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.
Posted: 21 May 2014
More than one hundred members of Unite, the biggest union affiliated to the Labour Party and Labour's largest donor, are standing for TUSC in Thursday's local council elections. Here some of them explain why:
"I have resigned my membership of the Labour Party as I have no confidence that the party will address the issues facing ordinary working people in this country. The economic strategy outlined by the party has no substantive difference to that of the Conservatives. It is time for a radical change in direction to meet the needs of the majority not the few".
John Peers, Unite rep Mile End hospital, TUSC candidate for Island Gardens, Tower Hamlets
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.
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