Socialist Worker

Drowning at Ford plant

Issue No. 1855

THE FORD car company and two of its managers pleaded guilty last week to safety breaches which had contributed to the death of Christopher Shute, a contract worker, at its Southampton plant.

He drowned in a vat of paint. Managers Peter Preston and Paul McKenzie were due to be sentenced this week.


Pressure on young carers

MORE THAN 13,000 British children under 18 are working more than 50 hours a week to provide care for a sick or disabled relative while trying to keep up full-time attendance at school.

A report from the Children's Society and the YMCA found that children as young as five are spending longer than the adult maximum working week caring for a relative, often with inadequate support from public services.


Barnet appeal against cuts

HEADTEACHERS in the north London borough of Barnet will join forces to appeal for an emergency cash bail-out from the government because of a 'massive shortfall' in funding.

Nick Christou, head of East Barnet School and chairman of the Secondary Heads' Forum, said his school's deficit was equal to between eight and 10 full-time teachers.

David Gray, a member of the ruling council of the National Association of Head Teachers, said in his South West England area 50 redundancy notices had been issued to teachers in Plymouth, 28 in Somerset, 48 in Wiltshire and 33 in Bristol.

East Riding council in Yorkshire warned this week that it could lose up to 100 teaching jobs and put some schools on a four-day week.


Oil firm banks on law change

THE HALLIBURTON oil company is notorious for grasping contracts in Iraq. But it is also screwing workers in the US. Halliburton is delaying the planned bankruptcy of two of its subsidiaries in the cruel hope that a new law will go through that will cut the amount it owes to workers for asbestos - injury claims.

Hard right Republican senator Orrin Hatch is pushing legislation to halt a flood of claims against firms over their use of asbestos. If he is successful Halliburton's projected payouts will fall from the $4 billion it has agreed to pay out to settle 200,000 lawsuits to $450 million - a 90 percent drop.

Halliburton was once headed by Vice-President Dick Cheney. Asbestos products produced or used by companies that became part of the Halliburton group caused hundreds of thousands of people to develop asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma.

New Labour recently gave Halliburton a £2.3 billion contract to run the IT services for the NHS.


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News
Sat 14 Jun 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1855
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