Posted: 6 March 2017
Scottish TUSC activists gathered in Glasgow on February 25th to discuss plans for a 100% anti-austerity, socialist election challenge in May's Scottish local council elections.
A draft manifesto for the elections had been discussed by Scottish TUSC's constituent organisations, the RMT transport workers' union, Socialist Party Scotland, and the Socialist Workers Party, and was agreed by the conference (see below).
The conference heard from a number of trade union speakers from the frontline in the battle against austerity. Dave Semple, a member of the PCS union's DWP Group Executive Committee, speaking in a personal capacity, explained the union's campaign against the mass closures of DWP and HMRC offices and sites. Dave will be a TUSC candidate in Glasgow.
Posted: 1 March 2017
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) today added its support to an appeal to Jeremy Corbyn by socialist members of the Irish parliament (Teachtaí Dála - TDs) to use the Brexit negotiations as an opportunity for an international anti-austerity campaign.
The TDs, members of the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) group in the Irish parliament (Dáil Éireann), had written to Jeremy Corbyn earlier this year.
They suggested that a proposed European conference hosted by the Labour leader should be used to discuss how to "promote the case for a fundamental recasting of European relationships, encompassing your stated opposition to EU-driven neo-liberalism and austerity and your support for public ownership" (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/396.pdf for the full text).
Posted: 28 February 2017
A well-attended Campaign for a Sheffield Peoples Budget public meeting on Monday sent a clear message to Sheffield's Labour council ahead of their budget setting meeting on Friday 3 March: 'Labour council, grow a backbone. Stand up to Tory cuts!'
Around 40 local trade unionists and community campaigners heard speeches from Clare Goonan (PCS union, Save Eastern Avenue Job Centre); Julie Marsland and Stella Garnham (Unison, Save Hurlfield View); Tim Jones (Sheffield Mental Health Action Group); Chris Rust (trees campaigner); Pete Davies (GMB union at Veolia and Amey); and Neil Carbutt (Fire Brigades Union).
They all explained the effects of Tory government imposed austerity cuts on the most vulnerable people in Sheffield, but were also scathing about the Labour council passing on these cuts without any resistance.
Posted: 27 February 2017
Last week it was revealed that the right-wing Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland had spent £282,000 to pay for a pro-Leave newspaper cover-wrap advert in June's EU referendum - for papers distributed, not in Northern Ireland, but in London and elsewhere in Britain.
This apparently bizarre move seems to have been an attempt by wealthy individuals to intervene in the EU debate while keeping their anonymity - by exploiting the fact that, unlike elsewhere in the UK, political parties in Northern Ireland can receive large donations (of more than £7,500) without details being published by the Electoral Commission.
Under pressure the DUP are now claiming that the money came from the 'Constitutional Research Council', headed by the businessman and former vice-chair of the Scottish Tories, Richard Cook. But not before BBC journalists got it into their heads that TUSC were the mystery funders of the DUP!
Posted: 25 February 2017
The RMT transport workers' union is stepping up its campaign to save the safety critical role of train guards on Britain's railways, the issue that lies behind the long-running dispute on Southern Rail. But it's not just Southern that is putting railway safety at risk.
The Northern Rail franchise awarded last year to the Arriva train operating company includes plans to switch some routes to Driver Only Operation (DOO). And now the RMT is in dispute with Merseyrail, after its failure to provide assurances about the train guards' role when it introduces new rolling stock on the network.
The RMT general secretary Mick Cash has made the union's position on DOO "perfectly clear" to Merseyrail (RMT press release, 2nd February). "We will not agree to any extensions of DOO and will fight to retain the safety critical role of the guard and to keep a guard on the train", he said. On March 7th the RMT will be staging a 9-30am protest in Derby Square, Liverpool to take its campaign to the public.
Posted: 21 February 2017
Last week's meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee approved the first batch of candidates to contest the local elections taking place on Thursday May 4th.
The February 15th meeting was the first steering committee since the TUSC conference in January, which set the parameters for TUSC electoral challenges this year (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17332/05-02-2017/tusc-conference-debates-election-plans-and-anti-cuts-campaigning).
In line with these parameters, none of the TUSC candidates approved at the February 15th meeting are contesting seats in which the Labour candidate came out in support of Jeremy Corbyn in last year's Labour leadership contest.
Posted: 17 February 2017
Leicester City UNISON branch has become the latest local government trade union body to present an alternative No Cuts Budget proposal to its local council.
Like other council union branches that have taken the same stance (see for example http://www.tusc.org.uk/17325/10-01-2017/carmarthenshire-unison-shows-the-way-on-fighting-council-cuts), the report submitted by Leicester UNISON is based on the strategy that the council should use its reserves and borrowing powers to refuse to make cuts today in order to allow it to build support for a campaign to reverse the national cuts to local authority funding.
"In proposing this 'no cuts' budget", they write, "we acknowledge that this would be a one-off budget that could not be repeated in three years' time". But jobs and services could be protected now, buying time to build support for a campaign, including linking with other Labour-controlled councils.
Posted: 17 February 2017
The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is meeting in Glasgow on Saturday 25th February to discuss plans for a 100% anti-austerity, socialist election challenge in May's Scottish local council elections.
Scottish TUSC has written to trade unions, left/socialist organisations, and anti-cuts campaigns seeking to build a coordinated election challenge for this year's council elections. With both the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish Labour acting as delivery mechanisms for Tory austerity, the space for a genuine anti-austerity alternative in Scotland is growing.
The February 25th conference to discuss the elections will hear from leading trade unioinsts in the forefront of fighting cuts in local government as well as speakers from TUSC's core participant organisations: the RMT transport workers' union, Socialist Party Scotland and the Socialist Workers Party.
Posted: 12 February 2017
TUSC's campaign for Labour councillors to refuse to implement the Tories' austerity agenda got an unexpected boost last week with a favourable mention in an article by Matthew Turner on The Independent's website.
Matthew was responding to the revelations of how the government had brought off the opposition to its cuts from Surrey county council (see http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/pmqs-labour-councils-sweetheart-deal-surrey-theresa-may-austerity-a7571156.html).
TUSC has pioneered the idea in its electoral campaigns that councils can use their borrowing powers and reserves to set legal no cuts budgets as a first step to building a mass campaign to force the Tories to retreat and properly fund local government.
Posted: 5 February 2017
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) met in conference last Saturday to discuss its plans for 2017. The main session was a forum under the heading, 'TUSC's role now and the 2017 elections', exploring how TUSC should operate in the welcome new political situation opened up by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party.
This included the question of whether or not TUSC should stand candidates in the local elections taking place this May, with platform speakers from the three constituent organisations of TUSC - the RMT transport workers' union, the Socialist Party, and the SWP.
Reports of this debate have appeared in The Socialist, at http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24360/01-02-2017/tusc-to-stand-or-not-to-stand and in Socialist Worker, at https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/44016/TUSC+tackles+the+elephant+in+the+room. A resolution was agreed by the conference (see text below), which will now go to the TUSC national steering committee meeting on February 15th.
Posted: 23 January 2017
The TUSC national steering committee has published detailed guides to the elections taking place on Thursday May 4th, including a timetable and procedures to approve any TUSC candidates there may be in these contests.
There are elections this year for all the 32 Scottish councils, the 22 councils in Wales, and 33 English county councils and unitary authorities. At the same time there will be Mayoral elections for the new combined authorities' so-called 'Metro-Mayors', in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Teesside, the West of England, and the West Midlands.
As usual TUSC has produced a directory of these elections, listing the councils being contested and their current political control, the number of councillors up for election and, in a new feature, a list of the 210 Labour councillors who publically joined the coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn last summer who are up for re-election this year! The directory is available on our website at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/392.pdf.
Posted: 23 January 2017
Pete McLaren has been elected as an Individual Members' representative onto the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee.
TUSC is a coalition with a national steering committee comprised of representatives from its constituent organisations alongside leading trade unionists, sitting in a personal capacity.
Other individual members of TUSC, who are not members of a constituent organisation, also have two places on the committee, elected by individual members at the TUSC conference.
Posted: 23 January 2017
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is meeting this Saturday in a conference to discuss its plans for 2017. A conference agenda document is now available on the TUSC website at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/394.pdf
The main session will be a forum under the heading, 'TUSC's role now and the 2017 elections', to explore how TUSC should operate in the welcome new political situation opened up by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party.
The forum will involve platform speakers from the three constituent organisations of TUSC - the RMT transport workers' union, the Socialist Party and the SWP - with plenty of opportunity for debate from the floor. It will be chaired by Jeremy Corbyn's old parliamentary backbench fellow rebel, Dave Nellist, the former Labour MP (1983-1992), who is now the chairperson of TUSC.
Posted: 10 January 2017
The crisis facing local public services is now so intense that it has become unavoidable news even for the tame establishment media. The flashpoint over Christmas was the situation in the NHS, including the tragic story of two patients waiting for attention in A&E unable to get a bed and literally dying on hospital trolleys.
But part of the reason for the crisis in the NHS is the parallel crisis in adult social care, which is provided by local councils. The years of council cuts - by Tory, Liberal Democrat but Labour councils too - has meant that there are record numbers, of elderly patients in particular, fit enough to be discharged but having to remain in their hospital bed because there is no social care provision to enable them to return to their home safely.
The mantra of all bar a handful of councillors has been, 'there is nothing we can do', 'we have no option' but to pass on Tory government cuts to council funding. But the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has explained that is just not true, councillors can fight back. And now more evidence for our arguments has come from the Carmarthenshire council branch of the public sector workers' union, UNISON, which has produced a 'No cuts' proposal for this year's council budget.
Posted: 26 November 2016
The November meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee agreed the text of a new model letter to local government union branches, following up the letter to Labour councillors agreed last month (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17319/20-10-2016/tusc-agrees-new-appeal-to-labour-councillors-to-join-the-fightback).
The letter to council workers is available as a Word document (at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/388.doc) so it can be adapted by local groups.
Posted: 25 November 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has agreed the agenda for the TUSC conference to be held in London on January 28th.
The main conference session will be a forum under the heading, 'TUSC's role now and the 2017 elections', to explore how TUSC should operate in the welcome new political situation opened up by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party.
This question has been debated constantly on the TUSC steering committee since Jeremy's first election victory in autumn 2015 and particularly since the defeat of the coup attempt by Labour's right-wing to unseat him this summer. Different positions have been put forward for consideration by the various components of the TUSC steering committee at our October and November meetings and we publish them here (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/387.pdf) as background information for the debate which will continue at the TUSC conference.
Posted: 8 November 2016
As the democratic credentials of 'official politics' are being increasingly questioned, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) recently chalked up a modest victory against establishment efforts to prevent alternative voices from being heard.
In the contests held this May for the directly-elected Mayors of Bristol and Liverpool councils the TUSC candidates suffered what can only be described as political censorship of the election addresses they submitted for inclusion in the Mayoral Election Booklets distributed to every elector.
Now, five months later, after formal complaints to the Returning Officers in the two cities, the national Electoral Commission has conceded that the councils' officers were making their own interpretation of the law when they insisted on amendments to the TUSC election addresses. In other words what happened was indeed an exercise in political censorship.
Posted: 20 October 2016
The first meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee since Jeremy Corbyn's re-election as Labour Party leader took place on October 12.
One of the items discussed was what role TUSC could play in backing up Jeremy's leadership by encouraging Labour councillors to join the resistance to the Tories' continued attacks on local public services, so that Labour can be an anti-austerity party in action as well as words.
The text of a model letter to Labour councillors was agreed, as published below. It is also available as a Word document (Appeal to Labour councillors) for local TUSC groups and anti-cuts campaigners to adapt and use as part of their campaigning around the new round of council budget 'consultations' that will be starting soon.
Posted: 19 October 2016
Following a number of successful meetings held under the banner, Campaign for a Socialist Mersey Mayor, the Merseyside Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is writing to Labour's metro-mayor candidate, the Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram, to propose a joint campaign to save threatened hospitals on Merseyside and to support the RMT transport union against Merseytravel bosses.
The Unison public sector union national executive committee member and the Merseyside TUSC metro-mayoral spokesperson Roger Bannister says:
"Leaked plans show hospitals face merger and closure across Liverpool, and across the Merseyside and Cheshire region.
Posted: 11 October 2016
Warrington Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) made local headlines with their call for the town's council to come out clearly now against any plans for fracking in the area, following the government's recent decision to allow drilling to go ahead in Lancashire.
The Tory minister responsible for that decision, Sajid Javid, visited Warrington last year.
Under the heading, 'Council urged to ban fracking as concerns mount', the Warrington Guardian wrote that "former Fairfield and Howley TUSC councillor Kevin Bennett called on the authority to ban it in Warrington and fight for public ownership of energy, as well as 'mass investment' in green technology.
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