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Monthly Archives: February 2014

The UK’s rail unions joined colleagues from across Europe in Strasbourg on Tuesday to protest against European Commission (EC) plans to impose the privatisation of rail passenger services across Europe. On Tuesday and Wednesday MEPs in Strasbourg were debating and voting on the Fourth Railway Package. Proposals in the package include...
THE SELF-STYLED Ukrainian interim President Olexander Turchynov yesterday warned Russia against any ‘military aggression’ in Crimea. He said Russia’s troops from its Black Sea Fleet should not move outside their naval base in Sevastopol. Russia, which has a substantial military presence at its leased naval base in the Ukrainian Black Sea...
THE coalition government’s favourite private benefits testing company, Atos, is desperately attempting to jump ship after pocketing a fortune for driving people off sickness benefit. Having faithfully and enthusiastically carried out the wishes of Ian Duncan Smith and his Department of Works and Pensions to force the sick and disabled...
OVER 150 people lobbied the Houses of Parliament yesterday in an angry demonstration against clause 119, which if passed gives Tory Health Secretary Hunt sweeping powers to shut down any hospital he chooses. The demonstrators handed in a petition to 10 Downing street while Clause 118/9 of the Health and...
FAMILIES of 34 South African Marikana miners shot dead by police in 2012, arrived at the ongoing Inquiry into the massacre, being held in Pretoria, last Monday and heard that over 50 shooters are to be charged with murder. The relatives were mainly widows of the Lonmin miners. The inquiry is...
The UN mission in Libya has just voiced its ‘deep concern’ over the daily and murderous violence in Libya, where innocent people are now being killed every day by the various armed militias that were formed by NATO, with the US and the UK in the lead, and then...
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent military drill to test the combat readiness of the armed forces across western and central Russia. The drill includes troops dealing with mock security and terrorist threats. The surprise drill tests ground troops, Air Force, airborne troops and aerospace defence, according to Russia’s...
HEALTH Secretary Hunt announced yesterday that he is to dissolve the trust that runs Stafford General Hospital, with services set to be downgraded or closed altogether. Following 50,000-strong marches by local people against the government’s intended closure of their hospital, Hunt did not outline fully the scale of the cuts...
BILLIONS going into fat cats’ wallets and off-shore tax havens from Housing Benefit would be better spent building houses and homes for working people, says the GMB. A new GMB study, published on 24th February, shows the top twenty company landlords in each of 311 out of 380 councils in...
WHEN the gullible read the headline paragraph, that US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, has unveiled plans to ‘shrink’ the US Army to its smallest size since before the US entered World War Two, a frightening image could well be conjured up. This might be of a USA stricken by an...
RUSSIA’S Foreign Minister Lavrov, said yesterday that Moscow will not interfere with affairs in Ukraine. The Kremlin has reacted with barely-disguised anger at the EU-US backed coup that has taken place, but it has been at pains to convey a non-interventionist stance over the counter-revolutionary developments in...

‘Say No’ To Academies

ONE of the largest chains of academies in England is to be stripped of the control of ten schools, the Department for Education (DfE) announced yesterday. The decision was made after Ofsted inspectors raised serious concerns about the underperformance of the E-Act schools. The charity, which is the second biggest sponsor...
THE South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has joined the Natioal Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in demanding COSATU convene a Special National Congress. Last Thursday, a press statement by Lekoba Jacob Modimoeng, SAMWU North West Provincial Secretary declared: ‘The South African Municipal Workers in the North...
THE rapidly developing crisis in the Ukraine, has placed the issue of the defence of the Ukraine from this imperialist-backed assault, and the brigands that it has placed in to power, firmly in front of the working class of the world. Workers must give their full support to...
THE EXTREME right wingers making up as the self-declared ‘new Ukrainian authority’, yesterday issued an ‘arrest warrant’ for the President of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Arsen Avakov who claims to be the ‘new Interior Minister’ said that they want to hunt down Yanukovych and other ministers in President Yanukovych’s Party...
UNISON and the GMB yesterday reacted angrily to the revelation that the hospital records of 47 million NHS patients have been sold to insurance companies to help them ‘refine’ their premiums. Between 1997 and 2010 data tracking medical histories contained in the NHS Hospital Episode Statistics were ‘a valuable source...
UK Foreign Secretary Hague yesterday said there needed to be ‘urgent’ action to ‘stave off an even more serious economic situation’ in Ukraine. He told the Andrew Marr show ‘we will be working with the Ukrainians and other European countries and the US and Russia’. He was asked: ‘Are we...
MORE than 34 million patients in England will this year fail to get an appointment with their GP, when seeking treatment, because of the slump in the funding of general practice over the last decade, and rapidly growing demand. The huge number of patients who will fail to secure a...
THE British Foreign Secretary Hague tweeted his support for the ‘new Ukrainian government’ on Saturday midday along with his German opposite number. However, there was no such new government in existence. The desperate Hague was simply trying to make sure that British imperialism got its hands on some of the...
A PAPER published in today’s Lancet draws attention to the plight of many of Greece’s most vulnerable groups who are faced with cuts in the healthcare services they need urgently. Lead author Alexander Kentikelenis describes the situation as a ‘public health tragedy’. Austerity measures in Greece, imposed following a bailout...
WORKERS who are employed in the production of documentaries often are expected to work 14, 15 or 16 hours a day for several days or even several weeks, back to back, BECTU has warned after conducting a special survey. BECTU, the union which represents TV workers, has published the results...

Ukrainian coup under way!

UKRAINE’S President Viktor Yanukovych announced early yesterday the terms of the agreement that he had made with the Ukrainian pro-EU, pro-US opposition during talks overnight Thursday. These talks were supervised by a number of EU foreign ministers and other envoys, with a Kremlin mediator also present. Yanukovych announced that there would...
UKRAINIAN President Viktor Yanukovych yesterday announced early presidential elections and a compromise agreement with the pro US-EU ‘opposition’. He said that the constitution of 2004, which limits presidential powers, will be returned. This was one of the main demands by the opposition. Yanukovych also said he will start the process of...
The government must take steps to reform laws so they meet international standards for freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, said A K M Nasim, senior legal counselor at the Solidarity Centre’s office in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital. Further, ‘If we have any half-hearted reform in the legislation,...
THE Tory-led coalition's savage attack on welfare claimants and the inevitable poverty and destitution they have caused for millions of working class families has brought condemnation from church leaders. Last week, the leader of the Catholic church in Britain, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, denounced changes to the welfare system as...
THREATS of sanctions against the Ukrainian government look like blackmail, and a demand for early elections is a way to force Kiev towards the EU, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said yesterday. The sanctions will only encourage extremists, he added. Lavrov blasted the sanctions against Ukraine, some of which have...
AT LEAST 98 GP practices are threatened with closure as a direct result of Tory coalition funding cuts, doctors union the BMA warned yesterday. The BMA further warns that a number of those 98 GP practices are rural, and provide ‘vital services to thousands of country patients’. Their closure would...
THE imperialist backed Ukrainian right-wing, including self-declared fascist movements, have brazenly made a call to arms, and to prove the point on Tuesday shot dead up to eight police officers as they barred the way to the EU supporters marching on the Ukrainian parliament, burning down the headquarters...
The statement reads: THE outcome of the Special CEC (Central Executive Committee) of COSATU that was shunned by those affiliates who had formally called for a Special National Congress (SNC) has confirmed our worst fears. The current leadership faction that currently controls the boardroom manipulated the quorum, the agenda and...
As well as Lviv, the occupation of government buildings by anti-government activists and confrontations with police were reported yesterday in the western cities of Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk, Rovno and Ternopil. In Ternopil, about 300 fascists stormed the regional administration building and set fire to a local police precinct, torching police vehicles...

Jobless rate up to 7.2%

THE rate of unemployment in the UK has risen from 7.1% to 7.2% the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed yesterday. The ONS figures will come as a surprise as economists expected unemployment to hold steady at 7.1% or fall to 7%. The rise in unemployment rate is likely to...
RETAIL Price Index (RPI) inflation, which includes housing costs, grew by 2.8% in the year ending January 2014, up from 2.7% in December 2013. This was in contrast to the Coalition’s preferred Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which was 1.9% in the year to January 2014, down from 2.0% in December...
PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas is to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris today to discuss the peace talks with Israeli, US and Palestinian officials, it was confirmed on Monday. The top US diplomat has spent months trying to get the two sides to agree on a framework for...
UNISON on Monday condemned a range of draconian measures imposed on low-paid homecare workers by Apex Care, which include a gagging order, refusals to provide copies of employee handbooks and insisting it has the right to search individuals and their possessions. The union, which represents 850,000 local government workers, launched...
AMBULANCE workers in Yorkshire walked out on strike yesterday afternoon for the fourth time in an escalating battle against cuts and changes in their conditions, which will put their patients at risk. Yesterday’s strike action began at 3.00pm and lasted for five hours. The ambulance workers had already taken 24...
AROUND a dozen illegal gold miners have been rescued after being trapped down an abandoned mine in South Africa. As many as 200 remained underground yesterday but they were refusing to leave fearing they face arrest. Food and water have been sent down but a rescue operation will only restart if...

Sack CWU collaborators!

THE drive by the leadership of the postal workers union (CWU) to transform it from an independent union fighting for the interests of its membership into a company union that places the interest of the newly privatised Royal Mail (RM) and its shareholders above all else has taken a...
ALL workers must support the stand of the Syrian delegation at the Geneva 2 Conference. This stand was that there had to be a full discussion and agreement reached on fighting  foreign terrorists in Syria before the conference could proceed to discuss the issue of the government of Syria, and...
NATIONAL Union of Teachers (NUT) representatives yesterday condemned the government’s drive to organise strike-breaking during their national strike on March 26. In revised ‘advice on handling strikes in schools’ leaked to the Telegraph newspaper, the Department for Education said head teachers should ‘take all reasonable steps to keep the school...
THE GMB  has   reacted furiously to the local government employer’s announcement that they have unilaterally cancelled pay negotiations for 1.5 million staff working in councils and schools which were scheduled to take place last Friday. Unions representing local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland want a minimum...
NONE of the three main parties have very much to shout about over the outcome of the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election. Labour’s Michael Kane won with 13,261 votes, on a 28% electoral turn-out, with 72% of the electorate declining to vote. This is despite the huge crisis that is gripping...
MOSCOW – Russia is carefully following events in Egypt, Russian Defence Minister Army Gen Sergey Shoygu said, opening a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, First Deputy Prime Minister, Defence and Military Production Minister Marshal Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi. ‘We are carefully following the development of the situation in your country. We are...

ERT workers fight on

OVER 1,500 workers and youth were present at a solidarity concert in Athens last Thursday evening for the sacked workers at ERT (Greek state TV and Radio corporation). Several top Greek singers and musicians, of all musical idioms, performed. The audience was addressed by Johannes Studinger, Head of the UNI...
THE Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) yesterday warned that the public sector, excluding the NHS and education, faces an ‘alarming’ 40 per cent cut in workers in the next five years. The IFS finds that the public sector workforce is rapidly shrinking and further reductions could be up to 30-40...
SYRIA’S official delegation has managed to put counter-terrorism on the agenda as stated by the Geneva Communiqué during a joint session concluded on Wednesday afternoon between Syria’s official delegation and the coalition delegation, in the presence of the UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. The Syrian Arab Republic delegation stressed...