Year 2000 No. 102, June 29, 2000

The Aim of Stabilising WDIE Is Vital for the Working Class Movement

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Letter to WDIE by Workers’ Weekly Health Group
The Aim of Stabilising WDIE Is Vital for the Working Class Movement

Increasing Stress and Workload Causes Teaching Staff to Quit

Iraq
Great Britain-Iraq Society Holds Inaugural Meeting
Richard Butler Criticises Sanctions

Sharp Contradiction between Europe and the US over Airbus

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The Aim of Stabilising WDIE Is Vital for the Working Class Movement

Letter to Workers’ Daily Internet Edition by Workers’ Weekly Health Group

Workers' Weekly Health Group (WWHG) resolutely endorses the aims of WDIE as elaborated in Tuesday’s issue WDIE Year 2000 No. 100. The stabilisation of WDIE is, in WWHG’s opinion, vital for the communist and workers’ movement, and the aims set out are of the utmost significance.

Today, not a day passes when the Labour government does not claim that they are meeting the needs of the people on health care, whilst in reality they are reducing hospital beds and facilitating the transference of hospitals and funds to the private sector. The duplicity in these soundbites that they have a "National Plan" for the NHS which they are "consulting on", that they "modernising" the NHS, is designed to put people off their guard whilst society and health care are even more geared to paying the rich and the health needs of the people increasingly suffer.

Over the first hundred issues, WWHG has been able to contribute a number of items responding to such health policy announcements and at the UNISON Health Conference in Harrogate WDIE carried daily reports and analysis on the issues raised there based on our reports. These reports and their study and dissemination have played an important role in our work among health workers. The aim in stabilising WDIE is of great importance for the development of our work, and the work of all those engaged in the communist and workers’ movement, and particularly those of us that are striving to build groups of writers and disseminators. As a writers’ and disseminators group, as class conscious workers, we in WWHG are aware of how decisive is the link between the tasks the Party sets for itself and the tasks it calls on the workers and other sections of the people to carry out in occupying the space for change that is available to them, in fighting against the anti-social offensive and really taking on the government and the rich finance capitalists who stand behind them. In particular, therefore, we deem it very important that the Party should be strengthened and disciplined by contributing through the study and dissemination of WDIE on a daily basis, and as appropriate taking stands on principle, in favour of our rights, in its postings. We believe that the struggles the various sections of the people are engaged in will find it very difficult to make headway without this disciplined force at their core, a force able through its theoretical and political orientation gained through participating in fulfilling the aims that WDIE is setting for itself to provide the vision and programme for the success of these struggles.

WWHG pledges to step up its work and further contribute to WDIE and this will further enable us to find our bearings in the class struggle that is breaking out and will further develop in the health sector. At the same time, it enables us to view these struggles as a component part of the whole torrent of struggles that must and will be joined together to bring about the transformation of society to one where the claims of all upon it are met as of right.

Article Index


Increasing Stress and Workload Causes Teaching Staff to Quit

Many teachers and heads are voting with their feet because of the growing stress and workload in schools. The problem is threatening to become a mass exodus at a time when the government is in crisis over its education plans. Labour came to power with the slogan "education, education, education", but they have not only failed to improve the basic infrastructure in education but they have also failed to support the teachers in the equation.

Schools that have been under scrutiny by OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) have predictably suffered the most. Teachers who are in difficult areas and have not been supported have responded most. Last week the entire staff at Moor Lane junior in South-West London quit after an unjustified over-critical inspection report. Even half the 48 staff of Kingswood High, a Fresh Start school in Hull, have left. Around half the staff of St George's RC School in West London are also leaving.

It would be a mistake to think that all schools where teachers are leaving are in difficulty; teachers are quitting across the board. Twenty-two teachers have already quit since Christmas at Ryde High School on the Isle of Wight, which has just gained language college status.

Official figures for 1998 showed numbers leaving the profession for other jobs grew by 1,000 to 15,500 after several years of decline. Figures for 1999 are expected to be higher. Teacher resignations are stretching supply agencies to the limit. TimePlan, a supply agency, reported 1,000 vacancies in London, the Home Counties and West Midlands compared with 400 a year ago.

The teachers' unions are saying that many staff are going into part-time work in order to "get a life back". Mick Brookes, president of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "People are saying enough is enough. Unless the support is put in and the pressure taken off, this will be an increasing trend."

Article Index


Great Britain-Iraq Society Holds Inaugural Meeting

The Great Britain-Iraq Society, a newly-formed, broadly-based friendship society, held its inaugural meeting at the House of Commons on Monday evening. The society declares its aims as "working for reconciliation between the peoples of Britain and Iraq".

At the inaugural meeting, the former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who spent seven years in Iraq, said that the sanctions against Iraq were a "fraud on the international community and should be lifted immediately". He said that in any meaningful sense, Iraq has already been disarmed, has no weapons of mass destruction and no means of delivery. Scott Ritter said that 22 million people in Iraq are suffering a "grievous humanitarian disaster on a daily basis" because of the sanctions. He accused his former chief, Richard Butler, of being a tool of the United States and "corrupting the integrity of the United Nations" by allowing himself to be used as a pretext for the Anglo-American attack on Iraq in Operation Desert Fox in 1998.

The meeting also heard from MPs Tam Dalyell and George Galloway, who both called for the end to a policy which is claiming the lives of 250 Iraqi people every day.

Further information about the Great Britain-Iraq Society may be obtained from Stuart Halford on 0771 2673 467.

Richard Butler Criticises Sanctions

Richard Butler, the former head of the UN arms inspection team in Iraq, UNSCOM, has himself publicly criticised the sanctions imposed on that country after the Gulf War. Speaking on a BBC programme, he said that sanctions had harmed the Iraqi people. However, it became clear that his criticism was on the grounds that the sanctions have been "utterly counterproductive" for disarmament purposes. Nevertheless, his testimony, which was also expounded in a recently published book, gives evidence of how disastrous sanctions are for the lives of the ordinary people of Iraq. He also admits to "double standards" of the US and British policy as regards Iraq on the one hand and Israel on the other.

Article Index


Sharp Contradiction between Europe and the US over Airbus

Washington is making moves to block major EU countries from making substantial subsidies to the European aircraft maker, Airbus. Airbus intends to build the new 555-seater A3XXX Super Jumbo in direct competition with Boeing. The major countries involved are Britain, France and Germany, whose funding is being challenged as a "Breach of World Trade Organisation Rules" by the US. The heat has been turned up by American Boeing whose share of the market will be threatened. Boeing are encouraging a US-Europe trade block on the issue. The company has challenged earlier Airbus loans saying they "could not be considered commercial".

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