Socialist Worker

Fury over fire deal

Issue No. 1852

BULLYING JOHN Prescott finally got leaders of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to accept an appalling deal for their 52,000 members on Tuesday. FBU general secretary Andy Gilchrist accepts it will mean job losses, but is recommending it is accepted at a special union conference.

Pay rises come tied to cuts and attacks on conditions. Rank and file activists were organising to reject the deal and government pressure as Socialist Worker went to press (see page 15).

Nurseries walk out

NURSERY NURSES across Scotland struck on Tuesday in a fight for decent pay. Workers in nurseries in 13 local councils struck on Tuesday, and the action was set to spread across the whole of Scotland on Wednesday to involve some 5,000 nursery workers.

The workers' Unison union is demanding a £4,000 a year pay rise to reflect the extra duties staff are increasingly expected to undertake. The nursery nurses start on just £10,000 a year after qualifying and that rises to just £13,800 a year after eight years in the job.

The Sun lies again

A BREEZE block room, measuring 8 foot by 12 foot, with two beds. Sounds like luxury living accommodation? That's what the Sun tried to claim last week because it is a room in a hostel for refugees.

Sun reporter Oliver Harvey posed as a refugee claiming asylum in Britain. The paper described how he was 'handed free housing, food and travel expenses'. Would a Sun hack or the newspaper's well-heeled editor Rebekah Wade call a breeze block room 'home'?

Is a bowl of cornflakes, a glass of juice, toast and coffee what lures someone from Iraq, Zimbabwe or Somalia, the top three countries refugees come from, to Britain?

The 'travel expenses' was a bus ticket from the refugee hostel in Clapham to the Home Office screening unit in Croydon.

Cop's outburst

A STATEMENT by Britain's most senior police officer last week will have given a boost to racists and the Nazis. Chris Fox is president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

He claimed, 'Mass migration has brought with it a whole new range and type of crime from the Nigerian fraudster, to the Eastern European who deals in drugs and prostitution to the Jamaican concentration on drug dealing.' He added, 'Looking at the north, Bradford simmers, Blackburn simmers. It does not take much to disturb the balance.'

These are areas with Asian communities, many born in Britain, who took to the streets two years ago to defend themselves from attack by racists. Those racists will have been encouraged by Fox's comments.

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Sat 24 May 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1852
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