Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Bulletin No.50 10 March 2013
First… Sprit of 45… http://dogwoof.com/films/the-spirit-of-45/screenings
Rebel councillors to stand under TUSC umbrella
This week Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, the ‘rebel two’ councillors in Southampton (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/press180213.php) were invited to speak at a meeting of the RMT’s national executive committee. Their principled stand against the cuts, for which they have been expelled from the Labour Party, was warmly welcomed by the RMT. They in turn voiced their appreciation of the support they have had from the RMT and from other TUSC supporters. Keith Morrell is up for re-election in May 2014 and, while the rebel two are looking at exactly what name he will use on the ballot paper, Keith is clear that he will be standing with others across the city under the TUSC umbrella. As he said to the Labour group in his speech at the council’s budget-making meeting on February 13th: “The fight back could have begun here today if you had made it so. Comrades of the Labour Party, today you have chosen to surrender the field, but we will not give up. The fight on behalf of working people – so ignominiously betrayed by the Labour Party – will go on”.
Twenty six TUSC candidates already selected in Warwickshire for the County council Elections!
FourteenTUSC candidates have been selected in Nuneaton, with at least one TUSC candidate in every division (ward). The same is the case in Rugby, where 9 TUSC candidates have been selected, covering all 8 divisions. There will also be at least three TUSC candidates in Leamington, the first time TUSC has stood in the town. A Warwickshire TUSC steering Committee has been set up to co-ordinate the election campaign. Contact Pete McLaren for further details at [email protected]
May elections – if you’re thinking of standing, get your application in now!
It's now only a couple of weeks before nominations open for the May 2013 local elections – so if you want to stand as a TUSC candidate you need to let the TUSC National Nominating Officer know straightaway.
To appear on the ballot paper as a TUSC candidate you need to get a Certificate of Authorisation from the TUSC National Nominating Officer to hand in with the nomination papers to the local council returning officer. This entitles you to use one of TUSC’s registered logos, which will also appear next to your name on the ballot paper. This includes the ‘TUSC Against Cuts’ emblem.
An application form is available on the TUSC website at http://www.tusc.org.uk/candidates.php Submitting this will be taken as indicating your agreement with TUSC’s agreed core policy platform for local council elections (below), which is the basis on which any prospective council candidate who wishes to can stand under the TUSC name in May’s elections.
All TUSC councillors will:
● Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions – we reject the claim that ‘some cuts’ are necessary to our services.
● Support all workers’ struggles against the cuts, privatisation and the government’s policy of making ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and the bosses.
● Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.
● Defend the national collective bargaining arrangements for council workers.
● Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services, or the transfer of council services to ‘social enterprises’ or ‘arms-length’ management organisations, which are first steps to privatisation.
● Oppose racism and fascism and stand up for equality for all.
● Use all the legal powers available to councils, including powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations, to oppose both the cuts and government polices which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies.
● Campaign for the introduction of a Living Wage above and beyond the minimum wage for all council employees and those working for council contractors.
● When faced with government cuts to council funding, councils should refuse to implement the cuts. We will support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid passing them on – while arguing that the best way to mobilise the mass campaign that is necessary to defeat the cuts is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demands that the government makes up the shortfall.
● Support action against climate change and for a future where sustainability comes before profit.
It might only be Maltby Town Council…
...it was only a by-election. There’s only 3,000 electors. Only a 16.5% turn-out. And only two candidates.But you can only beat the opposition put in front of you, and last night Joe Robinson did just that. Standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), young Socialist Party member Joe was elected by 303 votes to 201, taking 60% of votes cast. His opposition was an ‘independent’ without description on the ballot paper, but in reality the Labour candidate whom the ruling group on Maltby town council had tried to co-opt when a vacancy arose. But Joe collected the ten signatures necessary to force a by-election, and TUSC ran an enthusiastic and visible campaign with two ward-wide leaflets, posters and several high street stalls.
Local issues such as the bowling greens, tennis courts, parks and the High Street were linked to the need to make a stand against Con-Dem cuts including those passed on by Rotherham borough Labour council. Our main issue was TUSC’s ongoing campaign against the draconian cuts being proposed at Rotherham hospital. TUSC had lobbied the January Trust board meeting with 3,000 signatures gaining much media publicity and making links with the hospital trade unions.
This issue had been a feature of TUSC’s campaign in the Rotherham parliamentary by-election last November and, while Maltby is outside the parliamentary constituency, the work done then played a role in building TUSC’s profile. Maltby is now an ex-mining town as the pit is just shutting with the loss of 550 jobs. A quarter of its population has left in the last decade. A small Labour clique has run Maltby town council for decades and the BNP temporarily won a borough council seat four years ago.
Joe, only 21, was like a breath of fresh air to the tired old local politicians and TUSC’s appeal to trade unionists and socialists went down well in a strong working class community. Interestingly, postal votes accounted for nearly 80% of the votes cast with nearly half registered postal voters actually voting. This shows that TUSC’s first leaflet struck a real chord with disillusioned Labour supporters.
This year is the 40th anniversary of Clay Cross council’s defiance of the Tory Housing Finance Act in 1973. Clay Cross was only an Urban District Council of 10,000 yet made an historic stand. Maltby is bigger than Clay Cross, and who knows this by-election victory could be the start of something much bigger for TUSC.
Eastleigh by-election report - By Nick Chaffey Eastleigh TUSC election agent
As the Westminster Circus descended on the streets of Eastleigh like aliens from another planet, the mood of many was ‘a plague on all of you’.The Lib Dems and the Tories, partners in national government, here tore strips out of each other, mobilising massive resources to do so. The Tories distributed eight leaflets in a three-week campaign. The Lib Dems made 130,000 phone calls, and brought in 700 canvassers from across the country for the last weekend. They shamelessly campaigned to prevent an “increased Tory presence in parliament”, while propping up this rotten government of the super-rich.
The hostility to ‘all of the above’ included Labour too, road-testing its ‘One Nation’ appeal - not in a leafy suburb as some would like to describe Eastleigh, but in an area with a strong Labour history based on rail, cable, bakery, and aircraft industries as well as the Ford Transit plant.Eastleigh has suffered from the flat-lining economy. It has a growing queue at the foodbank, not only of those on benefits but 200 over Xmas struggling to pay their mortgages and find money for food. That Labour could not tap into the rebellious mood is a warning to the party and its right-wing trade union allies that a majority government is not in the bag for 2015. Angry workers are looking for solutions and a fightback, not vacuous rhetoric.
Into this vacuum stepped UKIP, with a message of “saving manufacturing jobs in key industries” linked to the issue of immigration. With no challenge, especially from Labour, UKIP was pushed to the fore, aided by the media who promoted them as the ‘fourth’ main party.The result has furthered the question of a leadership challenge to Cameron, with the fading prospect of a Tory majority at the next general election.
It is mistaken however to believe that UKIP’s showing represented a growth in settled support for racist anti-immigration views. Exit survey analysis of Ukip voters showed that over 75% were casting protest votes, to send a message that they were “unhappy with all the main parties”. Earlier research on UKIP’s support showed that 30% came from previous Tory voters, 30% Lib Dems, 20% Labour and 15% from those who didn’t usually vote.
This was confirmed by discussions TUSC campaigners had with people who left the shop rented by UKIP and passed our campaign stall further down the street. We gained agreement from many that bankers and the super-rich were responsible for the crisis, and that the solution was going after big-business tax dodgers to pay the deficit, not scapegoating immigrants for the crisis. A mass workers’ party would have been able to cut across this turn to UKIP.
Could the outcome have been different? The byelection came at a lull in the movement against cuts, a moment where the offensive of 2011, the mass TUC demonstration and national strikes in June and November, had been halted by right-wing TUC leaders. As hundreds face redundancy with the local Transit factory closure, what impact could have been made, for example, if those workers were in occupation of their factory with the solidarity of Ford workers across Europe? Such a battle would have raised the standing of the trade unions as defenders against austerity and opened the possibility of the protest vote going to an anti-cuts, workers’ candidate.
In Daz Procter, the RMT Southampton Shipping branch secretary and RMT executive member, Eastleigh TUSC fielded an excellent candidate with support from the RMT and a significant number of local trade union activists. But with the shortage of time and a deliberate media blackout, referred to by Ken Loach on the election night Question Time (after the polls had closed!), we were unable to make an electoral impact. Despite high expectations the newly-formed National Health Action Party also failed to impact, although it was granted TV and press coverage, locally and nationally in the Guardian, the Independent, and the Daily Mirror.
Reflecting the role of our candidate as a local and national anti-cuts fighter, Daz led a demonstration of over 200 in Portsmouth on February 23. On election day, before heading to the Eastleigh count, Daz visited his home town of Bootle where he had organised a demonstration against the hated ‘bedroom tax’. Over 1,200 attended the demo. Many then stormed the Sefton council budget setting meeting. The campaign has now declared its support for standing TUSC candidates in the local elections.The electoral breakthrough for TUSC lies ahead in the stormy battles to come. Eastleigh shows again that many are in open revolt against the political establishment.
This time last year Respect was the vehicle for protest in Bradford West, where UKIP was heavily defeated. In Scotland it has been the SNP, in Brighton the Greens. But all these forces will be put to the test again and again by the relentless economic crisis.Eastleigh didn’t provide the votes this time but now has a base for TUSC. Activists from the RMT, Unite, Unison, CWU and Prospect unions and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are meeting this week to discuss plans for the forthcoming May elections.
Rugby TUSC to organise Benefit Gig to support local community facilities
Rugby TUSC has agreed to join the campaign to support and save the Rehersal Rooms/Studio on Lower Hillmorton Rd in Rugby by organising a TUSC Benefit Gig there on Saturday April 6th. There will be up to six live bands using two stages, and a bar will be provided. The event may become the official launch of Rugby TUSC’s 2013 Election Campaign. http://bit.ly/HqaK3E
From the Unions
Unite stands shoulder to shoulder with Venezuela following Chavez’s death
Hugo Chavez was a massive inspiration to those fighting for social justice and standing up against grinding poverty and social exclusion, the leader of Britain and Ireland’s largest union, Unite said today (6 March).
UNISON Scotland to ballot on local govt pay offer
Scottish local government workers will be balloted on a final pay offer from councils after a Glasgow meeting of UNISON branch delegates on 15 March decides on any recommendation on the 1% offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities http://bit.ly/YzR42R
On International Women’s Day, the RMT launches a new model domestic violence policy framework for the UK transport industry at the union’s annual women’s conference
The policy document sets out clear principles for employers to recognise domestic violence as a workplace issue and maps out procedures for reporting, delivering a safe and supportive environment and promoting the policy amongst staff. http://bit.ly/169qXnR
Fire Brigades Union says “It’s Boris Johnson versus the rest of London”, as cuts battle gets under way
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has vowed to mobilise every firefighter at every fire station to defend London’s fire service, after fire authority politicians decided to comply with an order by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, for public consultation to begin on proposals to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 engines and slash 520 frontline firefighter posts. http://bit.ly/12uWdyR
PCS Action starts with budget day strike
The PCS programme of national industrial action will start with a strike on budget day on 20 March.The national executive agreed this will be followed by further walkouts, other forms of industrial action and protests over the next three months. The campaign against cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions aims to put maximum pressure on ministers who are refusing to talk to us. http://bit.ly/168BRKK
TUC says: Tell Osborne to change course
The TUC have organized a pre-budget Westminster rally to fight for public services. The TUC states:“Next month the 50p tax for the richest in society will be cut, while ministers press on with austerity policies that hold back growth and threaten a triple dip recession. But it's ordinary families that are paying the prices for the economic crisis they did absolutely nothing to cause.”
The rally takes place next Wednesday March 13 from 6pm to 7.30pm at The Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street. It's free to attend but spaces are limited so register your details on the TUC website http://bit.ly/WTAb6v
RMT calls for urgent talks with Network Rail on overhead lines maintenance as latest failure in three weeks causes chaos on West Coast
Rail Union RMT has called for urgent talks with Network Rail over a spate of overhead line failures which has seen three major breakdowns on Intercity routes out of London in the last three weeks with the latest happening on March 1st just after 5am on the WCML at Wolverton near Milton Keynes. http://bit.ly/ZrgFdF
NASUWT condemns increase in teachers' pension contributions in Scotland
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, explained:
“The NASUWT condemns the further pension contribution rises announced by the Scottish Government.“NASUWT members have been in continuous action short of strike action since 1st December 2011, in furtherance of our national trade dispute with the Scottish Government about pensions, pay, workload and conditions of service. I welcome the fact that the EIS and SSTA are following the lead of the NASUWT in considering industrial action against the detrimental changes to teachers’ pensions.” http://bit.ly/W6lslK
Unite expresses support for sister unions and workers at Thomas Cook
Over 2,000 job cuts at Thomas Cook is a tragedy for those affected says Unite, Britain's biggest union, as the company today (6 March) announced major cuts across its retail network and cuts to its administrative and back office staff. http://bit.ly/Zc8ZxQ
Launch of MLK 50: Equality in our lifetime – a BARAC campaign
Monday 11 March 6 – 8pm PORTCULLIS HOUSE, HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, LONDON SW1 BARAC is seeking your active participation, support and engagement in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington in 2013. We are a planning a series of events, seminars, conferences and a recreation of the 1963 national march on Washington with a national anti racist march in London to be held on the Sat 31st August 2013. We are inviting you to attend the launch of MLK50 Equality In Our Lifetime in Parliament. http://on.fb.me/13E5GTE
Scotstoun bedroom tax public meeting
Tuesday 12 March 11:00am 64 Balmoral Street, Scotstoun. A public meeting on the impact of welfare reform, including the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ http://bit.ly/Ybz3Vz
A future for families: A future that works - TUC pre-budget rally
Wed 13 Mar 6pm The Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London Part of a Europe-wide week of trade union action on austerity http://bit.ly/WTAb6v
Rugby TUSC organizes protest event in solidarity with European TUC Day of Action
Wed March 13 3pm The Clock Tower, Rugby Town Centre Public Meeting/stall/leaflets http://bit.ly/HqaK3E
Leaflet Nottingham jobcentres on bedroom tax meeting
Thursday 14 March 9:45am 25 Station Street Nottingham Nottinghamshire NG2 3BZ, NG2 3BZ. The bedroom tax will take money from the poorest at a time when massive multi-nationals pay next to nothing in tax. It targets the vulnerable. Those with caring responsibilities, family in the forces, recently bereaved or single parents. these are the people the Tories want to tax. http://bit.ly/14uDFKd
Nottingham people’s assembly planning meeting
Thursday 14 March 7:00pm New Mechanics Institute, 3 North Sherwood St, Nottingham,
This is the second planning meeting for the People’s Assembly in Nottingham. These are open meetings to build the anti cuts movement in Nottingham and organise a major anti-cuts conference on 18 May. Check out the notes from the first meeting: http://bit.ly/15ddytv. Tony Benn and Owen Jones are confirmed to speak at the assembly http://on.fb.me/VvZ3PL
Leeds (Little London area) organise against the bedroom tax meeting
Thursday 14 March 6:30pm The Leeds Rifleman, 2 Carlton Parade, LS7 1HA, Leeds LS7 1HA
Hands Off Our Homes is happy to announce our fourth local meeting. It will be a chance to find out more about the bedroom tax, learn about the campaign so far and decide how we can stop the ‘tax’. We’ll be discussing how tenants in Middleton and their allies can build opposition to the bedroom tax and how to support those who cannot or do not wish to move. Together, we can defend our homes. http://bit.ly/YWEqdq
Save New Cross Fire station
14 March 7:30pm The Stephanie Rossiter School of Dance The Barnes Wallis Community Centre, 74 Wild Goose Drive, SE14 5LL London, United Kingdom, SE14 5LL
If we don’t take action the Mayor of London will close New Cross and other fire stations before the end of this year http://on.fb.me/XqZz1v
Weymouth: protest against the bedroom tax
Friday 15 March 12 - 2:00pm Outside Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Council Offices North Quay Weymouth Dorset DT4 8TA, DT4 8TA http://on.fb.me/YzwMH1
Councillors against cuts: national meeting
Saturday 16 March 12:30pm Birmingham City Council House, Victoria Square, B1 1BB
Organised by the Labour representation Committee (LRC). All Councillors elected as Labour and wanting to defeat the government’s cuts welcome. Delegates also welcome from local government unions, affiliated union branches, and community-based local anti-cuts campaigns who wish to support Labour councillors who refuse to implement cuts. Delegate fee: ￡5/ Observers ￡2 http://on.fb.me/Zr9xht
Durham bedroom tax protest
Saturday 16 March 1:00pm Durham city centre, DH1
A demonstration to protest against the injustice of the Bedroom Tax that penalises the disabled, single parents, families of those recently deceased, foster parents and the parents of children in the army or at university. http://on.fb.me/12uSocW
Unite the Resistance Regional Meeting
Saturday 16 March 1:00pm Novotel Hotel, 50 Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2PR
The Fight Against Austerity. Speakers include Mark Serwotka PCS, Alan Gibbons libraries, Karen Reissman Unison, Kevin Courtney NUT, Ronnie Draper BFAWU, Martin Mayer Unite. Workshops sessions on NHS, Benefits, Education, Organising in the workplace, Protest and the Law, Equality, Fighting the cuts. http://bit.ly/ZraWoj
Birmingham bedroom tax protest
Saturday 16 March 2013, 2:00pm Victoria Square, Birmingham http://on.fb.me/WKy3IB
Campaign for Benefits Justice public meeting
Tuesday 19 March 7pm The Nottingham Mechanics, 3 North Sherwood St Nottingham , Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG1 4EZ
Worried about the ‘Bedroom’ Tax and your Council Tax Benefit decreasing; Disability Living Allowance being replaced by Personal Independence Payments and Benefits rising less than inflation? Then come to this public meeting. Organised by Notts TUC, and supported by Nottingham & Notts Defend Council Tax Benefit Campaign & Disabled People Against Cuts http://bit.ly/bgIG7x
Brighton public meeting: the assault on welfare
Wednesday 20 March 7:30pm The Friends Meeting House Ship Street, BN1 1AF Brighton, BN1 1AF Organised by the Brighton Benefits Campaign http://on.fb.me/ZrdiTY
Carnival Against the Cuts - protest against Cameron in Canterbury
Thursday 21 March 2:00pm The Butter Market, Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury CT1 2HW
David Cameron will be visiting Canterbury for the inauguration of the new Archbishop of Canterbury. East Kent KONP are calling out to all those who wish to defend the NHS to join us in sending a message to Cameron to let him know what we think of the Tory health plans. http://on.fb.me/14uO48R