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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 October 2009

Fast news

Family fortunes

Tory party leader David Cameron has admitted on the Andrew Marr show that his is "definitely a well-off family". That's putting it mildly. The Sunday Times Rich List valued the family wealth of David and his wife Samantha Cameron at 30 million plus in 2007.

If Cameron comes to power and introduces his plan to cut inheritance tax for the rich, the slimy Old Etonian has been estimated to make 500,000 profit out of it. He is expected to inherit 2.5 million when his stockbroker father dies.

In 2007 Labour - not to be outdone by the Tories - increased the 40% inheritance tax threshold for married couples from 300,000 to 700,000 by 2010.

However, Tory plans would allow married couples to pay tax only on estates worth more than 2 million, so Cameron would pay only 200,000 when his father dies if Dad can hold out until his son becomes PM.

Postal ballot

Postal workers are balloting for national industrial action to defend jobs and working conditions. 121,000 angry Communication Workers Union members are voting as Royal Mail management try to impose 'modernisation' measures - in many cases severely worsening working conditions. The ballot closes on 8 October, with the result likely to be announced soon afterwards.

Greek election

Greece's conservative New Democracy government of prime minister Costas Karamanlis suffered its worst ever general election result, crashing to just 91 MPs with only 33.5% of the vote last Sunday.

The main beneficiary was the social democrats of Pasok, led by its veteran leader George Papandreou. Pasok won 44% of the vote giving it 160 seats in the 300-member parliament.

During New Democracy's five years in power, workers were forced to organise a series of one-day general strikes against attacks on pensions, pay and jobs. There were also a number of high profile ministerial corruption scandals.

Greece's Communist party took 7.5% and 21 seats and Syriza (in which the Greek CWI participates), with support among young workers won 4.6% and 13 seats. Alarmingly, Laos - a far-right anti-immigrant party - increased its share of the vote to 5.6% and won 15 seats with votes from disaffected conservatives.

See www.socialistworld.net

NAECI ballot result

Construction workers covered by the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) have voted to reject the employers' offer on pay and conditions. This ballot covered around 30,000 workers, mainly members of GMB and Unite, although workers on seven sites have already voted for industrial action.

The main argument is over stopping the employers bringing workers onto the sites on lower wages and conditions as they attempt to water down the provisions of the NAECI agreement.

At the moment the unions are seeking further talks with the employers.

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In The Socialist 7 October 2009:

Needed a party for workers, not bosses


War and occupation

Afghanistan stop the war

Afghanistan - Bring the troops home now


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs

University accommodation scandal: Students must defend rights

University freshers fairs: Students seek out socialism


Socialist Party news and analysis

Wirral anti-cuts victory: 'If you fight, you can win'

Young parents need support, not attacks

Fight for a living wage

Not to Darling's pay freeze

Fast news

Campaign forces health Trust to save Crowlin House


Workplace news and analysis

An autumn of discontent in South Yorkshire

Leeds council calls for talks with unions

Fighting against outsourcing, defending working conditions at British Telecom

NUT vice president: Elect Martin Powell-Davies

Cambridge post workers strike

North Wales shop stewards network


Socialist Party feature

Social care in crisis


International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: Lisbon Treaty vote is not an endorsement for hated government

Portugal: Voters turn to the left

Foreign aid - chaining the world to capitalism

Fish Tank directed by Andrea Arnold

I speak Fula by Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba


 

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