Dated: 04 May 2002
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HUNDREDS OF anti-Nazi campaigners were out leafleting last weekend in the council wards targeted by the British National Party (BNP). Over 250 people managed to leaflet every house in Burnley in the north west of England, where the Nazis were putting up 13 candidates. About 100 campaigners joined Anti Nazi League leafleting in Oldham, also in the north west.
The crisis at ITV Digital exploded on Tuesday of this week with 1,300 call centre workers facing the sack. ITV Digital was due to switch off its pay TV channels on Tuesday. The collapse will hit smaller football clubs that relied on TV revenues.
Railtrack in the skies AIR TRAFFIC control is back in financial trouble. Just two months after the last bailout, the part-privatised National Air Traffic Service (NATS) is looking to make ordinary people pay to get it out of a hole. Business backers are threatening to pull the plug on the part-privatised service.
MOST POLLS suggested that up to three quarters of registered voters would not take part in this week's local council elections. Socialist Worker went to press before the elections, but it would be remarkable if the turnout is not low.
HOME SECRETARY David Blunkett last week echoed one of the most disgusting speeches that Tory Margaret Thatcher ever made. In April 1978 Thatcher, then leader of the Tory opposition, said that the public were "really afraid that this country might be swamped by people of a different culture".
MAINSTREAM POLITICIANS and media commentators have had a field day exploiting the tragedy of Damilola Taylor. Much of the coverage has been an excuse to parade pet prejudices and political gimmicks, and to generate a panic over crime. The Sun's bigoted columnist Richard Littlejohn tried to blame the failure of the police investigation into the death of the black ten year old on "the stormtroopers of the race industry".
HAVE Jackson's supporters been surprised at the backing for you?
AROUND 80 people demonstrated outside South Shields Town Hall on Friday of last week against council plans to close or privatise the area's care homes for the elderly. Failure of the heating systems in several of the homes led South Tyneside council to commission a report from consultants KPMG at a cost of £45,000. It recommended closure or transfer to the private sector.
LEFT WING candidates have made gains in elections for the national executive of the civil servants' PCS union. Scottish Socialist Party member Janice Godrich has been elected president and Steve Cawkwell vice-president.
OVER 100 people attended a public meeting on Monday of this week commemorating the Holocaust. The meeting was jointly organised by the Sefton Unison union branch on Merseyside and the Holocause Memorial Project. Two Holocaust survivors addressed the meeting about their experiences.
Protests against corporate killing OVER 100 people protested in Brighton on Wednesday of last week as part of the national day of action called by the Simon Jones Memorial Campaign. Protesters, including Simon's parents, managed to close the offices of the Personnel Selection employment agency.
THE JOURNALISTS on Guardian Media Group newspapers in Manchester have won a victory over pay after a series of strikes. Management were forced to increase their pay offer the day before a nine-day stoppage by NUJ union members was due to start.
WORKERS AT Manchester airport were due to strike during Thursday's elections as part of their continued fight against the imposition of new contracts. These mean up to 40 percent pay cuts, longer hours, less holidays and more shift work for 350 security workers.
AROUND 100 postal workers lobbied the Department for Trade and Industry offices in London last week. They were protesting at the unfairness of the employment tribunal system, and particularly at the way Mick and Tom Doherty have been treated. The brothers worked for the Post Office in north London and were sacked nearly two years ago.
WORKERS ON Arriva Trains Northern were asking for support as they prepared to strike again this week in their on-going battle over pay. Retail and station staff were to strike for 48 hours, followed by guards on Friday and Saturday. That follows a 48-hour strike last week.
WORKERS AT Rolls-Royce Aerospace in Bristol are continuing to fight over plans to transfer their jobs. All three shifts in the compressor section walked out on strike on Monday of last week.
OVER 450 people crammed into a Stop the War Coalition meeting in the Gladstone Hotel in Liverpool on Thursday of last week. The meeting condemned the threat of attacks on Iraq. It was sponsored by playwright Jimmy McGovern, Mirror columnist Brain Reade, Liverpool NUT and NUJ branches, and the Merseyside Peace Council.
A SECOND group of council tenants have rejected north London's Haringey council's plans for the privatisation of their homes. Some 86 of the 105 tenants on the Leven Drive estate in Waltham Cross took part in the ballot. The result was 57 against and 29 for the transfer to the Aldwyck Housing Association.
LIBRARY AND computing workers at Kings College London held a successful one-day strike on Thursday of last week. The workers, members of the Unison union, were protesting against a cost-cutting restructuring of the department.
PROTESTS AND meetings in support of Palestine took place around Britain last week. A superb 5,000 people joined the Scottish Coalition for Justice not War demonstration in Glasgow last Saturday. Feeder marches from Southside and the West End of the city arrived in George Square to huge applause from fellow demonstrators.
OVER 200 people joined an early morning picket of US war criminal Henry Kissinger in London last week
THIS MONTH could see escalating action over pay. Around 150,000 Royal Mail workers are set to strike for 24 hours from next Wednesday evening. Management is insisting that postal workers accept new delivery arrangements as part of a pay deal.
"An insult." "Taking advantage of our goodwill." "This government does not appreciate us." They were some of the reactions of health workers to chancellor Gordon Brown’s refusal to offer them decent pay after his recent budget. The workers were speaking on the first day of the health conference of the public sector Unison union.
MASS PROTEST against the Nazi Jean-Marie Le Pen is sweeping France. Every single day for over a week, hundreds of thousands of people, millions in all, have taken to the streets-and the movement is growing. Le Pen, the leader of the fascist National Front, got 17 percent of votes in the first round of the country's presidential election. He faces a run-off on Sunday against the French president, the Tory and crook Jacques Chirac.
The first questions were put to Daniel Bensaid: WHAT DOES the result mean?
THE ISRAELI government is trying to cover up its horrific war crime in the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp. Israeli troops sealed Jenin off for 13 days last month and attacked the camp. Three times Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has refused to allow a United Nations (UN) fact finding group into the camp. Socialist Worker spoke to Palestinians from Jenin.
JEAN-MARIE Le Pen's surprise success in the first round of the French presidential elections must be seen in a larger context. There is not simply the growth of the far right throughout Europe, but also a larger process of class polarisation that has been going on for at least the last decade.
FASCISTS ARE not just right wing Tories or repulsive racists who scapegoat immigrants. Fascists aim to smash democracy and break all forms of working class organisation.
FIVE YEARS ago the tune of Labour's campaign song, "Things Can Only Get Better", died away and Tony Blair entered 10 Downing Street. The hopes many people had at the time seem a very long way away now. A poll in the Daily Mirror published on Tuesday showed that 66 percent of people think that Blair has "not done enough for ordinary people". Fewer than one in five voters believe that Britain has become a better place to live under New Labour.
SOCIALIST Workers Party members in Hackney, east London, are saddened by the death of Tony Kingston. Tony grew up around the Hoxton area, although he was originally from West Hampstead. Tony, like many young working class lads, turned to boxing as a sport, and was not bad at it.
THE NEWS of Le Pen's election breakthrough in France broke on Sunday night. I felt I had to do something. So I did a collection at work the following morning. The response was inspiring. It raised £178 for the Anti Nazi League. I work at Marconi, the company that has gone belly-up and may still collapse. It is making redundancies, and that has had a terrible impact on the atmosphere at work.
CALL CENTRE boss Chey Garland was runner-up in the businesswoman of the year award. She claims to promote a "strong focus on the development of staff" at her call centre in Hartlepool, and has a "passion for people". But her staff tell a different story.