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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 July 2009

News in brief

Venture vultures

THE SERIOUS Fraud Office is investigating the circumstances behind the collapse of the MG Rover car plant at Longbridge, Birmingham in 2005. This follows a four-year, 16 million government inquiry (conducted in secret) into the collapse. The government report will not be made public. Over 6,000 workers lost their jobs when the factory closed as well 12,500 jobs in the local supply industries.

MG Rover was acquired from BMW for just 10 by Phoenix Ventures in 2000 - an acquisition supported by the Labour government. Before the company collapsed, the four directors of Phoenix siphoned 40 million out of MG Rover in salaries, fees and pensions.

At the time of the takeover, The Socialist argued that Phoenix was no 'white knight' but a bunch of asset strippers who would leave the workers high and dry. The trade unions involved should have instead fought tooth and nail for renationalisation of the car maker under democratic workers' control and management.

No future

UNIVERSITY GRADUATES face a recession double whammy of job shortages and cuts in starting salaries.

According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters there are 25% fewer jobs available in the UK compared to last year, and with an average starting salary of around 25,000. Yet the average debt burden for graduates is 22,000.

Faced with higher tuition fees, no living grant and an uncertain economic future, many students, especially those from low income backgrounds, will increasingly be put off applying for or continuing university courses.

Shipyard cuts

A LEAKED memo from BVT Surface Fleet - private owners of three shipyards - indicates it will close two naval shipyards after completion of an order for two aircraft carriers in 2014, saving the company half a billion pounds.

The memo says the Ministry of Defence is willing to pay for thousands of redundancies amongst shipyard workers. Currently BVT run two shipyards in Glasgow and one in Portsmouth. The redundancies and closures could cost the public purse up to 165 million.

Striking sparks

10,500 ELECTRICIANS, members of the TEEU union in the Irish Republic, are taking all out strike action in defence of existing wage rates and conditions and in favour of a wage increase due from 2007 and 2008.

Joe Higgins, Socialist Party MEP, said:

"The construction industry was at the heart of the massive rip-off in society during the 'Celtic Tiger' [economic boom] years and is responsible for the collapse in the Irish economy.

These people made hundreds of billions and landed working-class people with massive mortgages and negative equity.

It's a disgrace that they are now pleading poverty and using the cover of the recession to pursue a 'race to the bottom'.

I applaud the stand being taken by the electricians and call on all working people to give them support and solidarity in this important struggle."

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 8 July 2009:

Action now to defend public sector


Youth fight for jobs

Jobs not dole


Socialist Party editorial

Brown's dead duck government

Postal workers need a national fightback


Socialist Party news and analysis

National Express goes off the rails

First Bus - no to pay freeze

Demanding justice for Shrewsbury 24

News in brief


Socialist Party women

Why women don't have real equality


International socialist news and analysis

Police trigger ethnic clashes in Xinjiang

Honduras coup - a warning to workers in Latin America

Sri Lanka: Protest over DfID role


Socialist Party reviews

Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky

Arundhati Roy - politics and literature


Education

Higher fees in higher education

Drama students enter the stage of struggle

Teachers' MOTs

First strike against Trust schools

Strike against BSF proposals


Socialist Party workplace news

RMT Annual General Meeting: "If provoked - Will strike"

Save jobs at Vestas wind turbine plant

Private companies caught in jobcentre scam

South West Wales Media: Fight for jobs, defend conditions

Oilc - fighting for decent working conditions in the North Sea


 

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