Nothing succeeds like failure, especially if you are a boss at Edexcel. Edexcel is the exam board that set an unsolvable maths question, sent exam papers back late and lost some papers.
In response the company has awarded its top executives bonuses of up to £20,000 a year. It also pays staff bonuses for winning new contracts. Edexcel brings in big business executives to replace staff with a background in education.
LAST WEEK Socialist Worker reported that cleaning at Glasgow’s Royal Victoria Hospital, which is at the centre of a massive virus outbreak, is run by Sodexho. Sodexho has been implicated in providing services at other hospitals with filthy conditions. It also ran the government’s refugee voucher scheme. Under pressure, one of the Glasgow hospital trust’s directors toured the Royal Victoria Hospital last week.
He found sacks of rubbish and dirty linen strewn around, jamming doors and filthy staff toilets. The director suggested that the trust may now terminate Sodexho’s contract.
LABOUR Party membership has plummeted-and that’s official. Last year, just weeks before the general election, Socialist Worker reported rumours that Labour’s membership had fallen to 280,000. Now Labour’s general secretary, David Triesman, has confirmed the 280,000 figure. The Labour Party claimed 400,000 members in 1997. By September 2001 the party’s official report said membership was 310,000.
Triesman acknowledged that ‘disillusion’ with the government was ‘probably’ the cause of thousands deserting Labour.
WOMEN LIVING near toxic landfill sites are up to 40 percent more likely to have babies with birth defects, according to a new EU report. Twelve of the 23 sites studied are in Britain. There are 300 landfill sites across Britain.
The government’s main environment watchdog has admitted that ‘a huge black hole’ in its finances will undermine its ability to police the polluters.
Tony Juniper from Friends of the Earth condemned the cuts: ‘There needs to be more inspection, better enforcement of the rules and more prosecutions. ‘The trouble is that if the agency cracks down on polluting firms it upsets some of New Labour’s best friends.’
Strikes at 68 universities
Agency workers would be paid more
A racist Tory bill
Many people are already missing bill payments