City Link shows the chaos at the heart of capitalism
I first started working for City Link in 1996 and left in 2008. During December 2013 I returned there as an agency warehouse operative and continued to work there on Saturdays until 20 December last year.
A lot of the blame for what happened to City Link has been put at the door of John Moulton and his private equity firm Better Capital.
Although he lives in Guernsey for tax-avoidance purposes, Moulton is not ultimately to blame for City Link’s downfall.
The problems started when City Link’s parent company Rentokil bought rival Target Express for £210 million.
During 2007 the companies were merged into one—in a disastrous fashion. Instead of integrating IT systems and depot codes the company decided to paint out Target colours in favour of City Link ones on vans and issue everyone with a new corporate uniform.
The company started losing money from January 2008 and never recovered. The price of fuel massively increased during 2007-8, while big customers like Amazon bid the price of parcel delivery down.
City Link was a badly managed company that was nearly dead when Moulton bought it for £1 in April 2013.
However, it was totally unforgivable to tell people they are losing their jobs on Christmas Day.
What is also unforgivable is that managers at rival couriers such as Yodel, DPD and TNT already knew about the 24th December administration on around the 5th of that month.
Information was passed through the grapevine with drivers for different firms telling City Link workers the bad news.
Both the drip drip of news before Christmas and the official confirmation via traditional and social media on Christmas Day shows complete contempt for the employees. They did not deserve to be informed in that way.
Malcolm Kennedy, North London
Remember Labour can be a force for good
Many people are critical of the Labour Party and the trade unions. I think it’s easy to forget all the good things both have done.
Labour Party policies created employment, public sector jobs and helped create the NHS.
Labour created and funded Sure Start children’s centres and believed they could help eradicate childhood poverty.
It was Labour Party policies that saw council houses built.
And even though they were sold off under a Conservative regime, people are still benefiting from them.
Trade unions helped establish the Labour Party. In return Labour Party policies contributed towards and strengthened trade union recognition and employment rights.
There are faults with both organisations.
But I believe the positive things they have achieved by far outweigh the negative.
The policies that this government is implementing will see all the things we rely on dismantled.
Jo Rust, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate North West Norfolk
Were you a school student striker?
I’m researching school student strikes in Britain and I wonder if any Socialist Worker readers can help?
There were significant school strike protest waves in 2010 against cuts to Educational Maintenance Allowance and in 2003 against war in Iraq.
There were also strikes in 1985 in protest at Youth Training Schemes.
There were others in 1972. Then the Schools Action Union and the National Union of School Students led campaigns for school student rights.
Were any readers involved in these campaigns or do you know people who were?
Would you be willing to be interviewed?
People can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Lavalette, Preston
Blame NHS cuts—not migrants
Tory London mayor Boris Johnson and Ukip leader Nigel Farage have attacked NHS workers who apparently “can’t speak English”.
They should wake up to the real problem in our NHS. It isn’t staff who can’t speak English.
It’s £20 billion in cuts to the NHS budget and the ongoing privatisation.
It’s the 10,000 NHS workers who have been cut in the last two years and the £3 billion wasted on a reorganisation that no one wanted or needed.
It’s the demoralisation of not having enough time to do your job properly and not getting enough pay to survive. It’s the long waiting times. And it’s the closed wards, hospitals and clinics.
Some 40 percent of nurses working in the NHS are migrants, as are 25 percent of doctors.
We should welcome those who care despite the attacks constantly thrown at them, instead of sniping.
NHS staff will be back on strike on 29 January and 25 February.
That’s because the government can’t manage to give many NHS staff a 1 percent rise—despite MPs being granted 11 percent.
I don’t suppose that Farage or Johnson will be joining us on our picket lines.
Snide racist attacks on health workers aim to divide us and distract us from the real problems. They don’t do ordinary people any favours.
Karen Reissmann, Manchester Unison union executive (pc)
Why don’t you join Syriza?
It seems that the broad alliance of left groups comprising Syriza does not include the Greek Socialist Workers Party.
In Britain the Socialist Workers Party is active in the TUSC electoral alliance.
On the surface it appears like pulling in different directions.
Andy Duff, Prestwich
Reasons to be offensive
Lib Dem councillor Philip Drury had to quit the party after he implied that a woman was too ugly to be raped.
He blamed this on being “excessively tired”.
First a Ukip candidate said painkillers make you racist. Now a Lib Dem councillor claims being tired makes you a misogynist. These are weak excuses for vile behaviour.
Katrina Lawrie, Wigan
Every sacking helps profits
Tesco opened many stores often very close to existing ones simply to stop rival supermarkets having the space.
Now it finds that we don’t want so many Tesco stores and it can’t make profits from them—so is shutting them.
None of the decisions had anything to do with meeting human need.
Melanie Swift, Bradford
A statement that’s spot on
The online Socialist Workers Party statement on the Paris killings is spot on.
The cartoons I’ve seen are disgusting racist caricatures. That doesn’t justify murder, but its part of the cause.
Glad someone is pointing this out.
Ieuan Counsell, on Facebook
Time to bury the racists
So Ukip’s Nigel Farage thinks being called racist can “bury” Ukip (Socialist Worker, 10 January).
All the more reason to keep doing it!
Jayne Bagnall, North Yorkshire