Posted: 19 February 2014
Kent trade unionists and parents from the Save Kent Children's Centres campaign marched through the centre of Canterbury on Saturday 15th February in protest at the closure of twelve children's centres by the Tory county council, with a strong presence by supporters of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
Following two previous demonstrations and thousands of names on a petition, Kent county council retreated from its initial proposal of closing 23 children's centres. The protests of parents, underpinned and organised by socialists in the trade unions, forced a backtrack on eleven centres.
In the last week, however, up to 300 staff at the children's centres have been told that they will have to re-apply for their jobs, as opening hours of centres are reduced and the council seeks to strip out resources. These resources include fully qualified teachers at each centre.
Posted: 19 February 2014
TUSC's performance in the recent Sheffield council Arbourthorne ward by-election has been picked up the local press. See http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/local/new-party-to-fight-for-sheffield-seat-1-6443190?WT.mc_id=Outbrain_text&obref=obinsite
A favourable report includes an appeal by the election agent for anti-cuts campaigners, trade unionists and socialists to become candidates "as part of the biggest left of Labour electoral challenge for at least 50 years".
For the local TUSC campaigners' report on the by-election see http://www.tusc.org.uk/16900/08-02-2014/sheffield-kicks-off-tusc-election-year-with-76-percent-by-election-vote
Posted: 14 February 2014
Southampton rebel councillor Keith Morrell addressed the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) Local Elections 2014 conference on the subject of launching the TUSC challenge in May's council elections.
He spoke just as Ed Miliband was announcing the details of what he called 'the most fundamental changes to Labour's structures since its formation'.
Posted: 11 February 2014
Report in Waltham Forest Guardian, 9th February 2014
"Protesters picketed the council's housing office this week in opposition to the so-called bedroom tax.
"Members of the Waltham Forest Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) want the council to defend vulnerable people and low-paid workers against "vicious Tory policies".
Posted: 11 February 2014
The Sunday Mirror carried a stirring article this week on "the brave women who battled to keep Britain's coal mines open" - including an interview with the TUSC candidate in last May's election for the Mayor of Doncaster.
Mary Jackson, who polled over 1,900 votes in the Mayoral contest (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/press030513a.php ), is quoted in the Mirror explaining how "the strike introduced me to politics and changed who I was for ever".
The full article, including a film interview with Mary, is at http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/brave-women-who-battled-keep-3126222
Posted: 8 February 2014
The only party workers smiling at the Sheffield council Arbourthorne ward by-election count on Thursday 6 February were the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaigners.
TUSC came from nowhere (not having stood in this ward before) to get 204 votes, 7.6%, coming fourth out of seven candidates, a very respectable result.
Though Labour held the seat with just over half the votes cast, their share of vote fell by 10% from the last council election two years ago. UKIP came second but only increased their share on 2012 by 3%, despite two more years of media hype. With a lower turnout their vote actually fell from 544 in 2012 to 482 this time.
Posted: 7 February 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) Local Elections 2014 conference held on Saturday February 1st was opened by an official speaker from the RMT transport workers union, executive committee member Mike Sargent.
Click video to see extracts from Mike's speech and opening comments from TUSC chairperson, and former Labour MP, Dave Nellist.
Posted: 7 February 2014
With 625 candidates standing in the May local elections, Chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) Dave Nellist tells Afshin Rattansi that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition are the real alternative, not Labour.
The extended interview is the first item in this episode of Russia Today's Going Underground. Click on the video below to watch.
Posted: 3 February 2014
As Ed Miliband was announcing the details of what he called 'the most fundamental changes to Labour's structures since its formation' over 200 trade unionists and socialists were meeting in London to discuss organising the biggest left-of-Labour challenge in local elections since world war two.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) Local Elections 2014 conference was opened by RMT executive committee member Mike Sargent, officially representing the transport workers' union, saying that the RMT "has got form" when it comes to fighting for working class political representation.
"It was our predecessor union, the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, which was the main force in setting up the Labour Party in 1900", he said, "and those early representatives achieved important gains, such as the repeal of the anti-union Taff Vale judgement. But Labour is no longer our party and now we are having to start out again".
Posted: 27 January 2014
In the next month or so local councils will be deciding their budgets for 2014-2015, the last full financial year before the general election.
There is no dispute that councils face a dire financial situation. Even the Tory chair of the Local Government Association, Sir Merrick Cockell, has warned that the current funding levels for local councils "will not see us through for very much longer". Such complaints from a Tory politician are hypocritical but they reflect the real crisis facing local council services.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee discussed at its January meeting what councils could actually do to meet this crisis.
Posted: 27 January 2014
TUSC supporters join the '3 Cosas' workers, cleaners and other ancillary workers at the University of London, who have been fighting for a living wage and better conditions for some time, winning some significant victories. Their 'three Cosas', the theme of the current battle, are sick pay, holidays and pensions.
Posted: 27 January 2014
The 'rebel councillors' and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee members, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, have denounced Southampton's Labour-controlled council for holding a 'sham consultation' on this year's city council budget rather than organising a mass campaign to save public services.
The following statement was published in the 'In Our View' column in Southampton's local paper:
In Our View
Posted: 23 January 2014
TUSC is promoting the drive for candidates with a coordinated social media campaign on Sunday morning, February 2nd.
Using 'Thunderclap' a short Facebook and Twitter message about the May elections will be sent out from over 100 people's accounts simultaneously, potentially reaching many tens of thousands, providing we get at least 100 supporters signed up - could you be one of them?
All TUSC supporters with Facebook or Twitter accounts are asked to visit http://thndr.it/1dPHpgF and sign up before 11 AM on Sunday February 2nd, and then re-promote via Facebook, Twitter and email.
Posted: 17 January 2014
TUSC national chairperson Dave Nellist writes:
I am writing to ask for your help.
Posted: 14 January 2014
LAST WEEK'S national Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) Steering Committee meeting received a full report of how TUSC candidates have performed in council by-elections they have contested during 2013.
The report is now available on the TUSC website: 2013 council by-elections
During the year TUSC candidates stood in 37 local council by-elections. Their mean average share of the vote across those seats was 5.2%.
Posted: 8 December 2013
Interview with Dave Nellist, BBC website, 13 July 2013, reposted on TUSC website 8 December 2013
As many MPs rush to condemn proposals to give them an 11% pay rise, few have taken the lead of the former member for Coventry South.
From his election in 1983 to his deselection by Labour in 1992, Dave Nellist kept less than half his salary.
Posted: 7 December 2013
TUSC Chair and ex-Labour MP Dave Nellist said "Osborne thinks that austerity is working, but the queues at foodbanks and pay day lenders tell a different story.
"This government of millionaires might think things are improving, but most ordinary working class people are facing a Dickensian future rather than a bright recovery.
"This government of the rich, for the rich, want us to work even longer. It is to be made even harder for unemployed young people to claim meagre benefits. Further massive cuts threaten essential public services and jobs.
Posted: 27 November 2013
The by-election under way in Glasgow city council's Shettleston ward (with polling day on December 5th) saw a recent hustings debate hosted by Save The Accord Centre campaigners in Shettleston Community Centre.
The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate, underground driver and Unite member Jaime Cocozza, reports on what happened:
"Only three of a potential twelve candidates turned up. Labour, having already voted to shut down the Accord Centre to make way for a car park for the Commonwealth games, showed exactly what they thought of the campaign by sending their candidate to a meeting with local police instead!
Posted: 26 November 2013
After Southampton's council services have suffered ¬£57 million cuts since 2010 the new Labour council (elected in 2012) has announced a further ¬£60 million cuts to come over the next three years.
Last week's council meeting was the last before councillors vote for the council budget in February next year. Southampton Councillors Against Cuts, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, members of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, went to the meeting to urge Labour councillors to reject the cuts agenda and launch a mass campaign to fight central government for the funding the city needs. Through using reserves and borrowing powers to fund the budget gap, as Keith and Don put forward at this year's budget-setting meeting, it would be entirely possible to protect jobs and services. By refusing to implement the cuts the council would give a lead and build the mass support needed that could force a weak and unpopular government into retreat.
Moving their resolution (printed below) Keith said:
Posted: 25 November 2013
A meeting of trade unionists, socialists, anti-cuts and environmental campaigners met in Derby last week (19 November) to launch the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and discuss plans to stand across the city in the 2014 local elections.
A second public meeting has been organised in Sinfin on Wednesday 27th November at the Sinfin Moor Social Club, Areleston Lane, Sinfin, Derby, DE24 3DH, from 7.30pm till 9pm. One of the speakers will be Dorothy Skrytek, a member of the campaign against the Sinfin incineration plant and the Friends of the Earth.
The November 19 meeting was addressed by Harry Smith, a former Labour councillor who was part of the socialist Liverpool city council between 1983-87. Along with 46 other councillors, Harry set a budget based on what the city needed to provide jobs and services and built a campaign to demand more money from the Thatcher government. Harry described that whilst other Labour councils were passing on cuts, Liverpool built houses, swimming pools, parks and created more jobs. This shows what a council can do if it is prepared to fight.
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