Monday, May 29, 2017

Report-back from Korea

Dermot Hudson speaking

 by New Worker correspondent
 THREE members of the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) – Dermot Hudson, Sean Pickford and David Munos, last Saturday gave a very interesting report back from their recent visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) at a well-attended meeting in north London.
Sean Pickford spoke first, giving a detailed account of their visit to a farm and to a family home – modern and with all modern conveniences and appliances, including a computer.
This was typical of thousands of new homes being built in urban and rural areas – and for which the workers are charged no rent. Sean said that wherever they went the same rising standard of living was evident – with no slums of ghettos but also with no posh or exclusive areas.
Contrary to reports in the western media, food production is doing well with good harvests in recent years.
All three speakers emphasised that there was no sense of alarm or panic anywhere as US President Donald Trump made threatening gestures and the western media was spreading fears of an impending nuclear war.
In the DPRK people were going about their daily business completely as normal and the increased sanctions imposed by Trump have had no impact.
Dermot Hudson said that if the US or its puppet regime in occupied south Korea were ever to attack the DPRK they would be repulsed decisively with great injury to themselves.
After the speeches there was a lively question and answer session.
The meeting agreed a letter on congratulating Kim Jon Un and the people of the DPRK on the success of their latest missile test.

Friday, May 19, 2017

GMB prepares to sue TfL

THE GMB general union is preparing a legal action against Transport for London (TfL) for failing in their obligations to all London transport users by not forcing the taxi company Uber to adopt safe working practices.
The union, which represents many private hire drivers, wants TfL to force Uber to guarantee safe working practices and basic employment rights, such as minimum wage and holiday pay, before they renew the five-year licence on 31st May this year.
The GMB has written to TfL outlining their statutory responsibility to ensure the safety of both the public and private hire drivers in London.
Uber’s current business model necessitates drivers to work excessive hours and TfL must impose conditions to secure the health and safety of drivers, passengers and other road users before the renewal of Uber’s Private Hire Vehicle operator’s licence.
The letter from GMB states that for TfL to properly and lawfully discharge its statutory obligations it must make sure that Uber:
·  limit and enforce maximum, daily, weekly and annual hours a driver is permitted to work in London;
·  limit the number of drivers permitted by Uber to work within London;
·  ensure Uber drivers in London are paid a minimum guaranteed income.
In October of last year, GMB won a ground-breaking victory against Uber. The ruling of the court means that drivers are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage and holiday pay amongst other benefits.
This landmark case has major implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales, and Uber are currently contesting the decision in the employment appeal tribunal.
Warren Kenny, GMB regional secretary for London Region, said: "GMB stand[s] at the forefront of ensuring a fair balance between the respective rights of employers and workers in the logistics and private hire transport sector.
“We want to remind TfL of their obligations to all London transport users and not just to powerful lobbyists at Uber, and hope they will decide to impose the reasonable conditions we have requested to Uber’s licence."
Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said: "We have widespread evidence of a culture of excessive hours being driven by workers frequently being paid below the living wage as they try to make ends meet.
“We hope TfL will take their responsibilities as a transport regulator as seriously.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

No to BBC propaganda!

Dermot Hudson with the mike

by New Worker correspondent

London comrades joined other Korean solidarity activists outside Broadcasting House on Saturday to protest at the BBC’s inaccurate and biased coverage of Democratic Korea. Called by the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) and supported by the New Communist Party (NCP), the picketers gave out leaflets and held high the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) flag and the banner of the KFA.
The KFA Chair Dermot Hudson took the mike to ridicule the BBC for the nonsense it’s been spouting over the years, including claims that generals are shot on the whim of the DPRK leader Kim Jong Un; that thousands languish in labour camps and that the rest live on starvation rations. The fact that all these lies originate from the puppet south Korean propaganda centre is never directly acknowledged by the BBC, although they have been forced to retract some of their most outrageous lies.
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, for instance, claimed that patients at the Okryu Children’s Hospital were not ill at all but child-actors. But in May 2016 he signed a statement admitting that his reporting was biased and inaccurate.
Now the BBC World Service is broadcasting daily propaganda broadcasts to the DPRK in support of south Korea and US imperialism’s psychological warfare campaign against Democratic Korea. It is also an attempt at imperialist and bourgeois ideological and cultural infiltration into the DPRK in order to undermine its socialist system from within. In the past the BBC World Service played a role in undermining the former USSR and the people’s democracies of eastern Europe. It shows that the British ruling class is working behind the scenes, hand in glove with the US imperialists, to overthrow the DPRK and make the northern half of Korea a colony of world imperialism.
A representative of the BBC came out to meet the picket and engaged in discussion with us about our grievances whilst some passers-by supported the KFA demands.
Dermot Hudson made a final address on the mike, saying: "Licence payers are expected to pay for the BBC's appalling propaganda against the DPRK. This is wrong. The BBC has even invited so-called defectors with criminal records to slander the DPRK. We support the DPRK because it is an independent socialist state based on the Juche idea of independence, self-sufficiency and self-reliance. We will come back again and picket the BBC!"