anti-privatisation

French police and protesters clashed in Paris on May 22 after unions — angered by years of public-sector pay cuts and President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms — urged state employees to stop work and join nationwide street protests.

Riot police charged at protesters with batons in central Paris, firing stun grenades and tear gas. Police said 20 demonstrators were arrested.

The demonstration was called by the large labour unions plus many smaller ones, and involved the organisation of street rallies in about 140 cities, towns and villages across France.

How did Murray Goulburn, once Australia’s biggest milk processor and a successful dairy cooperative since 1950, end up being sold to its international competitor, Canadian dairy giant Saputo? In the final part of this series (read), Elena Garcia provides some answers. [You can also read part one, two and three.]

Despite the profitability of the Australian dairy industry and its claims to support “innovation" and "jobs and growth”, the federal government refused to step in and help Murray Goulburn expand into untapped Asian markets.

Karl Fitzgerald, 3CR’s Renegade Economist, spoke to independent investigative journalist Michael West (Michaelwest.com.au) about Transurban and its control of Australia’s toll roads.

* * *

Let’s start with some numbers: traffic was up just 1.4% on Transurban toll roads over the past six months, but toll revenues were up 9.6% and the earnings before tax trickery by 11.6%. But its net profit was up a staggering 280% in just six months. What does that mean?

During his recent meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposed that Australian superannuation funds invest in Trump's plan to renew the US's ailing national infrastructure. He was repeating a view being pushed by Australian ambassador and former Treasurer Joe Hockey for the US to adopt Australia's controversial "asset recycling" scheme by state and local governments, aided by federal subsidies.

Any one of the 1000 people who attended a rally at Belmont on February 19 could have told their own horror story of bus privatisation.

Speaking on behalf of many, several community members exposed the lie that privatised bus services make it easier for people to get around.

New mother Kimberley Anderson described how she and her three-month-old baby, on the way to a medical appointment, waited in the rain for a bus that never showed.

For another parent, Bec Cassidy, the new timetable and service cuts meant she had to change her daughter’s primary school.

Five months after Hurricane Maria hit the United States’ Caribbean colony of Puerto Rico, swaths of the island still have no electricity, while food and water supplies have been slow to arrive, Democracy Now! reported on February 19.

Several thousand people from about 30 community groups and trade unions joined forces in the first mass Fix NSW Transport march and rally through Sydney on February 17.

United in anger at the state Coalition government's private tollway frenzy, privatisation of public transport and developer scams parading as infrastructure plans, they called on the government to fix NSW roads and public transport.

An “Act of God”, or lightning, was a key reason for the recent meltdown of Sydney’s rail network, according to transport minister Andrew Constance. He also claimed that the “dark arts of unionism” — presumably some sort of devilry — inspired rail unionists to vote to strike over pay and rosters on January 29.

Politicians may blame God and the Devil for recent transport chaos, but when the dots are joined between different aspects of the government’s transport policy the reality becomes clearer.

The transport system in Australia is in crisis. The push by governments and the private roads lobby to build more tollways, sell off our public transport to the big corporations is worsening services, raising costs and creating a transport impasse for the public.

At the centre of this is the current transport disaster in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney.

"This is a very sweet victory for hundreds of nurses and midwives who work and live in Maitland and the surrounding areas," acting general secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) Judith Kiedja said on January 26.

She was commenting on the confirmation that the new Maitland Hospital at Metford will be a publicly built and run facility.

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