News

Firefighters: Reignite the Anger

Issue section: 
Issue: 

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is committed to two 48-hour strikes from 28 January and 1 February should talks with the employers set to take place in January fail.

The government is determined to impose the attacks that are contained in the Bain report, released shortly before Xmas. The report suggests large job losses and attacks on conditions and fire cover as the future for the fire service. The solid strikes before Xmas along with a high level of popular public support points the way to a firefighters' victory. With the employers still appearing set on taking a hard line, and with many firefighters angry and determined to achieve a decent pay rise, this is a dispute that is far from over.

Anti-War Demonstration: A Day to Change the World

Issue section: 
Author: 

In a time when politicians and advertisers have devalued the word 'historic' to another piece of hyperbole, 15 February looks set to reclaim it with full force.

On that day hundreds of thousands of people will protest in London against war on Iraq. As if potentially the largest demonstration in British history was not remarkable enough, it takes place as part of an international day of action encompassing millions of protesters in 57 cities as we go to press.

The scale of the mobilisation has forced the media to acknowledge 15 February in a way that it has not done for a demonstration in years. This has included a Guardian leader column and an active campaign and petition by the 'Daily Mirror'.

Tube: Problems Underground

Issue section: 
Author: 

Years of underfunding combined with New Labour's obsession with privatisation are to blame for the near disaster when a London Underground train derailed at Chancery Lane last month.

The RMT and Aslef have been warning for years that the disasters we've witnessed on the privatised national rail network will replicate themselves on the tube. Both unions have also taken industrial action over the issue of safety and privatisation. Staff have been reporting suspect motors--the cause of the Chancery Lane incident--for a long time. Indeed last year there was a similar derailment at Loughton.

Between the Lines

Issue section: 

Tories campaign for tax handouts - New Labour Can't Count - Crime Worst in Vatican - Adverts Against Junk Email

Supporters of Nuclear Energy have been lobbying for the lame duck company to be bailed out by the taxpayer. Subsidies to this privatised utility are, apparently, 'in the national interest'. Among the signatories to this campaign are Lord (Cecil) Parkinson and Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's former press secretary. U-turn if you want to...

New Labour's numeracy strategy obviously has a long way to go. The 'five ways to help Labour win' on their official website gives six suggestions.

Kenya: The Safest Pair of Hands

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Kenyans had good reason to cheer when Uhuru Kenyatta was heavily defeated in the presidential election at the end of last year.

Kenyatta was the chosen successor of Daniel arap Moi, the man who ruled the country for 24 years from 1978. It was probably a surprise to many people that Moi did not fiddle the result this time--as he did in 1992 and 1997. Such blatant rigging was passed over by Moi's western backers, who saw him as a valuable agent of 'stability' in the region. Moi got on very well with the British Tories. Kenya's prestigious Moi University proudly boasts the Margaret Thatcher library. During the first Gulf War in 1991 against Iraq, Moi lined up completely with US demands.

Pensions: From Final Salary to the Final Straw

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

When is a fraud not a fraud? This is a question that millions of people will be asking themselves as increasing numbers of employers reduce, or default on, pensions that workers have been paying into for years.

One of the major causes of the growing pensions crisis is the closure of 'final salary' schemes. Fifty six percent of companies which have reviewed these in the past five years have closed them to new applicants according to consultants Watson Wyatt, and many existing employees have been switched to more risky 'money purchase' schemes. On average bosses pay half into these schemes what they would to final salary pensions.

Mortgaging our Future

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Just like the great pensions mis-selling scandals that rocked the UK during the last decade and brought misery to millions, along comes another personal finance disgrace that could swallow up the savings of hundreds of thousands of people.

According to figures recently released by UK insurers, 60 percent of the UK's outstanding 10 million endowment mortgages are forecast to fall short of the amount needed to repay the original loan. Across the country more than 6 million people have endowment mortgages. In the last two years, some 500,000 endowment holders have been sent letters coded 'red'--warning that their policies will be worth too little to pay off their mortgages. A further 2.5 million households have received 'amber' letters warning them that their policies are in danger of falling short.

Europe: Growing from Strength to Strength

Issue section: 

French trade unionists sent a 'social alert' to the right wing government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin recently.

Public sector workers, led by striking air traffic controllers, staged a mass demonstration in defence of pensions and wages and against privatisation. The action was mirrored in Italy, where Fiat workers struck to defeat planned job losses, while public sector unions announced strikes for 6 and 13 December over wages and spending cuts.

Weapons Inspectors: Saddamned If You Do...

Issue section: 

How's this for a choice: admit you have weapons of mass destruction--and we bomb you. Or deny that you have such weapons--and we bomb you anyway, because you're lying.

These are the options facing Saddam Hussein as UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq. While many around the world might hope that these inspectors will bring peace, the aims of the US and British governments are clear--they mean war sometime very soon.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News