PCS union rep urges YES vote in ballot for action

PCS union rep urges YES vote in ballot for action

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As the national ballot opens in the PCS civil service trade union, we have received the following comments from a union rep in Coventry, urging a YES vote.


Ballot papers for the PCS union’s national strike ballot over pay are going out to members starting this week.

Among the most shocking of the facts about civil service pay is that it has fallen by 11.4% – more than other groups across the public sector.

Almost 40% of workers in the DWP – one of the largest groups covered by PCS – are forced to claim benefits to top up their abysmally low pay.

PCS is calling for an increase of 10% with a minimum underpin of £2,400 and a Living Wage of £10 an hour nationally and £11.55 in London.

The ballot papers will go out from March 18th, and it is vital to get as many members to vote. The draconian anti-union laws from the Tories mean that a 50% threshold is needed; although on the ballot last year we didn’t meet the threshold, the anger over pay will not have disappeared.

Alongside the national ballot are smaller groups taking action over working conditions, such as the 2 days of action recently at Wolverhampton and Walsall Universal Credit sites.

This Tory government is weak and divided, and civil service pay has remained dismally low since 2010. A victory in the ballot would not only see members taking action on pay, but give them the confidence to fight against the Tories. I urge all my fellow union members in Coventry and across the country to ensure they vote, and help us build up a strong, militant, democratic and fighting union in our workplaces.

 

Coventry and Nuneaton join global protests against climate change

Coventry and Nuneaton join global protests against climate change

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Outside Coventry City Council

Friday 15th March saw students across the world take part in a strike to protest against environmental damage and climate change. This follows the recent release of a report by the UN which claims that we have 12 years to cut down on carbon emissions before we reach the planets carbon limit, the point of no return.

Global protests involving young people have started to take place in reaction to this. Young people today look forward to a bleak future and will face the harshest consequences of the capitalist systems systemic exploitation of the earth. Capitalism is a profit-driven system. The logic of profit that drives big business and the system as a whole has led to the exploitation of the earths natural resources, such as oil, gas and rare minerals, to return a quick buck for the capitalist class whilst the rest of us have to deal with the consequences. This is evident by the fact that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions (Guardian, 2017: Just 100 Companies Responsible for 71% of Global Emissions, Study Says).

Students locally, in Coventry and Nuneaton, have been protesting to raise awareness of this and the long-term effects this profit driven environmental race to the bottom will have on future generations. Chants such as ‘Say no to climate change, we need system change’ reflect the anger faced by many young people at the planets future prospect. This also points towards the solution.

As environmental destruction and capitalism are completely entwined, we will not be able to tackle climate change without a systemic change in the way society is organised. We need to take the power out of the hands of big business and the Trumps of the world, who their balance sheets over the environment. Instead we need a socialist society, one where ordinary people have control over their communities and how society is run.

Take housing for example, we are in dire need of more affordable housing, especially here in Coventry. A democratically controlled house-building programme would allow our community to have a say in how we build the homes for those who need them now and future generations. We could ensure that all houses built were energy efficient and not reliant on fossil fuels but instead utilised renewable energy and the technology we have available to build a green economy. This however won’t be done by private business or business friendly politicians, we have seen with the Grenfell tragedy that for them only profit talks.

To do this we need to build effective organisations rooted in the working class, who have the power to change society. Students should seek to organise effective student unions in their schools and on their campuses, which can link with the wider trade union movement. The power to change society lies within our hands, but only if we use the tools at our disposal to make that change happen by building a socialist society.

If you agree with this then contact the Socialist Party to learn how you can join the fight against climate change, capitalism and for a socialist future.

Complete the form below for more information, and we will be in touch!

UCU hold Alternative Open Day Protest at Coventry University

UCU hold Alternative Open Day Protest at Coventry University

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Members of UCU at the rally

The Coventry University branch of the University and College Union (UCU) held a rally today calling for “Education Not Marketisation”. The Alternative Open Day protest drew support from not only UCU members, but trade unionists from UNITE, UNISON, NEU, NUJ and Coventry TUC, as well as students. The Socialist Party were proud to support this rally and bring our solidarity.

Staff had called a protest on the official Open Day of the university where prospective students were due to attend to highlight a number of serious issues. As the UCU leaflet pointed out

“The week before last two of Coventry University’s outstanding research centres were closed putting 53 staff at risk of redundancy and leaving their students without proper supervisors. Staff recently balloted for strike action over the Performance Management System they are trying to impose on us. Our Recruitment and Admissions was recently outsourced to a subsidiary where staff have hugely inferior conditions. The staff at Coventry University who will teach you or you son or daughter are people who really care about your education. We just wish we could say the same about the University’s Senior Management.”

Speakers pointed how the university, and education in general, is not run in the interests of learning and development, but about profit. Marketisation and commercialisation are inherent in the proft driven capitalist system. The fight for free, high quality education where the interests of staff, students and the local community are put first, goes hand in hand with the struggle for a socialist planned economy, where the needs of the majority are put before that of the profiteers.

 

 

 

A UNISON member responds to Dave Prentis

A UNISON member responds to Dave Prentis

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We have received the following short article from a UNISON member in Coventry concerning the comments of union general secretary Dave Prentis about the 7 MPs who have resigned today from the Labour Party. We also refer readers to the latest editorial from our newspaper The Socialist.


The news that 7 Labour MPs today walked away from the Labour Party has been met with a mixture of laughter and anger from many trade unionists who want to see an end to this Tory government. Laughter, because the 7 seem to take their claims seriously that Labour (and by extension the trade unions) have somehow become a hotbed of ‘anti-semitism’ ‘bullying’ and ‘abuse’. It should be said that this laughter has increased even further with one of the 7, Angela Smith, making a disgusting comment on live TV regarding people of ‘funny tinge’. How can anyone take their supposed anti racist credentials seriously?  But also anger, because at the same time as working class people are struggling to get by, that workers face more pressure at work due to austerity and have to rely on foodbanks, these so called public representatives are doing everything they can to undermine the chances of a government that may act in the interests of working people.

It is in this context that the general secretary of our union, Dave Prentis, has taken to Twitter to attack the left wing leadership of the party. Once again Prentis shows his true colours with regard to what he thinks of Jeremy Corbyn and anti austerity policies in general. Rather than call the 7 what they are – traitors acting in the interests of the Establishment in order to undermine a potential Labour government, he attempts to lay the blame everywhere other than at the door of the MPs that have resigned.

The only ‘terrible news’ concerning them leaving the Labour Party is that they had not been removed by the democratic mechanism of mandatory reselection, and replaced with socialist fighters who would act in the interests of working class people.

Dave Prentis has once again shown what side he is on. It is high time we had a general secretary and union leadership prepared to fight for our members who have suffered year on year from austerity cuts.

 

UNISON holds ballot for industrial action among school staff

UNISON holds ballot for industrial action among school staff

By an education worker and UNISON member in Coventry

The public sector union, UNISON, is currently holding a consultative ballot for industrial action among school support staff.

Three questions are being asked:

  • Do you believe that government funding cuts are having a negative effect on jobs, workloads, stress, pay and terms and conditions in your schools?
  • Do you believe that UNISON should continue to campaign on school funding for jobs, pay and terms and conditions?
  • Would you be prepared to take industrial action to secure more money for jobs, pay and terms and conditions in schools?

Socialists in UNISON are calling for a Yes vote on all three questions. School funding has reached crisis levels, and support staff are now expected to cover classes and take on more and more work. Our children, our teachers and our support staff deserve better than this, and the “little extras” we were promised by the chancellor, Philip Hammond, aren’t going to cut it.

We also need to go further and demand that our union ballots for industrial action properly, and co-ordinates action with other unions representing school staff and teachers. Parents and students should also be involved in a movement to demand more funding for our schools – we were promised an end to austerity, let’s fight for it!

Lively Coventry protest in solidarity with the mass uprising in Sudan

Lively Coventry protest in solidarity with the mass uprising in Sudan

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A large protest took place today organised by the Sudanese community in Coventry and Warwickshire in solidarity with the protests taking place in Sudan. Socialist Party members attended to show our support.

Broadgate was filled with men, women and children showing their anger against the brutal regime of Omar al-Bashir. His government have overseen attacks on protestors with many killed and even more injured.

As we wrote in a recent article, Sudan has been rocked by extensive anti-government protests since 19 December.

People in the diaspora have come out in large numbers outside Sudanese embassies to show their solidarity. In contrast, most media outlets in neighbouring countries have been silent.

State subsidies on flour have been removed in River Nile state, tripling the bread price overnight, and provoking the biggest protests in this part of Sudan for years.

After school meal costs were more than doubled, school students and hundreds of other people marched in Atbara. Protesters set fire to the main office of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and local government headquarters and ransacked the offices of the notorious NISS security services.

Protests continued into the night and spread to other towns. A state of emergency and curfew was declared in Atbara and all schools were shut down in the city.

On the second day, demonstrations continued in all River Nile towns, despite the state of emergency, and spread to the far east of the country. By 21 December, five states had declared night time curfews.

The government banned all social media apps, shut down the internet, suspended classes, and closed all universities and schools. From the next day, western parts of the country started to rise up in protest

Iman Elkhatim, a lawyer from Coventry gave us this message

Dear Friends from all around the world. My country Sudan is uprising against the dictatorship, massive protests are happening, death tolls increasing, social media had been suppressed by telecom companies. Please, help us to highlight the regime’s awful practices against demonstrators. Pass our voices to your media. #Sudan_towns_uprising.

The Socialist Party and the Committee for a Workers’ International pledges our solidarity to this movement and we urge working class people in Coventry and across the world to do the same.

To read more about the situation in Sudan, click here for an article in the current issue of The Socialist newspaper.

Photos from the protest will be posted in our Facebook page

If you would like to find out more about what where we stand on the situation in Sudan, and other issues, please fill in the form below!

 

 

Coventry Socialists attend Trans Day of Remembrance 2018

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Coventry Socialist Party members at an LGBT vigil in 2016

On Tuesday 20th November thousands of people across the world come together to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance.

 

Trans Day of Remembrance is a day to remember those who have been murdered due to anti-transgender hatred, as well as trans people who have committed suicide, and to recognise the oppression and suffering so many trans people face.

 

One such event was held in Coventry, and members of Coventry Socialist Party attended to pay our respects.

 

In the evening around 50 people gathered in a hall in an event organised by the local Pride group.

 

The event began with speeches, personal stories, and poems. From the start it was clear that this is a community not just saddened but deeply infuriated by the hatred they have collectively endured.

 

Many of the speakers called for urgent change in an unjust world, criticising governments across the world for failing to protect them.

 

Socialist Party members spoke at this vigil as members of the trans community and as trade unionists.

 

We emphasised that the capitalist system we live under has caused the suffering and deaths of many trans people. Under capitalism they are left homeless when they could be housed, suffering mental illness when they could and should be helped, desperate when they need not be, and so often commit suicide or are forced into the dangerous situations that lead to their murders because of a system that deprives them of the chance to live.

 

We gave an idea of how to fight this, stating the vital role trade unions play now and the real potential they have to defend and fight for trans people alongside all of the working class, linked to the struggle for the socialist transformation of society.

 

These messages were well received by a community that has been at the forefront of right-wing attacks and austerity cuts in recent years and has been subject to such horrific treatment for far too long.

 

This was all too clear when the names were read out of the three hundred and twelve recorded murders in the last year. Each name was read out, with their age, and where and how they died.

 

Many were in Brazil, where the far-right proud homophobe Bolsonaro has just been elected president.

 

Many were also in the USA, where Trump has sought to erode the rights of trans people, and plenty of Republicans express hatred for them.

 

The rights, protection, and ultimately the liberation of transgender people cannot be obtained without fighting for revolutionary change across the world.

 

In this, the working class must be united in our collective goals for healthcare, for safe communities, for rights not limited by reactionary ideas or by greed.

 

 

 

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