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Protest to keep council housing


TENANTS AND trade unionists are preparing for a major lobby of parliament against council house privatisation on Wednesday 24 January. The lobby has been called to demand that New Labour drops its attempt to end council housing and force through the privatisation of all remaining 3.2 million council homes in Britain.

Signal to blame at Paddington


SIGNALS IN the area of the 1999 Paddington rail crash were "exceptionally difficult" for drivers to see and did not comply with industry standards. That was the conclusion of the official Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inquiry into the Paddington disaster, in which 31 people were killed when two trains smashed into each other.

Health strikers fight on


HEALTH WORKERS in Dudley in the West Midlands struck for three weeks over Christmas and got a huge boost from the solidarity they received. Over 250 strikers and their families tasted the level of support at a party just before Christmas.

Cancer link to Kosovo


NATO MILITARY chiefs are under growing pressure to investigate a possible link between depleted uranium shells used by its forces in its bombing of Kosovo and a spate of deaths from cancer. Italy's military prosecutor is examining five deaths of military personnel who were in Kosovo.

In brief


RESEARCH BY the Health and Safety Executive, due to be published later this month, has uncovered intolerable working conditions and stress levels at call centres.

Nail Tory lies on refugees


MICHAEL HESELTINE last week joined Tory leader William Hague's filthy campaign to play the race card in the run-up to the election. The man Tony Blair claims is a "one-nation Tory" launched a vicious attack on asylum seekers. "Let's not mince our language here," he said, claiming that most refugees were "bogus".

Hackney: now step up fight


THOUSANDS OF council workers in Hackney, east London, struck for a day on 20 December in a big escalation of the battle against cuts pushed through by the ruling Tory-Labour coalition. The action before Christmas was extremely effective and needs to be built on now, because very serious challenges lie ahead. The unions organised emergency cover, but apart from that there was an almost total shutdown in both the manual and white collar services.

Serious battles coming


POSTAL workers will face serious challenges this year as reports in the press are saying that Post Office bosses and the government are preparing to attack them and their CWU union. Fortunately there are plenty of signs that postal workers are prepared to resist any attacks.

No joy for New Labour


LABOUR WON the by-election in Falkirk West by the thinnest of majorities just before Christmas. Labour's majority of 13,800 in 1997 was slashed to just 705 over the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Luton airport


TRADE UNION officials rammed through an appalling deal at Luton airport just as workers were expecting to launch strike action over the Christmas holiday. Members of the TGWU union voted narrowly to accept the deal, by 217 to 179, the week before Christmas.

AEEU


RICHARD Branson, Tony Blair's favourite boss, is trying to block the recognition of the AEEU union on his Virgin Atlantic airways. Around 1,400 of Virgin's cabin staff, just over half the workforce, have joined the union.

Pushing for left unity


OVER 50 union activists attended a meeting in central London on the Tuesday before Christmas to celebrate the election of socialist Mark Serwotka as the general secretary of the 260,000-strong civil servants' union, the PCS. Mark argued that his election victory against a Blairite candidate showed the anger ordinary members feel over the betrayals of New Labour and the right wing leadership of the union.

Buses


BUS DRIVERS in the West Midlands last month voted to reject a five-year pay deal which could lead to a ballot over strike action in the new year. This was the fourth time Travel West Midlands bosses have put the offer to the drivers, who rejected it by 1,509 votes to 1,292. The drivers are angry that the deal still means new drivers will get less pay than longstanding workers.

Warrant sales date scandal


LABOUR MEMBERS of the Scottish Parliament have given fresh life to the barbaric procedure of warrant sales. At these sales people in debt can have their possessions dragged onto the streets...

Shut down incinerator


"WE DON'T want our lungs turned brown, shut the cancer factory down," chanted around 100 people as they marched through Edmonton in north London last Saturday...

Choice between two evils


THE OUTCOME of the US election was still hanging in the balance as Socialist Worker went to press. The US Supreme Court was deliberating about whether or not to allow a recount in the state of Florid

Pill cost


THE government's announcement that the "morning after pill" is to be sold over the counter at chemists was widely welcomed this week...

Bloody conquest for god, gold and glory


THE recent TV series Conquistadors told the story of the Spanish conquest of America at the beginning of the 16th century...

Nurses slam government


THE ROYAL College of Nursing (RCN) says the NHS staffing crisis is threatening "to undermine the effective delivery of healthcare"...

100,000 fought for our interests


A TIDE of workers flowed through the streets of Nice on Wednesday of last week in the biggest demonstration by trade unions from across Europe yet seen...

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