Dated: 30 Aug 2003
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NEW FIGURES from the government's Office for National Statistics show that an incredible 10,000 factory jobs are being lost every week. Some 130,000 workers have lost their jobs in the last three months alone. James Dyson, vacuum cleaner maker, was slammed last year for throwing 800 workers at his Wiltshire plant on the scrap heap. Last week, Dyson added insult to injury by shifting a further 65 jobs to Malaysia.
"We're fed up with rubbish money and getting driven like slaves. Let's take the smile off those bloody managers' faces," says Mike, a Royal Mail delivery worker from Newcastle. The strike ballot among 160,000 postal workers has started, and there is a great determination to win the vote and hit Royal Mail hard.
AN NHS hospital in Birmingham was handed over to private management last week. The NHS trust's board signed a £1.3 million agreement with health service consultants Secta. The management of Good Hope Hospital was put out to franchise after it dropped from a three-star rating to zero because of mistakes in waiting list figures. Secta has appointed a former senior official from the NHS, Anne Heast, to take over as chief executive. She will be seconded to the hospital on a salary of £122,500.
A WORKER has been killed at a South Wales steel plant after becoming trapped in a piece of machinery. David Price, aged 54, from Newport, was carrying out maintenance work at the Alpha Steel plant on Saturday when he was killed.
DAVID KAY heads the Iraq Survey Group, which will soon produce another report on weapons of mass destruction. Kay's background shows how "impartial" that report will be. Under President Reagan, Kay was a chief scientist for the Pentagon, as well as serving as a section chief for the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Administration of the UN) from 1983 until 1991.
OVER TWO hundred bus drivers in York were set to strike on Wednesday of this week. Last week their first planned strike was called off while management negotiated a deal with the union.
CAMDEN COUNCIL is trying to set up an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) to take over its housing. ALMOs are a two-stage strategy to privatise council housing and Camden's Defend Council Housing is waging a campaign to stop the plan.
AROUND 100 workers at Cold Drawn Products in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, walked out on strike last Tuesday. They were angry that they had been offered a 2 percent pay rise, having asked for 3 percent. The workers at the wire manufacturing company planned to walk out again on Monday of this week if their demands are not met.
AMICUS UNION members at Fujitsu Services in West Gorton, Manchester, have voted to strike by a majority of over 75 percent. The dispute is over two sets of issues. Firstly, the company are breaking longstanding union recognition and redundancy agreements. Secondly, the company have rejected the union's pay claim.
THE DEFENCE campaign for the Yarls Wood refugees who were put on trial after the fire has produced cards to raise funds. These attractive, bright cards are emblazoned with the words "Peace, justice, compassion" and the scales of justice.
ARMS COMPANIES plan to hold Europe's largest arms fair from 9 to 12 September in the Docklands area of London. Warships are already cruising the Thames in preparation. Around 1,000 companies will run stalls at the DSEi event, which is attended by representatives of many of the world's most repressive regimes.
NURSERY NURSES in Scotland plan to escalate their action against low pay and for respect for the valuable job they do. The workers' Unison union has said that nursery nurses across Scotland will strike for a week, between Monday 8 September and Friday 12 September, unless Scotland's local authorities come up with a decent offer. The week of strikes will culminate in a protest at Glasgow Green on Saturday 13 September.
"WE ARE fighting for the inalienable right of humankind, black or white, Christian or not, left, right or merely indifferent, to be free," said Tony Blair in his fawning speech to the US Congress last month. Lying, as we know, comes naturally to Blair.
BBC2 BROADCAST The Colour of Football on 19 August about racism in the game. It's an important issue. Yet they transmitted it late at night in the middle of a month when many are on holiday. There were positive aspects. It allowed ordinary fans to voice their disgust at racism. It featured black players explaining the effect that racist abuse and actions have on them.
WHEN US forces captured Baghdad many people drew the conclusion that they were all-powerful. That was certainly the view of those around George Bush, who thought their military victory in Iraq would allow them to tell any other power what to do. It was also a conclusion accepted by some on the left. Every day that passes shows how wrong that view is, and points to US weakness, not strength.
THE LABOUR Party has called the by-election in Brent East, west London, for 18 September. It will be a key test for New Labour, taking place in the middle of the Hutton inquiry.
THE HUTTON inquiry has revealed fascinating documents and testimony. Of course, the inquiry is examining only the relations between the intelligence information and the prime minister, which was a very small part of the whole question of the build-up to the war, and Dr Kelly is only a small part of this picture. But the inquiry has already shown the disquiet among senior officials about the way the case for war was presented. Dr Kelly was one of these people.
THIS DEVASTATING truth is revealed in a confidential memo, released by the Hutton inquiry into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly. It was written on 2 July this year by a former chief of defence intelligence, Air Marshal Sir John Walker, and was sent to parliament's Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
IN TWO weeks time representatives of the world's governments will gather in Cancun, Mexico, for a crucial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The collapse of the WTO meeting in Seattle almost four years ago, amid protests outside and rows inside, marked the emergence of the worldwide movement against corporate globalisation.
FOR FIVE days last week the Sun ran a series of articles about "the biggest crisis facing Britain today". Was it about pensions? The impact of tuition fees? The threat of unemployment? No. The Sun targeted asylum seekers.
BEHIND THE scare stories in the press about asylum and immigration there is a real story to be told. It is the story of how, for centuries, people have been forced to move thousands of miles to escape persecution or find work.
TONY BLAIR is the dead man walking of British politics. That much was clear even before he appeared before the Hutton inquiry this week. The problems for Blair are deeper than those caused by the death of scientist Dr David Kelly.
BNP thugs can't bury culture of violence ALL IS not rosy in the BNP. The tensions between the national high command and the Burnley branch have been exposed by the out of favour Nazi councillor Luke Smith. This is in part due to the alleged glassing of a steward by Smith at this year's Red, White and Blue "carnival".
THE Communist Manifesto, I suggested last week, identified the new forces being unleashed by modern capitalism. Marx's classic pamphlet argued that capitalism also created a new exploited class, the "proletariat"-the modern working class.