MANY OF Britain's major banks met in Harrogate on Tuesday to discuss plans to fleece people even more than they already do. Barclays was pushing for the banks in the Link network to charge people to withdraw cash from hole in the wall cash machines. People could have to pay a flat rate charge of between £1 and £2.50 simply for taking their own money out.
A NEW study has shown that global warming has had an even greater impact on the polar ice caps than was previously reckoned. A study of sonar data gathered by naval submarines showed that the Arctic ice cap has shrunk by almost 40 percent in the last few decades. Up to now satellite pictures have been used to measure the shrinkage. But the sonar soundings show that melting UNDER the ice caps is happening. The melting ice caps mean that sea levels will rise.
CHIEF EXECUTIVES of Britain's top companies have pay and bonus packages that on average are 94 times higher than their workforces', according to research by the Trades Union Congress. Another report found that some bosses think they are worth even more.
AN ASIAN teenager was badly injured when an axe was thrown through his car window in a racist attack in Oldham, Greater Manchester, last week. Eighteen year old Liaqet Ali suffered a broken jaw and lost several teeth after the car he was travelling in was cornered by a white gang in a Ford Escort.
PENSIONERS WERE due to hold protests across Britain on Wednesday this week. Last week pensioner activists held a mock Queen's Speech outside parliament to show their anger at government policies.
ON WEDNESDAY of last week 24 copies of Socialist Worker were sold on the picket line at Westbourne Park bus garage in west London. On Monday morning this week 9 papers were sold to striking BT call centre workers in Manchester, 8 in Cardiff, 6 in Glasgow and Sheffield, 5 in Liverpool and 3 in Brighton. 25 papers were sold at the PTA plant at Ford Dagenham with 9 more sold at the engine plant. And 62 were sold on workplace sales across Hackney in east London last week. They included 7 papers sold at Homerton Hospital, 4 at Upper Clapton post office, 3 at Shoreditch fire station, 3 at Paragon Road post office, 2 at Andrews Road council depot and 8 at Homerton School. Thanet's first industr
THOUSANDS OF postal workers across London are to vote on official strikes as management tries to cut costs over Christmas. The ballots will include almost all delivery workers and some drivers in the big distribution centres. The issues vary in different areas. They include:
THE BATTLE for the future of Glasgow's 80,000 council homes is hotting up. The city's Labour controlled council and the Scottish Parliament are split over how to transfer all the homes to private landlords. The council wants to sell all the stock to one company or a newly formed private housing association. It plans a ballot in November 2000 at the latest, with the transfer taking place in April 2001. However, the Scottish Executive is pressing for smaller transfers now.
RODDY Slorach, one of Scotland's leading trade unionists, has been expelled from his UNISON public sector workers' union. UNISON leaders have thrown Roddy out of the union for daring to stand up to New Labour. The move has caused outrage. A major campaign is under way to win Roddy's reinstatement. Roddy explained to Socialist Worker what happened:
OVER 400 people attended a one year anniversary rally for the Sky Chefs workers in west London last Saturday. Lufthansa Sky Chefs at Heathrow sacked the 270 workers last year for taking part in a legal one day strike. They have been fighting for reinstatement ever since.
WORKERS IN Hackney, east London, have scored a victory for equal pay. Two years ago 27 mainly young black workers were forced off the dole and into low paid jobs in the council under the government's New Deal scheme. They got jobs in refuse and street cleaning at £156 a week. This figure was well below that for other staff doing the same job.
SECRETARIES AND clerical workers at Manchester University struck on Tuesday of last week in a dispute over pay. Management had offered 3.5 percent but had set aside over 6.5 percent for a rise in the university's pay bill. The strike was solid, with over 40 people joining the UNISON union in the run up to the action.
OVER 700 workers from Birmingham City Council's housing department met on Tuesday of last week to discuss what to do about the imminent giveaway of council homes. Birmingham City Council is the biggest municipal landlord in Britain. The proposed transfer of all its 93,000 homes will "change the face of social housing in this country", according to Housing Today magazine.
OVER 150 electricians walked off the £214 million flagship Norfolk and Norwich PFI hospital for 36 hours on Thursday of last week. The unofficial action was supported by 50 labourers who refused to cross the picket line. The electricians are unhappy about the productivity bonus agreed by the bosses and the leadership of the electricians' union, the AEEU. More unofficial strikes are planned and an overtime ban has begun.
SOME 500 British Airways computer workers were shell shocked last week when management announced that their section is to be sold off to another firm. A mass meeting on Wednesday of this week was to discuss how to fight back.
"IT'S LIKE working in a slave galley." That was how one striker in Lancaster summed up the feelings of the 4,000 workers on strike at 37 BT call centres around Britain on Monday.
NEARLY 2,000 bus workers across west London struck for the day over pay on Monday this week. The action hit services in Greenford, Acton, Uxbridge, Orpington, Alperton and Westbourne Park. It was the workers' second official one day strike. Members of the TGWU also struck for the day on Wednesday of last week. The drivers and conductors work for a company called Centre West which is owned by First Group, Britain's largest bus operator.
FORD WORKERS are not happy with management's pay and hours offer. Mass meetings were to take place at many Ford plants across the country this week where consultatative ballots were to be held. Results were expected after Socialist Worker went to press.
MEMBERS OF the white collar MSF union in London are taking on New Labour, and their own union leadership, over the right to vote for Labour's candidate for mayor. At the union's London regional council meeting last Saturday nearly 50 delegates and over 30 visitors packed into a room to debate the Labour Party's refusal to allow MSF members to vote in the election.
ANGER EXPLODED last week at the news that energy company Scottish Power plans to axe 450 jobs, 250 of them in Scotland. At the same time the company announced profits of £1.3 million a day. Company boss Ian Robinson was paid £1.1 million last year. Even AEEU union leader Sir Ken Jackson, who talks of "partnership" between bosses and workers, was forced to slam the company. Scottish Power has tried to blame the job cuts on the power regulator demanding customer savings. In reality the cuts are part of a massive shake up in the industry.