Posted: 2 April 2016
Last week saw a decent result for the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the Dundee council Maryfield ward by-election, held on Thursday 31st March.
The seat was retained by the Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate, who polled 1,383 votes, a 49.5% share. This was well ahead of Labour whose vote fell from 1,251 (36%) in the 2012 council elections, the last time the seat was contested, to 634 this time (22.7%).
The TUSC candidate, Stuart Fairweather, won 142 votes (5.1%), coming in fourth ahead of the Greens, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, all of whom have a higher profile in the establishment media than TUSC.
Posted: 30 March 2016
Last week the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee agreed the text of a formal letter to the Electoral Commission asking them not to choose an 'official' Leave campaign in June's EU referendum.
Under the referendum rules the Commission, an unelected quango, has the power to select one official campaign on each side of the debate, giving that organisation political 'authority' but also millions of pounds of public resources.
The deadline for organisations to apply to be the official campaign is March 31st, with the Electoral Commission making its decision by April 15th. Below is the text of the TUSC letter, sent in the name of the TUSC national agent, Clive Heemskerk, on March 24th.
Posted: 25 March 2016
Warrington's Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) councillor Kevin Bennett has challenged a call by the town's leading Labour Party spokespeople for the council to use public resources to produce an allegedly 'independent, politically neutral analysis' of EU membership ahead of the June referendum.
The leader of the Labour-controlled council, Terry O'Neill, who will be campaigning for a Remain vote in June, was quoted in the local Warrington Guardian as saying "we need to educate people" on the benefits of EU membership, showing how any 'impact assessment' organised by the council would be skewed from the start.
The head of the business group Warrington First backed Labour's call, arguing that "the public are being asked to comment about the future of the economic strategy of the UK" but "without the requisite information available to take a balanced view".
Posted: 14 March 2016
Over 100 candidates have now been approved by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee for the English local council elections taking place on Thursday May 5th. The full list of the candidates agreed so far is at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/369.pdf
But as the candidate numbers grow a battle is looming with the broadcasting authorities over TUSC's right to 'fair media coverage' in this year's elections.
As in previous elections the BBC's Chief Political Advisor, Ric Bailey, acting for all the broadcasting organisations, has set the qualification criteria for allocating a Party Election Broadcast (PEB) as "a party standing candidates in at least one sixth of the seats contested".
Posted: 12 March 2016
Last week's meeting of the PCS civil servants' union national executive committee (NEC) gave a big boost to the campaign under way to stop millions of pounds of public funding being given to Tory and UKIP EU campaigners.
Under the rules of June's EU referendum the Electoral Commission, an unelected quango, has the power to choose who shall be the 'official' Remain and Leave campaigns, giving them political 'authority' but also substantial public resources.
The PCS NEC decided that the union will write to the Electoral Commission calling on them not to designate any group dominated by UKIP, Tory and other pro-austerity and racist establishment politicians and organisations as the official exit campaign.
Posted: 11 March 2016
March 11th marks two years since the passing of Bob Crow, the inspirational general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) workers' union from 2002 until his death.
Bob was also a co-founder of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in 2010, which he saw as an important step towards a new vehicle for working class political representation.
He sat on the TUSC national steering committee, initially in a personal capacity but, after the decision of the 2012 annual general meeting of the RMT to be officially represented within TUSC, as one of the union's official nominees.
Posted: 5 March 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has approved the first batch of candidates for the English local council elections taking place on Thursday May 5th.
TUSC's local election platform this year is headed, Build on Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity call - A councillors' revolt could stop the Tory cuts! (see http://tusc.org.uk/policy.php). It takes into account that Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader on an anti-austerity message has changed the political situation compared to the first five years of TUSC's existence. There will not be TUSC candidates standing against Labour councillors who vote against cuts in the council chamber.
But the big majority of Labour councillors did not support Jeremy Corbyn for leader and still continue to vote for cuts. Any politician who does that shouldn't be surprised if they are challenged by anti-austerity candidates at the ballot box, no matter what party label they wear. We need councillors who will stand up to the Tories, not carry out their policies.
Posted: 2 March 2016
Despite local people lobbying them, viable budget alternatives produced, and a request to delay for a week to think again, Warrington's Labour councillors rushed to agree ¬£20 million of cuts at the council's budget-making meeting on Monday 29th February, with the support of the local Tories.
No cuts needed to be made this year in Warrington, as alternative budget proposals from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) councillor Kevin Bennett proved. But the Labour councillors went ahead anyway.
The budget agreed means devastating cuts. The local YMCA could close for want of ¬£38,000 that is being cut, barely more than the ¬£34,000 the Labour councillors voted to award themselves in extra allowances.
Posted: 26 February 2016
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was questioned by the local media during a visit to Coventry about a recent appeal by the ex-Coventry MP Dave Nellist, the chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), for serious discussions on how to resist the new round of council cuts in May's local elections.
The appeal had been made after TUSC decided not to contest a February council by-election in Coventry's Lower Stoke ward, even though socialist councillors have been elected in the city in the past, including Dave himself (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17165/21-01-2016/dave-nellists-by-election-appeal-to-corbyn-lets-discuss-how-to-fight-the-cuts).
The Coventry Telegraph (26 February) reported that "the Labour Party leader was asked about comments from TUSC chairman Dave Nellist who had told the Telegraph the left-wing party was seeking talks with Mr Corbyn over a potential alliance".
Posted: 22 February 2016
Today's Guardian carried a letter from Dave Nellist, the chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), and 27 leading trade unionists at national executive level, calling on the Electoral Commission not to give public resources to Tory and UKIP EU campaigners in the forthcoming EU referendum.
The text of the letter is printed below along with the list of signatories, which include two national union presidents and two national vice-presidents.
TUSC will be arguing for a leave vote in the referendum on June 23rd. We stand on the tradition of the late Bob Crow, the RMT transport workers' union leader, one of the co-founders of TUSC in 2010, who was well known for his support for international workers' solidarity while opposing the EU as an agency of anti-worker and pro-austerity policies.
Posted: 16 February 2016
The Sheffield No-Cuts People's Budget conference held on Saturday 13th February met against the backdrop of proposals from the Labour-controlled city council to make 400 redundancies and ¬£28 million in service cuts at its budget-setting meeting on March 4th.
The conference, initiated by the PCS civil servants' union Sheffield Town Committee, was supported by the local Trades Council, GMB union and People's Assembly as well as the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), and was attended by 45 activists from several trade unions and campaigns.
Marion Lloyd (PCS), a Sheffield resident and member of the union's national executive committee, opened the meeting by explaining that the Tory government was moving the Northern Powerhouse to London by closing her BIS (Business, Innovation and Skills) office, costing 250 jobs, on top of 500 jobs going with the closure of the city's tax office.
Posted: 8 February 2016
In early January the UNITE union's National Industrial Sector Committee for Local Government workers agreed a significant resolution calling on Labour-controlled councils to no longer meekly pass on the Tories cuts to local government funding.
Instead, the motion argued, by using reserves and councils' borrowing powers, they should set legal no cuts budgets to buy time to build a mass campaign to force the Tories to retreat and properly fund local government.
Now the Local Government Service Group Executive (SGE) of UNISON, the union representing the majority of local government workers, has made a similar call (see below for the full text).
Posted: 4 February 2016
By Clive Heemskerk, TUSC National Election Agent
The EU referendum campaign is now officially under way. Although the actual date has still to be announced the main rules for how the referendum will be conducted have passed through parliament - including plans to potentially give millions of pounds of public money to Tory and UKIP EU campaigners.
Under the rules the Electoral Commission, an unelected quango, has been given the power to choose who shall be the 'official' Remain and Leave campaigns in the referendum.
Posted: 21 January 2016
The TUSC national steering committee met this week and agreed a timetable and procedures to approve candidates for the English local council elections taking place on Thursday May 5th. It also agreed a Guide for TUSC Candidates and Agents, available as a downloadable PDF at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/359.pdf
The steering committee recognises that the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader on an anti-austerity platform has changed the political situation compared to the first five years of TUSC's existence and that this effects how our coalition will approach the May polls.
Although the big majority of Labour councillors did not support Jeremy for leader, TUSC's local election platform, Build on Jeremy Corbyn's Anti-Austerity Call - A Councillors' Revolt Could Stop the Tory cuts! (see http://tusc.org.uk/policy.php) is clear that "TUSC will work with any Labour councillor who backs the call to refuse to implement the cuts". There will not be TUSC candidates standing against councillors who vote against cuts in the council chamber.
Posted: 21 January 2016
Ex-Coventry MP Dave Nellist, the chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and a former backbench colleague of Jeremy Corbyn, today appealed to the Labour leader to meet up and seriously discuss how to resist the new round of cuts being made by local councils.
The appeal was made after TUSC decided not to contest a forthcoming council by-election in Coventry's Lower Stoke ward, even though socialist councillors have been elected in the city in the past, including Dave himself.
Dave explained: "When the council by-election was announced early in the new year we were immediately approached by trade unionists and community activists in Lower Stoke asking us if we were going to stand.
Posted: 14 January 2016
The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is meeting on 23rd January under the heading, 'Preparing the 100% anti-austerity and socialist challenge for the Scottish elections'.
Keynote speakers at the opening session include Sean Hoyle, the newly-elected national president of the RMT transport workers' union, and PCS civil servants union vice president Cheryl Gedling (personal capacity).
Scottish TUSC conference - Saturday 23rd January
At the Renfield-St Stephens Centre, Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JP
Registration opens at 12.30pm
Posted: 12 January 2016
What can councils do in the face of government cuts to funding for local public services? Actually, they could do a lot to throw back the Tories' austerity agenda - if councillors had the determination to fight.
A new briefing pack has been produced by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) drawing together notes, documents, transcripts of speeches, etc of four cases where rebel councillors showed how it would be possible for councils to fight back and not implement the Tory cuts.
Under the title, Preparing a No Cuts People's Budget, the 43-page pack is available as a downloadable PDF at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/355.pdf
Posted: 7 January 2016
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Tower Hamlets is hosting a joint meeting with the Tower Hamlets Independent Group, the main opposition group on Tower Hamlets council, to draw up plans for an anti-cuts People's Budget for the East London borough.
The meeting is at 7pm on Thursday 14 January at the Alpha Grove Community Centre, Alpha Grove, E14 8LH (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17155/17-12-2015/tower-hamlets-peoples-budget-meeting).
A PDF of the joint leaflet produced by TUSC and the Tower Hamlets Independent Group can be downloaded at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/352.pdf
Posted: 6 January 2016
The Southampton People's Budget takes place on Saturday 9 January, 2pm
The Meon Suite, James Matthews Building, Guildhall Square, Southampton, SO14 7NN
All welcome, Full Access
Sean Hoyle, RMT National President
Posted: 5 January 2016
Published below is an appeal from Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis, member of British Medical Association (BMA) Junior Doctors Committee National Executive:
"Junior Doctors across England will be commencing industrial action on Tuesday 12 January. We are opposing this government's attempt to impose an unsafe new contract on the medical profession.
"It is our view that the proposed contract represents an existential danger to the NHS as an institution.
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