Year 2000 No. 99, June 26, 2000

The Stabilisation of Workers’ Daily Internet Edition

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

The Stabilisation of Workers’ Daily Internet Edition

Teachers Step Up Action against Increase in Workload

Fight against Top-up Fees to Intensify

Scotland:
Annual Bannockburn March and Rally

Indian Prime Minister Begins Five-Day Visit to Europe

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The Stabilisation of Workers’ Daily Internet Edition

With this issue of WDIE, we are once more beginning to post the Internet Edition from Monday to Friday inclusive each week. This is in line with the Party’s analysis of what is required of WDIE, as well as Workers’ Weekly, the broadsheet weekly newspaper of RCPB(ML), at this time.

Recently, members of the paper’s Editorial Board met to discuss the editorial policy in the light of the problems the Party is grappling with, the tasks it is putting forward. They endorsed the Party’s opinion that the stabilisation of WDIE should be carried out to further build and strengthen the Party around its line, as well as the necessity to collectively develop the content of Workers’ Weekly in line with the role of the mass Party press in laying the foundations of a mass communist party. They reaffirmed the Party’s conception that its newspaper is the most precious weapon in the hands of the Party and the class in waging the class struggle and advancing along the line of march to a socialist Britain.

The stabilisation of WDIE is being carried out as a component part of the Party’s Millennium Project. Beginning in tomorrow’s edition of WDIE, Number 100, we will begin a series of articles elaborating what this means. All readers of WDIE will be invited to participate in these discussions.

Article Index


Teachers Step Up Action against Increase in Workload

Support for actions is growing amongst teachers. As many as 94.3 percent of NASUWT members in their recent ballot voted in favour of stopping all tasks not directly related to teaching children. This thinking is also in line with the position of teachers who are members of the NUT. Many teachers, in fact, are in favour of being unified because they believe that the teaching unions have not had a common approach to problems in the past.

The government, which came to power chanting the mantra that its priorities were "education, education and education", has left teachers out of the equation. Workload has increased and constant pressure has been put on teachers to perform. Payment by results, known as Performance Related Pay (PRP), has effectively tied teachers to an industrial productivity package. Teachers' basic pay has been held down to a minimum since the Labour government came to power.

The NASUWT's action will begin on June 30, while the NUT's existing action will be stepped up as its members were already cutting out unnecessary paperwork.

Doug McAvoy, General Secretary of the NUT said, "Teachers will be less stressed, less tired and they will be more effective in their classrooms." Both unions have been pressing the government to change the standard teaching contract to put a limit on the hours that staff have to work.

However, the government is maintaining an anti-teacher position. The Labour Schools Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, is demanding that teachers should continue with the workload. She said, "The risk of a blanket ban on administration is that it will make it more difficult for teachers to do their job in the classroom and because of that they will do some administration."

In other words, the government has no intention of doing anything about the problem and teachers will have to put up with it. The Minister will in no way lift a finger to solve the basic problem of workload. She said that the government would do nothing to prescribe the amount of reports and is trying to blackmail teachers by using the issue of parents' rights. Washing her hands of the issue, she said that the amount of reports schools give parents was a matter to be decided upon by head teachers.

Article Index


Fight against Top-up Fees to Intensify

The National Union of Students last week reported on its preparations to launch the next phase of a national campaign opposing top-up fees. The NUS said that it had the backing of Vice-Chancellors and almost 100 MPs, as well as academic unions.

Vice-Chancellors at York, Glasgow, Liverpool John Moores, Kingston, De Montfort, Derby and Hull have already rejected the top-up fees. MPs have signed Early Day Motions calling for the government ban on differential fees to remain in place. The NUS "Campus Coalition" includes the lecturers’ unions AUT and NATFHE, as well as the MSF and UNISON unions.

The Russell Group of "premier league" universities has delayed a report on the issue amid rumours that the Vice-Chancellors are split on the question of charging the higher top-up fees.

NUS President Owain James told an AUT conference last Friday that the NUS would be pushing for a manifesto commitment from all political parties to stop "a social engineering project" where "students would not be treated like individuals or customers but as units of commodity".

Article Index


Scotland:

Annual Bannockburn March and Rally

The annual Bannockburn march and rally took place on Saturday, June 24, in Stirling. This day has been called "Scotland’s National Day for Independence", and was organised by the Scottish National Party, with special guest speaker Jimmy Reid. The march followed the route to the Rotunda on Bannockburn field.

Article Index


Indian Prime Minister Begins Five-Day Visit to Europe

The Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today beings a five-day visit to Italy and Portugal during which he will attend the first ever India-EU summit which is to deal with the relations between India and the EU in both the political and economic spheres. The summit will take place in Lisbon on June 28. According to EU officials, the EU wishes to make India a "privileged partner".

The visit of the Indian Prime Minister includes a two-day official visit to Italy today and tomorrow. Italy is seen as a significant trading partner with and an important investor in India. Stating that India is emerging as a "major global player", the Italian ambassador to India said that his country viewed the Prime Minister’s visit as "timely" and "very important" since it acknowledges India’s new and active role in coming years on the international scene.

As a precursor to the summit, Prime Minister Vajpayee will address an India-EU business meeting in Lisbon on June 27. About 30 Indian companies and over 200 European firms are expected to participate in the meeting. According to the Indian Foreign Secretary, the summit will finalise an agenda for action which will include joint initiatives in the political, economic and commercial fields to further strengthen the India-EU partnership.

India is expected to explore the possibility of an Indo-EU Free Trade Area and take up issues of market access and anti-dumping measures initiated by the EU countries against Indian goods. It is said that the problems of market access facing products of Indian origin in such sectors as textiles, steel and pharmaceuticals will figure at the summit.

India’s bilateral trade with the EU has reached 20 billion dollars annually, while over 53 billion dollars of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India has been approved from EU countries. It is reported that India will convey what is termed its "strong concerns over international terrorism".

India is also to seek EU support for its campaign for a permanent seat on an expanded UN Security Council. Last Friday, India secured Russia’s backing for permanent membership of the Security Council when the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said at a joint press conference with Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh that "Russia considers India as a strong and worthy contender for the UN Security Council seat".

Article Index


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