Posted: 9 May 2014
TUSC's local election campaign finally reached the national print media today with a short article in The Independent.
Under the heading, 'Crow's party to launch challenge to Labour', Andy McSmith reports on TUSC's 560-candidate challenge on May 22nd.
While he argues that TUSC is unlikely "to win more than a handful" of council seats this month and is "too small to represent a threat to Labour", he also says "that could change" in the future, as "Len McCluskey, head of the massive Unite union, has hinted it might break links with Labour" at some point.
Posted: 8 May 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was set-up in 2010 to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to stand candidates against the pro-austerity establishment parties.
It was co-founded by Bob Crow, the late general secretary of the RMT transport union, along with other prominent trade unionists and socialist organisations. TUSC is a coalition with a national steering committee which includes leading trade unionists from the RMT, the PCS civil servants union, the National Union of Teachers, the Fire Brigade Union and the Prison Officers Association.
The RMT's annual general meeting in 2012 agreed to officially support TUSC and have representation on the steering committee.
Posted: 7 May 2014
An appeal from the TUSC national chairperson, Dave Nellist:
"Five hundred and sixty TUSC candidates for the local elections is a magnificent achievement; but unfortunately it fell short of the too-high requirement for a national election broadcast (although negotiations are still going on for a number of BBC regions).
"We need to find as many other ways as possible to use the short time between now and May 22nd to publicise TUSC's electoral challenge. But, by and large, the establishment media restricts access to those signed up to the overlapping austerity agenda of the big parties - not to a working class alternative challenging that agenda.
Posted: 5 May 2014
TUSC's campaign for the council elections taking place on May 22nd picked up more coverage this week in local news media.
The standout article was in the Salford Star (see http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=2253 ) which under the heading, 'Salford Labour Party to face huge anti-cuts electoral challenge', spoke of TUSC "mounting the biggest left challenge to Labour dominance, fielding candidates in nine of the twenty wards up for grabs". It also made the significant point that the Liberal Democrats, "once seen as the main opposition party in Salford", were fielding just two candidates this time.
A May Day election activity in Plymouth, where TUSC is standing candidates in all 19 of the city's wards, made the headlines in the Plymouth Herald (at http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Trade-unionist-coalition-hold-pre-election-rally/story-21055579-detail/story.html#ixzz30qO1e5MO ) with a good photo spread. Plymouth is another city where the Lib Dems' decline is on display, with the party contesting just four seats.
Posted: 2 May 2014
Unlike the establishment parties and UKIP, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) fully supports trade unionists taking strike action to defend their jobs, pay and conditions. TUSC, standing 560 candidates in the local elections (nearly one in seven seats), supports the strikes of the RMT transport union and the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) taking place over the next week.
RMT members on the London Underground took 48 hours of strike action this week and will strike for a further 72 hours next week. They are protesting against ticket office closures and job losses.
One of the striking RMT members who normally works at Whitechapel, Len Rowlands, (see picture) is standing for TUSC in St Peter's ward, right next to the tube station. He is one of over 50 RMT members standing under the TUSC umbrella across the country. TUSC was building support for the election campaign by saying to passers-by, "who would you rather have in the council, a trade unionist like Len who stands up and fights the cuts, or a career politician?"
Posted: 28 April 2014
The announcement of the biggest left-of-Labour election challenge in 60 years has made the pages of local newspapers at least, since nominations closed on Friday.
Leading the way was the Liverpool Echo with the story that Roy Dixon, who they correctly describe as "the man whose heckle kick-started the process that led to the new Hillsborough inquests", is standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the city's Belle Vale ward (see http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-heckler-roy-dixon-stand-7038201 ).
Roy was the first person to heckle the Culture Secretary Andy Burnham at the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in 2009, which pushed the then Labour government into setting up a fresh review.
Posted: 25 April 2014
About 50 protesters attended the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) called Lobby of Ed Miliband's Doncaster North surgery on Thursday 24 April in support of the Care UK strike.
Alistair Tice, South Yorkshire
Around 30 Care UK workers were there, about a dozen of them went in to discuss with Ed Miliband. They said Miliband was supportive, didn't think Care UK should have been given the contract and was going to speak to Labour Mayor Ros Jones. But still Miliband won't publicly come out in support.
Posted: 23 April 2014
Anti-cuts candidates standing in the local elections in May are protesting outside Care UK offices in support of striking workers in Doncaster on Thursday. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) will be lobbying Ed Miliband's office in Doncaster as well as holding solidarity protests across the country.
Nurses and care workers at Care UK in Doncaster have taken 20 days of strike action against proposed 35% pay cuts. Care UK took over the service last year, which was previously run by the NHS, and has now torn up the TUPE transfer agreement. Workers are facing pay cuts of ¬£300-¬£700 a month as well as cuts in holiday and sickness entitlements and enhanced payments for unsociable hours. New staff are being employed on ¬£6.50 an hour.
The workers, members of the trade union Unison, have voted unanimously for a further two week strike next month.
Posted: 17 April 2014
The candidate count for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's challenge in May's local elections has now reached 554, with just a week to go before nominations close. Whatever the final tally is - and the official nomination process is full of pitfalls designed to intimidate working class people from participating in 'politics' - it has been a massive achievement to put such a challenge in place.
And it is a real coalition that has been assembled to make sure the establishment parties don't have it all their own way - of trade unionists, community campaigners, and members of different socialist organisations.
The number of RMT members standing as TUSC council candidates has now reached 54, from the union's assistant general secretary through to regional council officers, branch secretaries, industrial reps and workplace activists.
Posted: 14 April 2014
Today sees the funeral of lifelong Bristol socialist Pat James, who sadly passed away on March 16th at the age of 83.
Pat was one of nine children and was born in the working class community of Easton, Bristol. Her hatred of the capitalist system developed at an early age. She joined the Co-operative youth club which helped form her socialist ideas.
She became very active in the Labour Party and was a staunch supporter of the Labour Party Young Socialists. She was a formidable organiser and at one point became Tony Benn's election agent during the period when he was an MP for Bristol South East.
Posted: 11 April 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has approved a further thirty candidates to stand under the TUSC umbrella in the local council elections taking place on May 22nd.
This brings the total figure up to 506 - with the number of councils with TUSC candidates also increasing, from 80 last week to 85 now. Most importantly, with more applications arriving even since the latest approvals broke the 500 barrier, TUSC is now less than a hundred candidates short of reaching the BBC's threshold for 'fair media coverage' in the official election period.
The full list of the candidates so far, presented in a regional breakdown and including the latest applications agreed, can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/294.pdf.
Posted: 10 April 2014
The TUSC broadcast they wouldn't show:
Dave Nellist, chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), outlines why you should vote TUSC on 22 May 2014.
Posted: 8 April 2014
The number of candidates standing under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) umbrella in May's local council elections has reached 476, after the TUSC national steering committee approved the latest batch of applications.
These candidates are contesting seats in 80 local authorities - so at least half the councils with elections in May will see a challenge to the austerity consensus of the establishment parties.
A full list of the candidates so far, broken down into regions and including the latest applications agreed, can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/293.pdf.
Posted: 3 April 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee met on Wednesday to discuss the latest progress report on the TUSC local elections challenge.
A further 91 applications to stand under the TUSC umbrella were approved, taking the total to 440 TUSC candidates - over one in ten of all the council seats up for election in May.
A full list of the candidates so far, broken down into regions and including the applications agreed on Wednesday, can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/292.pdf.
Posted: 4 April 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has contested two town council by-elections in as many weeks which were marked mainly by the low voter turnout - but which also saw, in that context, decent TUSC scores.
Labour won the March 27th by-election in the South Yorkshire town of Maltby, with 48% of the vote. But just 17% of the 1,800-strong electorate went to the polls. The TUSC candidate, Unison member Gavin Roberts, won a 13% share.
But 17% was almost twice the turnout - at 9.6%! - in the Lydney West by-election on April 2nd, in the Forest of Dean. The seat was won there by the Tories with the TUSC candidate Claude Mickleson, a former treasurer of the National Pensioners Convention, picking up a 21% share of the 138 people who voted.
Posted: 27 March 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) local election challenge has now reached 349 candidates, after another 98 applications to stand under the TUSC umbrella in May's local elections were approved this week by the national steering committee.
The number of councils where TUSC candidates will be fighting seats has now risen to 69, out of the 160 councils with elections in May. There are currently ten councils where TUSC will be standing in at least ten seats, and in Coventry and Portsmouth every seat will be contested, with nine RMT members coming forward as candidates in the later.
A full list of the candidates approved so far, broken down into regions and including this week's applications, can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/289.pdf.
Posted: 26 March 2014
Over 350 people have now put themselves forward to stand as anti-austerity candidates under the common banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the local elections on May 22nd.
Congratulations are due to everyone who has been prepared to take such a stand. So far at least 69 councils, out of the 160 with local elections this year, will see a challenge to the establishment parties, and UKIP too.
Fighting these elections is important. Evidence emerges daily of how councils - Labour, Tory, and Lib Dem alike - are acting as local agents of the austerity agenda.
Posted: 24 March 2014
The Hackney and Islington Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is holding a showing of the film, The Battle of Orgreave, this Saturday. The police assault at Orgreave, which took place 30 years ago this June, was one of the most violent confrontations in the 1984-85 miners' strike.
Jeremy Deller, the 2004 Turner Prize winner, will introduce the film and there will be a post-film discussion on the theme: Fighting then! Fighting against cuts! Fighting for justice!
Panel guests include: Voice of Youth, a Daymer representative, Mike Simons (working on a film called "Still the enemy within") and Judy Beishon, Hackney TUSC candidate. The event will be chaired by Lesley Woodburn, Islington TUSC candidate.
Posted: 19 March 2014
Another forty applications have been approved this week by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee to be TUSC candidates in May's local elections.
This takes to 251 the number of candidates - so far - joining the TUSC challenge to the pro-austerity consensus of the establishment parties. This is already the biggest trade union and socialist based left of Labour electoral challenge in local elections since the immediate aftermath of world war two.
Candidates will be fighting seats in sixty out of the 160 councils with elections in May - already an impressive spread, and with five weeks left before nominations close. A full list of the candidates approved so far, broken down into regions and including this week's applications, can be found at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/284.pdf.
Posted: 14 March 2014
TUSC national chairperson, Dave Nellist, a Labour MP from 1983-1992, has issued the following tribute to Tony Benn, who so sadly passed away today.
"It is enormously saddening to mark the passing today of Tony Benn, a friend of forty years. He was a towering socialist.
"I first worked with Tony on the 1975 Common Market referendum; hundreds filled the Police Assembly Hall in Coventry to hear him speak, with hundreds more outside. He spoke for me at a 1987 general election rally, and hundreds came again to hear him in Coventry's Methodist Central Hall; as they did five years ago when he came back to do one of his 'fireside chats'.
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