Socialist Worker

Privatisation


Action to guard our safety on the railway

05 April 2003
THE MOST coordinated strike action on the railway since privatisation forced train operating companies to cancel up to 90 percent of services across nine firms this Monday and on Friday of last week. Some 3,000 guards in the RMT union held two 24-hour strikes over a long-running safety dispute. Further action is planned for Thursday 17 April. Despite government support for strikebreaking, management on the nine companies admitted the strike's success.

Guards strike to put safety first on the railways

29 March 2003
GUARDS IN the RMT rail workers' union on ten companies were set to strike for 24 hours on Friday of this week and Monday of next over safety. "It is the first effectively national strike we have had on the guards' side since privatisation," says Alex Holden, a guard and RMT safety rep in Manchester. "The fragmentation of the industry means we have had to have a series of synchronised ballots." The companies are:

Women's TUC

22 March 2003
This year's women's TUC conference in Liverpool was the angriest I have attended. Throughout the conference, opposition to government policies on issues such as equality legislation, pensions, privatisation and the firefighters' dispute was linked again and again to the senseless waste of lives and resources in a war.

Joint action is the way to beat rail privateers

15 March 2003
GUARDS AND conductors on 12 rail lines could call strikes next week after a two to one vote for action. The dispute to restore the safety role of guards goes right to the heart of the way privatisation has sacrificed safety, services and passengers in the interests of the rail conglomerates.

Colombia solidarity

01 February 2003
"IF YOU keep fucking around we are going to kill you all." That threat was made by the Colombian army to workers at the EMCALI public utilities firm this week. The workers, based in the city of Cali in the South American country, are occupying offices and plants against the threat of privatisation. A year ago they beat off privatisation after an occupation.

Tube bosses risk lives for profit

01 February 2003
NEW LABOUR'S privatisation scheme for London Underground came within a hair's breadth of killing dozens of people last Saturday. A motor fell off a Central Line tube train, knocking it off the rails as it entered Chancery Lane station. The train smashed into the platform, and its doors were ripped off as some carriages slammed into tunnel walls.

The anger is rising in Britain

04 January 2003
LAST YEAR could leave no one in any doubt about where the New Labour government is going. It began with Tony Blair in February denouncing public sector workers who oppose privatisation as "wreckers". It ended with the whole government mounting a vicious propaganda campaign against the firefighters and their union.

Defend Council Housing

14 December 2002
HOUSING privatisation plans in Haringey, north London, have been blocked by tenants. A few weeks ago we found out that the council was about to use funds from the council's "ring-fenced homelessness budget" towards a £612,000 consultancy contract.

Postal workers

23 November 2002
OVER 3,000 postal workers were on the verge of strikes against privatisation as Socialist Worker went to press. Strikes will go ahead unless Royal Mail managers back off completely from their plan to hand the Cash Handling and Distribution (CHD) section over to Securicor. Talks between management and the CWU union were planned to take place this week. On a 67 percent turnout CHD members voted by a remarkable 95 percent for action. Immediately after the vote Royal Mail and Securicor announced they were dropping their original privatisation plan.

Anti-privatisation

16 November 2002
TRADE UNIONISTS and local activists in York have launched an anti-privatisation campaign called PFI Watch. This follows the decision of the New Labour council to push ahead with PFI projects in three York primary schools.

Council housing

16 November 2002
THE GOVERNMENT is on the back foot over privatisation of council housing. Sheffield council has just announced it is officially calling off its transfer, and ministers now acknowledge that stock transfer will be rejected by tenants in most areas.

Arundhati Roy's The Algebra of Infinite Justice – demanding justice for the poor

16 November 2002
I could not put down the fantastic book by Arundhati Roy The Algebra of Infinite Justice. It is a collection of the main political essays she has written so far. The book includes new essays on Bush and Blair's "war on terror", the Hindu chauvinist BJP government in India, and the effects of privatisation on ordinary people.

London councils

02 November 2002
SELECTIVE STRIKE action is continuing in boroughs across London as part of the campaign for £4,000 London weighting. At Tower Hamlets council, east London, pickets were out again throughout the week, blocking post deliveries at the two buildings where post is dealt with. The pickets were enlivened by petitioning and leafleting for the firefighters and for home care workers whose jobs are threatened by privatisation.

Post

26 October 2002
POSTAL WORKERS across Britain in the Cash Handling and Distribution (CHD) section start a strike ballot next week. The Post Office wants to sell CHD to Securicor, a full privatisation that will affect 3,000 workers.

Public Sector Alliance

26 October 2002
WE ARE planning to hold a mass protest against privatisation in Newcastle on 2 November. We face radical proposals that will mean the wholesale privatisation of services in the city.

Turn postal workers ballot into action

19 October 2002
POSTAL WORKERS across Britain will soon start a strike ballot over their bosses' plans to privatise the Cash Handling and Distribution (CHD) section. The Post Office wants to sell CHD to Securicor, a full privatisation that will affect 3,000 workers.

WTO demands privatisation in Britain

19 October 2002
THE WORLD Trade Organisation (WTO) is demanding that Britain and British firms embark on wholesale privatisation of public services, government documents revealed this week. They revealed that Britain faces WTO demands to "remove all establishment restrictions on hospital and social services, rest, convalescent and old people's homes".

Newcastle demonstration against privatisation

19 October 2002
A MAJOR demonstration and rally are planned in Newcastle upon Tyne in suppport of public services and against privatisation. GMB union general secretary John Edmonds and CWU union general secretary Billy Hayes are among the speakers.

Will privatisation put the lights out?

19 October 2002
MILLIONS OF people in north west England and East Anglia this week faced worry and uncertainty over their electricity supply. An enormous crisis is sweeping Britain's power generating industry, with power stations already being shut and warnings that worse could be to come. Millions across Britain could face the kind of power cuts which hit California in the US two years ago.

Socialist Alliance conference on the euro

19 October 2002
AROUND 350 people attended the Socialist Alliance conference on the euro last Saturday. There were four different motions put to the conference. Most of the speakers in the debate agreed that the euro project was not about a convenient currency but was about making privatisation and attacks on workers easier.

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