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.


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


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 - - - - - 

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


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


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

Monday, 4 April 2011

TUSC election campaign gets under way in Dresden & Florence

Over 500 leaflets were distributed in in the Dresden & Florence ward over the week. Matt Wright gives a brief introduction to the campaign.


OK people – how can YOU help the six
candidates standing across Stoke-on-Trent?
The full impact of the savage cuts that the Con-Dem government want to inflict on working class people is now becoming clearer. Make no mistake YOU nor anyone else will escape their slash & burn policies.
We stand on the verge of being pushed back to the 1930's with a lost generation of youth with no hope of a decent job or home.
Tory Minister, Andrew Lansley says he wants 80% of the NHS privatised and there are similar plans for education, local government, Royal Mail and other public services.
Tens of thousands of workers across Britain, including some of our branch members, are being forced to re-apply for their jobs and even if successful only get a fixed term contract lasting a few months.
Never before in living memory has the need been greater to FIGHT for;
  • Decent jobs & services
  • A future for young people
  • A decent pension when you retire
  • Decent benefits if you are unemployed or disabled
The marvellous TUC demonstration gave a glimpse of the potential power of the organised working class. Our demand for a 24 hour public sector general strike gained a real echo on the march and needs to be pushed further.

But the political struggle across our communities is also of vital importance. That's why as part of the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) we will be standing over 150 TUSC candidates across Britain in the local elections on 5 May.

TUSC candidates will oppose all cuts in words & deeds and therefore will form an important part of an anti-cuts movement that can potentially DEFEAT this government's attacks.

In Stoke-on-Trent we will be standing an unprecedented six TUSC candidates. They are;
  • Neil Singh, as a CWU organiser, is striving to build and in some cases rebuild union organisation in the workplace and has much experience of our previous election campaigns.
  • Claire Vodrey works at the Department of Work & Pensions in Hanley and is a key PCS activist in a union which is among the most militant in the trade union movement.
  • Matt Wright is the Youth Officer of his Unison health branch and has played a leading role in the formation of North Staffs Against Cuts - officially launched on 26 January 2011. Matt was also the TUSC candidate for Stoke Central at last years general election.
  • Postal worker Jane Mellalieu was key in the struggle for reinstatement of the victimised Burslem postal workers. When this dispute first broke out at Burslem Delivery Office it was Jane who called for an immediate walk out. This laid the basis for five weeks of all out strike action, a march into Hanley and later a national CWU march through Burslem. This led to a partial victory with eight of the sacked twelve getting their jobs back. Jane has previously stood as Socialist Party candidate in the Burslem area.
  • Liat Norris is on the Student Council at Staffs University where he has led Socialist Students events and is also the Youth Fight for Jobs & Education local organiser. Liat has also played an important role in building North Staffs Against Cuts.
  • Andy Bentley - Socialist Party North Midlands Organiser who has campaigned for the interests of ordinary working class people in Stoke-on-Trent for more than 25 years and was the Spokesperson of the Potteries Anti-Poll Tax Federation.
No other political party in Stoke-on-Trent can match the accumulated experience and quality of our six candidates in actually fighting AGAINST government cuts, council cuts or in defending workers jobs, pay and conditions.
We aim to take the idea of a Socialist fight back against cuts to tens of thousands of people across the city and beyond.
But to achieve this we need YOUR help!

Can you do any of the following?
  • put a vote TUSC poster in your window?
  • deliver leaflets in your area?
  • help out on or organise a campaigning stall?
  • make a financial contribution, no matter how big or small?
  • help us knock on doors discussing the case to vote TUSC and to FIGHT AGAINST cuts?

If you can do any of the above or want to discuss any other ways that you can help
then please
call Matt on 07817772531 or Andy 07845893607