PENSIONERS ARE trying to survive on a basic £3,471 a year. But top directors retire on that much a WEEK and more, according to Labour Research.
A DEVASTATING report into British abattoirs reveals "severe deficiencies" in the production of food, according to a report by vets working for the European Commission. The vets inspected a number of factories producing chicken, which counts for around 40 percent of all the meat consumed in Britain. The process used dirty equipment in run down buildings and with little inspection from qualified vets. The report also concluded that government inspections at the factories are failing. It revealed factory bosses are pressurising the inspectors into giving them a good hygiene report. Food safety expert Tim Lang says this smacks of "the worst time of the 1980s when the ministry's reflex was
ANNESLEY - Bentinck pit in Nottinghamshire closed its doors last week after 140 years. The private firm Midland Mining took over the pit four years ago. But last December the company announced it was shutting the mine and sacking 450 workers. It is not just in the "old industries" where workers are facing unemployment. Two big internet companies announced job cuts last week. Boo.com, which sells designer clothes through the internet, is sacking some of its workforce, as is the world's largest online bookseller, Amazon.com. Amazon is cutting its workforce by 150, despite the fact that the company is valued at £20 billion.
RICHARD Branson is hiking ticket prices on his Virgin Trains. Virgin now charges £150 for a standard return fare between London and Manchester. This has risen by 50 percent in three years.THOUSANDS of children are suffering serious birth injuries because of a crisis in Britain's maternity services, say the government's own figures. A shortage of midwives means that up to a third of women give birth without proper supervision.PRINCE Charles's official fortune is now at an all time high of £290 million. Most of this comes from the Duchy of Cornwall. Profits from the estate gave Charles an income of £7 million last year.NEW LABOUR is planning to let the
A CROWD of 12,000 people packed into a London venue on Friday of last week to see US band Rage Against the Machine. Band members urged everyone to build support for justice campaigns like Mumia Abu-Jamal and Satpal Ram.
"WHAT DOES a black family have to do to get justice? Hire their own police force, their own solicitor, their own forensic scientist?" So says Cliff McGowan, whose brother Errol was found hanged last July after suffering two years of racist harassment and death threats. Cliff's nephew Jason, who was investigating his uncle's death, was then found hanged on New Year's Day.
HEALTH WORKERS at UCLH hospitals in London are organising a demonstration on Tuesday of next week to call for more funding for the NHS. It has never been needed more. The Association of Community Health Councils revealed shocking evidence last week about the state of accident and emergency departments. It did a snapshot survey on 20 December last year and found elderly patients with serious illnesses left on trolleys for more than two days. It found patients were forced to lie on the floor because there were no beds-and this was before the flu outbreak in January. This is the tragic result of New Labour's refusal to fund the NHS.
SOCIALISTS WILL be standing in the elections for the Greater London Assembly in May. Socialists, trade unionists and community groups have united in the London Socialist Alliance (LSA). The LSA will contest seats on the Greater London Assembly, the new body which will come into operation at the same time as the mayor. Over the next two weeks elections will be taking place to select local LSA candidates.
OVER 600 people attended a lively demonstration last Saturday in Cambridge to protest against the imprisonment of the Cambridge Two, Ruth Wyner and John Brock. A judge had two days earlier refused them leave to appeal against their conviction. That decision will now go to a higher court. The two have been sentenced to five and four years after having been falsely accused of allowing drugs to be dealt in the homeless day centre they ran. Delegations on the march included workers from the local council, Southwark NATFHE, Ipswich TGWU and local students. Protesters chanted, "British justice, no justice-free the Cambridge Two." Campaigners now plan to take their protests to London and hand
LEICESTERSHIRE: Around 500 care workers across Leicestershire took part in the first of a series of one day strikes last Saturday against plans to cut wages. Leicestershire County Council bosses are trying to impose new contracts which will take away weekend shift allowances. This would cost some workers up to £2,000 a year. It is also feared that this pay cut could pave the way for privatisation. Support for the strike was solid amongst the mainly female part time workforce. Two rallies of about 100 strikers and supporters took place during the day. The workers planned more strikes this week and next unless management backed down.
THE APPEAL against the expulsion of leading Scottish activist Roddy Slorach from his UNISON union was last week postponed until 7 March.
CONCERN IS growing among BT workers over the company's massive new restructuring programme, labelled NewGRID. Some of the biggest union meetings for years have been taking place around the country over the plan, and now three key London engineering branches of the workers' CWU union have called a mass meeting. NewGRID will affect all BT workers, and the company wants to end all current demarcation and grading structures.
The Free Satpal Ram Campaign has called a vigil outside the Home Office on Monday 28 February. The campaign is to meet with minister Paul Boateng to press the government to release Satpal. Satpal has been in prison for 13 years for defending himself against racist thugs who attacked him in a Birmingham restaurant.
Firefighters on Merseyside have forced the reinstatement of the branch secretary and branch chair of Formby fire station after the threat of a brigade - wide walkout. Management suspended the two branch officials after an allegation that they had been "discourteous". This was a major attack on the FBU firefighters' union, as both officials are heading a campaign to prevent Formby from being downgraded. Both are now back at work after firefighters at stations across the brigade voted to walk out.
Some 50 people attended a meeting in London last Saturday to launch the Association for the Tobin Tax for Aid to Citizens (ATTAC) in Britain. The tax, named after economist James Tobin, would be a levy on financial speculation. Katherin Matheison of War On Want addressed Saturday's meeting, as did a member of ATTAC from France. Across the Channel ATTAC has grown to some 70,000 members with 130 local groups in little over a year after it was launched by the left wing monthly paper Le Monde diplomatique. Most of those at Saturday's meeting were inspired by the Seattle protest against the World Trade Organisation. A series of further meetings is planned, including a joint conference with W
"UNION railroads Connex." That was the headline in last Sunday's Observer newspaper. Drivers working for privatised rail company Connex have won a magnificent victory. One 24 hour strike by 1,500 train drivers left fat cat rail bosses reeling. Drivers, who belong to the ASLEF rail union, won their demands for a 35 hour week and 100 percent pension rights. Connex has also been forced to agree to recruit at least 60 new drivers. A driver from Battersea depot in south London told Socialist Worker, "Everyone stood together and we won. "All the managers who tried to bully and intimidate us are skulking around the mess room now. They're scared to show their faces."
"WE WERE right to stand and fight. I have no doubts about that. People stood together and that makes me proud." They were the words of one of the sacked Sky Chefs workers who last week decided to end their brave 14 month fight. The 270 catering workers at Heathrow Airport were sacked by air giant Lufthansa simply for taking part in a legal one day strike against huge attacks on their pay and conditions.
Hundreds of students at the School of Oriental and African Studies, central London, took control of the college's finance and admin department for most of last week. They were fighting for students who have not paid their tuition fees. In doing so they highlighted a battle that is taking place inside every college in Britain. Students who cannot afford to pay their tuition fees, or who are refusing to pay on principle, face expulsion from college. "If we put up with this, we can say goodbye to working class students coming to this college," said Tam, one of the SOAS occupiers. "I'm a third year. I don't even pay fees. But I will leave college with £8,000 to £9,000 of debt. I get a m
COUNCIL WORKERS in Wandsworth were set to strike against their Tory council on Wednesday in a fight to defend basic rights at work...
IN JUST over four weeks time a US judge will begin considering whether radical black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal will be put to death or will be granted a retrial.