End poverty pay – we need a real living wage now!

End poverty pay!

 we need a real living wage now!

The Con-Dems say we’re in a ‘recovery’. Well, it doesn’t feel that way to most of us.

While bankers get their fat-cat bonuses & pay, the real value of pay for the rest of us has fallen 7% since 2008. Since 2010 there has only been one month when average pay didn’t fall – A month skewed by the bankers’ getting their bonuses!

Tory Chancellor George Osborne has floated a rise from the current rate of £6.31 to £7 an hour. But this doesn’t even reach the ‘living wage’ of £7.65. An hourly rate set independently & updated annually according to basic costs of living.

min wage

Today the minimum wage is at its lowest level in real terms since 2004. Millions of workers struggle by. Labour talk about a cost of living crisis – but propose nothing concrete!

 Socialists stand & fight for a minimum wage that is enough to live on – No exemptions!

The Socialist Party says:

  • Fight for a minimum wage of £8 an hour – no exemptions! As an immediate step towards £10 an hour
  • All workers, including part-timers, temps, casual & migrant workers to have trade union rates of pay, employment protection, sickness & holiday rights from day one of employment
  • Reject ‘workfare’. For the right to decent benefits, education, training, or a job, without compulsion
  • Scrap the anti-trade union laws! For fighting trade unions, democratically controlled by their members
  • A maximum 35-hour week with no loss of pay

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Obscene wealth!

A recent report by Oxfam revealed that the World’s 85 richest people have same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest!

We need a Socialist Alternative to end this crazy capitalist system!

Join the Socialist Party do it!

The Socialist Party meets around Coventry every week on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday nights,  7.30.  Get in touch for info, about meetings or joining the Socialist Party.

phone/text 07530 429441    coventrysocialistparty@gmail.com

   http://www.coventrysocialists.wordpress.com    www.socialistparty.org.uk

 

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St Michaels Socialist News – Charterhouse Fields Update

St Michaels Socialist News

January 2014

CHARTERHOUSE FIELDS UPDATE

Village green put on hold

 Shortly before Christmas former Cllr Dave Nellist, on behalf of the Charterhouse community, asked the City Council to defer any decision on the legal status of the Charterhouse Fields.  As long-standing residents will know Dave had made an application on our behalf for a “Village Green”. This was to give us legal protection for our community’s continued use of the Fields and to limit the expansion of Blue Coat’s control of the park.

The new Blue Coat Academy uses part of the area as a playing field.  Despite huge opposition from the local area, it was granted a formal lease from the Council in 2011 gaining new legal powers over land.  The Village Green application was seen as the only way to maintain our community access and prevent further development on our local fields.

Plans for a new Heritage Park

As a result of the successful ‘holding operation’ of the Village Green application, things have moved on. The strength of the residents’ organisation and the work done over a number of years by Socialist councillors paid off.

When the Charterhouse building itself was being disposed of by City College, working together we halted that sale.  Now the fields around the Charterhouse could form part of much wider proposals for a large Heritage Park being worked up by the Charterhouse preservation trust.

The determined campaign by residents supported by work of Socialist councillors was key to all that coming about – without them there was a real risk that the Fields would now be lost to us.

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Proud of this local community

Former Councillor Dave Nellist, told us:

“I am proud of the way this local community stood up for itself.  And because of residents’ principled stand the relationship with Blue Coat has started to improve over the past year.  The ambitious plans now for a fantastic new park centred on the River Sherbourne and The Charterhouse could benefit everyone.  There are serious proposals to relocate the school’s use of playing fields to south of the railway line. I am still working with local residents in a positive manner on these plans.  It seems only right that we defer consideration of the Village Green application to see whether those plans can be delivered.  

 But the Village Green application hasn’t gone away, merely put on hold. And if there is any threat to local people’s continued enjoyment of the marvellous mediaeval heritage of the Charterhouse Fields then, working again with local residents, we can and we will carry on down the Village Green route. Whilst the Council in the past often ignored what local people wanted, this issue of the Charterhouse Fields has shown that residents and socialists working together is the best defence to the real threat of the loss of green space we can all enjoy.”

Lets keep up the good work together!

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Interested in helping Dave Nellist and the Socialists campaign or joining the Socialist Party?   

Get in touch for info and details…

 07530 429441    coventrysocialistparty@gmail.com   

http://www.coventrysocialists.wordpress.com    www.socialistparty.org.uk

 Dave Nellist   

Ring  07870 294 237    Email: dave@nellist.net

Keep up with Dave on:     facebook.com/dave.nellist       Twitter: @DaveNellist

UCU Lecturers Strike – report from Coventry University

UCU Lecturers Strike – report from Coventry University
Mark Best reports
Coventry University Lecturers in the UCU union, walked out for two hours at Coventry University yesterday, with over 25 joining picket lines at the University. The strike was a rejection of the measly 1% pay offer given by university management nationally. With inflation above 3% this amounts to a real terms pay cut. In fact university workers’ pay has fallen by 13% in real terms since 2009. This comes at the same time as the vice chancellor of Coventry University has had his salary increase by 18% bringing it to £257,000 a year!
A member of Coventry Socialist Students said:
“The government is hell bent on making a decent education only within the reach of a small and privileged elite. We need to take the education system into the hands of ordinary people, make it free and open to all! Attacks on university staff’s pay and conditions are the same as those facing workers all over the country. A need is there for workers to unite and strike together to fight vicious austerity cuts.”

Coventry Socialist Students at Re-Fresher’s

Coventry Socialist Students at Re-Fresher’s 

Kris O’Sullivan 

As the clock hit 10 at Coventry University’s re-fresher’s event officially start, Socialist Students were ready with prepared stalls, literature and a good conversation for any interested student that came over to chat.

The overall response was very positive as students from all walks of life and political positions approached the stall to discuss wide-ranging topics from what is Socialism to what campaigns the society fights for on a daily basis.

Coventry Socialist Students

Coventry Socialist Students

Big strides were made in raising the profile of the society on campus and getting students not only interested in politics but waking up to Socialism! Today was only a drop in the ocean in terms of building the society and building the platform necessary to inform students and young people in general what Socialism means and how we can get there.

We aren’t all capitalists now!

We AREN’T all capitalists now!

Chuka Umanna - photo from The Guardian

Chuka Umunna – photo from The Guardian

Labour’s business secretary Chuka Umunna, a former corporate lawyer and a “rising star” of New Labour, said this week that “The big difference between 1979 and 2013 is that we are all capitalists now.” Speak for yourself – millions of ordinary people in the UK and across the world are exploited by capitalism every day, and are looking for an alternative.

According to a Rasmussen Report poll, the majority of young people in America prefer “socialism” to “capitalism” – and in Seattle the Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant was elected to the City Council with over 90000 votes!

Umunna might be right about his Labour Party leadership colleagues – they are all capitalists now!

But he doesn’t speak for the rest of us.

Remembering Rob Windsor: socialist fighter and Coventry Socialist Party Councillor 1964-2012

Remembering Rob Windsor: socialist fighter and Coventry Socialist Party Councillor 1964-2012

To mark the second anniversary since the passing of Rob Windsor we re-publish below his obituary by longstanding fellow socialist fighter and friend Dave Griffiths of Coventry Socialist Party.

A Man Who Helped Melt The Iron Lady

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25 years ago a young lad walked into one of Dave Nellist’s campaign rooms. He wanted to get involved.

At that time Rob Windsor was built like a ‘human stick insect’ and worked helping the homeless. His cheerful, humorous and humble manner didn’t hide the steely determination within to fight the injustices of capitalist society.

He had concluded that society must be fundamentally changed to improve working people’s conditions. He had seen what Militant supporters had done in Coventry and nationwide and having checked we were serious, decidedhe would join us. Clearly a working class lad himself you could tell he was bright and meant business.

His job with Coventry Churches Housing was put in jeopardy when he supported our campaign to Save Whitley Hospital, the campaign that convinced him to join us.

It was no accident (having been fostered as a child) that he worked to help the homeless and most downtrodden and he passionately fought the abandonment by capitalist society of hundreds of thousands of people. At 18 he went to London and ran a 900 bed homeless hostel and did soup runs while living in a Notting Hill squat. He was an expert on housing and ran an inspired campaign against Council House privatisation, denouncing it in a well used pamphlet, with the aid of Nicholas Parsons’ photo, as the “Sale of the Century”

Rob became a leader of the anti poll tax campaign and later a Socialist councillor in St Michaels, Coventry. He would help others often to his own detriment, so much so that many of the ‘rough rogues and vagabonds’ from Coventry’s working class estates who joined the Anti Poll Tax campaign ran around ‘mothering’ him. But after being encouraged to eat, Rob developed a much fuller figure in later life! His body shape changed, but his passion to change society surged on. But now that is lost to us and working people have lost one of their true champions.

No-one who heard him could forget his wonderful and vivid way of explaining events and ideas. Almost like radio can, he could make the mind conjure up pictures. He was one of the best ‘ranters’ we’ve known, whose use of humour always made ideas accessible to people. Many comrades say they never tired of hearing him speak.

The Anti Poll Tax campaign revealed his huge talents. He gave up his job to focus on it. One day he went away with the hundreds of pages of Poll Tax legislation. 2 days later he returned with a summary of what it was and how to fight it in a mere ten page campaigning pamphlet, and not a word of it was ever found wanting.

Rob inspired many an anti Poll Tax meeting and the mass non-payment campaign. Others of us who rushed around to address one packed meeting after another would worry what could happen to people who refused to pay the tax. We would consult Rob who always had the legal answer, and always right!

He was a tiger defending the non-paying army. He baffled magistrates around the country and drove them to distraction. There was little as entertaining as Rob entangling them! And he taught others how to do it. Court after court was clogged up. He bamboozled, beat and chased off bailiffs as he cut a swathe across the Midlands. A famous headline “Mr Windsor beats Mrs Windsor” reported how Rob beat off thousands of wage attachments in the Courts.

Thatcher said the Poll Tax was “her flagship”, Rob always said it would be her Titanic and he was a significant part in beating Thatcher (who he always called the ‘tin woman’).

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But he didn’t stop there. He fought on to change the system itself. To his last he still led that fight and it is as good a measure of the man as his brilliant leadership of the anti Poll tax unions, that he advanced Marxist ideas in a period of political retreat including in difficult environments like the Council chamber.

In the early 90’s capitalism appeared to have triumphed. Within months of beating the Poll Tax, Rob faced expulsion from the Labour Party. His opposition to the Poll Tax proving he was a ‘Militant’! The Labour Party was moving to the right and abandoning any talk of Socialism. It was embracing the market that has brought us to the dire economic position we face today.

But while many were abandoning socialism and Marxism, Rob fought on to help establish the support and organisation we have today that will advance the struggle for change.

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It is the greatest compliment to say that when he became a councillor he was utterly politically reliable and down the line. He explained and advanced our ideas unflinchingly, be it in the Council House or anywhere else. His honesty and grasp of issues always shone through. And anyone under attack could rely on Rob on their side. From school-students on strike or pickets at Wapping (where he got an object personal lesson in the brutality of the state) or travelling to support Vestas workers on the Isle of Wight or to speak in support of Tommy Sheridan in Glasgow.

He was ‘a politician’, not because he wanted to be one, but because he knew we had to fight back. He could analyse issues in seconds, he was brilliant, but with no pretentions.

Rob lived for his politics but also loved walking hills (returning to supply many of us with oatcakes) and he’d planned to combine walking with visiting branches of the Socialist Party to speak. It is so hard to grasp that this won’t happen, that at only 47 he is lost to so many people who appreciated him.

But we’ll have to work to make up for it, and as Rob did many times, rededicate ourselves to the fight he carried so well and try to find people with the strengths and talents to advance ideas in the way he did.

The liver transplant in December had promised to renew Rob’s life, and as he was now ‘more comfortable in his skin’ the best of him was still to come. But complications arose and after 5 weeks struggle they could not be resisted. His surgeon said how hard he fought for life. That’s because he valued it and wanted everyone to have the chance to do so.

Isla loses a husband and we lose a brother. He was collaborative person, a human being who by his work inspired us and was inspired by those he fought alongside.

He is a huge loss to the Socialist Party. But we stand taller because of our association with him.

We’ll work to compensate for this loss as Rob would want, and as we make advances in the future we wish he was with us to share in it. He deserves to be there.

We will post details of his funeral when we have them.

Coventry Socialist Party will continue the work that Rob Windsor committed his entire adult life to – the struggle for a socialist future.

If you would like to contact us please email coventrysocialists@googlemail.com or call 07530 429441

Outrage at Warwick University Vice Chancellor’s £16,000 pay rise

Outrage at Warwick University Vice Chancellor’s £16,000 pay rise
The Coventry Telegraph has reported that Vice Chancellor of Warwick University, Nigel Thrift has been awarded a pay rise of a whopping £16,000! This is an increase of 5% which putting his yearly salary to £332,000. Just last year he upped his salary by £42,000!
This comes at a time when university staff on campuses all around the country have taken strike action against their proposed 1% pay rise. With inflation at 3% this is a decrease in the amount of income for most staff. Pay has fallen by almost 15% for most support staff since 2007. Its the same story again and again. Those at the top looking after themselves while everyone else is forced to suffer.
One member of Warwick Socialist Students reported:
“Its disgusting and hypocritical that Thrift has had this jump in his salary at the present time. How can the university justify this when claiming they can’t afford to pay hardworking lower paid staff the wages they deserve?”
When news broke last year of Thrift’s 40 grand pay rise Warwick Socialist Students campaigned across campus against the rise and led the call for an inquiry into his pay. Led and organised by the universities trade unions and student representatives.
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Warwick Socialist Students say:
-No to Thrift’s pay rise!
-Open the books! For a student and worker based inquiry into the universities finances and the wages of highest paid individuals at the university
-No fees! Proper grants!
-A publicly owned, democratically run free education system.
-Students support staff on strike. Defend jobs and education!