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(en) SchNEWS 382, Friday 22nd November, 2002

From webmaster <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 22 Nov 2002 04:08:46 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

As SchNEWS went to press the Fire Brigade Union were planning an eight day
strike over Neo Labour's refusal to pay them a decent wage. Because some
people in authority are lining up to condemn the firefighters, SchNEWS has
come up with a new Are You Worth It? Quiz and asked three leading figures
just how much they think they're worth...
"I do not think we impress the public if we set too low a value on our own
worth... If we believe our work here is important we should not shrink from
putting proper value on it." Who said this? Step forward leader of the
House, Robin Cook, voting with other MPs for an inflation busting 42% pay
rise last year.
Bank of England governor Sir Eddie George, who over the weekend said that a
"high settlement (for the firefighters)...would be very damaging indeed",
earns just under £257,000 a year and can look forward to an annual pension
of £167,000.
Sir George Bain, chairman of the so- called 'independent' inquiry into
firefighter pay, became principal of London Business School in 1989 and
secured himself "one of the most lucrative remuneration packages in the
whole of academia", according to the New Statesman. He's also
vice-chancellor of Queens University of Belfast, director of Blackwell
Publishers, the Economist Group, Canada Life and Bombardier Aerospace Shorts
SchNEWS knows what these people are really worth, but we do wonder if any of
them went on strike, would anybody notice?
Meanwhile, greedy, selfish firefighters want £30,000 and according to the
government are putting all our lives at risk by going on strike. Which is a
bit rich coming from a government that can't wait to start bombing Iraq, a
war which, according to a new report by British health professionals, could
lead to the death of half a million people, the majority of them civilians.
The new pay deal offers pay increases with serious strings attached - what
Neo Labour likes to dress up as modernisation, but what everyone else calls
job cuts, penny pinching and creeping privatisation. Already Fire Stations
are being built by and leased back from private companies, while fire
appliances and even fire tunics and fire boots are maintained and owned by
outside companies.
As a nation we are very rich - the UK is the fourth wealthiest industrial
nation. But when people ask for the wealth to be distributed a bit more
fairly, we are told we can't afford it. But we can, of course, afford to
bomb Iraq at a cost of billions. And we can apparently afford to let big
business fiddle their taxes. In 1997, a report by accountants Deloitte &
Touche put the figure for legal tax avoidance at £85 billion! Minutes of an
Inland Revenue meeting revealed the agency was soft on multinational tax
returns for fear of driving investment away from the UK.
As one Fire Brigade Union (FBU) official said, "They are not serious about
modernisation. They are serious about cutting costs and about breaking the
fire brigades union for daring to ask for more. This dispute is highly
political because the New Labour government are scared that the scandal of
low pay in the public and other sectors will be exposed and the floodgates
will open. The government want to break the FBU as a lesson to all public
sector workers."
Perhaps Andrew Smith, Neo-Labour's Secretary of State for Work Till You
Drop, spelt it out fairly clearly when he said, "The biggest challenge of
the new decade is to encourage people to work longer." For less pay and for
longer hours no doubt - unless of course you're an MP or company director,
then of course we all know that's different 'because you're worth it.'
Support the firefighters: Donate to their hardship funds, take them tea and
cake on the picket lines, or just tell them you support what they are doing.
Get a striker to come and talk at your workplace or group. And keep an eye
out for support groups around the country. In Brighton there will be a stall
outside the Open Market, London Road, 10am till 12 noon this Saturday - Come
and find out how to get involved. www.30kfirepay2.co.uk/ www.labournet.net
Pay the Fire Fighters, not the Fire Starters. Join the anti-war protests at
the Confederation of British Industry AGM this Sunday (24) 3.30pm at the
GMEX, Manchester City Centre. Rolling protests continue till late Monday.
Guests at this year's event include Gordon Brown MP, Paul O'Neill, US
Treasury Secretary, Lord Browne, boss of BP, and Tony Blair MP, plus the
bosses of the arms companies and private firms after our public services.

With all the hassle these pesky fire fighters are giving our neo-labour
boys, it's a wonder that they don't just privatise them. Surely there's
nothing like bringing a private contractor in to stop all this nonsense
about essential workers demanding decent pay. A company that has years of
experience in driving down wages in the public sector and has been doing
extremely well out of Neo Labour's drive to privatise and 'modernise' the
public sector is Sodexho, a French multinational private service provider.
The company has its fingers in lots of pies - defence, schools and colleges,
asylum detention centres and prisons.
Sodexho is a perfect example of the private sector's drive to suppress wages
in order to cut costs, win contracts and ultimately line their own pockets.
The company has come under fire from labour groups and government bodies in
nearly every country it operates in, having been involved in labour disputes
and court actions from Australia to the US. Now it's UK workers are biting
Hospital service workers at Glasgow Royal Infirmary were the first to decide
that they were worth more than the miserable £4.15 an hour Sodexho were
forking out for their services. In August, around 300 staff won increased
pay and conditions despite Sodexho's attempts to draft in scabs from
Liverpool to break the picket lines.
Service staff at Liverpool Royal Infirmary, also on Sodexho's generous £4.15
an hour, followed Glasgow's success. They took strike action last Friday,
during which a Sodexho manager on £70,000 a year showed his solidarity by
helping to give out tea to patients (presumably not at $4.15 hour).
Negotiations are underway, but threat of further action still looms over
The porters, cleaners and caterers of Glasgow and Liverpool may not be in
the business of saving lives. But their success has shown that collective
action by workers getting shat on by the privatisation of essential services
in 'New Britain' has still got teeth. As Caroline Leckie, UNISON's branch
secretary said, "We won because we organised. We set our own agenda, we did
not work to management's agenda." More on Sodexho disputes -
Excellent articles on privatisation - www.monbiot.com
For stealing your own car!
A Brighton man was pulled over in his car on a routine police check,
arrested with his two passengers, and held for 11 hours for "suspicion of
theft" - of his own car which was taxed and insured. When he tried to get
his car back he was told by Worthing cops that he'd have to wait. Meanwhile
at the police compound, cars are only kept for a week and when he didn't
show up, his car was crushed!
Don't attack Iraq,
Freedom for Palestine -
demonstration in Brighton
Saturday 23rd, 12pm at Preston Park. Anti-war speakers before a nice stroll
down to the Seafront. Info: 01273 685946 www.safp.org.uk (More stewards are
needed - get in touch.)

"The order was to take everyone: parents, grandparents, kids, wives,
everyone. It was very rare that anyone survived after being taken by my
battalion. At first the children were abandoned in the park or the
marketplace. But then General Alvarez Martinez said 'These seeds will
eventually bear fruit'. So we had to eliminate the children as well." -
School of the Americas (SOA) graduate who was once a member of Battalion
3-16, a secret death squad in Honduras. Gen. Alvarez Martinez was also
trained at the SOA.
"If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have
become outlaws and murderers themselves." - George Bush on the day he began
bombing Afghanistan.
This past weekend, nearly 10,000 people marched to shut down the US's number
one terrorist training camp, the School of the Americas. Located in Fort
Benning, Georgia, the US- Army-operated SOA has been around for the last 56
years, training Latin American paramilitaries whose victims number tens of
thousands. As of January 2001, the SOA officially closed its doors and
reopened almost immediately as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security
Co-operation, or WHISC - an attempt by school and military officials to
confuse public criticism and distance the school from its violent past. Nice
try, guys, but did you really think we were that thick? The name may have
changed, but the underlying purpose of the school remains the same - to
control the economic and political systems of Latin America by aiding and
influencing Latin American militaries. Or put another way, to make Central
and South America "safe" for US interests by supporting the rape, torture,
and genocide of so-called dissidents.
Since 1946, the School of the Americas has trained over 60,000 Latin
American soldiers and policemen. Among its graduates are many of South and
Central America's most notorious torturers, mass murderers, dictators and
state terrorists. In 1996, the Pentagon was forced to release SOA training
manuals which included top tips on the use of torture, blackmail and
execution. As hundreds of pages of documentation compiled by the pressure
group SOA Watch shows, groups trained by the SOA have ripped Latin America
apart. Here are just a few highlights from some of the SOA's former
**In Chile they ran both Augusto Pinochet's secret police and his three
principal concentration camps.
**Former SOA student Colonel Byron Lima Estrada ran the D-2 military
intelligence agency in Guatemala with the help of two other SOA graduates.
Throughout the 1980's, D-2 coordinated an "anti-insurgency" campaign which
obliterated 448 Mayan Indian villages and murdered tens of thousands.
**The list of atrocities commited during El Salvador's civil war is long and
bloody, but none is more horrifying than the massacre in El Mazote, where in
1981, members of the Atlacatl Battalion murdered more than 900 villagers
including women, children and the elderly. At least nine of the Atlacatl
Battalion were former SOA graduates. In 1993, the United Nations Truth
Commission on El Salvador named the army officers who had committed the
worst atrocities of the civil war. Two-thirds of those named had been
trained at the School of the Americas.
And the list goes on and on... As one Brazilian human rights group said,
"The mark of the School of the Americas is engraved in the minds and bodies
and in the histories of the families of the tortured, killed, and
Meanwhile, protesters who dare to speak out against their government's
support and orchestration of such acts are promptly arrested and jailed.
Last week's demo in Georgia saw the arrest of 90 protesters, including a
12-year-old who we're quite sure posed a grave threat to the State. One man
was arrested when he refused to submit to a police metal detector scan and
bag search. Later, in a court hearing to determine the legality of searching
protesters, police officers testified that they had never experienced a
single act of violence or even the threat of violence in the past 13 years
of protests against the SOA. They justified the searches, however, by saying
they felt that hostility had been growing with the increase in numbers of
anarchists and "bare breasted women". Bare-breasted women being decidedly
more dangerous than military death squads trained and armed to the teeth by
the US government, of course. For more info on the SOA's dirty dealings,
check out the excellent website www.soaw.org Protest info at:
While Blair is threatening Iraq with war if they don't grant access to
weapons inspecters and has warned Britain to be on high alert for terrorist
attacks, last Friday two people broke through totally non-existent security
and spent thirty unhindered minutes inspecting one of Britain's illegal
weapons of mass-destruction - a Trident nuclear submarine. They were
eventually arrested after several attempts to set off faulty fire alarms to
let security know they were there! The HMS Vanguard is one of four subs set
to be refitted at Devonport Royal Navy dockyard in Plymouth, joining the 12
already there. More info phone 0845-458-8366 or see
* On 14th Dec there's plans for a mass weapons inspection of US airforce
base Fairford in Gloucestershire, at the same time as US stealth bombers are
due to arrive at the base. Transport is being organised from Bristol.
Info: http://bristol.indymedia.org
* Next Sussex Action for Peace meeting is Tuesday 26th, 7.30pm the
Brighthelm Centre, North Street, Brighton. To join a discussion of anti-war
activities in Brighton go to
Last Friday, Italian police raided the homes of members of the Italian
social movement No Global. 20 were arrested, denied access to lawyers, and
held in solitary confinement, while another 22 have been placed under house
arrest. The arrest warrants declared No Global "a subversive association"
with intentions to "conspire against the Italian State" - proof of the
intensification of the Berlusconi government's attempts to suppress the
vibrant Italian social movement. This comes after the success of the
European Social Forum in Florence, attended by 40,000 delegates, with nearly
1 million people taking to the streets for Europe's largest ever anti-war
demonstration (see last weeks SchNEWS). The harmony of the week-long Social
Forum and the demonstration was the polar opposite of the 'terror' and
'violence' that Berlusconi and his media mouthpieces claimed the event would
bring. So 'repressione' it is and even though the powers-that-be can't find
anything horribly criminal to charge No Global with, they've decided to hit
them with "political conspiracy" and "subversive propaganda." Protests have
been called in solidarity with those arrested and over the weekend 30,000
people took to the streets of Rome and thousands more marched in Naples,
Genoa, Florence and Milan. www.resist.org.uk
It Just Ain't Cricket
Sydney residents unsure about the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in
their city were enlightened last Friday by the Institute For Applied Piracy,
who jammed a commercial radio station for ten minutes, replacing the
broadcast with a message about the dodgy dealings of the WTO. They explained
to listeners how the WTO are an unelected body who represent corporate
interests and promote free trade - never mind human rights, workers rights,
the environment or anything else which is a 'barrier to trade'.
Meanwhile, the first meeting of the WTO since Doha focussed discussing the
use of cheap AIDS drugs to bully developing countries into free trade. And
outside the guarded fence, another festival of anti-capitalism kicked off.
Streets were occupied in central Sydney last Thursday and even featured a
padded up, all-white, Cricket Bloc.
On Friday, 2000 protesters hit the conference centre at Olympic Park where
the fence was breached several times and 35 were arrested. Aboriginals
re-occupied the 'tent embassy' site they created during the Olympics at
Victoria Park, re-lighting the peace fire they'd started there during the
Games. http://sydney.indymedia.org
* Britain has signed a trade agreement with Thailand promising to increase
imports of farm produce and find new markets for Thai goods in return for
supplying weapons to the Thailand military. That's good old free trade for
With Christmas fast approaching, advertisers are stepping up their usual
hype - "Buy, buy, buy! You're inadequate if you don't posses the latest
But why not take a day (or preferably the rest of your life) off from this
consumer bullshit and join in on Buy Nothing Day. The message is simple.
Shop less - live more. Spend time with family and friends, rather than
spending money on them.
There's loads of events happening around the country. To find your nearest
event phone 07887 608609 or see www.buynothingday.co.uk
* SchNEWS doesn't like to promote consumerism but... "The SchNEWS of the
World book is the ideal Christmas present for the armchair activist, 300
pages rammed full of articles, cartoons, subverts, contacts and SchNEWS
issues 301-350. Only £8.50 including postage from SchNEWS."
...and finally...
SchNEWS has scoured the high street to find you the most ridiculous bit of
consumer crap available for the holiday season- one apple for the price of
five. For 49p (the price of a whole pound of apples), Sainsbury's is
offering just one ready sliced apple, with the perfect added preservative-a
plastic bag. What a bargain! What's next? Pre-peeled bananas? Ready chewed
food? "If you are not entirely satisfied with this product, please let
Sainsbury's know on 0800 636262"
And if that's not enough to make you sick, then why not join in on mass
vomiting actions planned for Buy Nothing Day? A group of anti-consumers are
looking for people to join them in taking a Brazilian plant which induces
vomiting. After taking the plant, the group plans to visit local consumerist
meccas en masse for spectacular puking sessions. Sound appealing? If so
contact them at mongrelart@yahoo.com www.fanclubbers.org
SchNEWS warns all readers after a hard day fanning the flames of resistance
over burning issues we always need a little hosing down. Honest.
Cor-blimley-they're-practically-giving-them-away book offer
SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £4.00 inc.
The SchQUALL book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p. (US Postage £4.00 for
individual books, £13 for all four).
SchNEWS and SQUALL's YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from the
direct action frontline. £7 + £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a
bookshop or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 4 3.
In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Of The World issues 301 - 350. 300 more pages of adventures from the
direct action frontline. £7 + £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from
bookshop or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 6X
In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
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