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.
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 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".
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
THE planned strike by train drivers in the ASLEF and RMT unions on London Underground was called off by union leaders on Thursday of last week just hours before action was due to start.
THE SOCIAL services branch of the UNISON union in Waltham Forest has passed a motion calling for one-day strike action against £2.5 million of council cuts. Workers and the local community were set to lobby the council on Thursday of this week.
SUPPORT IS growing for Mark Dolan, the post worker and union activist in north London who faces the sack. Management have accelerated the normal disciplinary code. They have already said Mark is guilty of harassment and gross misconduct. They will now have formal interviews and hearings!
TANKER DRIVERS working for P&O Trans European called off last weekend's strikes after P&O bosses came up with a new offer in the pay dispute. The drivers, members of the TGWU union, have held national strikes for 24 hours and at weekends for the last month.
BUS WORKERS employed by the giant Stagecoach company in the north east of England have voted for a series of one-day strikes over pay, due to start on Friday of this week. Multi-millionaire Brian Souter runs Stagecoach.
ROSSINGTON Miners are back on all-out strike. They returned to work for one day last week to overcome legal complications. The decision to return to work for 24 hours was taken after NUM members voted to strike in a second ballot.