TUC to march for a ‘New Deal’ – is it enough?

TUC to march for a ‘New Deal’ – is it enough?

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Saturday 12th May will see tens of thousands of trade unionists and their families take to the streets of central London as part of the TUC organised march,called under the banner of ‘A new deal for working people.’ The Socialist Party is supporting this demonstration – as we point out in the current edition of The Socialist newspaper (which will be available on the march) we believe this demonstration should be a launch pad for coordinated industrial action on pay and against the Tory austerity agenda.

As the following comments from a UNISON shop steward in Coventry point out, we think that the movement needs to go far beyond what the official TUC material puts forward in order to beat back austerity. If you agree with the comments please get in touch, and help us build support for the policies and programme needed for real socialist change.


Comments from a UNISON activist in Coventry, speaking in a personal capacity

The demonstration takes place at a time when the Tory government is in crisis. Torn by splits over Brexit, May lurches from one problem to another – from the NHS to the disgraceful treatment of the Windrush generation. This march could be an ideal springboard to energise the movement in order to step up the fight against the Tories with the clear aim of evicting the government as soon as possible. It is therefore potentially a wasted opportunity that the publicity for the demonstration has not been linked clearly to this aim – in The Socialist this week we propose that the trade union movement must mobilise behind the banner of ‘May out! Tories out! General election now!’

The TUC have called the demonstration under the campaign banner of ‘A new deal for working people’ which is explained in an 8 page document on the TUC website.

The document calls for fair pay, the chance to learn in the workplace, an end to zero hour contracts and many other laudable aims. Unfortunately it has scant detail about how these issues will be won other than to say what the TUC would like to see from politicians and employers. There is no mention of co-ordinated industrial action to win a ‘new deal’, which the TUC could play a key role in organising.

It is worth adding that the TUC has helped, with the right wing leaders of the larger trade unions, to squander a major opportunity in 2011 with the pensions dispute to bring down the coalition government. Meanwhile my own union UNISON has accepted a below inflation pay deal (ie a pay cut) in local government and is battling to get workers in the NHS to accept a poor deal. The National Shop Stewards Network will be holding a major conference on 7th July to discuss how we can build a genuine fightback against austerity and the important role unions can play in this.

Like other TUC material, where there is talk of wanting a ‘fairer’ economy, there is no mention about either the root cause of the problems facing working class people, or what will be required for real improvements in our lives.

The key question is the economy. What type of economy do we need that will put working class people before the profits of the few. The TUC document does not mention this at all. We think that we need to build a movement that can break with the capitalist system. It is impossible to have a ‘fair’ economy under capitalism, where the profits and the interests of a tiny minority will always come first.

Socialists fight for every single improvement we can get under capitalism – higher wages, improving of terms and conditions, decent pensions to name but a few. Stronger, more militant trade unions will be a vital part of this fight.  At the same time under the present system any advances we make will always be of a temporary nature as the capitalists attempt to claw back the gains that our movement makes. That’s why we need to fight for a society that will genuinely be ‘for the many, not the few’; a socialist society that brings in to public ownership the banks, financial institutions and industry under democratic workers control, so we can plan the economy for human need, not private profit.

Lets use this demo as a springboard to get the Tories out, and fight for the only ‘deal’ that can bring real change – socialism.

If you agree, please get in touch!

 

 

 

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Coventry shows support for Windrush generation

Coventry shows support for Windrush generation

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The demonstration starting off from Friargate

Nearly 200 people marched from Friargate to Broadgate on Saturday 5th May in support of the ‘Windrush generation’.

Speakers attacked Tory government policy, most clearly expressed by Theresa May when Home Secretary in 2012 which aimed to “create a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants” and which resulted in appalling personal cases of detention and threatened deportation.

Coventry, it was noted, was built over the last century on a wave of different populations from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and most recently Eastern Europe. In the case of the’ Windrush generation’ they were invited after the Second World War to come and work in transport, factories and especially the NHS – ironically the Tory Minister of Health at the beginning of the 1960s who invited thousands of Caribbean workers to come and train as nurses, was Enoch Powell!

Speakers explained that the root cause of discrimination and racism in the 60s, 80s, and today was always the same – a way of dividing working people so that the rich, the employers and Tory politicians could more easily get their own way.

Now that Amber Rudd has gone, Teresa May must go too. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party must increase the pressure for an early general election so that the Tory policies of austerity and the “hostile environment” goes too. We need a new government, prepared to act in the interests of working people, which would reverse the acts which led to the detentions and deportations, end all racist immigration controls, and clear up the question of citizenship in the favour of the ‘Windrush generation’ now.

We will be posting pictures from this protest on our Facebook page over the next few days.

Thank you to all Socialist voters in Coventry

Thank you to all Socialist voters in Coventry

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The Socialist Party in Coventry would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who went out and voted for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the local elections on Thursday. Across the five wards where we stood, we received a total of 795 votes. You can see the results for all wards on the website of Coventry City Council. We will post analysis of the national situation once all results are in.

We would particularly like to thank all members and supporters who took part in our campaign and who worked hard on election day to put forward anti austerity and socialist policies.

We urge people who voted Socialist to consider how you can help build the socialist voice in the future battles that are going to take place against the Tory government and their system. We are active throughout the year in fighting back against austerity, the housing crisis, in defence of the NHS and much more whilst putting forward a socialist response to the crisis of capitalism.

Fill in the form below to get involved!

Vote Socialist on Thursday – a message from Dave Nellist

Vote Socialist on Thursday – a message from Dave Nellist

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In the local elections due to take place on Thursday 3rd May, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) are standing in 5 seats in Coventry. We have outlined previously our reasons for standing. We carry this message from Dave Nellist, who is our candidate in St Michael’s ward. We also urge support for the TUSC candidates in the 4 other wards – Dave Anderson (Radford), Isla Windsor (Sherbourne), Michael Morgan (Henley) and Rob McArdle (Lower Stoke).

If you are intending to vote for TUSC, want to get involved in our campaigns or join the fight for socialism, please fill in the form at the bottom.


We need a Coventry that works for ordinary people, not the property developers and landlords!

While tax havens are protected, your hospitals, schools and local services are under the gravest threat ever from this government that only cares for the rich.

Yet Coventry’s Labour Council offer no resistance to the Tory diktats to cut and privatise. Instead they dutifully pass on the cuts – this year they are raising Council Tax by nearly 5% whilst cutting our services! The Council have done little or nothing to stand up to the  government.

The Council put the corporate interests of the University,  landlords and developers ahead of local people whilst students are pushed in to even more debt through sky high rents – for the ‘crime’ of wanting an education.

It is a disgrace that so many people find it so hard to get decent housing in our city whilst massive profits are made by the few.

Jeremy Corbyn rightly says  austerity isn’t a necessity, but a political choice, and our Council keeps making the wrong choices. TUSC will vote against cuts and defend your services.

We need a council that defends working class people in Coventry

Labour councillors are saying that they have ‘opposed government austerity measures’ – what they have actually done is cut over 1,000 jobs, increased charges for school transport for children with disabilities and are planning attacks on their own workforce and much more.

We need councillors to oppose austerity not in words but in deeds. The Tory government is weak – we can win back the money stolen from our city , but that won’t be done if the Council keeps making cuts!

Capitalist austerity is causing misery for tens of  thousands in our city, so please help us save services from this government.

Please vote Socialist on Thursday and help us build real opposition to austerity and the system that breeds it.

Let us know if you are voting Socialist, want to get involved or join our movement!

 

 

 

Coventry Council “threatens closure” of volunteer-run Earlsdon Library

Coventry Council “threatens closure” of volunteer-run Earlsdon Library

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Protesters outside Earlsdon Library

We are pleased to publish the below article by Sarah Smith, a campaigner from Save Coventry Libraries.

Coventry has been given the title of ‘City of Culture’ – but how will the closure of libraries square with this image? Now it seems the time is up for Earlsdon Library, just seven months after being handed over to the volunteers who run it in place of paid workers.

A volunteer has just been notified that Earlsdon Library Friends can “no longer work in partnership with the Council to keep the library open”. Since September 2017, Earlsdon, Finham, and Cheylesmore libraries have all been run by volunteers.

The average lifespan of a volunteer led library is around 18 months, with a handful of exceptions. The library at Arena Park has already been closed, and the possible closure of Earlsdon library is a disgrace!

Labour locally say they are fighting austerity, but the example of Earlsdon library shows that passing on Tory cuts is not combating austerity, it is enforcing it.

Coventry Socialist Party, along with campaign group Save Coventry Libraries, maintain that the Labour council should bring back all libraries under Local Authority control, with paid and fully trained staff.

If you live in Henley, Radford, St Michaels, Lower Stoke or Sherbourne wards, please consider voting for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition on May 3rd, and getting involved in the fight against the cuts.

CovUniShame! Lecturers and students Say No to Coventry University union busting

CovUniShame! Lecturers and students Say No to Coventry University union busting

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Saying no to sham ‘unions’

Last Wednesday saw an energetic protest outside the Graham Sutherland Building at Coventry University against the University’s anti-union actions. The protest was lively and included a wide range of speakers, from the local and national University and College Union, the TUC, the Socialist Party and Socialist Students plus others.

Coventry University Union Busting

Coventry University has become infamous for its attempts to undermine trade unions, such as last year when it tried to sack a group of English pre-sessional teachers for exercising their legal right to collective representation by UCU. This attempted was defeated by the grass-roots campaigning of the Coventry UCU branch leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the University management.

This is evident by the current actions of the Coventry University and its current attempts at union busting. The University has, in a covert move to undermine the UCU, recognised its Staff Consultative Group (SCG) as a trade union and thus signed a recognition agreement with it.

As Dave Nellist (Ex-Labour MP) argued at the protest, this is not acceptable. Dave said that “This is about control” and that “There is a difference between an employers union and a trade union, and a lot of space between the two”. By secretly recognising the SCG as a union, the University seeks to undermine the grassroots work and organisation of the local UCU, by setting up a sham ‘union’ that is entirely controlled by the University. This is comparable to the scab unions set up during the miner strike to damage the work of the NUM and the strikers.

The marketisation of education

This situation should come as no surprise, and if not defeated at Coventry could become the norm nationally. Since the election of Thatcher and then continued under the Blair / Brown New Labour years and accelerated under the Conservative – Liberal coalition, education has been increasingly treated like many other public services, with increasing privatisation and business style-managment.

Coventry University has been a prime example of this where the management treat the University like a business, causing the Guardian to compare it to the management of Sports Direct (27/11/2016). The University management receive pay rises and salaries into the hundreds of thousands, while the working conditions of ordinary staff are attacked. This is clear when seeing the massive shift away from giving staff salaried contracts and instead increasing the presence of hourly-paid lecturers.

The Coventry Socialist Students group has a proud track record of opposing these changes over the last few years and has always supported the UCU in any action they have taken.

Students and Workers Unite and Fight

The key to fighting against these sort of attacks is with grass-roots organisation, linking up the student and labour movement. As Aidan O’Toole (Socialist Students Steering Committee) stated at the demo, “The University management doesn’t fear meetings or negotiations alone, it fears public protests and the mobilisation of its staff and students. This is the key to fighting for a more democratic University and protecting the working conditions of University staff.”

The Socialist Party and Socialist Students have always made a point to argue this and, unlike the NUS, have given full support to the UCU’s national strike over attacks to its members pensions; as well as supporting this demonstration.

It is key to highlight that these attacks on University staff are not in the interest of the staff themselves, or the students they teach, but only go to help the University management in turning Coventry University more into a business.

National Demonstration

The UCU has called a national demonstration in Coventry at 1pm on the 16th of May, assembling outside the Graham Sutherland building, to further highlight the actions of the University. We fully support this call and urge that University staff, students and everyone who supports the fight for independent trade unions and is against capitalism destroying our education, to attend.

Coventry Socialists join protest against increased charges for children’s disability transport

Coventry Socialists join protest against increased charges for children’s disability transport

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Refused and charged for transport

Earlier this week a protest took place outside the council house in Coventry. Michael Morgan, who will be standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Henley ward, has written this report.


Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn it is fantastic and indeed very positive that we now have a Labour leader talking about anti austerity policies against the continued cuts of the Conservative government.

Unfortunately this is not yet translating to a fightback against austerity at a local level with Labour councillors carrying on as before. In this case they are planning to charge disabled children’s families up to £600 for transport services to school once they are 16 years old.

This is at the same time as the council holds reserves of over £100 million! They still prefer to pursue what some have labelled vanity projects, such as buying Coombe Abbey Hotel, than to effectively oppose Tory cuts. They then continue to claim that they must increase council tax, that they must charge the families of children with disabilities for the ability to travel and receive an education, and to claim that they must ‘save’ money.

The Socialist Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) argues that if the council can afford to buy a hotel, then they can surely afford to give disabled children the opportunity to get their education, and not to be charged for it.

The Socialist Party is standing several TUSC candidates on the 3rd of May in Coventry to oppose policies such as this. In particular we are standing against cabinet member Kevin Maton in Henley, who is behind the charges. Local Conservative councillors and activists have attended protests organised by the campaign against these charges – however it is highly hypocritical when you look at what the Tory government is doing to working class people, particularly those with disabilities. It is incongruous for Tories to campaign for the rights of disabled people on a local level when the Tory party leadership are making it harder for people with disabilities to receive benefits.

The parents of the campaign have done a great job in organising and arguing their case, including mounting a legal challenge to the council – as they believe the proposed charges are age discriminatory. The Socialist Party will continue to raise this issue in our local election campaign and continue to support the campaign until the council stops these discriminatory charges.