It was an end of term school report that you wouldnt dare
show your parents, but despite the poor marks Jarvis will carry
on raking in the cash.
Thats Jarvis, the engineering giant whove received
numerous fines for their poor safety record on the railways and
who are under police investigation for the Potters Bar rail crash.
Jarvis, a name synonymous with education, whove been taking
over schools across the country because they just want to make sure
kids get a better education (yeah, right). Jarvis who took control
of Varndean and three other Brighton schools in a £105 million
deal under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) that will last 25
Neo Labour wanted to sort out the £3.2 billion backlog of
repairs to Britains school buildings, but as they obviously
couldnt actually do it themselves, offered the rebuilding
contracts to private firms. These contracts last for 25 years, which
is quite a long time to patch up a few classrooms - but then, thats
not what the PFI is all about.
Just as with PFI hospitals, the companies get ownership of the
site and all the non-teaching services, forcing all staff doing
care-taking and school dinners, to reapply for their jobs. So PFI
is sort of like a mortgage, except we hand over our public buildings
to private corporations then pay them back over a long period for
what we already own while company shareholders make a tidy profit.
Top of the class logic!
At Varndean things didnt get off to a good start with the
school gates staying locked for a few extra days after the summer
holidays because Jarvis hadnt finished the building work in
time. As the months went by and things went from bad to worse the
headmaster kept a diary of events and eventually got so fed up he
stopped meeting with the company. The annual governors report
then handed Jarvis the dunces hat. It complained that Jarvis
promises the earth to an increasingly sceptical audience and
fails to deliver, either on time or to an adequate standard.
Improvements to the canteen are described as distinctly shoddy
and that for some members of staff dealing with Jarvis and
the council is not only completely overwhelming but also incredibly
But the company replied we have
gone way beyond our obligations, and to show, the sceptics
gave the example of a new roof fitted to the schools swimming
pool. Except that the school, er, doesnt have a swimming pool!
Also putting in the boot was Year 9 student Tim Glebocki, who wrote
in the schools newsletter As an example of the ridiculous
bureaucracy instituted by Jarvis, it is now necessary for any teacher
wishing to have the glass from a broken window cleared away to ask
reception to ring Jarvis to ask if the job may be done. Then Jarvis
has to ask a caretaker to fix the window. Thats right, no
less than two phone calls to fix one window. The teachers have to
do this even if a caretaker is standing next to them.
Jarvis also run Dorothy Stringer, Patcham High and East Brighton
College of Media Arts (Comart).
Brighton and Hove City Council now want to close Comart but under
the PFI terms it wont be that simple - or cheap. Jarvis was
given a contract to build and run Comart for 25 years and closing
it means that the Council will have to pay a financial penalty -
which some say could be up to £17 million!
Kevin Dale is from the Local Education Action Group who wants to
keep Comart open and turn it into a smaller community school. He
told SchNEWS We are told the school should play a bigger role
in the community and we agree. But if the school wants to do anything
after 6pm, at weekends or during the holidays its impossible
financially because they will be charged by Jarvis for using its
Like Varndean, Comart has its own Jarvis related problems. One
parent told SchNEWS Students and parents have been left in
the dark, being fobbed off with bogus consultations when closure
was a foregone conclusion. Jarvis are paid a stupid amount of money;
there are state of the art science class rooms with new equipment,
never been touched by the students, a new Drama hall locked and
out of bounds. It makes you wonder what they are intending to use
this building for in the future, whatever it is you can bet it will
make Jarvis money.
While Neo Labour puts money into campaigns to try to get kids to
eat healthy school dinners, Brighton and Hove Council has no control
over what Jarvis wants to cook up for the kids. Their food
is unhealthy and expensive an even the parent governors have no
powers to improve the menu. Whats the point of promoting healthier
life styles while pushing them to eat burgers and chips? added
So while Jarvis might have been given a rotten school report, their
shareholders are laughing all the way to bank and giving us all
an education in how to make money out of our public services.
* Despite the mess Jarvis is making of Brightons schools
Brighton and Hove city Council are still in love with PFI - the
new library is being built under the scheme. The council have also
signed a £1 billion 25 year deal with Onyx Aurora to deal
with our waste by burning it. And if we all recycle too much and
theres not enough waste to burn well the company can
sue the council!
* Private company Patientline, supply phone, television, e-mail
and internet systems to 84 hospitals around Britain, with another
50 contracts in the pipeline. Good stuff except calls cost
between 5 and 12 times the standard BT rate. Making money from sick
people has never been easier.
along to the 22nd Anarchist Bookfair - Saturday 25th
October at ULU Malet Street, London, WC1 10am 7pmStalls,
meetings, workshops, food, bar, videos, creche and evening event.
Crap Arrest Of The Week
For Going on Holiday! (well, sort of
A 62 year old retired schoolteacher faces up to 12 years in jail
and a fine of between $10,000 and $1 million for traveling to Iraq
to act as a human shield during the war. The US Treasury Department
says Faith Fippinger has broken the US economic embargo of Iraq
by traveling there and spending money. The human rights organization
Voices in the Wilderness are also being persecuted. www.humanshieldaction.org
Once upon a time South African President Thabo Mbeki made an international
speech attacking capitalist globalisation as the new global
apartheid. Being the philanthropist that he is, Mbeki didnt
want to deprive South Africans of the pleasure of sampling the fruits
of this new apartheid and so he proceeded to concoct a local version
courtesy of the IMF and a horde of happy multinationals. Over the
years Mbekis new local apartheid has developed all sorts of
shiny, modern characteristics: its based not on racist forces
but market forces. Its focused on the superiority of profit
rather than race. Its a policy that has seen multinationals
grabbing public services while poor communities struggle to their
bare bones to preserve these basic rights.
Johannesburgs privatised water services are a striking example
of this economic apartheid. Johannesburg Water (JW) was privatised
in 2001 and it fell into the hands of the dodgy French multinational,
Suez-Lyonnaise. Suezs track record around the world is, to
say the least, crap. They have drastically increased water charges
in every town where they have a contract. In Paris, France, where
Suez controls the water, auditors have attacked them for an
absence of financial transparency while in Grenoble the company
was found guilty of bribery. Rostock in eastern Germany privatised
its water and sewage systems for 25 years to Eurawasser, 50% owned
by Suez. Two years later water charges rose by over 20% and sewage
levies by 30%.
Obviously, Suez-controlled water services in Johannesburg have
gone down the same pipe. Water rates have risen and when the
poors are unable to pay they have their water cut off. JW
has recently embarked on a programme throughout the township of
Soweto, installing pre-paid water meters which are 20% more expensive
than normal meters. Dry of water but not of energy, the poors
have risen up - angered by the ruling ANCs broken promises
of water, electricity, health and education for all and have
given birth to the Anti-Privatisation Forum, the Coalition Against
Water Privatisation and a determined community movement. The poors
of Soweto have rejected JWs claims that it consulted local
residents about the pre-paid meters and have laughed off the companys
claims that the expensive meters will help the poors to own
their water consumption. You cannot just come into our area
and change our water system without consulting us. This is a top-down
way of running government, said one Soweto water warrior.
In a country where 60% of the population live in poverty, many
poors will be unable to pay for clean water and will have to resort
to using unsafe water sources. Many fear a repeat of what happened
2 years ago in KwaZulu Natal, on the east coast of the country,
when more than 200 people died of cholera after having been forced
to drink water from polluted streams because of the local water
boards unaffordable water rates. Instead of listening to the
communitys fears, JW and the local council have brought in
the coppers and private security guards to crack down on community
opposition. Eight community members were arrested on charges of
malicious damage to property for resisting the installation
of the water meters. They were held for two weeks, refused bail
as they were a threat to public security and have finally
been let out under apartheid-era bail conditions that include: a
ban on any interference with water meters; and a ban
on attending any meeting dealing with resistance to the installation
of water meters. This court ban has now been extended to all community
members resisting water privatisation in Soweto, and the Anti-Privatsiatrion
Despite the combined corporate and council repression the resistance
hasnt dried up. Last Saturday an anti-privatisation march,
banned by the police, attracted over 1000 people and raised awareness
about the rampant privatisation grab of SAs public services.
Over the last week, the Coalition Against Water Privatisation sprouted,
mobilising support for the struggles in Soweto and taking the court
ban back to court. A militant opposition has invented itself
in other places in the world, but in South Africa it has happened
very quickly: the miracle here is how quickly the ANC has donned
the cape of the IMF and unsheathed the sword of structural adjustment,
points out community activist, Ashwin Desai, The pace of opposition
has had to be very quick. The community movement is growing
throughout the country as the poors in the ghettos mobilise against
water and electricity cut-offs, evictions and the like. The first
step towards this surge in community power has been people losing
faith in the political parties and ideologies with which they fought
apartheid. Betrayed by an ANC government drunk with privatised ideas,
communities are having to take direct action to protect their basic
human rights and in doing so they are discovering a new sense of
power. This power is bursting not from traditional workplaces but
from communities of single mothers, disillusioned youth and the
rabble of the ghettos. Such are the Vulumanzi Boys (water
opening boys), a youth group who teach others how to reconnect
their water. As Desai puts it People are ready for actvism.
Delivering free basic services by reconnecting water and electricity.
Building structures of sharing resources... We really are creating
SchNEWS in brief
- No New Oil organized by Rising Tide will be themed around
the campaign against new oil exploration and development, and
the connections between the oil industry, climate change, human
rights abuses, and the Iraq war. Its happening on Oct 11th,
10.30am -6pm, LSE, Aldwych London. To book call 01865 241097 www.risingtide.org.uk
- Check out Where Vultures Feast a new book about Shell,
human rights and oil, from Verso Books www.versobooks.com
- The fox-hunting season has started again, the hunts are
out cubbing where they train young hounds to chase fox cubs. In
Sussex Hunt Saboteurs were attacked when they rescued a traumatized
fox, the fox was then thrown to the hounds. Dont wait for
Parliament to ban fox hunting get out there and stop it yourself.
For your nearest group contact the Hunt Saboteurs Association:
0845 4500727 www.huntsabs.org.uk
- Keep up to date with the sinister world of David Blunketts
proposed national ID card and actions on how to oppose
it at www.defy-id.org.uk
- Theres a national Grassroots Anti-War Conference
this weekend(26-28) at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R
4RL (nearest tube Holborn) £12/£7 conc. For all the
- The new issue of radical ecological journal Do or Die
is out now! 384 pages long, full of pics and crammed with reports
and analysis from the world-wide ecological frontlines. For each
copy send £7 (UK)cheques/postal orders made out to Do
or Die to: DoD, Prior House, 6 Tilbury Place, Brighton,
East Sussex, BN2 2GY, UK. www.eco-action.org/dod/
MONEY GROWS ON BUSHES
In February - before the invasion of Iraq had even begun - the
US Government drafted sweeping plans to remake Iraqs
economy ... based on free-market principles. These plans include
the mass privatisation of Iraqi industry - including
Iraqs oil sector - and fundamental tax reform.
Bushs corporate chums such as Bechtel and Halliburton have
already been awarded lucrative contracts for postwar reconstruction
and last Sunday the American-appointed administration in Iraq really
got the ball rolling by passing a series of new laws on tax and
foreign investment - laws which, effectively put [Iraq] up
It just so happens that in London next month there are two major
conferences aimed at businesses who want to get a slice of the action
- Doing Business in Iraq (13-14 October) and Reconstructing
Iraq (27-28 October a snip at £1099 per person).
Protests are being organized if youd like to get involved
get along to 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 (nearest tube Kings
Cross) on 7th October 7pm. More details 0207 837 0561, www.voicesuk.org
* Did you get stopped and searched under section 44 of the anti-terrorism
act during the DSEi arms fair protests? Then Liberty needs to hear
from your urgently for their high court legal challenge taking place
next Thursday (2 October). Anonymity guaranteed call Mona
Arshi (the lawyer handling the case) at 0207 378 3653 ASAP. See:
* Activists dressed as delegates blagged their way into the MRO
arms fair in Cardiff last week and wandered around for three hours
gaining valuable information on who was exhibiting what etc. Meanwhile
demonstrators outside blockaded a coach load of delegates leaving
to inspect RAF maintenance facilities.
Iñaki Garcia Coch is serving five years for sabotaging the
construction of the Itoiz Dam (see last weeks SchNEWS). Write
letters (preferably in Spanish) to: Iñaki Garcia Coch, Prision
Provincial de Pamplona, Calle Sanroque sin numero, Apartado 250,
Codigo Postal 31014, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.
* Sherman Austin, the webmaster of RaisetheFist.com who was jailed
for one year for stuff on his website (see SchNEWS
417) has received death threats from white supremacists while
in jail. Supporters want people to contact the facility to demand
he be moved to a permanent jail, for copies of a sample letter www.raisethefist.com
At SchNEWS we know we do a lot of corporate-bashing so wed
thought wed let them have a bash!
The first goes to Mark Curtis, former head of advocacy at Christian
Aid, who recently lashed out at NGOs for being co-opted by
the powerful and too concerned with income growth. They
should be locking themselves and ministers into buildings. But they
feel they cant because they are too close to them.
The second bash goes to the Bush-influencing American Enterprise
Institute, proud owners of NGOwatch.org.
The big business-controlled think tank asks Do
NGOs influence international organizations like the World Trade
Organization? What are their agendas?... And to whom are they accountable?
Fair enough, fat cats. Then again youre just the same - all
direct debit and no direct action!
SchNEWS warns all readers to finish their lines then go straight
to the tuck shop... Honest!
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
2003 - £8 + £1.70 p&p
- SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
- SchNEWS Annual
issues 101 - 150 £3.70 inc. postage.
- SchNEWS Survival
Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £3.70 inc. postage
- The SchQUALL
book at only £6 + £1.70 p&p.
and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from
the direct action frontline. £3 + £1.70 p&p. You
can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
- 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 a bookshop
or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 6X
In the UK you
can get SchNEWS Annual, Survival Handbook, Yearbook 2001 and SchNEWS
of the World for just £15 inc p&p.
£6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).
If you can help distribute the new book by taking a few boxes
from Brighton or East London round the country, call the office
and ask for John, Thanks.
to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons,
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to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues)
or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription,
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