Socialist Worker

Privatisation


Councils

27 January 2001
Hackney Council Workers in Hackney, east London, will strike next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in a crucial dispute over the ruling group's plans for cuts and privatisation. The Labour-Tory coalition "structural adjustment plans" mean cutting £50 million over the next three years. Hundreds of jobs will go and services will be handed over to private firms.

Build unity on the tube

20 January 2001
The public rally against tube privatisation earlier this month had speakers from the ASLEF, RMT and TSSA rail unions. ASLEF, which represents train drivers, and the RMT, the general rail trade union, are balloting their members together and plan joint action at the beginning of next month.

Councils

20 January 2001
Hackney council workers in east London will end their next round of strikes with a rally whose line-up includes Tony Benn MP, Guardian journalist Gary Younge, Mark Serwotka, recently elected PCS general secretary and Jeremy Hardy. Strikes are planned for three days, 29-31 January, against the council's cuts and privatisation plans.

Tower Hamlets

20 January 2001
Governors at George Green secondary school in east London's Tower Hamlets voted on Monday to reject being part of the New Labour council's plan to introduce a borough-wide PFI privatisation scheme. The vote is a boost to the fight to sink the scheme. The council wants 47 schools in the borough to be part of the PFI scheme involving a deal with giant firm Babcock and Brown. A lobby against the sell-off was planned outside the borough-wide governors' meeting on Thursday.

Councils

13 January 2001
Hackney council workers in east London are to strike for three days from 29 to 31 January. Urgent action is needed. The leaders of the Labour-Tory coalition that runs the east London council have agreed cuts of £50 million over the next three years. This will mean assets flogged off to private developers and more privatisation of vital services such as school transport for special needs children.

Protest to keep council housing

06 January 2001
TENANTS AND trade unionists are preparing for a major lobby of parliament against council house privatisation on Wednesday 24 January. The lobby has been called to demand that New Labour drops its attempt to end council housing and force through the privatisation of all remaining 3.2 million council homes in Britain.

Unions organise against Labour's tube sell-off plan

06 January 2001
LONDON Underground workers were to begin ballots for strike action this week after management rejected union demands to preserve safety and staffing levels. The ASLEF and RMT unions are fighting the effects of New Labour's proposed PPP privatisation of the tube. The dispute hits at the heart of New Labour's privatisation mania. Strikes on the tube have the potential to kill the sell-off and add to the pressure on the government to renationalise the railway.

Renationalise the rail now

06 January 2001
Privatisation wrecks railways

Blair's Britain

26 August 2000
TUBE privatisation will threaten safety, says a private letter from the government's chief rail inspector.

Council protests

05 February 2000
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.

Breakdown for Labour's policy

11 December 1999
DEPUTY PRIME minister John Prescott is under intense pressure. The attacks come from the Tory press, but also from sections of the Labour leadership and from papers that usually support Labour. The focus of the row is transport. The government's transport policy is in chaos on the roads, the rail and in the air. Last week John Prescott unveiled Labour's long-awaited transport bill. It represents surrender to big business, the pro-roads lobby and those who want more privatisation.

'Solidarity with our struggle'

27 November 1999
"The financial crisis in December 1998 led to the intervention of the International Monetary Fund. They insisted on more privatisation and on letting ailing businesses close. That led to soaring unemployment in a country which, although fully industrialised, has scarcely any welfare provision."

Post bosses' new attack on workers

13 November 1999
POSTAL WORKERS face a big new threat which could hit wages and conditions and point the way towards privatisation. They will be pushed towards competing with courier firms to shift goods for supermarkets and other big stores. Some local managers have even suggested pizza deliveries and milk rounds. The attacks are a direct result of a bosses' plan called Shaping for Competitive Success (SCS) which fits perfectly with New Labour's vision for the Post Office. Stephen Byers, the trade secretary, may not dare to say the government will privatise the post. But the government stresses that the market has to be brought into the postal service, which workers will be made to pay for.

Privatisation is the key divide

06 November 1999
"I FEEL ashamed to say that I'm a member of the London Labour Party. The shenanigans that are taking place to stop Ken from becoming mayor are a disgrace. This has nothing to do with democratic socialism. It is more like Stalin's Russia."

Housing

30 October 1999
THREE LABOUR controlled councils in the West Midlands have announced plans to privatise their entire housing stocks - 150,000 homes. These sell offs can be stopped. Tenants and trade unionists need to get behind the local campaign which already has the backing of Dudley council's UCATT convenor. The year long campaign in Sandwell in the West Midlands won and defeated the privatisation of 8,000 homes.

Air traffic controllers

30 October 1999
AIR TRAFFIC control staff in Manchester took their concerns over the threatened privatisation of the service to the public on Saturday of last week. Half a dozen members of the IPMS union, which organises air traffic controllers, leafleted shoppers in the Arndale centre and got a tremendous response.

Councils

30 October 1999
A LABOUR council's privatisation plans have been thrown into turmoil following the revelation of a document leaked to local socialists. Neath and Port Talbot council had been planning to privatise the schools meals service. The move could affect children and hundreds of workers' jobs.

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