Sunday, January 14, 2007

More sleaze for Tony Blair

Guess who has offered Blair £2million to pull New Labour out of the financial mire? Yes, step forward, well known asset stripper and exploiter of workers rights, Lakshmi Mittal. Ah yes, you all say, the same bloke who gave cash to New Labour while Blair wrote a favourable letter to the Romanian government when Mittal was going for the nationalised steel company there. And where else can you get a good supply of cheap labour? Eastern Europe of course.

But Blair swears he didn't know anything about the donation (nudge, nudge, wink, wink...say no more).

Blair's philosophy is more about helping out his powerful capitalist buddies as opposed to listening to the public.

The bailing out was organised by Lord Levy who is currently out on bail due to the cash for honours investigation. You really couldn't this saga up, could you?

A Labour spokesman said: "Mr Mittal has been a committed supporter of the party for many years and any financial gift from one of the world's most successful businessmen is very welcome."

Even if this is all above board, it is downright appalling that Blair is happy to take money from an exploiter like Mittal whose health and safety record is shocking. And there have been protests by trade unionists in steelworks owned by Mittal around eastern Euope because of the lack of workers' rights

In September 2006, an explosion claimed 41 lives in a Kazakh mine and promoted widespread industrial action, was the result of safety violations by mine bosses, an official commission has found. The report said other top bosses in the coal department of JSC Mittal Steel Temirtau - part of the international Arcelor Mittal group headed by Lakshmi Mittal - were also guilty.

"Workers have long alleged that Mittal, which runs 61 plants across 27 countries, has done little to improve labor and safety conditions since taking over Kazakhstan's largest metal factory and the mines that fuel it 11 years ago. Mittal Steel Co. NV is in the process of merging with Arcelor SA to form Arcelor Mittal.
Mittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal said that the company had invested US$240 million (nearly 190 million) in modernizing the complex. He also said victims' families would receive up to US$55,000 (43,300) each in compensation".

Drop in the ocean for Mittal when you consider that this man is worth £25billion and has done exceptionally well due to soaring prices in steel. But at the expense of exploiting workers for cheap labour. And that's what Mittal does best.

Yet Blair and co. are only too pleased to swipe Mittal's cash. Blair's desperate for a place in the annuls of history and that legacy is of an odious warmonger steeped in sleaze and corruption.