Posted: 20 May 2014
The civil servants' union, the PCS, have been at the forefront of the fight against austerity. Two members of the PCS's leadership, the assistant general secretary Chris Baugh and vice-president John McInally, sit on the TUSC steering committee in a personal capacity. Sixteen PCS activists are standing for TUSC on 22nd May. Here some of them explain why:
"I am standing for TUSC in the local council elections as I believe that working class people deserve the opportunity to vote for a candidate who is willing to stand up for them, and say no to austerity and no to all cuts to public services. I have been involved in the local Save Ealing Hospital A&E campaign by participating in the marches, leafleting the public and gathering signatures for petitions".
Mark Benjamin, PCS Disabled Members Advisory Committee and TUSC candidate for Elthorne, Ealing
Posted: 19 May 2014
Bob Crow, the late general secretary of the RMT transport workers' union, co-founded TUSC and the RMT has officially supported it since 2012. This year an unprecedented number of RMT activists - 53 in total - are standing for TUSC in the local elections. A few of them explain why they are standing to be councillors against cuts:
"I am the RMT Regional Organiser for the North West and as a member of RMT have consistently fought to defend working class people in the workplace, as I will on the council for my ward Princes Park, Liverpool. Our services and communities are being damaged by the austerity policies of the ConDems and Labour. Enough is enough. We have to fight back against cuts and deliver socialist TUSC councillors in the local elections for the working class. That why I'm standing for TUSC".
Daren Ireland, TUSC candidate Princes Park, Liverpool
Posted: 16 May 2014
Thursday saw a global day of action against super-exploitation in the fast food industry. In the US thousands of McDonalds workers joined walk-outs as part of a growing campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage.
In London over 50 protesters targeted Whitehall McDonalds demanding an end to poverty wages, secure contracts with guaranteed hours, and trade union rights. They appealed to workers inside the store to consider joining the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union (BFAWU), who initiated the Fast Food Rights campaign to fight for better conditions.
Posted: 15 May 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: 13 May 2014
It's been impossible to post up on the national TUSC website all the campaign material - the leaflets, posters, local manifestoes, website links, press releases, YouTube clips etc - that has been produced by the 560 TUSC candidates in the last few weeks. All of it has done TUSC proud.
But this video produced by the Portsmouth TUSC candidates deserves the widest possible circulation.
Posted: 13 May 2014
While the national media - with one or two exceptions - continues to consciously ignore TUSC's election campaign, there has been some decent coverage this week in the local press.
The Derby Telegraph led the way with a headline article, 'Derby TUSC election candidates: We'd rip up waste plant contract', highlighting the local TUSC candidates' pledge to do everything possible to stop a waste incinerator plant being built in the Sinfin area of the city (see http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/Derby-TUSC-election-candidates-d-rip-waste-plant/story-21085286-detail/story.html )
The Telegraph article also pointed to TUSC's policy of standing "up to cuts by setting a council budget which 'meets the needs of the local community and means the government must make up the shortfall'. In the short-term, the party said it would use council reserves and borrowing to provide any cash needed to keep services". TUSC was attacked for its stance by both the Labour and Liberal Democrat group leaders, showing once again that the establishment parties are fundamentally the same.
Posted: 12 May 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) were invited to participate in a Birmingham local election debate last week on the Adrian Goldberg radio show.
Our candidate, RMT member Ted Woodley, was not allowed into the BBC studio with the alleged 'big three' parties - the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, and the Labour leader of Birmingham council, Sir Albert Bore. But he was allowed, along with the Green Party and UKIP representatives, to say a piece towards the end of the show, which then provoked a lively discussion on whether the establishment parties are all the same and whether councillors had any option other than to implement the Con-Dem government's cuts.
Posted: 12 May 2014
"Can I take this opportunity to wish all candidates standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) best wishes for polling day on 22 May.
"Until a few months ago, when I retired due to family illness, I had been a socialist councillor in Preston for ten years.
"I believe it is important for working class people to have socialist representatives who are prepared to speak out against cuts, privatisation, racism and war.
Posted: 9 May 2014
TUSC's local election launch on Friday May 9th was covered by the BBC, with a four minute interview with TUSC chairperson Dave Nellist on The Daily Politics - and a 20 second clip on the News at One.
News at one
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.
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