News digest 27 November 2014

News digest 27 November 2014

27 November 2014

Today’s digest covers three key examples of how privatisation is the wrong prescription. The first relates to the government sell off of the East Coast mainline after a consortium made up of Stagecoach and Virgin won the franchise to run the rail route which has been in public hands since 2009, and most importantly is profitable. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This nakedly political decision to rush through the reprivatisation of the East Coast mainline before the general election is a betrayal of the taxpayers and staff who have made East Coast a success. People will rightly ask why the Tory led coalition thought it was OK for the French government to bid and run our railways, but not our own public sector who got the East Coast back on track.”

The second example is the failed Royal Mail sale. Not only was the service flogged off on the cheap, and not only are guarantees to secure a six-day service under threat, but now posties’ pay is being challenged. The boss of Dutch-owned rival Whistl [formerly TNT Post] complained that postal workers are paid too much and their terms and conditions are too good calling on Royal Mail to change its work patterns. How can companies get away with such blatant claims? Well it’s all down to deregulation, and with the Royal Mail in the private sector the reality is that firms will continue to drive down pay and conditions for workers while creaming off excess profits for themselves…

And that leads us to the third example of the excesses of privatisation. As the Mirror reports on massive £2 billion in profits for the water utilities [time for a windfall tax anyone?] many of the papers report on the new pay package for Helge Lund who will take over as chief executive of BG Group – British Gas’ former oil and gas division in March next year. The poor man will have to get by on a package of just £25 million made up of a £12 million share package and a £13 million salary. Yes really. Even the Institute of Directors has said it brings “British business into disrepute” and for once I agree with the IoD, perhaps it is time for a windfall tax on excess salaries, or maybe we should nationalise the whole lot and use the excess profits to pay off the government’s debt rather than line corporate pockets, now there’s a thought…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star (not delivered)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Scots budget vote row (p2)
  • Civil jobs ‘exodus’ (p2)
  • No Mellor in my taxi (p20)
  • Thomas Cook shock as COO quits (p63)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Fears of federal UK (p1)
  • Stop mansion tax moans celebrities told (p3)
  • A&E overhaul is a £1.2bn cut (p5)
  • Thomas Cook boss exits with £10m payoff (p9/55/61)
  • Cruddas praises Osborne (p15)
  • Houses earn more than nurses or teachers in London (p31)
  • FirstGroup out of East Coasty running (p57)
  • QE to start in new year, says ECB chief (p59)
  • Whistle I the wind (p62) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Lawyer of the week – Alys Cunningham (p77) – Unite cited




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • BG Group faces investor revolt over pay package (p1)
  • Sturgeon opens new era for Scotland (p1)
  • Fall in business investment overshadows growth (p2)
  • Cable accuses Royal Mail of scaremongering over deliveries (p2)
  • Sun reporter cleared (p4)
  • Cheap energy is the new cheap labour (p11)

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