Socialist Worker


Paths to victory

HUNDREDS MORE job centre workers in the PCS civil servants' union joined the indefinite strike for safety at work on Monday of this week. Workers at the government's new Pathfinder offices in Streatham and Brent in London have entered the eighth week of their strike against the removal of safety screens at work.


AN EMPLOYMENT tribunal has unanimously agreed that Post Office management unfairly dismissed CWU union activist Mick Doherty. Mick, chair of the N/NW London CWU branch, was sacked after allegations of his involvement in football violence before last year's UEFA cup final in Copenhagen.

Sefton council

SIX DAYS of strike action by 900 members of the UNISON union have forced Sefton council on Merseyside to reopen two of the care homes it shut. The income from the sale of a third site has been ring-fenced to be reinvested into social services, and a site is to be found for a new children's home.

Scottish Power

STRIKE action planned at Scottish Power this week has been called off to allow negotiations with management. The decision was taken at a stewards' meeting addressed by officials from the AEEU, GMB and TGWU unions.

Mark New elected to Unison NEC

Mark New, a leader of the Dudley hospitals workers' strike and the candidate of the United Left, has been elected to the national executive committee (NEC) of public sector union Unison. Mark was elected by health workers in the union for a "health" seat on the union's NEC.

British Airways

SOME 450 British Airways workers at Heathrow attended a GMB union meeting last week to discuss the management's attacks on their pay. The company wants to cut the pay of 36,000 workers, including flight crew, cabin crew, engineers, administrative staff and ground staff. The attack amounts to a 4 percent pay cut, and the equivalent of 7,000 job losses at the company.

New Labour's 'snatch squads' for refugees

NEW LABOUR'S plans to step up its draconian attacks on asylum seekers are even worrying the Metropolitan Police. The government is to unleash "snatch squads" across London next month to round up asylum seekers whose claims have been refused. A pilot scheme in east London is already seeing people snatched from their homes in the middle of the night and bundled off to be forcibly deported. Refugee campaigners in the area have told Socialist Worker they are receiving reports of at least two people a day being snatched. They are then deported on a plane chartered by the government.

Virgin boss new head of railways

THE MAN responsible for one of the worst records in the rail industry has been picked by the government to head the Strategic Rail Authority. The appointment of Virgin Rail boss Richard Bowker is incredible, even by New Labour's standards.

Another private failure

ANOTHER flagship privatisation scheme has collapsed in chaos. Newham council in east London is to terminate its £35 million contract with private firm CSL to run the borough's housing benefit services. The council will bring the service back "in house".

Anti-racists defiant despite council ban

"THERE IS no doubt in my mind that the Respect festival had mass popular support in Oldham. Many ordinary people have said to me over the last few weeks that the festival was 'the event Oldham needed'. But the police and the council decide how far democracy can exist in our town, and they have banned it. This will only give succour to the racists."

BNFL bailout

THE BNFL nuclear company is on the verge of bankruptcy, and is appealing for a government bailout. The firm is state owned, but the government wants to press ahead with plans to privatise it.

100,000 jobs could go by Christmas

THE SHARPEST rise in unemployment for eight years. That's the reality behind official figures announced last week. Figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that between June and the end of August the number of people looking for work rose by 53,000.

Devastation as thousands of workers are sacked

THOUSANDS OF workers at Rolls-Royce aero engine plants around the country were shocked last week when the firm announced 5,000 job losses. Some 3,800 of the job cuts will be in Britain, the bulk of them at the firm's Derby plant.

Labour's scheme to rob disabled people's benefit

JUST AS growing numbers of people across Britain are being thrown out of work, the government is mounting a nasty attack to force disabled people to find low paid jobs. Pilot schemes began this week, and the government wants its new regime to operate across the country next year. Parliament was not even debating the plan until Thursday, after it had already begun.

Stop the bombing now

US bombs kill whole families

BUSH AND Blair don't want to admit their war has slaughtered ordinary men, women and children in Afghanistan. We have only seen a glimpse of the horror of war in some pictures in newspapers and on the television.

Voice of the movement

THE demonstrations in London and Glasgow last Saturday showed more than just the size of the opposition to the war. They also showed how that opposition is benefiting from the impact of the anti-capitalist movement from Seattle to Genoa.

Outrage in Oldham

OLDHAM COUNCIL, led by the Liberals, has given racists a boost by withdrawing permission for the anti-racist Respect Festival, which was planned for the town this Saturday. It had been organised by a broad coalition, including Oldham United Against Racism, North West Region TUC and the Anti Nazi League. The festival was expected to bring together 10,000 black and white people, most of them young.

Close Faslane

PROTESTERS will blockade the Faslane Trident nuclear base on the Clyde near Glasgow on Monday. The demonstration will have a special urgency because it will also be against the bombing of Afghanistan.

Whisking the bosses

WORKERS AT whisky makers Chivas Regal took part in a third day of strike action on Wednesday of last week. The workers, members of the GMB, AEEU and MSF unions, voted to strike by an overwhelming four to one in an attempt to win a pay rise.

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