Transport

Airports study misses the point

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The run-up to the international climate talks in Paris coincides with the period in which the government will make its decision on new airport capacity.

When it came to power in 2010 the Tory/Lib Dem coalition ruled out any new runways but just two years later, under pressure from big business, it set up the Airports Commission. Chaired by the financier Sir Howard Davies, it was tasked to look again at whether new runways would be needed and, if so, where they should be.

Notoriously Militant

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Sheila Cohen has written an immensely readable and well-researched book on the history of the British Ford Motor Company, seen through the eyes of leading shop-floor and union officials and stewards, mainly from the PTA assembly plant.

The book encompasses the history of Ford Dagenham from 1931 until the last vehicle rolled off the line in 2002.

The book is suffused with the spirit of shop-floor activism and workers’ democracy, particularly celebrating the upsurge of 1968-74, when rank and file trade unionism was among the most advanced in the British labour movement.

Letter from South Korea

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Kyung-nok Chun reports on how a strike by rail workers shook the country's rightwing president and altered the political landscape.

The 23-day strike by the South Korean railway union that ended on 31 December was by far the most serious challenge to Park Geun-hye, whose election as president a year ago sowed horror among many worker activists and the left.

The strike was the lightning rod for the anger of everyone disgusted by Park - the former dictator's daughter. It was a battle fought on behalf of the entire working class. And though the outcome fell short of a victory, it left in its wake fertile ground for future struggles to develop.

Brazil in revolt

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Brazil, held up as an economic success story over the last decade, has been shaken by a massive revolt triggered by transport fare rises. Henrique Sanchez and Sean Purdy examine the roots of the rebellion and assess the political challenges ahead

Until quite recently, Brazil was experiencing a climate of euphoria. This was partially because of improvements in the conditions of workers and the poor with low unemployment, a moderate increase in salaries and a popular government income supplement program for the very poorest families.

Standing up room only

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Thousands of bus workers across London have been part of a defiant fight against the privatised bus companies.

The roots of the militancy can be traced back to November 2006 when Metroline drivers took on the employers and won after two days of strike action. It proved that drivers didn't need to be afraid of standing up to their employers. It was like a burst of fresh air that was long overdue.

Heathrow - third runway flies in face of good sense

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As Socialist Review went to press protesters were due to converge on Heathrow in a demonstration to oppose the airport's expansion.

The groundswell against a third runway demands attention. But other voices have the ears of Gordon Brown's government - the lobbyists for British Airways (BA), airport operator BAA and the bosses' CBI. BA's future profits require expansion if they are to follow the record £875 million operating profit in the year to March.

Public transport: how to get back on track

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Shareholders and accountancy firms are the biggest beneficiaries of the privatisation of public transport in Britain. Unjum Mirza, RMT rail union member and Left List candidate in the GLA elections, proposes a different vision of a publicly run, environmentally friendly and efficient system.

The market has failed. The Tory privatisation of the railways has been a disaster. The Hatfield derailment exposed the failure of Railtrack and the fundamental flaw in the "separate the wheel from steel" strategy - in which railway operations are split from infrastructure. More rail disasters, from Ladbroke Grove to Potters Bar, further illustrated that public services left to the dictates of the market cost lives.

Jams Today, Jams Tomorrow

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London's congestion charge will do little to solve its transport problems.

On 17 February London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, introduces his £5 a day congestion charge for anyone who drives into central London between 7am and 6.30pm. The charge is already generating enormous controversy--and massive speculation as to whether it will work.

The Real Slim Shady

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What have the rail, power and pensions industries got in common? This would be funny if it wasn't such a disaster.

The more Blair fumbles around for anything resembling factual information which might justify laying waste to Iraq, the more he ends up looking like the real Slim Shady. Much the same can be said for our glorious leader's stance on privatisation--sly and deceitful. The yarn that's spun is that everything is going according to plan--the reality is more like it's all going down the pan.

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