Socialist Worker

Nestlé milks its profits from poor

Issue No. 1"

AROUND ELEVEN million people are facing hunger in the African country of Ethiopia in 2003. But the huge multinational Nestlé has caused outrage by demanding $6 million from the Ethiopian government. It is claiming compensation for a company that was nationalised 27 years ago by the military government and later bought by NestlŽ. Nestlé is one of the world's largest food companies. It makes $6 million profit every hour.

New Labour pulls out the stops for PPP

THE CONTRACT to begin the privatisation of London Underground was set to be signed this week, despite the chaos and financial uncertainty surrounding the whole scheme. The Tubeline private consortium was to take over the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly tube lines.

The deal was only able to go ahead after the whole consortium was restructured in the face of financial collapse over recent weeks. The Amey contracting group had to be bought out of Tubeline to keep the privatisation afloat.

Amey is in a financial tailspin, after its shares have lost more than 90 percent of their value. This crisis threatened the whole PPP privatisation scheme. New Labour, desperate to push through the privatisation, has thrown money at the scheme.

As well as shelling out £500 million in fees, the government has now put up a £1.9 billion indemnity to cover the firms against the scheme being ruled illegal in pending court cases.

Paying themselves millions as they wield the pensions axe

BOSSES WHO are axing workers' pension schemes are making sure they grab whopping pensions for themselves.

  • Jean Pierre Garnier, chief of drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline, is in line to become Britain's first £1 million a year corporate pensioner. He has already ensured he is entitled to an annual pension of at least £966,000 when he retires. The firm has closed its final salary pension scheme to all new staff.

  • Former BT bosses Sir Peter Bonfield and Sir Iain Vallance made sure they got pensions of over £300,000 a year when they quit the firm. BT has not shown similar generosity to its workers-shutting its final salary pension scheme to new staff.

  • Staff at British Airways have been told that their final salary scheme has been grounded. But it's up, up and away for boss Rod Erdington, who has grabbed a pension contribution worth £193,800. His predecessor, Bob Ayling, left with a retirement income of £260,000 a year.

  • Jonathan Bloomer, head of the Prudential insurance company, is shutting the firm's final salary scheme for staff from next year. But he took a £198,000 pension contribution for himself first.

  • Former Prudential boss Sir Peter Davis grabbed £371,000 from the firm for his retirement when he left last year. Now he has got a new job as boss of Sainsbury's. The supermarket firm's 85,000 staff have seen their final salary scheme shut to new staff this year.

    Ammunition for the struggle

    THOUSANDS OF workers at factories making ammunition for the Ministry of Defence are planning strikes to save their pension scheme. About 4,000 workers at nine Royal Ordnance factories voted by more than nine to one in favour of industrial action. Talks between union leaders and BAe Systems, which owns the factories, will be held next week.

    The company has warned that workers will have to pay up to £20 a week extra to keep their final salary scheme. The factories are at Glasgow, Barrow, Blackburn, Bridgwater, Chorley, Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent, Glascoed near Newport in South Wales, and Birtley near Newcastle upon Tyne.

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    Article information

    Sat 22 Nov 2003, 00:00 GMT
    Issue No. 1"
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