THE COMPANIES due to take over the infrastructure of London's tube under the government's PPP privatisation scheme expect to get a 500 percent return on their investment. The figure comes from a study by the Labour Research Department.
THE WORLD Trade Organisation (WTO) is demanding that Britain and British firms embark on wholesale privatisation of public services, government documents revealed this week. They revealed that Britain faces WTO demands to "remove all establishment restrictions on hospital and social services, rest, convalescent and old people's homes".
"NOT GUILTY." That was the jury's unanimous verdict on 12 charges against Asians who defended their community in Burnley from racist attack. The jury in Preston Crown Court last week sided with the Asians who on 24 June last year mobilised to stop gangs inspired by the Nazi British National Party terrorising the area.
THE ATTEMPT by London Underground management, with the connivance of the government, to inflict a serious defeat on the rail unions has spectacularly backfired. London mayor Ken Livingstone came to an agreement with leaders of the RMT and Aslef unions on Wednesday of last week. This has pulled the rug out from under the tube bosses. Livingstone met the unions' call for independent mediation over this year's pay claim and related issues.
WORKERS IN the press and paintline section at Raven Manufacturing near Burnley are continuing their series of one-day strikes over pay. Pay levels are appalling, with this group of engineering workers on just £5.80 an hour.
Lecturers and support staff in London universities are now set to strike on Thursday 14 November over allowances for working in the capital. A meeting of the London region of the Natfhe union, which represents lecturers in the former polytechnics, decided the strike date last Saturday. The AUT union, which has members in the "old" universities, is balloting for a strike on the same day.
THE LONDON pay strikes mean that a meeting for union activists called by the Public Sector Alliance on Monday of next week takes on added importance. The alliance draws together representatives of the London regions of the main public sector unions.
AN EMOTIONAL meeting of over 100 people in a Nottingham school celebrated a rare victory over David Blunkett and the Home Office last week. An Iraqi family seeking asylum in Britain, Jamil and Sara Daoud, and their four children, Majid (age 11), Hoda (nine), Mostafa (six) and Marwa (four), have beaten back a threat of deportation and are back in Nottingham.
ROLLING STRIKE action by council workers in London continued last week as finance staff in nine London boroughs walked out. The selective action is part of the workers' fight for an increased London weighting allowance.
A MAJOR demonstration and rally are planned in Newcastle upon Tyne in suppport of public services and against privatisation. GMB union general secretary John Edmonds and CWU union general secretary Billy Hayes are among the speakers.
Probation officers have backed a plan to strike over staff shortages and workloads. Delegates at the probation officers' Napo union conference in Eastbourne, East Sussex, last week overwhelmingly agreed on a one-day strike, boycotts and work to rule action.
AROUND 60 people attended the Unity Conference called by Ealing National Union of Teachers (NUT) last Saturday and heard an inspiring set of speakers. The conference was introduced by Christine Blower, secretary of Hammersmith and Fulham NUT, and ex-president of the NUT.
STRIKES BY drivers in the Aslef rail union on First North Western last weekend were solid again. The Aslef union is asking all drivers to put £5 into a FNW disputes fund. Drivers on the Merseyrail company have offered to put in £10 each. More drivers are discussing escalating the dispute.
AROUND 200 European activists gathered in Barcelona two weekends ago to make final preparations for the European Social Forum (ESF) in Florence from 6 to 9 November. The ESF will be a festival of resistance. Every aspect of the new movements will be debated out at huge meetings, self organised seminars and workshops. The assembly in Barcelona agreed that the main demonstration in Florence on Saturday 9 November should focus against an attack on Iraq.
MORE THAN 500 protesters marched against war and nuclear weapons in Plymouth last Saturday. The protest was called by the Nuclear Free Coalition in Plymouth and included a mass sit-down blockade of the main gate into the nuclear dockyard in the city. Devonport dockyard services Britain's nuclear fleet, including those carrying Trident nuclear missiles.
LONDON firefighters are in explosive mood. Firefighters across east London only took 999 calls on Tuesday of last week. They were defending the FBU's policy of not cooperating with the government's so called independent inquiry into firefighters' pay.
SOME 500 porters, telephonists and cleaners in the Unison union at Swansea's Singleton, Morriston, Hillhouse and Cefn Coed hospitals were on the verge of escalating strike action as Socialist Worker went to press. The issue is resistance to poverty pay levels.
OVER 450 people crammed into a Globalise Resistance and Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign hosted meeting on "Do we need a global intifada?" in Glasgow on Thursday of last week. The reception for Haidi Giuliani, the mother of Carlo Giuliani who was murdered by the police during the G8 protests in Genoa last year, was electric.
AROUND 350 people attended the Socialist Alliance conference on the euro last Saturday. There were four different motions put to the conference. Most of the speakers in the debate agreed that the euro project was not about a convenient currency but was about making privatisation and attacks on workers easier.
STRIKING WORKERS who were sacked by their millionaire boss took their case to an industrial tribunal last week. The 87 workers were employed at the Friction Dynamics car components factory in Caernarfon, North Wales. They went on strike in April 2001 when boss Craig Smith imposed a 15 percent pay cut.