Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Deadly chemicals buried across Wales

Issue No. 2750

Asbestos contaminated soils have been found at Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan

Asbestos contaminated soils have been found at Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan (Pic: Geograph)


Toxic waste including mustard gas is buried among more than 1,500 disused landfill sites across Wales.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) data reveals hundreds of the sites contain hazardous waste and only a few dozen are protectively lined.

Its data showed landfill lies beneath homes, leisure centres, hospitals, parkland and alongside rivers.

At Rhydymwyn, Flintshire, the Ministry of Defence was part of Britain’s atomic bomb project. The NRW data reports, “Mustard gas, other warfare chemicals”.

A tip used by the agro‑chemical company Monsanto, at Llwyneinion, near Wrexham, holds “toxic waste”.

It also tipped at Rhosymedre Quarry and near Penycae, Powys, where “unknown” chemical waste was dumped. At Greenwood Old Quarry near Wenvoe, Vale of Glamorgan, is “asbestos, toxic waste”.

At Trecwn, Pembrokeshire, where there is a decommissioned Royal Navy depot, the data described a “munitions destruction and phosphorous burning area”.

At Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, “asbestos contaminated soils” lie near the Wales Coast Path.


Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa wanted to change Amazon for the better. The two employees were members of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice—a group pusing the corporation with a growing carbon footprint to do more about climate change.

They were sacked in April 2020. Now the US National Labor Relations Board has determined that those firings were part of an illegal retaliation campaign carried out by Amazon to silence workers critical of its business practices.


Ex Serco bosses facing fraud allegations

Former bosses at outsourcer Serco—infamous for its test and trace failures—face charges over concealing profits the company was making.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has accused former directors of defrauding the government in relation to its lucrative contract for the electronic tagging of offenders. It claims managers confected fake charges in order to conceal profits worth some £12 million.

The SFO alleges that directors devised a scheme in which Geografix, a Serco unit that manufactured and leased prisoner tagging equipment, would levy £500,000 a month in “completely fictitious” charges to Serco itself.

The alleged aim was to keep Serco’s profit margin low and avoid raising questions about whether it was delivering value for money to the ministry.


Union leaders met with the blacklisting ministers

Right wing Labour MP John Spellar has some tough questions to answer.

Lawyer Imran Khan, acting on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group, has written to the former minister in the Tony Blair government.

At issue is potential involvement in secret meetings between Tories and trade union leaders to keep workplace militants out of jobs.

Lord Norman Tebbit, an attack dog for the Margaret Thatcher government in the 1980s, told a parliamentary meeting recently that such meetings took place during his time as employment secretary.

He claimed that the meetings were held to discuss how to deal with “left wing” members of the union.

In an interview for The Times newspaper he added, “I got briefings from Special Branch on what some of the hard-left, communist-style leaders were up to, yes. But I got far more briefings from my friends who were trade union leaders.”

Union leaders’ compromises leave workers behind
Union leaders’ compromises leave workers behind
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He described secret audiences with people in the electricians’ EEPTU union. Tebbit said, “Friends of mine who were trade union leaders would come to see me at the department of employment.

“They would drive, be admitted straight into the underground car park and take the lift straight to my office, so that nobody would know that they had seen me.”

Before entering parliament, John Spellar was the EETPU’s political officer from 1969 to 1992.

It included a spell in the 1980s when the union was expelled from the TUC union federation.

The Blacklist Support Group represents construction workers who were blacklisted for their union activities by major building contractors—including many members of the EETPU.

Dozens of the unlawful blacklist files include the entry “EETPU says NO”.

Khan has asked Spellar what he knows about meetings with Tebbit, whether he took part, and whether he knows of any records of them.


On current plans, Britain’s state pension age will rise from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

But data published last week shows men and women in the most deprived areas of England can only expect to live in “good” health until 52.3 and 51.4 years in respectively.

This compares to 70.7 and 71.2 years in the least deprived areas. The poorest will be forced to work while sick.


The things they say...

‘I have pushed the team to explore an alternative with the Bank that might work’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s reply to David Cameron’s lobbying for extra funds for Greensill Capital

‘The markets are very much behind us’

Financier Lex Greensill in a video to staff three weeks before the firm collapsed

‘There will be a moment to deal with the Nadia Whittomes. That’s not now, not in an election period’

Former Labour cabinet minister on the next phase of the war on the left. Whittome refused to condemn Bristol Kill The Bill protesters

‘The data shows we are NOT in a pandemic. If people were dropping dead in the street we would notice and not go to M&S’

Tory peer Helena Morrissey, City financier and non‑executive director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office


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