Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1873

Dated: 18 Oct 2003



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'We don't want that murderer Bush here'

ANGER IS rising across Britain as more and more people realise that George Bush is due to be here for three days next month. Anti-war campaigners report feeling is such that protests called to coincide with the chief warmonger's visit on 19, 20 and 21 November could rival previous mobilisations.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

London at sharp end of battle over pay

PAUL AND Caroline Medhurst are two of the workers on strike for a living wage this week in London.

Bosses grab 288% more

BOSSES IN Britain's top 100 companies have seen their pay shoot up by 288 percent in the last ten years. That is more than six times faster than the average worker's pay has risen. The bosses' gluttony was exposed in figures last week from Income Data Services. Around 62 percent of the directors of the top companies got total earnings of more than £1 million.

Don't be conned by Blair's new crusade

TONY BLAIR and David Blunkett urged police and local councils to unleash a ferocious assault on some of the most vulnerable people in society this week. Their excuse was a drive against "anti-social behaviour". The government says this will be a "top priority" as it tries to "regain the confidence of voters" which means trying to turn against easy scapegoats.

World in brief

Police join strikes TENS OF thousands of public sector workers are in the middle of a major strike wave over pay in Greece. Prime minister Costas Simitis said there is no money for pay rises, in part because of the spiralling cost of next year's Athens Olympics.

News Shorts

A flood of high water bills WATER BILLS are set to soar by up to a third after the private utility companies gets the go-ahead to raise prices. The water companies have made billions since privatisation in 1990, but they refuse to pay for much needed repairs themselves. Instead we will have to pay through higher bills.

Rail Workers

Sacked for following his doctor's orders TUBE DRIVERS in the RMT rail union are balloting for strike action at Edgware Road depot over a driver who was sacked while on sick leave.

GM food protest

HUNDREDS OF protesters joined an angry demonstration against GM foods called by Friends of the Earth on Monday of this week.

Anti-Nazi

ANOTHER MONTH, another resignation from the British National Party. Blackburn councillor Robin Evans has quit the BNP.

Civil servants

THE FIGHT for fair pay for civil and public servants stepped up a gear last week. PCS union reps and officials from across the country met to plan rallies in major towns and cities, coordinate future action and prepare a national pay claim for 2004.

Students

OVER 100 people, most of them students, attended the two day "Marxism for a New Movement" event in Manchester last weekend.

Islington

HIGHBURY Resource Centre and the Flexiteam in Islington council, which provides services to adults with learning disabilities, has been subjected to a "Best Value Review".

News in Brief

Protesting is not a crime A GLASGOW court has cleared Fatima Uygun of charges resulting from a peaceful occupation of Govanhill swimming pool in August 2001.

All education workers must fight this deal

AN IMPORTANT dispute has erupted at the Radclyffe School in Oldham. It is over the use of staff who are not qualified teachers covering lessons for absent teachers.

Striking stand against racism

POSTAL WORKERS in Wolverhampton have walked out unofficially on strike as a protest against racism.

Political fund

A UNION national executive committee (NEC) has started a campaign over its affiliation to the Labour Party.

Campaigners are out

AROUND 300 people marched in Southport last weekend, angry that the children's Accident and Emergency department at the local hospital is to close.

Fujitsu

THE LONG-running dispute at Fujitsu Services' West Gorton site in Manchester took a new turn last week.

Trelleborg manufacturing

BULLYING management have provoked a dispute at the Trelleborg manufacturing company in Leicester.


International

Uprising in Bolivia

BOLIVIA WAS plunged into a political crisis at the start of this week as workers and the poor resisted a government plan to hand the country's natural gas reserves to corporations.


Comment

'Victory' boasts have faded away

SIX MONTHS after the fall of Baghdad, the conquerors of Iraq are in trouble on both sides of the Atlantic. Tony Blair's difficulties are well known, but now it is the turn of George W Bush and his advisers to come under the spotlight.

Something is rotten in the state of Blair

THERE'S A scene in Shakespeare's Hamlet where Hamlet walks in on the man who has corrupted the state of Denmark, the king. The problem for Hamlet is that the king is praying.


Features

Ready for strikes

READERS IN Ealing, West London, were ready for Thursday's council workers' and postal workers' strikes.

'We are out to ruin the Bush visit'

THE OUTRAGE over George Bush's state visit to Britain in five weeks time is snowballing as more people find out about it. "It's not just that people are angry-they want to do something about it," says Robin Beste from the Stop the War Coalition in Muswell Hill, north London.

Why must we work 70 hours a week?

"LONG HOURS and stress-they're killers, aren't they?"

'I want to see my kids more often'

'A NORMAL week is hard to describe. My day can start at 4.30am, or at mid morning or mid afternoon. A shift can run to 11 and a half hours or six and a half hours. In fact it takes 23 weeks before you get back to the start of the rota system!

'Icing on the cake' for bosses

THE EUROPEAN Working Time Directive was introduced in 1998.

How we wrecked tyrants' visits in the past

'GREAT BRITAIN has seen a foolish display for three days. London's genteel West End looked like a battlefield. Near Buckingham Palace squads of riot police grappled with leather-jacketed toughs.

The Daily Herald: 'Our proud boast is that we speak for working people'

The Sun's owner, Rupert Murdoch, is notorious for, among other things, smashing the print unions at his Wapping headquarters in London in the 1980s. So you may be surprised to learn that the Sun's origins can be traced back to a bulletin produced to support a London printers' strike.

Science: Does big business control it?

STEVEN ROSE is one of Britain's best-known scientists and he has written many popular books on science. He is a lifelong socialist and a politically committed activist, opposing the US war on Vietnam in the 1960s through to opposing the war on Iraq.

British trade union delegation to Iraq

'From the hotel rooftop we can see the whole of Baghdad. As night falls sporadic gunfire starts. The city rests under an uneasy curfew.'


Reviews

Anti-racism hits the right note

"THERE IS a mood among millions of people who understand that racism is on the increase fuelled by the attacks on asylum seekers," says Lee Billingham of the Anti Nazi League (ANL). "The majority of people are against the Nazis in huge numbers but it's a question of galvanising them."

Growing pain can't be silenced

A Little Piece Of Ground Elizabeth Laird McMillan Books, £8.99


What We Think

Debate is growing over left alternative

TAWDRY, CORRUPT, opportunist and right wing. That's the way all the major parties look this week. Tony Blair, as part of the much bigger lies about the Iraq war, denied that he had any hand in "outing" Dr David Kelly's name to the press. Yet on Monday Sir Kevin Tebbit, Britain's top civil servant, said, "The decision was taken at the meeting in Number Ten at a meeting chaired by the prime minister."


Other Categories

Lives of four generations that shame Blair's Labour

THIS IS the story of four generations of working class people in Blair's Britain-great-grandparents, grandmother, parents and their children.

Inspecting to make a profit from schools

MOST OF us wouldn't expect to get paid for running a vital service into the ground and then get paid again to "rescue" it. Not so if you head the government's privatised education inspectorate, Ofsted. The quango became notorious for systematically rubbishing schools and teachers with "inspections" that resembled the Spanish Inquisition.



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