Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1711

Dated: 26 Aug 2000



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The great debt betrayal

Nineteen thousand children die every day in the Third World because money goes to debt payments, not health and education. The grim toll has reached over 4.5 million this year.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

North Pole melts as world hots up

Unfrozen water has appeared at the North Pole for the first time for more than 50 million years. The mile wide stretch of open water is a clear sign that global warming is happening.

Verdict in the Alder case

A VERDICT was expected this week on the death of Christopher Alder. Christopher, a 37 year old black man, died on 1 April 1998 after being taken to a Hull police station.

'Get some kills,' soldiers told

A FORMER soldier has confirmed that he will give damning evidence to the Saville inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972, when the British army killed 14 people.

Shayler scandal

FORMER MI5 secret service officer David Shayler returned to Britain on Monday and was immediately charged with various offences. But the government has not directly taken up his most embarrassing allegation-that British agents were involved in a plot to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi.

Rover threat

Workers at Rover are again waiting anxiously for news about their jobs. There are renewed rumours that the company could soon be demanding more job cuts and may even face closure by next spring. This comes just four months after the firm was "saved" by the Phoenix consortium.

Military merry go round

The cooperation between the military, industry, ex civil servants and ex-ministers has forced Tony Blair into hurried action. Blair has imposed a ban on a Sir David Davies, former Ministry of Defence chief scientific adviser, giving commercial advice to Britain's leading military firm, British Aerospace.

Blair's Britain

TUBE privatisation will threaten safety, says a private letter from the government's chief rail inspector.

Fattest cats

The pay of Britain's top bosses rose by 16.5 percent last year, four times the average wage increase.

1,000 win on Merseyside

POSTAL workers on Merseyside have won an inspiring victory after around 1,000 walked out on unofficial strike in support of their mates at the Bootle office. "The atmosphere is brilliant. Everyone is buoyant. The strikes were a breath of fresh air and really stuck one on the managers," says a Liverpool postal worker.

Ford

FORD WORKERS returned from their summer shutdown last week and within days anger boiled over into action. The Paint Trim and Assembly plant at Dagenham in Essex saw two unofficial stoppages by groups of workers.

Bus workers

Manchester BUS SERVICES around north Manchester and Lancashire were brought to a halt again this week as drivers in two of Britain's leading bus companies went on strike over pay. Around 1,750 drivers on Manchester's First Group buses were on strike on Friday of last week and Monday of this week. The battle is over two issues-a decent pay rise and to get rid of the differences in pay rates that drivers get. This is the fourth time the drivers, members of the TGWU union, have taken action.

Battle for union

A fight for trade union recognition at a Kent printing plant has reached a critical stage. Management has sacked six key activists at the Floplast plant in Bobbing near Sittingbourne, in a bid to try and head off union recognition.

BT workers to ballot on restructuring package

Tens of thousands of BT workers were to begin a national ballot on the company's NewGRID pay and gradings restructuring package on Wednesday. The ballot will run for two weeks.

Build campaign to end voucher scheme

"Let them eat vouchers."

Oxford University Press

"The strike is justified. You could say it's about a specific individual, but there is a whole principle of not having victimisation and fear." These are the words of one of the strikers at Oxford University Press (OUP) who began an all-out strike on Tuesday of this week. This is only the second strike in OUP's 500-year history.

Councils

Hackney BIN WORKERS and street cleaners in Hackney, east London, have forced the council to back off from 40 compulsory job cuts. The 280 workers had been set to take strike action for two days this week. The workers had threatened to escalate to all-out action in the beginning of September.

BAe

HUNDREDS OF workers at a BAE Systems plant, formerly British Aerospace, near Manchester have voted to take strike action over pay. The 620 workers at the Woodford factory in Greater Manchester voted by a huge 93.95 percent for strike action.

Gas

SOME 120 workers for British Gas Services in London held a strike last week in a dispute over pay. The engineers, members of the GMB union, are demanding the firm pays all the workers the £100 inner London allowance which only a section of the workforce gets.

Galbraith must go

"HOW CAN he sit there smugly and say it is not his fault?" That was the response of 15 year old Fiona White from Dundee to news that the minister responsible for the exam fiasco in Scotland, Sam Galbraith, has no intention of resigning.

Chance to kick the councils over pay

They are fighting against scandalously low pay. The mostly women council workers, members of the UNISON union, do jobs ranging from admin to social work, cleaning to catering. One council worker explained, "For years we have seen our pay fall when compared to other workers. People have suffered massive cuts. It's just a feeling that enough is enough."


International


Comment

The lies of war crimes mass graves

KOSOVO. THREE men in a car hurl a grenade at a group of children playing basketball and then speed off.

A sewer-fire hit

I HAVE a confession to make. Yes, I have found myself watching Big Brother. And I know I'm not alone.


Features

The right angry at our kids' success

The publication of this year's school exam results has brought a hue and cry about whether educational standards are falling and why boys appear to be doing less well than girls. In fact A level results improved across the board, especially for women candidates.

Nuclear threats on land and sea

THE FOCUS in the Russian submarine disaster has naturally been on the tragedy of the 118 sailors, many of them conscripts, killed as the vessel went down. But that will not be the only legacy of the disaster. The submarine's nuclear reactors and missiles pose a serious threat which could last for thousands of millions of years.

How Labour is squeezing the poorest

"PERHAPS THE most soul destroying aspect of Income Support." That was how Labour's Commission on Social Justice described the Social Fund when the party was in opposition.

'Sweep away the IMF'

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were conceived as instruments for holding down the Third World and maintaining American economic hegemony. Look at what the US delegation did during the 1944 Bretton Woods conference which gave rise to both these institutions.

Salem 1692: the model witch-hunt

Salem was a small town in Massachusetts in America. The witch-hunt took place in 1692. US playwright Arthur Miller wrote a powerful play, The Crucible, about it. An excellent film based on the play came out three years ago starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

A fight everyone should get behind

"WE ARE making a stand and we're proud of it. We want to tell the New Labour government loud and clear-we want to stop our jobs being privatised and we want to stop the NHS being privatised."


Reviews

Sanctioning mass murder

The people of Iraq have faced war on two fronts since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Iraq Under Siege, edited by US socialist Anthony Arnove, conveys their suffering.

Vintage picture of hungry years

THE GRAPES of Wrath by John Steinbeck is an experience, not just a good read. It's about the Joad family and friends being forced to migrate in the US during the 1930s Great Depression.


What We Think

Class - the real divide in Britain

THE economic boom is passing millions of workers in Britain by. That is the conclusion of a study in the Financial Times this week. For some people this is proof that there is a growing "north-south divide" in Britain.

Loyalists' bloody battle

An outbreak of Loyalist in-fighting in Northern Ireland hit the headlines this week as two Loyalists were killed and British troops were returned to the streets.

Seattle shockwaves

"The great movement which began in Seattle has grown massively." That's the verdict of Todd Chrétien of Socialist Worker's US sister organisation on last week's demonstrations outside the Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles.


Other Categories

Education: When only the grade matters

MY SON Matthew is going into year 11 at school, when he faces his GCSEs. I feel I should encourage him to get "good grades" because I would like him to have as many opportunities as it is possible to have in a capitalist society.

What's changed inside Russia?

Ordinary people living in the Soviet Union were promised democracy and prosperity after the area fell apart between 1989 and 1991. Recent events underline how false those promises have proved.

The sisters of cruelty

Shocking allegations of child abuse emerged in a Scottish court case last week. At the centre of the accusations is a religious order revered by "pro-family" campaigners such as Cardinal Winning, head of the Catholic church in Scotland. Winning denounces gays as "perverted" and backs the anti-gay Section 28, which he claims is needed to "protect children".

Remember Simon Jones

A construction worker killed by profit



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