Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Bulletin No.27
Monday 12 December 2011
This will be the last bulletin before Christmas. Have a good break. The first bulletin in the New Year will be out on Monday 9 January 2012.

The turnout on 30 November was magnificent. Public sector workers showed they are determined to resist the austerity plans of this government. Why should they pay more, work longer and get less?
The government wants to divide public sector and private sector workers over pensions, pay and working conditions. But we won’t allow them to pit one against the other in the race to the bottom.
Private sector workers in pension struggle too
Some 2,500 Unilever workers walked out on strike last week in protest at the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods conglomerate’s decision to close its final salary pension scheme, replacing it with a hybrid offering less generous benefits: http://on.ft.com/skJXWG

Bankers cost each one of us £8.40 for every £1 they produce, study shows http://bit.ly/rFHlwq

Profit motive has created corrupt education system, say teachers http://ind.pn/veCWge

Low life reptiles who profit from poverty: http://on.ft.com/sBz5FL

TUSC NEWS

TUSC ELECTION CAMPAIGN CONFERENCE SATURDAY 28 JANUARY 2012 to discuss the platform and practicalities of the 2012 Election Campaign. Further details, including agenda and venue, to follow.
Brighton TUSC campaigns against Green Party Cuts for by-election on 22 December. The Green budget proposals were released on 1st December. In the face of a 33% reduction of funding from central government they are proposing that £35m of cuts are made over the next two years.http://brightontusc.blogspot.com/
We hope to take supporters from London to help the Brighton campaign on Saturday 17 December. If you can come, contact Nick Wrack on 07812 063 409 or nick.wrack@tooks.co.uk

The campaign to stand candidates on the list section of the GLA elections in May 2012 is well under way. If you live or work in London, make sure you sign the petition supporting the call for TUSC anti-cuts candidates: http://bit.ly/uog0Ek It’s easy. One supporter asked 39 pickets on 30 November and 37 signed. Another supporter in the RMT got 35 new signatures at the Neasden RMT branch AGM. Can you beat that?
LU Engineering Branch RMT has pledged £500 to sponsor RMT backed TUSC candidates in the GLA elections. Download copies of the open letter and petition and take them round your workplace to get signatures. http://bit.ly/oZ5hJp
Congratulations to TUSC supporter Daren Ireland, from Merseyside, who has just been elected to the RMT national executive for the North West and North Wales.
Welcome to Croydon & Sutton TUSC, which becomes the latest area to set up a TUSC branch. See their facebook page: http://on.fb.me/vdDeZo - and their website: http://bit.ly/rrLxBm

TUSC Independent Socialist Network Meeting Saturday 14 January, 12 noon 2 Langley Lane, Vauxhall, London SW8 1GB. For independent socialists who are not members of existing socialist groups. http://www.independentsocialistnetwork.org/
For more information contact indsocnet@yahoo.co.uk or phone Will McMahon: 020 8525 6616 or Nick Wrack: 07812 063 409. Follow @TUSCIndependent on twitter.
FROM THE UNIONS

Unions will challenge a High Court ruling that the government was entitled to switch the measure of inflation used to increase pensions. They will seek an expedited appeal against a move they say will cut the value of pensions to millions of private and public sector pensioners http://www.fbu.org.uk/

RMT continues ballot for industrial action on WightLink ferries and prepares for Employment Tribunal as company confirms sacking and victimisation of union rep http://bit.ly/vjyCV7

Labour council sends in agency teachers to break strike
70 NUT members at Langdon School Newham, East London, are in dispute about the all-too common problem of management bullying and excessive workload. Teachers have been on strike for three days a week since the beginning of November. The school is being kept open by agency staff. It is believed that this is the first time agency staff has been used in such numbers and deliberate intent to break a strike. Messages of support and collections to nutlangdon@aol.co.uk

80% vote for strike in ballot at West of Scotland Signaling Centre Rail union RMT has confirmed that members have voted by almost eight to two in favour of strike action and industrial action short of a strike involving staff working at the Signaling Centre http://bit.ly/tARlvP

Damning report reveals real picture of council cuts
UNISON is calling for the Government to refocus on local government services and finances, in light of a damning report on council cuts by the Audit Commission and Local Government Association (LGA). The report shows that councils across England have already made 145,000 job cuts and the number is set to spiral. This will have a devastating impact on the lives of local government workers and communities relying on the vital services they provide http://bit.ly/vrsrel

Sparks defy courts for massive day of strike action across the country The biggest of the 'Dirty 7' big contractors Balfour Beatty (BBES) may have outlawed the strike by their electricians, but 7 December saw protests, stoppages and walkouts all over the country. Unite's strike was won by a 81% margin yet the bosses can run to the courts and use the Tory anti-union laws to stop a just and legitimate strike against imposed new contracts on electricians which will result in them losing up to 35% in pay. http://bit.ly/s4JAmc
Nestle is at it again
The world's largest food manufacturer is showing complete disregard for the human rights of its employees in Pakistan, where -- according the IUF -- contract workers face mass dismissals, jail, beatings and blackmail

Leaders of the teachers' union in Bahrain arrested and sentenced to long jail terms following a series of peaceful protests earlier this year. Their appeal is about to come before the courts. The Education International, representing some thirty million unionised teachers around the world, has called for a major online campaign to press the Bahraini government to drop the charges. http://bit.ly/vJWELn

Workers at Philippines Airlines locked out for over two months. The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) is urging support for an online petition and boycott of the airline http://bit.ly/uPAtrh

DIARY OF EVENTS

Lobby Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service Full Authority Meeting Wednesday 14 December 2011, 10:00am Behind Aylesbury Fire Station, Unit 7, Stocklake, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1BD The purpose of the Lobby is to protest against cuts to the fire & rescue service in Aylesbury including the closure of the Aylesbury Command & control room with the loss of over 20 firefighter jobs http://bit.ly/trKdEF

Save Our Railways, No to McNulty: RMT Nationwide Campaigning Day of Action, Thursday 15 December As part of the ongoing campaign against the McNulty Report the RMT is organising a campaigning day of action to distribute campaign postcards during the morning rush hour to passenger at stations throughout the country. McNulty recommends further rail privatization, lower pay, longer working hours, further fare rises and cuts to services http://bit.ly/vh0l1

TUC LGBT Forum 15 December 2011 The TUC LGBT Forum will be held on 15 December 2011 at the Regional TUC office in Leeds 2 -4pm. http://bit.ly/ufvJsv

Sure Start National One Day Conference Saturday 7 January 2012, 9:30am. Friends Meeting House (Behind Central Library), Manchester M60 2LA Unite the Union NW & Save Manchester Sure Start Campaign have jointly organised this Conference because the Con Dem Coalition Government will be pushing for even more cuts in 2012 http://bit.ly/unyYvn
Information Burst

This might appeal if you have a secret Santa present to buy this year, or are short on ideas for distant relatives... http://bit.ly/vJj28C

UK signature missing from key convention on violence against women
Please help petition Lynne Featherstone to commit the UK to sign the Council of Europe's convention on violence against women. The UK holds the Council chair and is claiming to use it to focus on human rights, but its refusal to sign is sending the wrong signal to countries where this protection is badly needed. http://bit.ly/uHsIUz
RMT has written to lawyers for News International demanding to know which journalists were involved in instructing an undercover surveillance operation against General Secretary Bob Crow by former policeman and MI5-trained Derek Webb. RMT is calling for full disclosure of information relating to the News International surveillance, and to any blagging and hacking operation against the union and its General Secretary http://bit.ly/sQ9huy
Unpaid overtime gives a £29bn boost to the UK economy http://bit.ly/tNpwPn

Monday, 12 December 2011

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Bulletin No.26
Monday 28 November 2011
Petition against unfair pension changes has 83,448 signatures. Can we get it to 100,000? http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1535 Please sign.
25,000 elderly will die from cold this winter: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15836494
Egypt's unfinished revolution http://bit.ly/uJSjrU
BBC N30 poll – over 60 per cent support pension strike
An opinion poll for the BBC found that nearly two thirds of people in Britain support Wednesday’s planned strike over pensions by millions of trade unionists in the public sector. The figure is even bigger among young people, with four out of five 18 to 24 year olds backing the action. See the result on the BBC website: http://bbc.in/sD9W0q

TUSC News
All out on Nov 30th!
TUSC members, supporters and branches will be out in force on Wednesday supporting the public sector workers pensions strike – on the picket lines, and on marches and Rallies all over the country showing solidarity and giving out information about TUSC – the organisation providing both a political and trade union response to the cuts
TUSC Election Campaign Conference called for Saturday 28 January 2012
TUSC National Election Conference: The TUSC Steering Committee which met on Monday 21 November agreed to call a conference on 28 January 2012 to discuss the May 2012 election campaign. It is likely to be in London. Further details will be sent out when we have a venue and agenda. The aim will be to get at least one person to attend from every area where we are standing candidates to discuss the platform and practicalities of the campaign.
Ex-Green candidate, Pip Tindall, stands against all cuts for Brighton TUSC in Westbourne by-election'
A member of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), Pip Tindall is standing in the Westbourne by-election, due to take place on 22 December. Pip, who is an NHS worker, trade unionist and welfare rights campaigner, stood as a Green Party candidate for East Brighton in the May 2011 local elections. She had signed the Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition pledge to oppose all cuts and give a political voice to a mass campaign to have central funding reinstated for public services in Brighton and Hove. For more go here:http://bit.ly/vsFE2x
* Some London TUSC supporters are planning to go to Brighton one Saturday or Sunday to help with the campaign. If you would like to help, please get in touch with Nick Wrack on 07812 063 409; nick.wrack@tooks.co.uk
Report on Southwark public meeting
21 people attended the Southwark TUSC public meeting on 24 November on ‘Fighting the cuts and the socialist alternative’ with Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the FBU. St Paul’s occupier JJ performed two of his own poems and went down very well. There were five other new young people who promised to come to December’s branch meeting. Although the turnout was small, everyone seemed to enjoy the discussion and it was an important little step forward for us in Southwark. You can visit the Southwark website here: http://southwarktusc.wordpress.com/
Greetings from the Wigan Borough Green Socialists to all TUSC supporters
We just agreed to affiliate to TUSC nationally and will be standing in the local elections next May in order to provide a pro-majority alternative to Labour who have sold our area down the river. Check out our blog at:http://wigangreensocialists.wordpress.com/
Support grows for TUSC and its Independent Socialist Network. The Rugby TUSC branch has joined the Wellingborough Independent Socialists in unanimously agreeing to support the initiative to establish an Independent Socialist Network within TUSC, and attend its meetings - and both agreed donations
From the Unions
See PCS case against public spending cuts - whilst we fight against the pension (and wider cuts) we are also fighting a barrage of information that accepts cuts have to be made: http://bit.ly/duc20A
London FBU: London firefighters' anger boils over, as 91% vote for industrial action: http://tinyurl.com/c2y629w
RMT slams Cable attack on workers’ rights
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: ‘Vince Cable and the ConDems now want to drag us back to days of hire and fire where workers have to grovel to the boss for the right to earn a days’ pay. Under the proposed EU/India Trade Agreement companies would be allowed to bring in cheap labour and in return European corporations would have access to Indian retail and financial markets increasing job losses and exploitation here and in India.’ See: http://bit.ly/s54YN7

UNISON: Queen Mary University bans trade union victimisation public meeting.
Queen Mary University of London UNISON is currently running a public campaign demanding the re-instatement of it’s suspended Branch Secretary Vik Chechi. On November 10th, a public meeting was convened by workers and students. However, QMUL Security were ordered by QMUL Senior Management to bar members of the public and supporters from the meeting. Not deterred, the meeting continued outside in Library square and took the opportunity to leaflet passing staff and students.
FBU expresses serious concerns about safety in West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire fire crews are warning of major public safety concerns over plans to axe 10 fire stations and lose 135 frontline firefighters. The result will be longer attendance times to 999 incidents with fewer stations and crews. Every area of the 999 response will be hit including fires, road traffic crashes and flooding. The union warns of increased risk to lives and homes, businesses and workplaces. See: http://bit.ly/vWWTqy
NUJ condemns end of Liverpool Daily Post
After a century and a half serving up news and entertainment to the citizens of Merseyside, the Liverpool Daily Post is to cease being published as a daily and will become a weekly in the new year. Seven members of staff will be made redundant. Three weekly titles, the South Liverpool Merseymart, Bootle Times and Star series will no longer be printed separately and distributed free but will be inserted into the Liverpool Echo on a Tuesday. For more: http://bit.ly/vbRNzZ

Southampton Unison, Unite and Ucatt members reject Councils pay cut settlement
Trade Unionists at Southampton City Tory Council have decisively rejected the Council’s latest pay cuts proposals. The Council also linked their proposals to the trade unions agreeing to withdraw a multi million pound law case against the Council for failure to consult on the mass dismissals that took place in April. The rejection of the Conservatives proposals will mean that the legal action against the Council will continue: http://bit.ly/t2MTTG
Biggest Portuguese general strike for 30 years
Portuguese trade unions and disaffected youth movements protesting against painful austerity measures caused widespread disruption on Thursday in what labour leaders said was the country’s biggest general strike in more than 30 years: http://on.ft.com/sB8WU9
Greece’s main trade unions called a 24-hour strike for December 1st.
The New Zealand lamb processor, CMP, has brutally locked out 111 workers at its plant in Marton in order to force them and their union, the New Zealand Meat Workers Union, to agree pay cuts and unacceptable changes to terms and conditions. To learn more and send a message of support click here: http://bit.ly/vwZb9i
Information burst
Shock quote from the Daily Telegraph
'Karl Marx was right. Capitalism has been shown to contain the seeds of its destruction' See: http://tgr.ph/uNTZ88
Occupy movements internationally have continued to develop and also faced a huge amount of police and state repression. There are some excellent trade union and community link ups. Map of occupations and some contacts: http://www.occupytogether.org/
The top one per cent of Americans now takes in nearly 25 per cent of the nation’s income every year, double the proportion 25 years ago. http://on.ft.com/sE1EPP
New Internationalist is running an arms trade special this month. Visit their site for a video and analysis: http://bit.ly/u3pIUH
Spanish United Left makes significant gains
Izquierda Unida made significant electoral progress, going from 2 to 11 deputies, with a net increase of more than 700,000 votes. One view can be found here: http://bit.ly/sro7Sfb
Details of the deaths of 23 children under supervision of YOTs revealed by Youth Justice Board http://bit.ly/uNwFCd
Diary
A long list of all the events happening on Nov 30 can be found here: http://bit.ly/tO8kTE
Protest outside Parliament on Tuesday 29 November against the cuts - which are shredding women's rights: http://tinyurl.com/7pswodv
False Economy’s big birthday benefit
Help us celebrate one year of False Economy – and raise some dosh to keep campaigning! Thursday December 1st 8pm Star of Kings 124 York Way Kings Cross London http://bit.ly/uQmAAS
Disable the cuts’ by working together - Saturday 3 December 2011, 10:00am
Mechanics Centre, Major Street entrance, Manchester, North West region, Manchester M1 6DD The NW TUC Disability Forum is a network of trade union representatives from across the North West who seek to promote action on issues of concern to disabled trade union members. The Forum is holding an event focusing on the impact of reductions in public expenditure and public service reform on disabled people. http://bit.ly/ubKSX0
No political evictions in Battersea
Monday 5th December 7.30 pm Doddington Estate Community Centre, Charlotte Despard Avenue, Battersea Park Road SW11 5HD (behind Tesco) Called by Wandsworth Against Cuts and supported by Battersea & Wandsworth Trades Council and Defend Council Housing.
Lobby of Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority
Wednesday 7 December 2011, 10:00am Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters, Stocklake, Aylesbury HP20 1BD. Members of the Fire Brigade Union, the Fire Service and Buckinghamshire Save Our Services Campaign group will be attending the Fire Authority meeting to demonstrate their opposition to plans to cut the County fire control room with the potential loss of 20 Jobs:http://bit.ly/rJH30R

Monday, 15 August 2011

Building TUSC into 2012

A framework plan for developing TUSC into 2012

20 July 2011

The proposals below have been circulated amongst the TUSC steering committee with general agreement. However, some trade union members of the steering committee want to discuss them further amongst TUSC supporters within their unions before they formally endorse them. In accordance with the federal character of TUSC therefore, they are still draft proposals waiting for agreement by the constituent parts of the coalition.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has now been in existence for 18 months.

Click here for more...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Bulletin No.14
Monday 23 May 2011


Spanish square austerity protests grow by the hour.
Thousands of people have massed in city centres across the country in a swelling movement that began on May 15, the biggest spontaneous protests since the property bubble exploded in 2008 and plunged Spain into a recession.

Youtube video here http://bit.ly/l2swYo. Report here: http://bit.ly/kOtQM3 and picture here: http://bbc.in/maRLRV and live streaming from Puerto del Sol can be found here http://bit.ly/isU8tT


TUSC calls conference on 16 July in London to plan strategy for year ahead to 2012 elections – 10.30 registration for 11am start.

The TUSC Steering Committee met on 9 May and agreed to call together everyone who stood as a candidate, their agents and key campaign supporters in the recent elections to review the recent campaign and plan ahead for the coming year.

In addition, the conference will probably be extended to include all of those who may be thinking of standing in the 3 May 2012 local elections in 128 English Local Authorities and all Welsh Councils. You can see the full list here: http://bit.ly/jPuYoV

The TUSC Steering Committee will be meeting on 13 June to discuss an agenda for the day. The emphasis will be on discussing the strategic and campaigning lessons of our recent campaign and planning early for the 2012 elections. It is likely that there will also be a separate meeting, on another date, to discuss the Greater London Assembly and London Mayoral elections which also take place in 2012.

We will let you have further details about time and venue. Plan to arrive and register for a conference starting at 11am. There will be a small registration fee to help pay for the event but we will keep the costs low to enable as many to attend as possible. If you have suggestions about items for discussion please let us have them at tuscbulletin@yahoo.co.uk

From the Unions

PCS votes for co-ordinated strike action to fightback against ‘brutal government’.
Mark Serwotka said ‘In leading our members into battle, not only do we know it’s right to do so, but we can be proud of that fact that already we have helped four other unions come to the conclusion that we have come to, and if we make a stand in June, we could be the difference that gets millions of others out on strike as well, that could turn the tide against this government. I know that’s the right thing to do. I know it’s going to be tough. But I have confidence in you as our activists and our members to deliver… a massive strike, and begin the fight back against this brutal government.’ Watch the video here: http://bit.ly/jT9EHf

Heathrow Express rail workers vote 95 per cent in favour of strike action in pay dispute.

RMT members based at Heathrow Airportand Paddington will strike for 48 hours on Friday May 27, and for 24 hours on Friday June 24. Further action will also be scheduled in July. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: ‘The company knows it has tabled a completely unacceptable pay offer that is loaded with strings, yet despite a massive vote for action by our members it has made no attempt to negotiate or improve its offer.’ For more read here: http://bit.ly/jFvcHM

FBU conference prepares for national strike action
A strike in the fire service over changes to the pension scheme came a step nearer today as the Fire Brigades Union conference asked members to ‘prepare for national strike action.’ Read more here: http://bit.ly/khtbeH

UCATT warns HSE cuts risk workers safety
Construction union UCATT is warning that planned cuts in how dangerous incidents are reported will greatly increase dangers in the workplace. Last week the Health and Safety Executive announced that from September 2011 it was closing its infoline and that in future the reporting of accidents and dangerous incidents could only be undertaken online. For more: http://bit.ly/mqFA1f

Turkey criminalizes union action

The Turkish government has filed criminal charges against 111 union leaders, members and supporters which carry prison terms of up to 5 years in connection with a 2010 demonstration in Ankara. The Ankara action was in support of 12,000 workers made redundant overnight following the privatization of the state tobacco monopoly TEKEL. Read more here http://bit.ly/j9FIqG

Defend Iraqi Trade Unions

The Iraqi government have launched a crackdown on unions, with a heavily politicised committee appointed to take over union elections, assets and offices: See http://bit.ly/l98cGX


Minneapolis Grocery Store Cleaners Launch Hunger Strike


A mad dash to outsource cleaning services to the lowest bidder has cut wages to minimum wage (sometimes less) with no benefits. A Minneapolis worker center announced a hunger strike to protest the conditions. See:http://bit.ly/kKVwvA


Cuts action coming up

Picket of Pickles, Cambridge
UNISON and the PCS Cambridge Branches are holding a ‘Picket of Pickles’ from 6pm on Tuesday 24 May at Bridge Street in Cambridge. Bring banners, placards, friends and family and let’s give Pickles a warm Cambridgeshire welcome.

Bolton Uncut: Defend Our NHS
Bolton TUC and Uncut campaigners are organising a protest outside Barclays Bank in Bolton Town Centre from 12:00 lunchtime on Thursday 26 May to protest at money for bankers while cuts are being made to our NHS. Organised by Bolton Trades Council

Yorkshire regional conference on cuts
Saturday 28 May 2011, 12:00 noon at the PCS Office, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, Leeds LS2. A conference to discuss building the campaign across Yorkshire. Entry £2 - proceeds go towards funding the Jarrow March for Jobs.

CornwallSleep-Out Protest Against Supporting People Cuts May 29th
The Supporting People service which provides sheltered housing and homelessness support, is being slashed by 40 per cent despite Cornwall having the second highest rate of homelessness in England. A ‘sleep-out’ demonstration is taking place on 29 May from 8pm until 7am the next day outside Truro Cathedral. Bring a sleeping bag! Hot drinks will be provided. More information here.


Information burst

Food prices, food crisis…what’s going on?
The food crisis and its consequent misery, starvation and deaths are not inevitable, says Hamid Sodeifi, but are rather the necessary and rational outcomes of a socio-economic system whose sole objective is the creation of profits. Short article here: http://bit.ly/j1fxzT

It takes more than 600 lawyers to run a privatized railway
A response from TUC and rail unions to the McNulty Review on rail value for money, can be found here PDF file (188,405 bytes). Bob Crow explains why nationalized railways would serve us all better on Radio 4 Today programme here: http://bbc.in/lMjw05 (it begins at 1hr 13 minutes) and reveals that Network Rail has a mere 600 lawyers to deal with legal problems arising from fragmentation.

Don’t mess with May Day

The government have launched a consultation on moving May Day bank holiday to October. But why not keep it and have an extra October day as well? We could do with it! Send your message to the consultation and help raise support on Twitter: http://www.tuc.org.uk/keepmayday

Boss replies to low tax criticisms
'I couldn't care less. I will continue to do what I do'. Stefano Pessina, chairman of Boots, when challenged on criticisms that last year Boots had only paid £25m in tax on profits of £637m.

Wage theft in the US: http://www.wagetheft.org/


TUSC information
You can find out more about TUSC at: http://www.tusc.org.uk/index.php
To donate to TUSC go here: http://www.tusc.org.uk/donate.php

To: Unsubscribe / Change Profile

TUSC aims to bring trade unionists, socialists and anti-cuts campaigners together to stand candidates at elections who are committed to representing working-class interests. Resistance to the cuts is vital, but we also need a political alternative to the policies of cuts and privatisation. TUSC believes that a new working-class party is needed that campaigns for a democratic socialist society run in the interests of the millions not the millionaires.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

THE FIGHT AGAINST CUTS GOES ON!

Reflecting a current mood to punish the Con Dem government for their savage cuts, New Labour has increased it’s grip on Stoke-on-Trent city council in the local elections on 5 May.

The Lib Dems have been removed completely and the Tories have lost six seats leaving them with a rump of just two. Community Voice have also lost all their seats along with other independents.

Particularly welcome is the complete removal from the council of the far right, racist BNP but we should not be complacent about this because in the wards where they stood they polled an average of 10% whilst the other far right organisation England First averaged 12.5%.

The average 3.9% vote obtained by the six Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition candidates standing in our first ever council elections are therefore impressive where the desire by many to punish the Con Dems by voting New Labour locally has squeezed the vote for the smaller parties.

This also with a background of the local media completely ignoring our campaign. Compare this to the Sentinel front page coverage (more than once) when the BNP announced they would be standing seven candidates in 2003.

The first time TUSC stood a candidate in Stoke-on-Trent was only last year in the general election when Socialist Party member Matt Wright stood in Stoke Central Constituency. A comparison between then and now shows a small but very significant increase in support for TUSC.

At the 2010 general election 133 people voted TUSC out of the 32,470 who voted across the Central constituency. In these local elections we have stood in six wards. In those wards, from just 12,656 who voted, 486 voted for TUSC. That’s an increase of 353 votes from almost 20,000 less voters! Of some importance also is that our best percentage of the vote, 5.4%, was won in the ward where the leader of the BNP was standing.

The most important feature of these elections was the emergence of TUSC to provide an organised trade unionist and Socialist based opposition and alternative to all the savage cuts implemented by the Con Dem government and the city council. Socialist Party members and other trade unionists particularly from the PCS and CWU formed the backbone of the election campaign.

Disgracefully, local members of the Socialist Workers Party, despite being a component part of TUSC, have completely ignored our campaign. In the words of a prominent New Labour campaign activist they have instead been ‘arse lickers’ to New Labour – “They do anything we tell them”, he said.

New Labour should enjoy their jubilation at winning control of the city council while they can because their problems have only just begun. During New Labour’s election campaign they falsely claimed to have ‘Saved the Children’s Centres’. During the last week of the election campaign Save our Children’s Centres campaigners were out everyday collecting names objecting to the council cut of 30% in funding as ‘unacceptable’. This will increasingly be the music of the future!

In the fight against cuts, the New Labour dominated city council will need to decide individually and collectively which side they are on. They can be part of the Con Dem drive to take us back to the misery, poverty and unemployment of the 1930′s or they can adopt the fighting traditions of the 1980′s – of the miners, of Liverpool’s Socialist Council, of the mass movement against the Poll Tax which defeated Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government.

We are not prepared to stand by while we are taken back to the 1930′s! In the weeks and months ahead we will developing further the fight against all cuts.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

It's official - in Stoke-on-Trent only TUSC will fight against cuts!


The PCS Make Your Vote Count Campaign came to Stoke-on-Trent on Thursday 28 April providing the first opportunity for the Cuts Coalition Council of Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and Independents to be challenged on a public platform by a serious alternative to their savage cuts by TUSC local election candidates.

Over forty trade unionists, community campaigners and students heard Nick Gore from the Lib Dems explain why cuts ‘were necessary’ that ‘it was Labour’s fault’ etc.

Much more important however was the clear difference between TUSC’ s opposition to all cuts and the position taken by Mohammed Pervez, Labour leader and leader of Stoke-on-Trent’s Cuts Coalition. He defended Labour’s and the Coalition’s savage cuts of £36 million as being necessary because of government funding cuts and that there was nothing we could do.


Scialist Party member and TUSC candidate for Meir North, Andy Bentley, speaking from the platform, explained that, “this was not true and that some of the £61 million reserves that Stoke-on-Trent city council has along with legal borrowing powers could have been used to prevent these cuts linked to a citywide campaign to force the government to provide extra resources”

In response, Mohammed Pervez lamely told us that he had sent letters of protest to government Ministers but they had still not budged! Approaching the use of reserves and borrowing as a bank manager he ruled this out because it would cost more in the future. But this is to ignore the linking of such measures to the building of a campaign to demand more money from the government.

Most of the Labour councillors, election candidates and members present had nothing to say about actually fighting against cuts. Labour Party member and North Staffs TUC President Jason Hill who is spearheading a so called ‘relaunch’ of North Staffs Against Cuts with a new constitution whose first aim is “To stop all public sector cuts” was silent at this event. (For the background to this divisive attempt to set up a rival anti-cuts alliance to that which was officially launched at a Conference on 21 January 2011 see http://www.stokesocialistparty.org.uk/?p=796 )

Most bizarre contributions from the floor came from Socialist Workers Party members. Rob Cartlidge posed a question to all those on the platform, “why should young people vote?” Andy pointed out to him that, “as your Party, the SWP, are a component part of TUSC and are also standing TUSC candidates across the country I would have thought you would be calling on young people to vote for TUSC and that your help with the TUSC campaign in Stoke-on-Trent would be welcome”

SWP member Abigail’s only contribution was to ask Andy, “Why do you keep attacking Labour?” This, despite the fact Andy had already pointed out that, “Labour said they wouldn’t introduce Tuition Fees and they did, they said they would repeal the anti trade union laws and they didn’t, they made the gap between richer and poorer greater, took us into two wars, increased the casualisation of labour, attacked pay and conditions of workers and are now carrying out savage cuts in jobs and services – need I go on?”


Mohammed Pevez’s statement that Labour ‘had saved Children’s Centres’ was met with disbelief and anger by Alan Lear who has been one of the Save Our Children’s Centres’ campaigners who forced Labour and the Cuts Coalition to remove the threat to seven of the sixteen centres across the city. To read Alan’s written response click on link below

http://pitsnpots.co.uk/news/2011/04/stoke-trents-socc-angry-labour-leaflet-claims

This was an important event in the city and special thanks should go to PCS youth rep Jo Mee for organising it because it provided an important opportunity to discuss publicly a serious alternative to the usual diet of ‘we must make cuts’. More than fifteen thousand TUSC leaflets given out across the six wards where we are standing and events like this one have forced the issue of a real alternative to cuts on to the agenda.

In summing up Andy told the meeting that these were

the most important local elections in Stoke-on-Trent for decades. Why? Firstly, because we need to stop this cycle of cuts, cuts and more cuts. Secondly that councillors elected will be in place for four years and we can’t afford four more years of cuts.

On 5 May people in Stoke-on-Trent are faced with a clear choice, you can vote for Lib Dem, Tory, Labour, BNP, Community Voice or others and you will guarantee job losses, cuts, closures and privatisations or you can vote for TUSC for a fight against those cuts”

- – - – - STOP PRESS – - – - -

Apparently Labour Party members during the PCP hustings event were tweeting about TUSC and the Socialist Party wanting to “take us back to the 1980′s”.

The reality is that the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem’s plans for savage cuts, if not stopped, will take us back to the mass poverty and unemployment of the 1930′s. But they are right about the Socialist Party wanting to rebuild the 1980′s fighting traditions of the miners, Liverpool’s Socialist Council and the victory over Thacher’s Poll Tax.

Nothing less will suffice in the struggle against the three main parties attempt to make ordinary working class people pay for a crisis created by big business, top bankers and successive governments.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Successful Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition Election Rally in Hanley

On Thurs 21st April TUSC held an election Rally in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. One third of those present were non Socialist party members with trade unions PCS, Unison, NUT, GMB, CWU Postal and CWU Romec represented.

TUSC candidate for Meir North Andy Bentley spoke at the meeting and Sunara from Coventry highlighted the work being done in Coventry and explained how having Dave Nellist as a figurehead helps to bring the profile of the Socialist Party into the public eye.

Andy stressed the need for a new workers party to represent the working class and that TUSC was a small but significant step to achieving that. He explained how the TUSC candidates all stood on a platform of no to all cuts and would, if elected, fight to achieve that in the councils across Britain. He highlighted the fact that the Labour Party no longer listened to the working class and if elected they would still carry out cuts maybe slower but inevitably the working class would suffer however slow it was done.

The discussion was very positive and concentrated on developing a strategy to defeat cuts. A PCS rep spoke about the need for a nation wide public sector strike. Everyone in the room agreed and pledged to talk to their workmates about voting for strike action. It was also agreed that we needed to get the private sector involved.

An ex-miner, who was one of the youngest NUM members nationally to strike for twelve months in the 1984/85 strike, explained how he had been a Labour Party activist for many years but had recently left in disgust and that he wanted to join the Socialist Party – which he did after the meeting.

This is our greatest opportunity so far to get the name of TUSC against cuts firmly in the minds of working class people. We are pushing every Socialist Party member and other activists to be on the street knocking on doors and speaking to people. We have an excellent record of fighting for the rights of people in our area, so we'll be telling them about the campaigning stalls we have done, about the council lobbies and the marches we have organised. We will make it clear that that we don’t just show our faces at election time but that we are campaigning every week.

Mandy

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Election Campaign latest


PCS Make Your Vote Count Campaign
Candidates' question time meeting
Want to know whether your local candidates support quality public services and the people that deliver them?
As part of the Public and Commercial Services Union Make Your Vote Count campaign we're inviting most candidates in selected seats to attend a question time meeting and be grilled by our members and the public on issues of concern to them, including public services
Come along and hear what your local candidates have to say
Time: 7:30pm (doors open from 7pm)
Date: Thursday – 28 April 2011
Venue: Potteries Museum Theatre
For more info contact PCS West Midlands on 01216434342
PCS Public and Commercial Services Union www.pcs.org.uk/myv
This event will provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that only TUSC candidates have a serious alternative to the savage government and council cuts.
So far the line up of election candidates will be;
  • Mohammed Pervez - Labour's Council leader
  • Andy Bentley - TUSC candidate in Meir North
This list will be updated as and when we get details

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Liat Norris- TUSC candidate for Hanley Park & Shelton

As a student at Staffordshire University, an officer at the Students' Union and someone who has lived in Stoke all my life, I feel a great commitment to students, Shelton and to Stoke as a whole.

Through the two colleges and the university, students make up a large number of the residents in Shelton and use the area daily. It is important that these students have a voice both in the ward and on the council. So if elected, along with working with the local community, I will make sure to work with the various Students' Unions to ensure that all parts of the community are represented and to make sure that the experiences of students in the area is a positive one.

Government and council cuts must be opposed

Students nationally have shown opposition to the cuts being made both in education and wider public services through the student demonstrations at the end of last year; however there has also been student opposition to cuts locally. Whenever North Staffs Against Cuts has organised a protest against the cuts; I, alongside other officers at Staffordshire University Students' Union, have rallied students, from both the university and the colleges, to come down to oppose the attacks on public services being spinelessly passed through by the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem cuts coalition.

A quarter of Staffs University students come from North Staffordshire and others live here for only three years but they all care about the attacks being made to the local community, and I want to give them an opportunity to vote for someone who will fight the attacks – to provide an alternative to the pro-cuts platform being put forward by the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem candidates also asking for your votes in Shelton.

We need councillors who will fight against the cuts

If elected, as with all other Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidates, I will vote against all cuts being passed on by the government, and will propose an alternative needs budget, based on the needs of the people of Stoke-on-Trent, rather than accepting the draconian austerity measures being forced on us by the government.

From threatening the closure of Thomas Boughey Children's Centre (the Children's Centres which Labour laughably claim to have saved despite both putting them under threat and cutting their funding by £2.25 million), closing the vital Shelton Pool, to allowing the lifeline that is EMA to be removed from working class youth in the city – the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem cuts coalition has passed on disgraceful attacks to our public services. This can't be allowed to continue, and if elected I will vote against them and fight to defend people in Shelton and across the city from further attacks.

On the 5th May in this ward there is a clear choice – to vote for the three pro-cuts parties; or vote against cuts by voting for the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Andy Bentley- TUSC candidate for Meir North

As a Trade Unionist & Socialists Against Cuts councillor I can fight more effectively in Meir North and across the city to provide ordinary working class people with a decent future.

People in Meir and elsewhere face the most savage attacks in living memory on our jobs, services, pay and conditions at work, pensions and benefits. The NHS, Royal Mail and other services are lined up for privatisation. A generation of young people face a nightmare future - forced to 'choose' between a lifetime of university debt or a low paid temporary job.

But why should we have to pay for economic crisis and massive debt created by big business, top bankers and successive governments. Why should we pay when bankers still pay themselves massive bonuses and big companies continue to rake in enormous profits.

We say make the rich pay instead. The richest one thousand people have a staggering £350 billion! We demand collection of the £120 billion Corporation Tax which is unpaid every year by big companies.

We say NO to the savage cuts supported by the Tories, Lib Dems, Labour Party and implemented by councils across Britain. We do not accept the lame argument of Stoke-on-Trent councillors that, “There is nothing we can do to stop government cuts”.

If elected I, as a Socialist Party member, and other TUSC councillors, will oppose all cuts. We have already heard the argument locally, “if we keep this swimming pool open we must close that children's centre”. That's why it's important we oppose ALL cuts to prevent government and local councils dividing opposition by trying to play off one campaigning group against another.

If elected we will oppose the cosy Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem and Independents Cuts Coalition which has run Stoke-on-Trent for years. Instead of sitting in rooms with these Cuts Councillors planning which jobs we can scrap and which services we can cut, close or privatise we will actively help to build the massive opposition to government cuts which is necessary.

We will propose a no cuts budget based on the NEEDS of Stoke-on-Trent people not what government ministers and local councillors think they can get away with. Liverpool city council did this in the 1980's and won £60 million back from Margaret Thatcher's government.


These local elections are more important than any in living memory. Firstly because we have to end this cycle of cuts, cuts and more cuts. Secondly because all those elected will be councillors for FOUR years. Stoke-on-Trent can't afford FOUR MORE YEARS OF CUTS.

In February all Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and some independent Stoke-on-Trent councillors voted for savage budget cuts of £36 million. Other councillors who didn't including BNP and Community Voice, proposed no alternative which effectively means they supported the cuts anyway.

On 5 May make sure you make the right choice. You can vote either for candidates who will carry out cuts or you can vote for Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition candidates who will fight AGAINST all cuts.

originally posted up at PitsNPots

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Matt Wright- TUSC candidate for Dresden & Florence

This was originally posted up at PitsNPots

I can remember saying during my stint as a TUSC candidate in the general election last year that no matter which of the 3 main pro-capitalist, pro-big business parties won the election, we would be paying for the bail out of the banking system with our jobs, services and living standards.

Fast-forward 12 months and we have the spectacle of a Labour council- a Labour council (!) passing on Tory cuts with only token resistance. It's a scene that is being repeated across the country.

A week after Stoke council voted through £36m in cuts it came to light that the council had, in fact, over £60m stashed away in reserves. Instead of using some of this money to stop cuts in jobs and services they are using over £20m of it in redundancy pay outs to staff. It's true that Community Voice and the BNP voted against the cuts, but where was their alternative budget?

So what would I do?

I will be fighting cuts and privatisation tooth and nail. But opposition in words is not enough, neither is simply voting against cuts. What I will do is propose alternatives to cuts and privatisation.

I would propose that we -
* Set a 'needs budget' that would take in to account what we NEED as a city, not just what we can afford from the measly government handouts.
* Use a combination of council reserves and prudential borrowing powers to stop, and even reverse the spending cuts inflicted on the city.
* Launch a massive campaign across the city to demand more money from the government, that links up with trade unions, community groups and communities.
I will also be demanding that the council -
* Embarks on a huge program of building council houses to relieve our massive social housing waiting lists and create jobs.
* Call in any decision by local NHS trusts to make redundancies as a result of 'over spending' or funding cuts.
* Bring as many of the privatised council services back 'in house' to stop our council tax lining the pockets of big business.
Say it can't be done?
Take a look at the example of Liverpool city council in the 80's. They launched a similar campaign against Thatcher's government and won the equivalent of £60m back and built over 5000 houses, 5 leisure centres and created 2000 jobs in the process.

More information here-

I've been involved in many campaigns over the last 6 years or so. I've been fighting back against the low wages, privatisations, cuts and wars imposed on us by the last Labour government. I have also been supporting and building support for workers across the city who were taking strike action against these attacks. I'm also organiser for North Staffs Against Cuts which has been instrumental in building the anti-cuts movement in north Staffs. Whether I'm elected or not I will continue to fight in the interests of working class people across the city.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Election Rally!


Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition
Election Rally

FIGHT ALL CUTS!

Speakers -
ROB WINDSOR – ex Socialist Party Councillor fighting to regain his seat in Coventry
ANDY BENTLEY – TUSC candidate in Meir North

Thursday 21st April 2011 at 7.30pm
Sacred Heart Social Centre, Downey Rd (off Regent Rd) Hanley ST1 3BY
- - - - - All Welcome - - - - - 
 
VOTE NO TO CUTS – VOTE TUSC ON 5 MAY!


Childrens Centres Saved by the “Save our Children’s Centres” campaigners not the Labour Party!

The Labour Party are delivering leaflets all over Stoke-on-Trent claiming that they “Saved Children’s Centres”. If Labour was a private company peddling this rubbish they could get done under the Trades Description Act!

Cuts proposed by the Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem and Independents Cuts Coalition in November 2010 included shutting “seven of the city’s 16 children’s centres” (Sentinel 2 Novenber 2010).

Labour councillors were not even prepared to name those that they had put under threat in this way which resulted in panic in ALL sixteen.

Children’s centres have been saved, for now, not by Labour but by the marvellous campaign of opposition which was organised by parents and supporters of the children’s centres.


Save our Children’s Centres campaigners protesting outside a City Council meeting

In reality, Labour and the rest of the Cuts Coalition were forced to back down for fear of losing their seats at the local elections on 5 May. That’s why they are now trying to rewrite history by claiming to have saved them.

What Labour and the Cuts Coalition councillors are also conveniently not telling voters across the city is that their ‘saving children’s centres’ includes significant cuts of £2.25 million to the children’s centres funding which is equivalent to 23 staff being sacked!

Don’t be fooled – these people, fresh from slashing jobs & services by £36 million, are looking for you to re-elect them again on 5 May.

If they get re-elected they will be in place for FOUR years. WE cant afford FOUR more years of Cuts or ‘savings’ as Labour councillors like to call them.

WE need councillors who are against cuts, who will fight against the government for more money to save our jobs and services not spend their time passing on cuts to ordinary working class people across Stoke-on-Trent.

Stoke Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition and is calling for a vote for TUSC candidates across Stoke-on-Trent in the local election on 5 May

VOTE FOR “TUSC AGAINST CUTS” ON 5 MAY

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Breathtaking Arrogance of Stoke-on-Trent's own Cuts Coalition!


Stoke-on-Trent's City Council's Labour leader, Mohammed Pervez, says,
It has been the most difficult time for the city council in living memory. We worked very hard to manage a situation that was extremely tough. As a result we have been able to pass a budget, but at the same time show that despite the cuts this is not the end of the city council”. (Sentinel 4 April)

This 'Labour' leader as part of an unholy coalition with Tories, Lib Dems and Independents has just imposed £35.6 million worth of cuts to our jobs and services and he thinks that we should all be overjoyed that, “this is not the end of the city council”. Does he actually think that we want more of this crap?

He shows not an ounce of concern about the devastating effects on thousands of local people as they slash 800 job losses, close 2 swimming pools, 2 libraries, and the City Farm with Children's Centre's funding slashed and 200 more individual cuts.

Not to be out done, Mohammed Pervez's partner in crime, Tory leader Ross Irving weighs in with, “A lot of people will say all we have delivered is cuts”. Too right they will - mainly because that is exactly what they have done!

These 'peoples representatives' are not prepared to fight against the government's cuts in funding but when it comes to ordinary working class people in Stoke-on-Trent they are only too willing to work “very hard” to carry out what is effectively anti-social behaviour of a mass character by trashing much needed jobs and services.

Lets hope that the local elections on 5 May WILL see the end of this city council and more importantly the election of councillors who are prepared to fight AGAINST government cuts and FOR the people of Stoke-on-Trent.

The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) are standing ANTI-CUTS CANDIDATES across Stoke-on-Trent on 5 May. If you want councillors who will put ordinary working class people first and fight against the government's cuts then make sure you

VOTE FOR TRADE UNIONISTS AND SOCIALIST AGAINST CUTS
VOTE FOR TUSC

If you want TUSC leaflets or posters then please call Andy on 07845893607 or Matt on 07817772531