Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/584/7456
News in brief
SIX LONDON Met police officers have been suspended from duties over allegations of torturing criminal suspects. The (not-so) Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who are investigating the complaints refer to the police's use of 'waterboarding' - the notorious torture technique used by the CIA against suspected terrorists, which involves the inmate being subjected to simulated drowning.
Following the execution-style shooting of Brazilian migrant worker Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell tube station in July 2005 and the death of a bystander at the hands of police at the recent G20 protests, as well as hundreds of complaints of police brutality from protesters, London's Met officers are becoming the boot boys of policing in Britain.
Lost in post
BUSINESS SECRETARY Lord Mandelson is insisting that the part-privatisation of Royal Mail goes ahead. However, the Postal Services Bill failed to appear in the Commons for its second reading last week and there is no mention of it in the next fortnight's parliamentary business.
Having been stuffed in the recent European and council elections and with Gordon Brown having to fend off a mini-revolt over his leadership by Labour MPs, it's not surprising that the government doesn't want the further humiliation, at this moment, of passing the bill with Tory party support.
THE TOOTHLESS 'energy regulator', Ofgem, has been accused by the National Housing Federation of allowing several energy corporations to overcharge prepay meter customers by nearly half a billion pounds over a three year period.
Between 2006 and 2008 British Gas, E.on, SSE and Scottish Power overcharged prepay meter customers (typically those on the lowest incomes) for installing and maintaining gas and electricity meters by £87 over those customers paying by direct debit. Some prepay customers were charged up to £500 more.
And despite the fanfare from the energy giants saying they are scrapping the prepayment premium, Ogems's new rules still allow them to charge prepay customers more for energy use.
THE GMB union has revealed that directors at Remploy (which provides work for disabled people) were paid a staggering £1.7 million in bonuses in 2007-08 - the same year that the company announced the closure of 43 factories with the loss of 2,500 workers.
Remploy was set up by the 1945 Labour government but it operates as a mainstream commercial company.
In response to the closures the trade unions balloted for strike action but Peter Hain, the then employment minister, headed off the action by giving an interim subsidy to Remploy and calling a moratorium on closures. However, the company, with government approval, still closed 17 sites and merged eleven others, axing over 2,000 posts.
In The Socialist 17 June 2009:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party editorial
Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review