber House conference centre at the south coast university since February 7th against the privatisation of services. On Tuesday morning, management served court injunctions to...
HUNDREDS of thousands of welfare claimants are being denied support by the social services, and are being referred to foodbanks by Job Centre staff if they don’t have enough cash to buy food. In the last twelve months the number of food parcels issued by Trussell Trust Foodbanks centres has...
‘GPs have been forced into commissioning as the Trojan horse of these reforms. They have been hoodwinked – hook, line, and sinker’, Dr Clare Gerada said in her speech to the BMA Health and Social Care conference on 20th March 2013. At the You-Gov event, Stand up and be...
A LOBBY of Parliament called by the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, and backed by the Unite trade union, was held yesterday, midday. It was also attended by Ealing, Charing Cross and Whittington Save Our Hospital campaigns as well as students from Goldsmiths University. Louise Irvine, Chair of the Save Lewisham...
The Bedroom Tax will lead to massive rises in rent arrears and homelessness, hitting the poorest people the hardest, Margaret Hodge, Chairwoman of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of MPs said yesterday. The tax comes in on 1st April next week, hitting housing benefit (HB) for tenants deemed...
YESTERDAY’S ‘solution’ to the economic crisis of Cyprus is simply the decision of the EU bankers and the IMF to completely bankrupt the country and plunge it into economic collapse. The ‘rescue deal’ imposed on the Cypriot government involves the closure of the country’s second largest bank, Laiki, which will...
‘Occupation makes us strong’, shouted over 3,000 students and their supporters as they marched through University of Sussex campus yesterday to stop privatisation. Banners from University of East Anglia, University of Sussex UCU, The Labour Representation Committee and a huge banner spelling out ‘Communism’ were carried and a lively...
JOIN our nationwide rallies opposing the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) who are leading the charge against waterfront safety, said the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) on Friday. The MUA and concerned members of the community will rally on Tuesday 26 March to demand a National Stevedoring Code...
‘THIS decision is painful for Cypriot people. This decision was a defeat,’ Cyprus Parliamentary Speaker Yiannakis Omirou said yesterday. He was referring to the deal imposed on Cyprus in the early hours of yesterday morning by the Troika – the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the ECB. The deal...
EDUCATION Secretary Gove is ‘irrepairably damaging children’s education’ says Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). Speaking at the ATL’s annual conference in Liverpool today, Bousted will say that schools are being forced to convert into academies on a huge scale. ‘Michael Gove’s gang of...
POLICE were yesterday searching the home of Boris Berezovskiy. They were desperately looking for chemical, biological or nuclear material, so that they could blame the death of the bankrupt Oligarch onto the Russian president Vladimir Putin. Berezovskiy was one of the gang of opportunists who emerged out of the...
BBC journalists and technicians are set to strike for 12 hours on from midday to midnight this Thursday, 28 March. BBC Easter programmes will be disrupted as the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has voted for strike action over compulsory redundancies, excessive workloads, and bullying and harassment within the corporation. The...

Gas Prices Surge!

THE price of wholesale gas yesterday surged to a huge record high after the unexpected closure of one of three import pipelines. A technical fault at the UK-Belgian interconnector, one of the UK’s biggest import pipelines, forced the shutdown. The price of gas for same-day delivery jumped as much as a...
TAX rises of up to £9 billion could be imposed on British households and businesses after the next general election in 2015, leading economic forecaster the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned. According to the IFS, Chancellor Osborne’s fourth budget has paved the way for bigger tax increases after...
MPs in Cyprus have been told to agree, by Monday, on a series of bills to raise 6bn euros off the backs of the Cypriot people, or else face the banks being bankrupted and Cyprus being evicted from the EU. This warning emerged from the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades talks...
In his budget speech Chancellor Osborne announced that there would be a one per cent annual pay rise of the public sector up to and including 2016. With the inflation rate at 2.7% and rising this means workers taking an annual pay cut! Osborne said: ‘This will apply to the civil...
CIVIL servants called for more action during their national Budget Day strike on Wednesday. PCS members at a lively picket outside the National Portrait Gallery, near Trafalgar Square spoke to News Line. Gallery warder Andre Bernal said: ‘We’re striking because the government have capped our pay at one per cent,...
HOSPITAL bed and staff shortages are causing suffering for patients in the West Midlands as ambulances cannot deliver patents for treatment, the area’s senior ambulance chief has warned. West Midlands Ambulance Service assistant chief officer Steve Wheaton said nearly 2,000 ambulances had waited more than an hour this month to...
TORY chancellor George Osborne started his budget speech last Wednesday with a confession that British capitalism is totally impotent in the face of the world economic crisis and that both he and the government have absolutely no control over the economic collapse that is engulfing the country. Osborne was forced...
THE Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has demanded London mayor, Boris Johnson, abandon plans to shut 12 fire stations. The demand was made after firefighters from one of those stations to be closed dramatically saved the life of a woman trapped in a fire, with just seconds to spare. Last Friday,...
CHANCELLOR Osborne delivered a massive onslaught on public services and public sector pay in his budget yesterday, imposing billions more in cuts as well as a virtual pay cut on millions of workers, as inflation roars ahead. Osborne estimated that growth in 2013 would be just 0.6% – half...
ON a day during which it was announced by German bankers that Cyprus’ banks may never open again, and by the ONS that UK unemployment numbers were up, especially for youth – to the brink of a million – the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer announced another £11.5 bn...
STRIKING civil servants clapped and cheered a call for a general strike at a rally outside parliament yesterday. A message of support and solidarity was read out to the 500-strong PCS Budget Day strike rally from Prison Officers Association general secretary Steve Gillan who concluded in the face of more...
ARAB and Islamic countries in the United Nations are drafting a resolution to ask the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the conclusions of a UN fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements. Amani Sinwar, the regional director of the Euro Mediterranean Monitor for Human Rights said on Tuesday that the two...
The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) has hit back at media reporting on last week’s Pietermaritz High Court judgment on the clothing industry wage agreement. A statement Issued by Andre Kriel SACTWU General Secretary said: ‘Judge J Koen has ruled that the Minister of Labour’s decision...
THE OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), the political cloak for NATO, has issued a warning about the agreement to establish an agency for the regulation, and culling, of the print media and websites in the UK. The new media censor, whose personnel are to be selected...
SOARING fuel and domestic energy prices led to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate rising from 2.7% to 2.8% in February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said yesterday. The official rate would have been much higher were it not for a sharp fall in the price of such...
The TUC has welcomed the government’s announcement that it will adopt most of Tory former deputy prime minister Heseltine’s plans for the privatisation of regional services. Heseltine’s report – No Stone Unturned – which was published last November, advocates the setting up of Local Enterprise Partnerships to decide the...
THE INMO, IMO, Unite, ASTI and the Civil Public and Services Union have recommended a ‘No’ vote to extending the Croke Park Agreement. The new corporatist agreement would tie the unions into giving full support to over one billion euros of wage, pensions and jobs cuts. The five unions have launched...
The two largest teacher unions, the NUT and NASUWT, representing nine out of 10 teachers in England and Wales, are to stage a series of strikes this year. The joint industrial action, in defence of pay, pensions and working conditions, will start in the summer term, in an escalation of...
ON the eve of the tenth anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq by British and US forces the BBC’s  Panorama programme last night investigated the tissue of lies that was put out by Tony Blair about  weapons of mass destruction that the Iraqi regime was on the verge...
AHEAD of the Budget, each household has reduced their spending by over £3,000 a year on average since 2007, revealing a devastating blow to living standards and to the economy, new research from Which? has revealed. The Which? analysis of official data shows that on average each household has spent...
THE Cypriot parliament yesterday postponed an emergency session on the 7-10% banking tax imposed by the EU on every depositor in the country’s banking system. This has already been termed by locals as a ‘clear-cut case of robbery’. Already, ATM machines have been shut down, and farmers have...
OVER 5,000 trade unionists, youth and families from across north London marched on Saturday from Highbury and Islington Station to the Whittington Hospital, Archway, to demand ‘stop the sell-off!’ The march and rally outside the north London hospital was against plans to sell off half of its estate and move...
NHS workers including nurses, paramedics, therapists and midwives face another year of financial hardship following the government decision to impose a one per cent pay increase, said Unison yesterday. Unison, which represents 450,000 health workers, said that the ‘squeeze on pay coming on the back of a two-year pay freeze...