Sean M

Nelson McCausland 'one strike and your out’ policy for anyone accused of ‘benefit fraud’

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Northern Ireland social security minister Nelson McCausland has announced further plans to reform the welfare benefits system including imposing a ‘one strike and your out’ policy for anyone accused of ‘benefit fraud’. The new penalty will cut a claimant's benefit, or stop it entirely, for four weeks following a first fraud offence.  This is part of a continuing assault on welfare claimants rights and conditions such as the ‘steps to work programmes’ where we are forced to work for slave wages in token programmes which offer little employment at the end of it.

Public sector unions to ballot on strike action to defend jobs, pay and conditions

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Up to ninety thousand public sector workers are to be balloted by the largest trade unions Unison and NIPSA on whether to take strike action to defend jobs, pay and conditions. Health and education workers will vote on the ballot between the 22nd August and 20 September as Unison regional secretary Patricia McKeown warns that essential services are facing "the biggest budget cuts in their history."

Resist plans to close Belfast City A&E

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The cut-backs in essential public services continues unabated with plans by the Northern Ireland Health minister Edwin Poots to close the Belfast City A&E award by October. This is an attack not only on the staff but the entire community and should be treated as such.

Fuel Poverty on the Rise

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Northern Ireland suffers from some of the worst poverty in Western Europe according to a report produced by a consumer watchdog. The Price of being Poor released by the Consumer Council found that our wages are the lowest in the UK and those who have least are expected to pay more for essential good and services such as the use of transport and fuel poverty.

"Crown Forces Watch" Facebook page shut down - police to have monopoly on spying

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A Facebook page scrutinizing PSNI harassment and operations has been forced to close down today due to a media frenzy and scaremongering from the police and politicians. The Facebook page Crown Forces Watch has dominated news headlines and radio shows this morning with the Chairman of the Police Federation Terry Spence claiming the site was ‘an attempt to gather information which is likely to be of use to terrorists which I am in no doubt will be used in attempts to target police officers for murder."

Shankill commemorates International Brigade volunteers from Northern Ireland

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The Shankill library in Belfast hosted a successful meeting as part of the West Belfast Feile on the lives and contributions of working class people from the Falls and Shankill who fought against Fascism 75 years ago in the Spanish Civil War.

It is a living testimony to common class conflict coming to the fore, an often ignored part of our history which does not fit in with the narrative of a divided and segregated sectarian carve up which is the new era in the North.

End Prison Torture march in Belfast

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"End Prison Torture" echoed on the streets of West Belfast on Saturday in support of republican prisoners in Maghaberry. Despite a provocative security operation hundreds of people and three bands marched from Dunville Park on the Falls Road to Andersonstown to demand the rights and dignity of prisoners to be respected.

For the WSM's position on the North see our position paper and our topic pages on Republicanism andLoyalism.

Northern Ireland workers love to skive

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Workers in the North like to skive off work more than anywhere else in Britain according to a survey from business advisors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). A whopping 65% of employees admitted to skiving off work for at least a day in the past year, with a third taking between two and five days. This compares with 51% in Scotland and 62% in Wales.  Illness remains the most common excuse to pull a sickie while others display fake symptoms around the office with the hope of getting a day off such as sniffing at work, pretending to lose their voice. We also gladly top the table for inclining to skive if we see our workmates doing the same.

Social class a key factor behind suicide rate in north

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One of North Belfast’s top psychiatric doctors Dr Maria O’Kane said at least 70% of patients her staff are treating in the Mater Hospital in Belfast for suicide and self harm issues have a history of alcohol misuse.

Release Brendan Lillis Now!

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Brendan Lillis is a prisoner in Maghaberry jail in the North. He is close to death, weighing only 5.5 stone and having an estimated 10 days to live. His partner has pleaded for support as she watches Brendan slowly die. There is a media blackout and he can no longer speak nor move, and is confined to his bed, in a prison cell with no windows.

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