Some of the 130 Unite members who are TUSC candidates say why they're standing against Labour
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:
John Peers (Click to enlarge)
"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
Cheryl McLeod (Click to enlarge)
"I am standing for TUSC in Lewisham as I believe it is the only party that will defend local services against cuts and austerity. As a long standing local resident, I want to stand up for and defend the services that I, my family and my community use and rely upon. I am currently active in campaigning to save local youth services. Labour in Lewisham are forcing the Con-Dem cuts on us, slashing jobs and services. Socialist councillors will make a difference. If elected I will vote against and oppose all cuts.
"As a Unite branch officer in the housing and voluntary sector, I have been active in opposing pay cuts and fighting against the downgrading and de-skilling of essential health and support services in the community. I led strike action in my workplace and I am supporting action in other workplaces. My branch colleagues and I have proven that workers are willing to fight austerity and take action to defend their jobs".
Cheryl Mcleod, TUSC candidate for Telegraph Hill, Lewisham
Isabel Counihan-Sanchez (second from right) and family (Click to enlarge)
"Decent housing now! I am a mother of five living in Brent. I have been fighting attempts to force my family out of Brent since I was made homeless in April 2012 when our benefits were dramatically cut.
"I launched the 'Housing 4 All' campaign, which calls for the council to adopt a 'no evictions as a result of benefit cuts policy, more council housing at affordable rents and rent controls', among other measures to tackle the housing crisis.
"All of this has led me to the conclusion that I need to stand as a TUSC candidate against the current council and its ongoing implementation of government cuts".
Isabel Counihan-Sanchez, Unite member and TUSC candidate for Kilburn, Brent.
Phil Tuplin (Click to enlarge)
"I'm 51 years old and work at Seachill Grimsby where I'm a steward. I'm standing as a candidate for the East Marsh area of Grimsby where I hope to represent the views of the local people, to try and stop the cuts to services and public facilities in the area. Instead of cuts I would like to improve services, facilities and pay workers a living wage".
Phil Tuplin, Unite shop steward and TUSC candidate for East Marsh, Grimsby
Helen Kerr (Click to enlarge)
"I am a workplace rep for Unite and am also on both the regional and national sector committees for Graphical, Paper, Media and IT.
"This is the fourth year that I have stood as a candidate. I do so because I want to give the electorate a choice of a real alternative to the other parties who all still believe that capitalism works. It might do so for a few but for 99% of us socialism would be a much better and fairer system and that is what I am ultimately campaigning for".
Helen Kerr, TUSC candidate for Longmeadow, Stevenage
Sara Kasab (Click to enlarge)
"I led the very public campaign and the strike to stop the library service being privatised and although we didn't succeed in keeping the service in house we did gain an agreement protecting our members terms and conditions for the lifetime of the contract. I have successfully led campaigns to stop the closure of libraries and services in Greenwich. I am totally against zero hours contracts where permanent posts are needed and wanted and this is one of the reasons I am standing for TUSC in Greenwich. The Council denies it but through contractors they employ hundreds of people on these contracts. Working class people need an alternative to the cuts and the attacks from Labour as well as the Con-Dems. We cannot trust Labour in government or locally to deliver for working class people. A cut is a cut no matter who delivers it! Only TUSC opposes all cuts".
Sara Kasab, assistant branch secretary of Greenwich UNITE and convenor or libraries and TUSC candidate for Glyndon, Greenwich
"In our union even people who support Labour are increasingly uneasy. After Falkirk and Grangemouth it is hard to present Miliband as our friend! What they say is that it is no good Labour supporting 'austerity light'. But Labour are committed to cuts that the Institute for Fiscal Studies calculate will be the biggest of any post-world war two government apart from this one. Of course that is on top of the vicious cuts carried through by the Con-Dems. That is not austerity light, its ultra-austerity".
Paul Kershaw, Chair of the Unite LE 1111 housing branch and TUSC candidate for Ponders End, Enfield
Martyn Ahmet (Click to enlarge)
"As a workplace representative, branch secretary, and active member of Unite the Union, I believe that working people need to resist the continual erosion of wages, working conditions and public services.
"Our members are, in the main, young low paid workers who are susceptible to the increasing rents and house prices we all face, and the cuts policies of the government and local councils.
"We need to come together, reclaim the democratic process, organise in our workplaces and communities, and put forward an alternative to the failed policies of all the main political parties. The TUSC campaign seeks to be part of that process, and is why I think it should be supported".
Martyn Ahmet, TUSC candidate for Horfield, Bristol