The Socialist Alternative

alternative-stormontIn the Assembly Elections on March 2nd the Workers Party will be representing the Socialist Alternative

There needs to be a root and branch reform of the Assembly structures. At a minimum we need the introduction of voluntary coalition or majority rule, the abolition of community designation requirements and the removal of the Petition of Concern mechanism. 

Many of the outstanding requirements of the Good Friday Agreement which have been deliberately set aside must be introduced if devolved government is to continue to function. These would include a Bill of Rights, Integrated Education an Anti-Poverty Strategy and and a viable Economic and Job Creation plan

What this election does offer is a chance for people to consider a socialist alternative. An alternative  to political irresponsibility, arrogance, sectarianism and the Executive’s agenda of welfare cuts, lower corporation tax, zero hours contracts, attacks on workers’ rights, social backwardness and of course privatisation of public services .

That is the message that the Workers Party will be delivering and the choice we will be presenting to the electorate.

The Assembly parties will trade on sectarian fears and tribal instincts to maximise their votes. We have seen what that produces.

On March 2nd vote for the socialist alternative

A realistic Living Wage

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Time for a realistic Living Wage

Workers Party candidate in Upper Bann, Colin Craig, has repeated calls for the introduction of a realistic living wage following a damning Revenue & Customs report which ‘named and shamed’ seventeen local companies.

“It is completely unacceptable that people are being exploited in this manner, particularly young workers, and that  many of the firms involved seek to minimise their culpability with half-hearted and, quite frankly, insulting excuses”

“The DUP and Sinn Fein have been travelling the world selling Northern Ireland as a low wage economy. Today we see what that means in real terms for working people ‘, Colin said.

“I am particularly outraged at the news that a recruitment firm based in Portadown, a firm which  enlists employees for other firms, came top of this list of shame by underpaying  143 workers by more than £26,000”.

I am calling on the next Assembly to introduce, as a matter of urgency , a realistic Living Wage for Northern Ireland of at least £8,50 per hour”, Colin said

Party Conference sets out the Socialist Alternative

The Wconf2017orkers Party’s Northern Ireland conference has set out the Socialist Alternative platform its candidates will stand on in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

In a day long event covering debates on the economy, education, women,international affairs and the environment speakers identified the class nature of our society and the issues and problems which that gives rise to.

In his opening address the Party’s Northern Ireland chairperson  Gerry Grainger summed up the realities of life for many people in Northern Ireland today

“…we have more than 100,000 children living in poverty”, he a said. “Average weekly pay in Northern Ireland is lower than it was a decade ago. Northern Ireland has the second highest level of workless households of all regions in the UK.

“There are at least 15,000 homeless people and in Northern Ireland. There is a crisis in education, health and social care. There are cutbacks to social welfare. Funding to culture and the arts has been very significantly reduced”.

“In every aspect of social, economic, cultural and community life working class people have been subjected to public expenditure cuts, marginalisation and exclusion”. 

“After years of austerity imposed on the working class by capital and its able lieutenants in the Stormont Executive, working people have suffered in terms of jobs, pensions, benefits, facilities and services. Particularly vulnerable people with long-term sickness or disability and with great reliance on both welfare benefits and key public services, such as social care, have suffered severe negative effects”

“That is why we must present the Socialist Alternative “, Gerry concluded.

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Message of support from Greek Communist Party KKE

The Greek Communist Party (KKE) forwarded greetings and support to the Party conference and forthcoming elections, saying

‘On behalf of the KKE, the Greek communists, we convey to you a sincere message of solidarity in the context of the elections that will be held in Northern Ireland on the 2nd of March.’

We well know that the elections will take place in difficult, complex conditions for the working class and the popular strata of your country, who are being confronted by capital’s offensive and the grave consequences of the anti-people policies.

Full message:message-of-support-from-the-greek-comunist-party-kke

GP crisis must be resolved says Colin Craig

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GPs need to become employees like everyone else in the service

Workers Party Upper Bann candidate Colin Craig has called for GPs to become NHS employees, instead of serving as private contractors.

Speaking about the collapse of GP services in the Portadown area Colin said,

‘This simple step would improve the service, reduce waiting times and address many of the problems currently faced in primary care.

‘For as long as GPs remain as private contractors there will continue to be difficulties in recruitment and threats to services”, said Colin.

‘It would be inconceivable that other health and care professionals like nurses, social workers and hospital doctors would sit outside the NHS rather than be its employees’, he added

This problem needs to be tackled head on. GPs need to become employees like everyone else in the service if we are to tackle the crisis we are currently facing’, Colin concluded

Belfast says ‘No to Trump’

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Now more than ever its important that we present and secure the socialist alternative’  Gemma Weir

As it emerged that Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness had assured Donald Trump of a ‘warm welcome’ in Northern Ireland several hundred people gathered in the cold outside the US Consulate in Belfast to protest against his immigration ban.

The messages tonight were the same as those delivered in cities across the world in recent days.

Tonight it was Belfast’s turn to say ‘No to Trump, No to Racism and No to a ban on immigrants and refugees’

Among the demonstrators was Gemma Weir the Party’s North Belfast candidate in next months Assembly Elections.

“It is really heartening to see so many people expressing their opposition to this new American nationalism and the effects it is having world wide.”, Gemma said.

“We need to remind ourselves that ‘Trumpism‘ is anything but an American phenomenon’ she said. “Across Europe , in France, German and The Netherlands, we are seeing the chilling rise of a  virulent form of right wing nationalism and of course closer to home we have the rampant and racist nationalism of UKIP and others”.

“Is it really any wonder that our homegrown nationalists the DUP and Sinn Fein were so  keen to give Donald Trump a ‘warm welcome’ – they obviously recognise themselves in his narrow mindedness and bigotry’ Gemma observed.

“Now more than ever, it is important to present and secure the socialist alternative, prioritse public need over private greed and re-affirm the primacy of humanity”, concluded Gemma

‘Pledge not to accept White House invite’ – Kerr

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Local parties should refuse invitations to the White House

The Workers Party has called on all politicians in Northern Ireland to make a pre-election promise that they will not accept an invitation to the White House for St Patrick’s Day.

The call comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s ban on immigrants and refuges from a number of countries and seeks to secure a commitment from all parties that they will not attend the White House while the ban remains in place.
“The vicious inhumanity of this ban cannot be overstated”, said Workers Party spokesperson Lily Kerr. “It is essential that it is met with a resolute,  united and a global response – including Northern Ireland”, she said
 “Thousands and thousands of individuals and families from these shores have made new lives in the United States. We now need to stand in support of the immigrants, refugees and others who have been denied that opportunity by this racist and reactionary order.
We need to add our voices to the progressive protesters across the United States who are saying ‘Refugees are Welcome’ and demonstrate our support by refusing to attend St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at Trump’s White House”, concluded Lily.

Care of older people not a commodity – Craig

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Older care must be  freed from private profit

‘The care of older people should  primarily be the responsibility of local health and social care trusts’, the Workers Party representative in Upper Bann  has said.

Colin Craig was speaking following the closure of Glenview Private Nursing Home in Bleary, Portadown following a series of critical  inspection reports.

‘I don’t believe the closure will have come as any surprise to the residents or their families’, Colin said

‘Since Margaret Thatcher pioneered the privatisation of Nursing Homes in the 1980’s the well-being of older people has been relegated to a distant second  place behind the profit motive. It has become a commodity’, argued Colin.

‘When private care companies pull the plug  because of  falling profits or the failure to meet  standards, it is the local health and social care trusts which have to step in and provide the care’.

‘It is  incumbent on the next Assembly to urgently redress this situation by prioritising the care of our older people, by taking the entire care system back into public ownership’, Colin concluded.

Refugee ban will destroy lives – Kerr

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Refugees must be made welcome – Lily Kerr

After a week in which many people’s worst fears about a Donald Trump presidency appear to have been realised, Worker’s Party representative Lily Kerr has expressed her ‘horror and utter disgust’ at Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

‘Trump is obviously not satisfied simply waging war on women, Mexicans, African-Americans and the American working class. He has chosen to prevent Muslim men and women, many of them legal residents in the U.S., from entering the country through his executive order.

This Order will tear families apart, destroy lives, and prevent those seeking refuge from gaining protection.’ Lily said

‘The so-called war on terror continues to be used by the government of the United States to target ethnic minorities in a  sectarian, racist and xenophobic manner. These actions clearly violate the constitution of the U.S.A. and the values that America claims to have been built on’ she said

‘That this order was signed by Trump on Holocaust Memorial Day makes it all the more horrific. ‘ Lily added.  ‘I am calling on all progressive forces in Northern Ireland and abroad to strongly, and unconditionally, condemn his latest actions’.

My thoughts are with all those Muslim men, women and children who will be affected by this Order. I am proud to  publicly reaffirm my and my party’s committment by saying that Refugees Are Welcome Here!’, Lily concluded

Weir condemns north Belfast attack

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‘These are yesterday’s men’ – Weir

Workers Party representative in North Belfast Gemma Weir tonight  condemned ‘without reservation’ the wounding of a PSNI officer in a gun attack on the Crumlin Road.

‘Let there be no ifs and  no buts about this type of activity.

This was the attempted murder of a police officer serving the local community. Those who shot him and those who assisted and supported them have nothing to offer to the people of north Belfast”, Gemma said.

‘This community has unambiguously rejected violence by an overwhelming majority yet there are still armed gangs who lurk in the shadows, disrupt the lives of residents and shoot people as they provide a service to the community’

“These are yesterday’s men’. she said.

Anyone with any information about tonight’s shooting should contact the PSNI. My thoughts are with the injured officer his colleagues and family’, Gemma said.

Party welcomes PANA meeting

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A number of Party members were amongst those who attended PANA’s first meeting in Northern Ireland

The Workers Party has welcomed the first meeting  of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) to be held  Northern Ireland

Founded in Dublin over twenty years ago the group  advocates for an independent Irish Foreign Policy, defends Irish neutrality and promotes a reformed United Nations as the institution through which Ireland should pursue its security concerns.

The meeting – called to discuss the likely impact of the election of US President Donald Trump on American foreign policy and military interventions abroad  – was addressed by Murad Quereshi of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ and Roger Cole of PANA .

Part of the discussion focused on the role of Shannon Airport and the fact that over 730 US military flights landed at there in 2016. – more than two a day over the entire year. Of these, 413 were operated by the US Air Force, Navy or military, and the remainder were contracted troop carriers.

Discussions are to be held with a view to establishing a Northern Ireland branch of PANA .

Further information:

http://www.pana.ie/

http://www.stopwar.org.uk/

http://www.shannonwatch.org/

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