'International Women's Day, March 8, should be a public holiday in Britain as it is already in Cuba, Vietnam, China and the former socialist countries', Anita Halpin recently told the Communist Party of Britain's political committee.

 

In the run-up to the TUC women's conference, she urged trade unionists and socialists to fight for compulsory equal pay audits and a shorter working life with adequate state and guaranteed second pensions.

'This is the real alternative to empty talk about "work/life balance" and part of the solution to youth unemployment', she declared.

The Communist Party chair welcomed recent ballots for industrial action by BA staff and civil servants, condemning obstructions by employers and the courts to overturn the clear will of union members. 'No Tory or coalition government with the LibDems will get us to first base on the repeal of anti-trade union laws', Ms Halpin pointed out.

The CPB political committee supported proposals for the party's general secretary, Robert Griffiths, to contest Cardiff South and Penarth in the forthcoming general election, Steve Andrew to stand in Sheffield Attercliffe and Avtar Sadiq to represent the Unity for Peace and Socialism coalition in Leicester East. The Communist Party will also back Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidate Valerie Wise in Preston.

Britain's Communists also called for solidarity with Portuguese and Greek workers taking industrial action against the austerity measures being demanded by the EU Commission and the European Central Bank.

Attacking the British government's 'weak-kneed' response to the misuse of British passports by Israel's Mossad assassins, Ms Halpin likened it to the 'craven and despicable' collusion by government ministers and intelligence chiefs in the US torture of British and other detainees.