|The News Line: Editorial
Saturday, 10 March 2007
GAMBLING WITH THE NORFOLK AND NORWICH NHS TRUST
private equity firm 3i on Thursday listed its 3i Infrastructure fund on the London stock market only to see it sink to the bottom of its range bringing in £700 million, £600 million short of the £1.3 billion target.
The largest investor in 3i Infrastructure is 3i itself, with a 46 per cent stake, comprising £85 million of cash and £240 million of assets.
These assets include the PFI built and run, Norfolk and Norwich hospital and the water company, AWG.
Thus a massive district general hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich, on which hundreds of thousands of people depend, and currently leased to the NHS and managed by Octagon, in which 3i has a 22 per cent share, has become a chip in the Stock Market casino activities of the 3i private equity venture capitalist group.
If the 3i Infrastructure fund should go down, which is more than a possibility in this situation of growing capitalist crisis, and drags the 3i equity group down with it, the Norfolk and Norwich NHS Trust will be bankrupted.
The many people that depend on the Norfolk and Norwich will suffer, but never mind, the private equity pirates will be ok, since the PFI contract that has been signed with the NHS makes the latter responsible in the event of bankruptcy.
Yesterday demonstrators drawn from the 70, mostly North African migrant workers, who are GMB members working for NCP, National Car Parks (also owned by 3i) were joined by parking warden colleagues from across London, demanding trade union recognition and an end to management bullying by the same 3i.
They staged a demonstration outside the British Parking Awards in London.
NCP has been put up for sale by 3i eighteen months after it bought it from Cinven. It is reported to be making a profit of £245 million or 45 per cent from the sale to Macquarie Bank, another private equity company.
This follows on private equity company Cinven selling and leasing back 100 NCP car parks and asset stripping the company to the tune of £600 million.
The capitalists are enriching themselves while the workers are being prevented from organising their union, and are condemned to be cheap labourers.
GMB members in the AA are also fighting the Permira private equity group which has loaded the AA up with £1.9 billion of debt, through the equity group pocketing millions, and sacking 5,000 AA workers.
The venture capitalists are making their superprofits out of asset stripping and breaking up the productive forces.
They are the bourgeoisie of the period of the death agony of capitalism. They are unable to develop the productive forces, and instead feed off their destruction. They have already been likened to a plague of locusts.
The GMB is demanding that these vultures should not be able to claim tax deductions on the interest that they pay on the huge debts that they lumber their just purchased companies with.
Moreover the union is looking to Gordon Brown, the would be PM, to get rid of these tax deductions.
Brown’s deputy at the treasury Ed Balls is currently making noises that there will be a review of this situation. Labour is trying to secure the trade union movement’s cash with the possibility looming of an early general selection.
However, the reality is that Blair, Brown and Balls all support the ‘right’ of the venture capitalists to super exploit the working class, and where workers have fought them or been subject to mass sackings by them, such as at Gate Gourmet, have refused to condemn the private equity group responsible, in this case Texas Pacific.
Defeating the bosses is a job that will have to be carried out by the trade unions.
To defend their members they must bring down the Blair-Brown government and go forward to a workers government that will expropriate the bosses including the venture capitalists. This is the only solution to the crisis of capitalism.
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