Socialist Worker

Privatisation


'Rail workers are hitting back now'

09 March 2002
Over 2,000 rail workers brought services across the north of England and Scotland to a halt last week as they struck over pay. "This is a demonstration of the power of rail workers to hit back, not least over privatisation," one picket in the RMT union in Newcastle told Socialist Worker.

Victory for the Korean strikers

09 March 2002
A major battle against privatisation in South Korea was continuing this week after rail workers won major concessions and the government threatened a crackdown on striking power workers.

Lib Dems for privatisation

09 March 2002
The Liberal Democrats are turning to the right. A policy review pushed by leader Charles Kennedy is set to recommend more use of PFI schemes and private firms to run schools and hospitals. It says PFI is helpful for bringing "more private sector management know-how into public service provision".

Anti-privatisation

02 March 2002
Over 150 trade union activists marched through driving snow and winds to lobby the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth last Saturday. Some coaches were prevented from attending due to the snowfalls. John McAllion, the Labour MSP, spoke at a rally against privatisation after the lobby.

Now battle to turn votes into strikes

02 March 2002
The mood for strikes is back. One group of workers after another are voting for action over pay, the impact of privatisation, aggressive managers and New Labour's insults. But they also face pressure from many of their own union leaders to hold back from battle. Rail workers on Arriva Northern were set to strike over pay for 48 hours on Friday and Saturday of this week.

Defend council housing

02 March 2002
The close vote on privatisation at the Scottish Labour Party conference last weekend underlined the depths of opposition to policies like handing council homes to private companies. The vote came just after a significant minority of the ruling Labour group of councillors in Glasgow voted against the plan to go ahead with a ballot on privatising the city's more than 80,000 council homes.

Defend council housing

23 February 2002
The campaign to stop the privatisation of over 80,000 council homes in Glasgow is shifting into top gear, with tenants due to start voting in just over a week's time.

New Labour: 'WRECKERS'

09 February 2002
Three pillar boxes on each street corner (and each one owned by a different company under crazy plan to sell off the Post Office) New Labour is poised to drive through Post Office privatisation in just seven weeks time. The government's regulator announced last week that it wants to see the Post Office (Consignia) totally sold off. This is the privatisation from hell, the maddest of the mad. It offers the crazy prospect of competing pillar boxes on street corners. Even Margaret Thatcher shied away from it.

Glasgow & Tower Hamlets

09 February 2002
The Scottish Executive announced last week that it is to give £300 million of public money to shore up the plan to privatise Glasgow's council homes. New Labour is prepared to throw still more public money in to push the privatisation through in a tenants' ballot due to get under way in March. Glasgow is just one of the major privatisation plans coming to a head.

This is end of the truce

09 February 2002
The rows at Labour's spring conference in Cardiff last weekend signal the end of the truce between the government and certain union leaders that has existed since 11 September. Remember the morning of that day? Delegates were gathering at the Trades Union Congress and preparing for a huge battle over public services. Tony Blair was to speak, and union leaders were lined up to condemn privatisation and savage the government's priorities.

The dodgy accounts of PFI

09 February 2002
Tony Blair is relying on disgraced accountants Arthur Andersen and similar companies to push through privatisation schemes. Andersen did auditing and consultancy work for Enron, the bankrupt energy giant. It shredded documents showing how Enron hid its losses to appear to be making a profit.

Council housing

02 February 2002
The Scottish Executive last week proposed that the ballot for the privatisation of 80,000 council homes in Glasgow will start on 4 March. The date was leaked on the New Labour executive's website, and seems to have caught the New Labour Glasgow council unawares.

Mutinous spirit stalking yards

02 February 2002
Around 1,000 workers at Portsmouth naval dockyard staged a protest against privatisation last week. The TGWU union members are civil servants working for the Ministry of Defence. The government wants to privatise their jobs. The workers marched and handed in a petition.

Colombian occupation in defiance of privatisation

02 February 2002
"The Colombian city of Santiago de Cali ground to a halt. Traffic jams could be seen in every direction. Workers, the local communities and supporters filled the city's streets to rally in support of the occupation".

Millionaire out to kick the low paid

02 February 2002
BRIAN SOUTER-multimillionaire boss of South West Trains and union buster. He is the enemy of everyone who wants a decent public transport system. Souter owns Stagecoach, which runs South West Trains. He built his transport empire by exploiting the chaos of the Tories' rail and bus privatisation. He drove other rival bus firms off the road to gain a dominant position in the bus industry.

We are right to take strike action

02 February 2002
A crucial battle is now underway at South West Trains (SWT) and Arriva Northern. On the one side stand rail workers fighting for decent pay and dignity at work, and against the madness of privatisation.

Fury reaches right to the top of the union

26 January 2002
Alan Milburn's plan to ram through even more privatisation in the NHS sent shock waves through the Unison executive last week. A meeting of the union's health executive was so stunned that its business was suspended to allow people to take stock of Milburn's plan and discuss our response.

Why do the unions bankroll New Labour?

26 January 2002
WORKERS ACROSS Britain are beginning to voice their anger and frustration with the New Labour government. They see continuing privatisation and the government pandering to its big business friends while workers have to battle over pay, conditions and job cuts. Trade unionists spoke to Socialist Worker over what they feel about New Labour. They raised questions about the unions funding the Labour Party.

Bonanza at top, low pay at bottom

26 January 2002
A REVOLT over pay and the disastrous impact of privatisation is spreading across the rail industry. Everyone who wants to see a better transport system should get behind the rail workers and their unions as they stand up to the private rail companies. Over 600 guards and conductors on Arriva Northern were set to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Air sell-off faces cash crisis

26 January 2002
ONE OF the government's flagship privatisation schemes is on the verge of collapse just seven months on. The New Labour government sold 46 percent of the NATS air traffic control service to a private consortium including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Ministers said the sell-off would improve the service and save money.

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