Socialist Worker

Privatisation


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.

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.

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.

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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

'More than just a strike on the rail'

19 January 2002
DO YOU think there's going to be a Winter of Discontent? I THINK there is a real possibility. Before the attacks in New York on 11 September we saw a rising mood of bitterness in the trade unions over privatisation, and discussions about breaking the link between the unions and New Labour. That was beheaded on 11 September. When the TUC conference was called off, so was the debate over privatisation. Blair got away scot free.

Letters

19 January 2002
Labour selection row THE BLAIRITE Huw Irranca-Davies was last week selected as the Labour candidate for the Ogmore parliamentary by-election in South Wales. As a local Labour Party member I am disgusted that left winger Mark Seddon, clearly the most outstanding candidate, was excluded from the shortlist. A panel headed by the chair of the Labour Party, Charles Clarke, excluded Mark. Mark opposed the war in Afghanistan and Labour's Private Finance Initiative privatisations.

International round-up

12 January 2002
Colombia SOME 800 workers in Colombia were this week entering the third week of an occupation against privatisation. The workers in the city of Cali are protesting at the threat to privatise the Emcali public utilities corporation.

We can beat the house wreckers

12 January 2002
THE government faced humiliation after anti-privatisation campaigners won two important victories. In the last few weeks tenants in Dudley and on Southwark's Aylesbury estate have decisively voted against plans to privatise their homes. These votes and recent government retreats show that New Labour's privatisation plans can be stopped.

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.

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.

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