In 1997 the NHS spent over £700 million on agency nurses. This year the figure will have risen to over £2.5 billion. Why pay outrageous amounts of money to agencies when it is clearly cheaper to employ permanent staff? I will show that in actual fact it is not cheaper to employ permanent staff, and that increasing agency use is just more laying of ground work in preparation for the privatisation of the NHS.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) represents most of the nurses employed within the NHS and has a membership of over 400,000. It started life as a ‘professional’ organisation for nurses, promoting excellence in practice, before registering as a ‘trade union’ in 1976. Scratch the surface of this grubby, conservative, false-flag operation, and you will see it is not a ‘trade union’ by any understanding of the term.
In light of the recent ‘lawful killing’ verdict in the Mark Duggan case, and the increased interest around the conduct of police, deaths in custody, and corruption, I am re-visiting the case of Christopher Alder who died in 1998, face down on a police station floor in Hull. Christopher’s death was initially ruled to be an ‘unlawful killing’, but the decision was over-turned by a judge in 2000. Fourteen years of lies, cover-ups, and heartbreak for his family, have followed.
The last two incarcerated members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolonnikova, were yesterday released from prison as part of an amnesty granted to around 22,000 prisoners. Whilst their release is obviously good news for everyone concerned, it is more of a public relations stunt by Vladimir ‘Bonaparte’ Putin, ahead of the Winter Olympics in early 2014 - than it is clemency, or a relaxing of Putin’s regime.
Over 8,000 protesters have clashed with riot police as they protested against the planned eviction of squatters from a popular social centre, and against the eviction of hundreds of people from heir homes. The largely peaceful protest erupted following a baton charge, and use of teargas, and water cannons by the police. The protesters responded by building barricades, throwing stones, fireworks, and bottles. It is reported that over 500 people has been injured, and around 150 arrests made.
Private security guards employed by ‘Barrick Gold’, aided by local police have killed at least five miners at the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea. The shootings came after mine security confronted a group of 300 locals who they deemed to be ‘illegal miners’ and ‘trespassers’. Barrick Gold – the world’s largest producer of gold - has a long history of using violence, gang rape, and murder against their workers, and local people in Papua New Guinea. Barrick founder and owner, Peter Munk, claimed that ‘gang rape’ is just a ‘cultural habit’.
As police go on strike in Argentina’s second largest city, Cordoba, the people have gone on a huge shopping spree, emptying every supermarket in the city. Despite there being massive unemployment and poverty across the city, the media and government have claimed the the shopping spree has nothing to do with being poor, and everything to do with ‘common criminality’.
Following violent clashes over the decision to dismiss hundreds of unionised workers and replace them with unaffiliated workers, locals in the Odisha region of India have forced the closure of seven large open cast coal mines, and two railway stations. 1,000 local workers ransacked the management offices and fought running battles with workers who remain loyal to the bosses.
For the second time this year, Sussex University and Birmingham University have seen students occupy buildings on campus in protest against privatisation, outsourcing, lack of democracy, and tuition fees. The Sussex occupation will soon enter its fifth day, however, the students occupying the Aston Webb building in Birmingham have been forcibly evicted by the police and bailiffs, earlier today.
300 miners across two shifts at a mine in the Black Sea area of Zonguldak have barricaded themselves underground in protest at atrocious health and safety. Turkey has the worst mine safety record across all of Europe, with 2,554 miners losing their lives since 1991. They have vowed to continue their protest until the demands have been met.
Workers have today walked off the job at seven branches of Walmart across Dallas. The workers then joined protests outside, demanding that workers are paid a minimum of $25,000 a year. The action organised by the ‘OUR Walmart’ campaign has been played down by company lickspittles, who claim that very few employees have been involved, and that busloads of pickets had been transported between stores to boost numbers.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this post is an April fool’s joke… Walmart are holding a holiday ‘canned food drive’. So that employees ‘in need’ can enjoy a thanksgiving dinner. Walmart claim it’s a positive move and typical of the organisations caring culture. The workers have a different take on it.
Tens of thousands of Greeks have participated in marches through Athens to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the student uprising against the US backed military junta. The blood stained flag that flew over the Athens Polytechnic on the night of November 17th, 1973, was carried at the front of the march in memory of those who had been murdered. “Bread, Education, Freedom” chanted the marchers, just as they had done 40 years ago. 6,000 extra police were deployed around Athens and security stepped up at the US embassy.