Dated: 03 May 2003
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TONY BLAIR'S government plans to rob 7.4 million of Britain's poorest people. Blair caused an outcry by giving pensioners an insulting rise of just 75p in October 1999. Now he wants to rob the unemployed. People on benefits are to get an annual increase of just 70p a week. People on Jobseeker's Allowance, income support and incapacity benefit get their benefits adjusted this month.
THE DAILY Telegraph is continuing to print allegations based on documents found in Iraq. Last week the Telegraph's accusations sparked the witch-hunt against George Galloway. The latest allegations are so outlandish that even the secret services have cast doubt on them.
STEEL GIANT Corus wrecked yet more lives as it slashed another 1,150 jobs on Tuesday. The company ended steel production at the Stocksbridge plant in South Yorkshire and cleared the way for another 2,900 job losses and the closure of the Teesside plant at Redcar.
"NUT NONSENSE". That is how Tony Blair dismissed the decision of teachers in the NUT union to ballot on boycotting tests for seven, 11 and 14 year olds. Blair's testing mania is damaging the health of young children. Research this week found that over one third of seven year olds in England were seriously stressed by the SATs tests.
SIXTY JOURNALISTS at the Bolton Evening News and Bury Times have been striking against miserable pay and conditions at Newsquest, a subsidiary of US firm Gannet. After two two-day strikes the NUJ union members walked out on all-out strike on Tuesday of last week.
LARGELY LABOUR-led local government employers are urging fire chiefs to rip up firefighters' conditions in anticipation of a general offensive if the government beats the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). The Local Government Association has told fire authorities to start implementing those parts of the Bain cuts package that do not require new legislation.
SCOTTISH WATER (SW) has announced 1,400 redundancies over the next two years (900 this year and 500 next year). Around 1,300 jobs have already been lost through voluntary redundancy. A year ago the four unions in SW, Unison, TGWU, GMB and AEEU,went into a partnership agreement with management.
THE ALL-Wales Coalition Against the War, supported by CND, held an anti-occupation of Iraq demonstration in Cardiff last Saturday. Demonstrators marched through the centre of town, and between 500 and 600 people from anti-war groups across Wales took part.
THE RESULT of a ballot among 30,000 postal workers over London weighting was due to be announced this week after Socialist Worker went to press. The ballot covers postal workers in London employed by Royal Mail, Parcelforce, Post Office Counters, Motor Transport and Cash Handling.
JOHN PAGE and supporters lobbied his disciplinary hearing in Hackney, east London, on Friday of last week. The New Labour council suspended John with two other Unison union activists in December 2002.
SOME 140 nursery nurses who are members of the Unison public services union in Kirklees met on Monday to discuss escalating their industrial action in support of a regrading claim.
THE education secretary, Charles Clarke, chose the conference of the second largest teachers' union, the NASUWT, to launch a tirade against anyone who dares to oppose him. He attacked the larger National Union of Teachers (NUT) and its leader Doug McAvoy for refusing to agree to a plan to "remodel" the job of teaching. The leaders of the NASUWT signed up to the agreement in January.
ALMOST HALF a million health workers are starting a vote on the government's Agenda for Change proposals. Members in the Amicus union started voting this week, and the much larger group of workers in Unison will vote from next Thursday. Agenda for Change is a serious attack on every health worker. Many health workers will be paid as little as £10,100 a year for a full time job.
LEADING RMT activist Glenroy Watson has been downgraded from his job as a tube driver to a station assistant in what the RMT rail union sees as a clear example of victimisation. Glenroy, a driver on the Victoria Line, has been an active union member for 20 years.
THE BRITISH National Party (BNP) is a danger to everyone living in Britain. It was standing a record 220 candidates in Thursday's election, and hoped it could make a breakthrough. The BNP tried to feed off the widespread insecurity and disillusion with mainstream parties.
THE MEDIA has reacted in typical fashion to the SARS flu-like disease. Truth has been the casualty in a media frenzy driven by the need to sell newspapers, outdo rivals, and push particular ideological agendas over issues like racism. Some, headed by the Daily Mail, talk as though we were all about to be wiped out by SARS.
GEORGE BUSH is coming to Europe on Sunday 1 June. Thousands of anti-war and anti-capitalist protesters plan to give him the welcome he deserves. Bush will be at a meeting of the G8 grouping of world leaders in Evian near the French-Swiss border. The G8 meeting is a major opportunity to protest against the chief warmongers - Bush and Blair - and their occupation of Iraq.
THERE WAS no outright winner in Argentina's presidential election on Sunday. That will depend on a run-off in three weeks time. But the country's political establishment - and ruling class - has won a certain sort of victory. Sixteen months ago a spontaneous uprising led to the resignation of the country's president, De La Rua.
US OCCUPIERS are fuelling resentment and protest as they arrogantly stamp their authority across Iraq. This week Jay Garner, the former general the US has installed as overlord, arrested Mohammed Mohsen al Zubaidi, who had declared himself mayor of Baghdad. Garner said Zubaidi was arrested for his "inability to support the coalition military authority".
HOW DO you explain the rows which have broken out between the government and some union leaders?
THE RECENT pilgrimage by Shia Muslims to the city of Kerbala in southern Iraq shocked the US occupiers. It wasn't the display of religious fervour - George Bush, a right wing Christian zealot, has no problem with that.
NEWSPAPERS have been incredulous at the idea that the secret services could have forged the documents that purport to show that George Galloway received money from Saddam Hussein. In fact the intelligence services have used forgeries and concocted evidence time after time to discredit people and governments.
"WE HAVE to stop the British National Party, make people more aware about the threat they are, and do much more campaigning." Those were the words of Darlington council worker Margaret Clemence, who joined 2,000 trade unionists at last Saturday's demonstration in Manchester against racism.
NINA SIMONE, one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, died two weeks ago at the age of 70. One of her best known songs, "My Baby Just Cares For Me", was a hit in 1987 after it was used to advertise Chanel No 5 perfume.
AFTER THE war on Iraq, Tony Blair has declared war on the welfare state and the trade unions. Blair believes his position has been strengthened by the war. But he faces huge opposition and sharp battles in the near future.
WHAT SORT of school curriculum do our children deserve? New Labour plans to label 14 year olds as sheep who will follow an "academic pathway" - based on exams - or goats forced into second class "vocational" education.
THEY CAN'T get Iraq's lights on, but the US can open a new TV station that will broadcast to Iraq 24 hours a day. "We don't do propaganda," says the station's boss, Norman Pattiz. But the station has been set up with $30 million allocated by George Bush.