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Monthly Archives: October 2013

By: Clare Sambrook First published in Our Kingdom WHAT is the government really doing to protect immigration detainees from their guards? In Parliament on Tuesday 15 October, the Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather challenged the government to come clean about a sexual abuse scandal. Male guards employed by the commercial contractor Serco...
IT is clear from Unite leader McCluskey’s article in the Guardian yesterday that he has learnt nothing from the struggles of the 1970s and 80s except that it is better to surrender as even bigger struggles erupt in the UK today. At Grangemouth under his direction, union members were...
WORKERS employed by privateer Carillion at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon have voted 98.3% in favour of industrial action over job losses, pay cuts and the imposition of grossly inferior staff rosters. The GMB has now given notice to Carillion of the 98.3% vote and union officers and shop...
IN A LANDMARK decision yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal ruling of last February that the Regulations governing the government’s ‘Back to Work’ schemes were unlawful and should be quashed. The court dismissed the government’s appeal against that February ruling. The original case was brought by Cait Reilly,...
JUST as preparations were being made for the launch of a campaign to call for the release of Huber Ballesteros and the other several thousand political prisoners held in Colombia’s prisons, the Colombian authorities carried out another arrest of a peasant farmer leader, said Justice for Colombia campaigners on...
THE Court of Appeal’s ruling yesterday that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not have legal power to implement cuts at Lewisham Hospital in south-east London, is a victory for the whole UK working class which is absolutely determined to defend its hard won NHS and its equally hard won...
THE Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the decision of a Judicial Review not to proceed with the reconfiguration of Lewisham hospital, meaning that the A&E and Maternity services will remain open. Lewisham Council and Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign took Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Matthew Kershaw,...
US PRESIDENT Barack Obama was personally informed of phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which may have begun as early as 2002, German media reported on Sunday as a damaging espionage scandal widened. Bild am Sonntag newspaper quoted US intelligence sources as saying that National Security Agency chief Keith...
THE news that allegations that forced injections and electric shocks were used on prisoners at a South African prison run by the UK-owned G4S, is just the latest in a long string of complaints from across the world about the activities of the world’s largest private security company. Earlier this...
THE DISASTROUS Universal Credit scheme was rolled out in Hammersmith and Fulham yesterday, prompting the GMB union to demand that it ‘should be withdrawn’ in its entirety. The GMB warned that with six benefits reduced down to one single payment, families this winter will be forced to choose between...
A THOUSAND local residents, health and other workers, trade unionists and youth participated in a very powerful North East London Council of Action march through Enfield against the closure of Chase Farm Hospital on Saturday. They carried banners and flags, chanted, cheered the hoots of support from passing cars and...
THE ‘row’ that left an Afghan officer cadet dead and three NATO troops injured at the UK-established ‘Sandhurst in the Sand’ in Helmand province has brought more than a touch of the ridiculous to the UK’s Afghan operations. It has put an end to the attempt to portray a historic...
THE BMA yesterday published a paper on seven-day services which supports calls for more NHS services to be available for patients throughout the week. Commenting on the publication of the paper, Dr Mark Porter Chair of BMA Council said: ‘Patients should have greater access to high quality care throughout the...
KINGS Science Academy in Bradford, one of the government’s flagship free schools, has been accused of serious financial mismanagement. An Education Funding Agency (EFA) report reveals allegations of financial irregularities and even possible fraud at the school. Kings Science Academy, which is a co-educational school for 11 to 18-year-olds, opened in...
BOTH ASLEF train drivers union and the FBU firefighters’ union announced strike dates yesterday. ASLEF has called two 24-hour strikes on the TransPennine Express on Tuesday 5th November and Saturday 9th November because of the company’s failure to resolve the issue of rest day rostering. And the Fire Brigades Union has...
UK economic output rose by 0.8% between July and September, official GDP figures show. The data adds to a 0.7% GDP rise in the April-June period and is the best quarterly performance since 2010. The ONS said that production grew by 0.5%, though this remains 12.8% off its 2008 level,...
FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack wrote a letter on Wednesday to all FBU members about pensions. He wrote: ‘There have been a number of developments over the past week which members need to be aware of. ‘The Executive Council meets on Friday this week and on the same day Brigade, Regional...
CALLUM MacLean, Ineos Grangemouth chairman, was exultant yesterday as he told the media that Unite the union had agreed to a three-year pay freeze, a three-year ban on strikes and the end of the final salary pension scheme. When asked ‘Will there be any redundancies?’ he replied ‘there will be...
The AFL-CIO unions have issued a warning to the Democrats about proposed Medicare cuts, telling them, ‘Don’t try it ... we will never forget.’ As the irreconcilable gulf between the Democrats and the unions widens, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka warned the party this week about bargaining with Republicans on entitlement...
WITH the appointment of Simon Stevens as the new head of NHS England, the Tory-led coalition have put in charge of the day-to-day running of the health service a man whose entire career has been dedicated to privatising the NHS. Stevens has moved seamlessly from his present job as the...
UNITE general secretary Len McCluskey yesterday said the union had decided to ‘embrace’ a survival plan at Grangemouth put forward by owner Ineos, ‘warts and all’. The ‘survival plan’ agreed with local management has yet to be agreed by Ineos boss Jim Radcliff. This includes pay, pension and job cuts and...
THE GLOBAL president of US private health giant United Health, Simon Stevens, has been appointed to head NHS England. Stevens will be employed by the NHS at a salary of £211,000 per year. He will take over from David Nicholson in April. Barrie Brown, the National Officer for the Unite union’s...
SIPTU members and officials took part in a protest rally outside the Dáil on Tuesday organised by the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament and other organisations representing older people over cuts affecting the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable in Budget 2014. Speaking ahead of the protest, SIPTU National Retired Staff...
THE petrochemical plant at the giant Grangemouth complex in central Scotland is to close with the loss of over 800 jobs, owner Ineos announced yesterday. Over 500 workers at the oil refinery are to be locked out, then sacked, unless they agree to a wage freeze and...
GRANGEMOUTH’S owner Ineos announced yesterday the closure of its petrochemical plant, while also keeping the oil refinery closed and perhaps re-opening it if a no-strike deal is reached. At least 800 out of 1,400 jobs are to go. Management held sacking meetings in the staff canteen yesterday morning with groups of...
IN A speech in Gaza to mark on the second anniversary of the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, declared: ‘This deal cancelled the red lines of the Zionist entity; it was described by Zionist officials as the most painful blow to the entity.’ Addressing...
THE people of Scotland will be watching tomorrow and expecting you to ‘fire up Grangemouth’ was the message from Unite to Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos shareholders, as two-in-three Unite members at Grangemouth rejected the company’s ‘sign or be sacked’ ultimatum. 663, over 65 per cent (80 per cent of the...
HEALTH professionals yesterday condemned coalition government moves to bar immigrants from access to healthcare, and charge overseas visitors a £200 fee to qualify for NHS treatment. Health Secretary Hunt was claiming yesterday that an ‘independent’ report commissioned by his department has estimated that these groups cost the NHS £2...

NSA Spies on ‘Allies’

THE French interior minister, Manuel Valls, reacted with shock and horror at the revelations in the French newspaper Le Monde that the US spy agency had intercepted French phone calls on ‘a massive scale’. The scale is indeed massive, with the US National Security Agency (NSA) being reported as having...
ADMINISTRATION workers at eight Greek universities are continuing their strike for the seventh consecutive week against the government’s plan to sack some 1,500 of them. Having failed to break them with threats and public persecutor’s investigations, the government is pushing through the Vouli (Greek parliament) a Bill to force administrative...
UNISON yesterday slammed Npower’s ‘scandalous’ 10.4% energy hike that will ‘bring misery to millions of households this winter’. While the TUC said that energy prices have gone up four times faster than inflation, at the same time workers face the ‘longest real wage squeeze in over a century’. Npower has...

US unions demand action

THE AFL-CIO labour federation has released the following statement on the 16-day shutdown and threatened default by the US government: ‘Adults took over Washington, DC, and now America can catch its breath after another manufactured crisis in our economy, says the AFL-CIO labour federation. ‘Sixteen days of a federal shutdown that...
LAST Wednesday postal workers delivered a massive vote in favour of strike action to defend their jobs, terms and conditions, and for a pay increase. The result, 4-to-1 for industrial action, came two days after the newly privatised Royal Mail had its shares officially floated on the stock market –...
FOURTEEN-hundred workers at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland face the sack at 6pm today if they refuse to sign a wage- and conditions-cutting ‘survival plan’ imposed by the plant’s privateer owner Ineos. Yesterday, a midday rally was held outside the plant against the company’s ‘sign or be sacked’ ultimatum. The...
‘GOVE must go!’ shouted angry striking teachers on a 15,000-strong march through central London to rally in Westminster on Thursday. They were taking part in a second series of joint NUT-NASUWT regional strikes over pay, pensions, job cuts and increased workload. NUT and NASUWT members were out solid in North East,...
TENS of thousands of French youth walked out of their classes and lectures and joined marches on Thursday protesting over the removal of two foreign students from France. At least 20 secondary schools in Paris were closed by the walkout. A rally took place between the city’s Bastille and Nation squares...
UNITE has urged Grangemouth workers not to give in to Ineos’ ‘menacing’ tactics to sign away their rights, saying it was looking to take legal action over the company’s ‘sign or be sacked’ ultimatum to slash jobs, pay and pensions. The union accused the company of ‘cynical blackmail’, as it...
‘WE SHOULD pool together and name the day for a General Strike and bring this government down’, Prison Officer’s Association (POA) General Secretary Steve Gillen said to roaring applause from firefighters at a packed Westminster Hall on Wednesday. ‘WE SHOULD pool together and name the day for a General Strike...
THE deal pushed through Washington late Wednesday night to raise the US debt ceiling – at present standing at a massive $16.7 trillion – thus allowing the government to borrow more up to 7th February 2014, was met with very little enthusiasm by the capitalist financial markets, despite it...
‘GOVE must go!’ was the common chant of tens of thousands of teachers taking part in a second series of joint NUT-NASUWT regional strikes yesterday over pay, pensions, job cuts and increased workload. NUT and NASUWT members were out solid in the North East, Cumbria, London, South East and South...
UNISON leader Dave Prentis has warned that the massive 10 per cent price hike announced by the British Gas energy privateer yesterday will lead to an increase in deaths from cold this winter. British Gas announced it is to increase prices for domestic customers, with a dual-fuel bill going up...
UK jobless officially fell to 2.49m in the latest government figures, for the three months to August, showing a slight fall of 18,000, not enough to make more than a one decimal point difference in the unemployment rate from the previous quarter. The unemployment rate ‘fell’ to 7.7%, down from...
POSTAL workers in Royal Mail yesterday voted by 4 to 1 (78%) in favour of strike action in a move to protect their jobs, terms and conditions and secure a pay rise. CWU is allowing two weeks to reach an agreement but has also announced that strike action will take...
OVER 4,000 firefighters marched through central London yesterday against attacks on their pensions and cuts to the fire service. The front banner read: ‘We Rescue People Not Banks – Stop the Cuts’ and firefighters wore t-shirts with the same slogan. There were other FBU banners from as far away as Northern...