Socialist Worker

Privatisation


Brussels: Protests are back with a vengeance

22 December 2001
As European Union (EU) leaders discussed more market "reforms" and privatisation of services in Brussels in Belgium, 100,000 trade unionists marched last Thursday in protest at this "neo-liberal" Europe.

Why strike vote is needed now

15 December 2001
Around 150,000 postal workers were waiting this week to find out whether they would start ballots for a national strike for better pay and against job losses linked to privatisation.

Letters

15 December 2001
Wrong strategy to take on PFI Health Secretary Alan Milburn's announcement that private company BUPA is to be given a key role in the NHS has shocked many health workers. It was also cynically timed to overshadow the TUC's Positively Public rally against privatisation in central London on the same day.

Council housing - Dudley Victory

08 December 2001
Council tenants in Dudley were celebrating this week beating off their Labour council's attempt to privatise their homes. A ballot of tenants in the West Midlands council saw privatisation rejected by 56.2 percent to 43.8 percent, with 70 percent of all eligible tenants voting. This was despite the council's expensive glossy pro-privatisation campaign, and then springing the ballot on people at short notice.

Postal Workers: Shaping up for battle against privatisation

01 December 2001
Postal Workers are set for a head-on confrontation with their bosses and the government over privatisation. The Communication Workers Union had been preparing to hold a strike ballot over pay. But it has now switched to the question of putting out to contract sections such as vehicle services, parcel deliveries and cleaning.

Ken Loach's Navigators find the rail wreckers

01 December 2001
Rail privatisation gets the Ken Loach treatment with the TV showing of The Navigators on Sunday 2 December. Rob Dawber, socialist and ex rail worker, wrote the film. It follows the fortunes of a group of track workers as the privatisation of British Rail takes effect.

Postal Workers: Strike ballot on the way

24 November 2001
Around 160,000 postal workers will soon start a strike ballot over pay. The CWU union's deputy general secretary, John Keggie, announced the move at an anti-privatisation rally in Edinburgh on Saturday. Basic starting pay for a delivery postal worker is as little as £145.66 per week before tax. The top basic pay is £242.76 before tax outside London. Even with the maximum inner London allowances, the basic pay is a maximum of £291.58 a week before tax.

Council workers

24 November 2001
OVer 1,000 striking council workers attended a rally in Bradford on Wednesday of last week. The workers struck for the day against Bradford's Tory/Liberal coalition council, which is pushing privatisation through.

Anti-privatisation march

24 November 2001
Over 350 people joined a march in Edinburgh against privatisation on Saturday of last week. There was a strong delegation of over 100 postal workers, a group of medical secretaries who have just won a major battle against low pay, civil servants and others.

Letters

17 November 2001
Here in Ipswich in Suffolk we're campaigning in the first by-election since the general election in June. I'm standing again for the Socialist Alliance. In the general election the main plank of our campaign was opposing privatisation. Now it is opposing Bush and Blair's war.

Trevor Ngwane: Leading South African activist speaks out

17 November 2001
In 1995, in the first wave of local elections after the end of apartheid, he was elected as an African National Congress (ANC) councillor for Pimville in the giant township of Soweto near Johannesburg. He served for four years, and was then suspended for speaking out against privatisation.

Australia: Why Howard snatched win

17 November 2001
Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his Liberal-National (Tory) coalition won the general election last Saturday, giving him his third term in government. Even in August few people were predicting Howard could win. His government was deeply unpopular. It had driven through massive attacks on workers, privatisation in the benefits system and education cuts. His supporters claim his popularity increased because he opposes refugees and is a vocal supporter of the US war on Afghanistan.

Council workers

10 November 2001
Council workers in Newcastle have been boosted in their fight to beat off threats of privatisation. One of the key companies involved in the privatisation has pulled out.

Milburn's answer? More privatisation

03 November 2001
Patients are waiting longer than ever to be seen in hospital accident and emergency departments. That is the shocking state of the NHS after five years of the New Labour government, according to official figures released last week. Health secretary Alan Milburn's equally shocking response was to signal a major drive to privatise healthcare in Britain.

Another private failure

27 October 2001
ANOTHER flagship privatisation scheme has collapsed in chaos. Newham council in east London is to terminate its £35 million contract with private firm CSL to run the borough's housing benefit services. The council will bring the service back "in house".

Sell off trashed

20 October 2001
BIN WORKERS in Brighton have scored another success against privatisation after the council turned down the Serviceteam firm last week. It is their second blow to the New Labour council's efforts to privatise the service.

Police attack demo against privatisation

20 October 2001
POLICE ATTACKED over 300 protesters outside the Public-Private Partnership second annual global summit, hosted by the Irish government in Dublin on Wednesday of last week.

Striking back

13 October 2001
TUBE DRIVERS in London were set to strike on Friday of this week in a dispute that should be a rallying point for everyone opposed to New Labour's privatisation plans for London Underground.

The end of the line for privatisation

13 October 2001
THE spectacular collapse of Railtrack ought to be the final nail in the coffin for privatisation. Shareholders were screaming for compensation this week. And Railtrack was threatening legal action to free up £350 million to hand to them.

Draconian cutbacks threaten 30,000 jobs

13 October 2001
THE POST Office has launched a policy of slash and burn through the workforce combined with a relentless drive for privatisation. It is the greatest challenge the postal workers' CWU union has ever faced. The board of directors had gathered on the day of the World Trade Centre suicide attacks to finalise their latest strategy.

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