Archive for March 27th, 2010

27
Mar
10

Workers Continue Strike But British Airways Still Flying

NEWS
Workers Continue Strike But British Airways Still Flying

Saturday, March 27, 2010

NEWS

••• British Airways says 66% of all their cabin crew staff went work despite the four-day walkout being staged by Unite members.

Air passengers have had to cope with more travel disruption this weekend as cabin crew take to picket lines once again.

But the airline says 96% of staff turned up to work at Gatwick.

There was a turnout of 61% for Heathrow longhaul flights and 56% for the airport’s shorthaul ones.

The strike follows a dispute between the Unite union and BA bosses over jobs and cost cutting.

This is the second round of action from cabin crew this month.

Those staff that have been on the picket lines today have complained of an ‘atmosphere of fear’ and having to ‘constantly look over their shoulder’.

Hundreds of hundreds of staff congregated at a football ground underneath one of Heathrow’s flight paths in Bedfont.

One cabin crew member said: ‘I’m constantly looking over my shoulder in case I fill in the wrong form, tick the wrong box, say the wrong thing.

‘Whereas before you would just be called in, now they are going straight to suspending people.’

Unite’s assistant general secretary Len McCluskey condemned the treatment of striking British Airways workers as a ‘disgrace’.

Speaking in Bedfont he urged them to stand up against ‘the aggressive bullies’ that manage the airline.

‘It’s become evident for a while that instead of seeking to resolve your concerns, they are trying to crush your right to have a collective unit and you’re not going to let them do that.

The crowds cheered as he continued: ‘You are not mindless militants, you are decent men and women trying to protect your future and the company that you love.’

BA said that 18% of its customers had been re-booked to travel on different airlines, or had changed the dates of their flights to avoid the strike period.

Unite warned that the seven-day dispute will cost the airline around 100m, but BA has estimated it will cost about half that.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh said: ‘The vast majority of BA staff, including thousands of cabin crew, are pulling together to serve our customers and keep our flag flying.

‘At the same time, I feel really sorry for those customers whose plans have been ruined by the Unite union’s completely unjustified action.

‘Despite the union’s promises, this strike has affected the Easter holiday plans of thousands of hard-working people.’

Mr Walsh has withdrawn the travel perks from the staff who took part in the first strike action earlier this month.

Cabin crew strike
Unite, the trade union that represents the majority of British Airways (BA) cabin crew, has announced its intention to take strike action from 27 to 30 March 2010.
Updated information including some cancellations for flights departing on 27 and 30 March 2010

For more information: All The Latest Advice For British Airways Passengers GO
• Source(s): U.K. Press & British Airways

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27
Mar
10

GM Recalls 5,000 Heavy Duty Vans for Engine Fire Risk

NEWS
GM Recalls 5,000 Heavy Duty Vans for Engine Fire Risk

Saturday, March 27, 2010

••• General Motors is recalling about 5,000 heavy-duty vans because of a risk of engine fire, the company said Friday.

The vans involved in the recall are the 2010 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana passenger and cargo vans. The company also is halting production and sales of the vehicles “until a fix for a suspected faulty alternator can be determined.”

GM spokesman Alan Adler said there have been no injuries or accidents reported in connection with the vans.

The company warned customers who purchased the vans, which were built in February and March, to stop driving them and park them outside away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

Relatively few of the recalled vans are in the possession of retail customers, with about 1,300 in rental and other fleets,the company said.

GM issued a stop sale order on Friday, preventing the fleet-owned vans from being rented or those on dealer lots from being sold. Others are being held at dealerships or in ports before being exported.

Only the 2500, three-quarter ton, and 3500, one-ton, Series vans are affected. Light-duty (half-ton) Express and Savana vans use a different alternator.

It is rare for an automaker to halt sales because of a safety defect. GM’s decision to stop sales of the vans comes two months after Toyota Motor Corp. halted sales of eight models because of faulty accelerator pedals.

▪ Vehicles affected are the Chevrolet Express 2010 van, Model 2500 / 3500 with vehicle identification numbers from A1129327 to A1142523.

▪ Also, the GMC Savana 2010 van, Model 2500 / 3500 with vehicle identification numbers from A1128784 to A1901915.

▪ About 1,400 AC Delco aftermarket parts also are affected by the recall. The affected part numbers are: 15200110; 15288861; 15263859 and 15847291. Customers who had a heavy duty alternator replaced in February or March in a 2005-2010 heavy-duty Express or Savana van or other 2005-2009 GM truck or SUV also are being urged to check their repair order receipts to determine if a suspect part was involved. If it was, or the part used is unknown, they are urged to stop driving their vehicles, park them away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

These owners also are asked to contact their Customer Assistance Center to provide their contact information, so we can follow up with them when more information is available. ▪ www.gm.com

• Source(s): General Motors

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27
Mar
10

Weekly Address: Two Major Reforms on Health Care & Higher Ed

NEWS
Weekly Address: Two Major Reforms on Health Care & Higher Ed

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The President looks back on a week that saw the passage of two major sets of reforms: one putting Americans in control of their own health care, and one ensuring student loans work for students and families, not as subsidies for bankers and middlemen.

This was a momentous week for America. It was a week in which together, we took bold new steps toward restoring economic security for our middle class and rebuilding a stronger foundation for our future. It was a week in which some of the change that generations have hoped for and worked for finally became reality in America.

It began with the passage of comprehensive health insurance reform that will begin to end the worst practices of the insurance industry, rein in our exploding deficits, and, over time, finally offer millions of families and small businesses quality, affordable care – and the security and peace of mind that comes with it.

And it ended with Congress casting a final vote on another piece of legislation that accomplished what we’ve been talking about for decades – legislation that will reform our student loan system and help us educate all Americans to compete and win in the 21st century.

Year after year, we’ve seen billions of taxpayer dollars handed out as subsidies to the bankers and middlemen who handle federal student loans, when that money should have gone to advancing the dreams of our students and working families. And yet attempts to fix this problem and reform this program were thwarted by special interests that fought tooth and nail to preserve their exclusive giveaway.

But this time, we said, would be different. We said we’d stand up to the special interests, and stand up for the interests of students and families. That’s what happened this week. And I commend all the Senators and Representatives who did the right thing.

This reform of the federal student loan programs will save taxpayers $68 billion over the next decade. And with this legislation, we’re putting that money to use achieving a goal I set for America: by the end of this decade, we will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

To make college more affordable for millions of middle-class Americans for whom the cost of higher education has become an unbearable burden, we’re expanding federal Pell Grants for students: increasing them to keep pace with inflation in the coming years and putting the program on a stronger financial footing. In total, we’re doubling funding for the federal Pell Grant program to help the students who depend on it.

To make sure our students don’t go broke just because they chose to go to college, we’re making it easier for graduates to afford their student loan payments. Today, about 2 in 3 graduates take out loans to pay for college. The average student ends up with more than $23,000 in debt. So when this change takes effect in 2014, we’ll cap a graduate’s annual student loan repayments at 10 percent of his or her income.

To help an additional 5 million Americans earn degrees and certificates over the next decade, we’re revitalizing programming at our community colleges – the career pathways for millions of dislocated workers and working families across this country. These schools are centers of learning; where students young and old can get the skills and technical training they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow. They’re centers of opportunity; where we can forge partnerships between students and businesses so that every community can gain the workforce it needs. And they are vital to our economic future.

And to ensure that all our students have every chance to live up to their full potential, this legislation also increases support for our Minority Serving Institutions, including our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to keep them as strong as ever in this new century.

Education. Health care. Two of the most important pillars of a strong America grew stronger this week. These achievements don’t represent the end of our challenges; nor do they signify the end of the work that faces our country. But what they do represent is real and major reform. What they show is that we’re a nation still capable of doing big things. What they prove is what’s possible when we can come together to overcome the politics of the moment; push back on the special interests; and look beyond the next election to do what’s right for the next generation.

That’s the spirit in which we continue the work of tackling our greatest common tasks – an economy rebuilt; job creation revitalized; an American Dream renewed – for all our people.

Thank you.

▪ President Obama said that his student loan bill – which he is expected to sign into law Tuesday – would save taxpayers $68 billion while generating more student lending in order to give the United States the highest proportion of college graduates worldwide within 10 years. ‘To make sure our students don’t go broke just because they chose to go to college, we’re making it easier for graduates to afford their student loan payments,’ he added.

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