Posted: 22 October 2014
Hundreds of low paid Barking and Dagenham council workers facing a ¬£2,000 cut to their annual income protested outside Barking town hall on Tuesday 7 October, reports Pete Mason, who stood as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) local election candidate in the borough back in May.
Joining them were a number of Labour councillors who face suspension from the Labour whip and potential expulsion from the Labour Group if they carry through their declared intention to vote against the proposed cuts at the 1st December full council meeting. Labour took all 51 seats on Barking and Dagenham council (in east London) in May's election.
Refuse collectors parked their dustbin lorries in a long line outside the town hall and hooted their horns. The GMB and Unite members and the protesting councillors then marched into the public gallery, where deputy leader of the council, Dominic Twomey, told the cabinet meeting that the council needs to cut ¬£53 million during the next three years. Some council workers fear losing their homes if their income is cut by ¬£2,000, GMB activists say. The borough already has the highest level of repossessions in London. Further cuts proposed include closing care and homeless centres.
Posted: 6 October 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, meeting last week, has set an ambitious target for next year's elections - to have a TUSC candidate in one thousand local council wards and one hundred parliamentary constituencies on May 7th 2015.
One thing is clear about the outcome of the 2015 general election. Whichever establishment party or combination of parties wins, they will continue with policies favouring the rich and austerity for the rest of us.
That's why TUSC was set up in 2010, co-founded by the late Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport workers' union. Its purpose is to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to come together on a common platform to challenge the pro-austerity unity of the establishment parties at the ballot box.
Posted: 29 September 2014
Thanks are due to Ian Martin, one of the writers of the savage political satire The Thick of It, for his recent article in the Guardian from this year's Labour Party conference (see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/23/ian-martin-labour-conference-thick-of-it ).
Firstly because he uses his piece to explain once again - if not exactly in Malcolm Tucker terms but near enough - just how spineless the alleged 'official opposition' to the Con-Dems have become. But also, in pondering what possible alternatives there might be, for name-checking TUSC and one of our co-founders, in Ian's words, "the late great Bob Crow".
TUSC chair Dave Nellist sent in a letter to the Guardian to let its readers know that TUSC is intending to stand even more widely next May - for both the general and the local elections - than we did this year, when we fielded the biggest-ever left-of-Labour working class electoral challenge for 60 years (see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/24/labour-conference-message-offers-left-little-hope ).
Posted: 4 September 2014
A recent article by Guardian journalist Aditya Chakrobortty on the efforts of Enfield council to respond to the housing crisis (see http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/sep/01/enfield-experiment-housing-problem-radical-solution ) vindicates the central point of TUSC's policy platform for local council elections - councillors can find ways to resist austerity if they choose to.
Aditya explains the desperate housing situation developing in the north London borough - although not restricted to there! - against the backdrop of an historic underbuild of social housing, the Con-Dems' benefit cuts, and rising private sector rents.
He shows that councils still have powers they could use, if the will is there, to intervene. Enfield, he reports, "has arranged a credit facility of ¬£100m" to bulk-buy homes, in a programme began in March this year. It is introducing a scheme to license private landlords and, "for the first time in 30 years, it is building council homes", with 180 starts this month as the first steps.
Posted: 1 September 2014
Plymouth councillor Alison Casey will be speaking on Wednesday 3rd September at the first of a series of TUSC-hosted meetings across the city to draw up 'A Peoples Charter for Plymouth' as an alternative to the establishment parties' austerity policies.
Alison, a councillor for Moor View ward, will be explaining why she left the Labour Party and how she will now be better able to serve the community as an independent.
Also speaking at the 'Have your Say' public meeting, starting at 7pm at the Estover Youth Centre, Torbridge High School, will be Senior Youth Worker Nathan Cole, who will be talking about Estover Youth Club and the work of the Youth Service. Local community groups like Friends of Miller Way have also been invited to speak about their campaigns and activities.
Posted: 15 August 2014
Local Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) groups haven't had too much time for a summer break this year, with campaigning continuing throughout July and August.
The decision of two city councillors to join with TUSC made the headlines in the Leicester Mercury (see http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Ex-Labour-councillors-join-anti-cuts-alliance/story-21444308-detail/story.html ). The paper reported that, in linking up with TUSC, Barbara Potter and Wayne Naylor "will take a firm stance against further budget reductions and will be pushing for the council to adopt a zero cuts budget in the future".
This provoked a typical reaction from the ruling Labour group that "it would be impossible to halt the cuts to services given reductions in grants from Whitehall". But that was completely different to the great response Barbara and Wayne received from public sector workers when they explained their anti-cuts stand at the July 10th strike Fair Pay Rally in Leicester.
Posted: 9 July 2014
TWO LEICESTER anti-cuts councillors this week agreed to join up with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the ever-widening fight against the establishment parties and their austerity policies.
Ex-Labour councillors Barbara Potter and Wayne Naylor, who will sit on the council as the Leicester Independent Councillors Against Cuts group, will now be a constituent part of the Leicester TUSC steering committee, alongside the Socialist Party, the SWP and prominent trade unionists in the city.
In a press statement announcing their decision to link up with TUSC, the councillors explained that while they were in the Labour Party they were loyal because they feared the alternative of letting the Tories in. But they were hampered in their aims of defending their local constituents and both now feel that they can do that better outside the Labour Party - and that the time had come to build something new both locally but also on a national level.
Posted: 8 July 2014
As over a million public sector workers were preparing for J10, Michael Gove followed Boris Johnson and other right-wing Tories to demand tighter new rules for strike ballots, which they believe would put an end to virtually all public sector strikes.
The Daily Mail reported that if the Tories win the 2015 general election that a strike could only take place if it was supported by a majority of the entire membership of the union in the sector concerned voting Yes in a postal ballot.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national chairperson Dave Nellist, who was an opposition member of parliament thirty years ago when Tories Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit first introduced postal ballot requirements, comments:
Posted: 27 June 2014
THE ANNUAL conference (annual general meeting) of the RMT transport workers' union, meeting this week in Bristol, has voted to continue the union's participation in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). The following resolution was agreed unanimously by the conference delegates:
"This AGM congratulates all those RMT members who stood in the May 2014 local elections as Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates.
"Thirty-five RMT members stood for TUSC in the London Transport Region with 53 RMT members standing as TUSC candidates overall.
Posted: 25 June 2014
As part of a feature on building an alternative in the aftermath of the local and European elections (see http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-ce7d-There-must-be-more-to-politics-than-this ), the Morning Star this week carried a substantial article on the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's recent local elections campaign, which we republish below:
The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) put together what it describes as the biggest left electoral challenge to the mainstream parties since the Communist Party in 1950.
It stood 559 candidates in the local elections and received 68,000 votes. It supported Southampton rebel Labour councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, who were expelled from the Labour group for voting against council cuts and presenting an alternative budget.
Posted: 20 June 2014
Four weeks on from May's elections local groups of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) have been using the momentum generated by the election campaign to prepare serious plans for the ten months to polling day 2015.
This date, Thursday May 7th, will not only be the date of the general election but will also see elections for over 7,000 council seats in 279 councils across England.
As the post-election letter sent to TUSC's candidates by the national steering committee argues (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17005/03-06-2014/tusc-steering-committee-sets-out-plans-for-2015-in-letter-to-candidates ) these contests will be as important for the task of building working class political representation as the general election. There will be many trade unionists, community campaigners and working class people generally who will want to see the back of the Con-Dems at Westminster but who at the same time will be prepared to support council candidates - or stand themselves - who will defend local public services against the austerity agenda of whoever the new occupant of No.10 will be. But preparing for the 2015 challenge starts now.
Posted: 3 June 2014
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee met on May 28th to assess the outcome of the local election campaign and discuss plans for 2015.
TUSC chairperson Dave Nellist opened the meeting by congratulating the TUSC steering committee member Keith Morrell, present with follow rebel councillor Don Thomas, on his decisive victory in Southampton's Coxford ward. It was a message to all Labour councillors who sit in council meetings voting for cuts with a 'heavy heart' - they can refuse to implement the ConDems' austerity agenda, and be re-elected.
The meeting agreed the comprehensive election report presented by the TUSC national election agent, Clive Heemskerk (see www.tusc.org.uk/txt/306.pdf). It then got down to discussing the plans for developing TUSC over the next eleven months.
Posted: 30 May 2014
A COMPREHENSIVE account of the TUSC results from last week's local elections is now available at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/307.pdf
A total of 554 candidates, standing in 507 wards in 86 councils, contested the local council elections on May 22nd under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) umbrella. In addition, TUSC stood candidates in the directly-elected mayoral contests in Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets, and in five by-elections in three councils without scheduled elections this year, that were held on the same day. In total 68,152 votes were cast for these candidates.
Scheduled elections took place in 161 local authorities in England, to fill 4,216 seats in around 3,000 wards. The TUSC challenge, contesting 12% of the seats and 17% of the wards, was greater than anything attempted before in the four-year history of our coalition. In 2011, the first local elections seriously contested by TUSC, we fielded a candidate in 2% of the seats. In 2012 it was 4% and in 2013, when it was mainly county councils which were up for election, TUSC had a candidate in 5% of the seats, 120 in total. This year was on a different scale.
Posted: 27 May 2014
The vote tally for TUSC candidates in last Thursday's local council elections has now passed the 65,000 mark, with just two councils yet to publish their official results (in London and the West Midlands).
In 21 councils TUSC has polled over 1,000 votes. In ten of these, it has been over 2,000. A powerful anti-austerity message has been sent in all these areas.
In previous years we have presented a 'league table' of ward results (see the previous election results links on the Candidates page on the TUSC website, at http://www.tusc.org.uk/candidate ). But this year's challenge has been of a different scale. There are 77 council wards, for example, where TUSC has polled over 5% of the vote.
Posted: 24 May 2014
Even though most of Thursday's local council election results have now, at least, been declared, it is still proving harder than expected to collate together all the results for the 560 TUSC candidates.
But we have now passed the 50,000 vote mark, with TUSC, at this point, scoring more than 1,000 votes in 16 councils.
In Sheffield TUSC's candidates have collectively polled 2,657 votes across the city, with a 10.2% share of the vote in Manor Castle ward and 8.4% in Burngreave ward. In Doncaster TUSC polled 1,556 votes, in Barnsley 1,361, and in Wakefield 1,257.
Posted: 23 May 2014
Southampton 'rebel councillor' and TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell has been re-elected to his council seat in Coxford, in a vindication of the bold stand that he, and fellow rebel councillor Don Thomas, made against the Labour council's cuts (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/press180213.php )
Keith has been decisively re-elected with 1,654 votes, a 43% share of the vote. At the last full council elections in Southampton in 2012, Labour won Coxford ward with 1,647 votes. This time Labour dropped to third with 724 votes (19%), as UKIP came in second with 796 votes. The Tories polled 500 votes, and the Lib Dems 168.
Keith said: "This result is a victory for the people of Coxford who fought to save local services and won an important victory to re-open our local swimming pool. It shows what is possible. Other significant results across the city for TUSC candidates show the potential that exists for a new party that stands up for working people, campaigns for jobs and housing, and tackles the growing poverty that affects so many families in the city".
Posted: 23 May 2014
AS WE post this, counting the votes in Thursday's local elections is under way.
This year there were 4,216 council seats up for election in 161 English local authorities. TUSC stood candidates for 560 seats, 13% of the total, and also stood in three of the five contests for directly-elected mayors taking place, in Lewisham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets (the other mayoral contests were in Hackney and Watford).
Around half of the councils with elections this year are counting overnight, with the remaining councils starting their count on Friday morning. As results come in, we will publish them on this website, with the first bulletin expected for mid-morning on Friday. When all the results come in we will post up a comprehensive seat-by-seat report on how the TUSC candidates fared. Watch this space.
Posted: 21 May 2014
With hours to go until the polls open the national media boycott of the biggest left-of-Labour election challenge since world war two continues.
In the local council contests Labour and the Tories are standing in over 4,000 of the 4,216 seats up for election. The Liberal Democrats have fielded just under 3,000 candidates, UKIP over 2,000, and the Green Party 1,875. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has 560 candidates, 13% of the seats.
TUSC's presence on the ballot paper is not as big as the top five but it is indisputably ahead of the rest of the pack, with the next biggest parties being the BNP (106 candidates), the Christian Peoples Alliance (61), the Liberal Party (43), and the English Democrats (31). Yet TUSC's share of media coverage is no way commensurate with the number of candidates we are standing, even compared to these 'others'.
Posted: 21 May 2014
Below a few of the 75 members of UNISON, Britain's biggest public sector union, who are standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in tomorrow's council elections, explain why they have decided to do so. The TUSC candidates include two members of the UNISON national executive. All UNISON members are standing for TUSC in a personal capacity.
"I sit on UNISON's National Executive Council, and am branch secretary of the Knowsley branch in the North West Region. As a public sector trade union activist I see the horrendous effects of ConDem cuts on people's lives, through job cuts, redundancies and cuts in pay and conditions of service. Unfortunately Labour councils do nothing to oppose these cuts, and even victimise Labour councillors who vote against them! It is therefore clear that working people need a new political voice, which is why I support TUSC".
Roger Bannister, TUSC candidate for Kirkdale, Liverpool
Posted: 21 May 2014
On 15 May Sheffield TUSC Walkley ward candidate Chas Lockett took part in a live debate on BBC Radio Sheffield's Rony Robinson Show. You can listen to an extract from the programme where candidates from the Lab-Con-Lib Dem parties and TUSC (and UKIP and the Greens) debate whether councils can resist the cuts.
Click here to listen.
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