Socialist Worker

Privatisation


Go-slow to win safer rail for all

29 November 2003
TUBE WORKERS across all grades are to begin taking industrial action in a battle to restore safety standards following the imposition of the PPP privatisation scheme. The RMT union last week announced that 81 percent of its members had voted for industrial action and 55 percent for strikes over safety.

Cambridge

08 November 2003
AROUND A third of the undergraduates at King's College, Cambridge University, are expected to withhold their rent. This is despite the scare tactics used by the head of the college (who stood as a Tory in the 1997 parliamentary elections) and the college bursar (who was a key figure in the privatisation of the railways).

Nottingham is not for sale

25 October 2003
A PRIVATISATION threat hanging over Nottingham City Council housing has sparked protests from council workers and tenants. A 90-strong meeting was held at Nottingham's YMCA building to discuss how to fight off Nottingham City Council's housing plans. It started with the presentation of a 60-page report from Nottingham City Unison. "Nottingham is not for sale," was how the Unison officer summed up the report.

News Shorts

18 October 2003
A flood of high water bills WATER BILLS are set to soar by up to a third after the private utility companies gets the go-ahead to raise prices. The water companies have made billions since privatisation in 1990, but they refuse to pay for much needed repairs themselves. Instead we will have to pay through higher bills.

Battle against sackings

04 October 2003
MINERS BLOCKADED main roads and railway lines in Silesia in Poland last week in a battle against unemployment. They were joined by railway workers who themselves are facing privatisation and mass sackings. Unfortunately the blockades lasted only three hours and involved only 3,000 protesters.

Labour conference: anger on streets

04 October 2003
THE 2,500-strong protest outside Labour's conference in Bournemouth on Monday showed the anger ordinary people feel at New Labour. The Amicus union organised the demonstration to protest against New Labour standing by while manufacturing jobs are massacred. Sneh Sharma and Pam Degun work at AB Electronics in Romford. They told Socialist Worker, "No one feels their job is safe any more. Everyone is worried for the future. Every day we fear for our jobs. That's why we are here. But we are also worried that tuition fees will discourage young people from studying. And we want to stop the privatisation of the NHS."

Two faces same policy

04 October 2003
New Labour's policies of war and privatisation have led to revolt. But replacing Tony Blair with Gordon Brown is no solution. From among the millions sickened by this government's policies we need to create a socialist alternative to Labour and...

Lib Dems left pretenders

27 September 2003
MANY PEOPLE who voted for the winning Liberal Democrat in the Brent by-election last week were motivated by good reasons. Brent saw traditional Labour voters turn away from Blair in disgust at his government's record on the war, privatisation and public services. Many voted Lib Dem believing this was, on the day, the way to give Blair a bloody nose.

Hospitals

27 September 2003
UP TO 150 school students walked out of Harwich School on Thursday of last week. They organised their strike in support of a campaign against the effective privatisation of health facilities, including the maternity ward, in Harwich, Essex.

Hospitals

20 September 2003
HUNDREDS OF cleaners, porters and catering staff at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride are to ballot for strike action. Hairmyres is one of New Labour's flagship PFI hospitals. The workers are fuming at their bosses, ISS Mediclean, and at government ministers. The hospital has been lambasted for having too few beds, sewerage leaks, losing patient records and failing IT systems following privatisation.

Love music-hate racism

06 September 2003
LOVE MUSIC-hate racism, privatisation and war! That was the message ringing out over the grassy slopes by the sea at Tankerton, Kent, on Sunday.

Energy giant leaves millions in the dark

06 September 2003
THE BLACKOUT that hit London and the south east of England last week was another vivid reminder of the madness of privatisation and spending curbs.

Prepare for crown duel

23 August 2003
WORKERS AT Peckham Crown Post Office and Camberwell Green Crown Post Offices in south London have launched campaigns to stop their offices being privatised and downgraded. The 30 people employed in the two offices have over 300 years experience serving the community. CWU union assistant sectional secretary Steve Whale said, "We were only informed of the privatisation when the press rang our union room for our comments."

Opposite of a Blairite selection meeting

09 August 2003
A LEFT challenge to New Labour was launched at a vibrant convention of the left in the Brent East constituency last week. Over 90 people attended the meeting in west London in the run-up to a by-election in the area. Everyone there was determined to build an alternative to Tony Blair's pro-war, pro-privatisation policies.

Judge them by the companies they keep

26 July 2003
THE GOVERNMENT insists that its foundation hospitals plans have nothing to do with privatisation of the NHS. But the attendance list at a government-sponsored conference on "Foundation Hospitals: The Way Forward" last month tells a different story. The two-day gathering took place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, and details were revealed in Private Eye magazine. Delegates paid £816 a head to hear various officials from the Treasury and the health department.

Beacon for those who hate Blair

26 July 2003
ASIANS WHO have traditionally voted Labour, already angry about the war on Iraq, privatisation and the demonisation of Islam, are even angrier after being snubbed again. The Labour Party has narrowly selected the Blairite MEP Robert Evans instead of Shahid Malik as their candidate for Brent East. The election may be as early as September.

A warning to the gaffers

12 July 2003
THE CONFERENCE of the TGWU manual workers' union in Brighton last week provided further evidence of the shift to the left amongst rank and file trade unionists. Many delegates spoke about the reality of their working lives (see page 7). Almost every motion at the biannual conference was critical of New Labour, whether it was foundation hospitals, privatisation, the war, anti trade union laws or low pay.

Chief plunderer goes to poorest continent

12 July 2003
"GEORGE BUSH is coming to South Africa with his hands dripping with the fresh blood of Iraqi people. When they roll out the red carpet for him, it will be to hide the bloodstains." That's how Trevor Ngwane, the leading South African anti-privatisation activist, summed up what Bush's tour of Africa means.

Housing

28 June 2003
THE GOVERNMENT has admitted that its Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) are a staging post towards full privatisation of council housing. ALMOs were introduced by the government in the face of opposition from tenants and trade unionists to the handover of council homes to housing associations and private companies.

Letters

28 June 2003
Brutal policy against the elderly in homes RAGE, the Relatives Action Group for the Elderly, is maintaining its fight. The campaign works with families, unions and community organisations to stop the rationalisation of public sector care homes for older people. Research produced by RAGE in 2001 revealed that up to 450 care homes and day centres were threatened by either closure, privatisation or transfer/partnership.

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