Socialist Worker

Us and them

Issue No. 1703

Inside the system

Us and them

Killer target

A FINANCIAL adviser plunged 150 feet to his death from a multi-storey car park because he feared he wouldn't make his monthly sales target. Scott John, 32 years old, did not know he had met his target through a last minute deal.

An inquest heard last week that Scott John was reduced to tears by the stress and worry he felt after starting his new job as a mortgage adviser with Guildford-based company John Charcol. After an open verdict was recorded, Scott John's widow urged other workers, "Rather than let a job rip you apart and throw away your life, give it up. It's not worth it."

Huge bonus

NEXT TIME you get the bill for your mobile phone and it's the length of a telephone number, reflect on the latest fat cat to award himself a whacking great bonus.

Chris Gent, chief executive of Vodaphone AirTouch, is celebrating a �10 million bonus for clinching a takeover deal. He will get �5 million immediately in cash. This is on top of his pay packet last year of �1.36 million. Gent also has another �2 million in shares. Vodaphone justified the bonus, saying, "Executive talent is scarce."

Ugly drug pressure

NURSES IN our hospitals are already suffering from low pay and long hours. Now some of them have drug companies pressuring them to foist new products on patients.

Funding cuts mean trusts are more open to firms putting up cash to finance nurses. But they want a payback. A nurse from the north east of England told Nursing Times, "I took on a post funded by a company. Everything was fine for a few months and then I started getting pressure. "A new woman at the company said that not enough of my patients were having their care products dispensed by this one firm.

"This woman called me naive for thinking I did not have some responsibility for upping her figures. I caved in." No doubt in the era of "public-private partnership" we will have more nurses who are "gently" encouraged to push profitable lines.

A JOB creation agency funded by the government is sacking 150 staff. Scottish Enterprise is getting rid of the workers from its Glasgow headquarters and 13 local enterprise companies. Agency chiefs have not ruled out making compulsory redundancies.


"IN THE fields the US is like a developing country. A 12 year old kid can work unlimited hours on a farm." A Human Rights Watch report has slammed US farmers and the government for allowing children, most of them Latinos, to work gruelling hours at the expense of their health and education.

Hundreds of thousands of minors are working 14 hours a day for much less than the legal minimum wage. The children are exposed to toxic pesticides and run a serious risk of accidents from using heavy machinery. A group of young women were kept working throughout a carbon monoxide leak at a cherry packing factory in Washington.

The manager at the factory would not permit them to leave despite three girls fainting.

Call me sir!

A RUSSIAN school student has had her marks downgraded because she did not treat President Putin with enough fawning respect. Anya Provorova wrote to Putin asking if she and her friends could have a video camera to record their school graduation.

Her fault was that in the letter to "The Esteemed Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin" she neglected to finish the phrase with an exclamation mark.

She also used the Russian word for "you" referring to the president without giving it a capital letter. The penalty was to have her grades lowered, and she was sent to the local dairy institute rather than medical school.

Beat racism

SCOTLAND'S TOP police chief has overturned a decision to sack a constable who made a racist remark. Instead of losing his job PC Kenny Orr will be fined a week's wages-�451. PC Orr was sacked after admitting to making racist remarks in Maryhill police headquarters in Glasgow.

He picked up a propelling pencil and said, "This is obviously a Paki make-there is hardly any lead in it." PC Kenny Orr was dismissed after a complaint and investigation. But Chief Constable John Orr has reinstated him.

MOST newspapers reported that the policewoman aunt of model Naomi Campbell had won a court case over suffering racism from other officers. They did not all report the magistrate's remarks about the police evidence. He said that they were "deliberately selective" in what they heard.

He continued, "It was interesting that of the people who were there the only person who was prepared to say what they heard was not a police officer." PC Peter Ferguson was found guilty of calling Sonia Campbell a "flat nosed monkey".

A new survey found last week that NHS performance pay is "riddled with racism". It showed black health visitors and community nurses were only a third as likely as white staff to get pay awards of up to �1,300 a year.

Things they say

"THE POOR are perpetrators of illegitimacy and abandonment, of family non-formation and malformation. They are not suffering from thirst or hunger except by choice or insanity."

  • MARVIN OLASKY, right wing Christian in the US, who is advising William Hague

"RECRUITMENT has more or less dried up."


"HE'S frightfully pompous and always stresses how very, very close he is to Tony Blair."


"THE LOOS were all overflowing-even in the jockeys' rooms. They had to shut off the main tunnel after sewage started seeping onto people."


"IT APPEARS that anything within the criminal justice world which is liberal or progressive is being slapped down because it does not fit in with current government punitive thinking."

  • HARRY FLETCHER, National Association of Probation Officers

"WHAT really pisses me off about boxing is the low-life image. It's not deserved at all."

  • FRANK WARREN, Mike Tyson's multi-millionaire boxing promoter

"I'M THE most brutal, vicious and ruthless champion. I want your heart. I want to eat your children."


"SOME OF the youngsters decided not to bring their concerns to me but instead took matters into their own hands."

  • Headmaster PAUL MARTIN after 300 of his pupils at St Leonard's secondary school in East Sussex held an organised day of protest at him cutting their lunch hour

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Article information

Sat 1 Jul 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1703
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