300+ people sign petition to save Tile Hill Library

300+ people sign petition to Save Tile Hill Library

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition activist Sarah Smith

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition activist Sarah Smith

Over 300 people have signed a petition against the closure of Tile Hill Library within a week of it being launched by a local Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition campaigner, Sarah Smith.

Tile Hill Library, along with almost every other library in Coventry, is facing closure in the next round of council budget cuts – despite having only recently been refurbished, and providing a valuable service to people in the area.

The response to the petition shows the strength of feeling in Tile Hill – almost every shop on Jardine Crescent has a copy of the petition on the counter, and many residents have taken copies for their friends and neighbours to fill in.

“Tile Hill Library is a pillar of the local community that hosts a range of important services and social events.” said petition organiser and TUSC activist Sarah Smith, a Tile Hill resident and regular library user. “This closure will affect everyone in the community, from children who go there to read to people who rely on it for internet access – we should all fight these cuts together!”

The fightback against cuts should be spread throughout communities and workplaces across the city, demanding that the council doesn’t do the Tories dirty work but stands up for the people of Coventry.

Join the protest against cuts, including the closure of the libraries. 

Saturday 21st February, assemble 12pm, outside Coventry Transport Museum. Facebook event page here

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Coventry trade union leader speaks out against library closures

Coventry trade union leader speaks out against library closures

Jane Nellist (second from left) on a previous demo in defence of the NHS

Jane Nellist (second from left) on a previous demo in defence of the NHS

The following letter from Jane Nellist was carried in a recent issue of the Coventry Telegraph. Jane is a leading member of the National Union of Teachers, secretary of Coventry TUC and member of the Socialist Party. Jane outlines in this letter why library closures should be opposed, and why we must all oppose the idea that they are run on a charity shop basis as is proposed by the Council.

‘As a representative of the National Union of Teachers in Coventry, representing over 1,800 teachers, we are extremely concerned with the city council’s intention to reduce dramatically the number of public libraries in Coventry.

We believe that libraries are uniquely placed to help foster engagement in reading. They offer free access to learning and a ‘safe’ space for children and young people to study and access resources.

They can help students to develop their confidence and motivation, seeing themselves as readers outside school and, therefore, read more widely and independently. They will offer a far wider range of reading materials than the school can offer, inspiring students to extend their reading tastes.

Librarians are key to this service. The fact that councillors are even suggesting that we can run libraries on a ‘charity shop’ model with volunteers is an insult to our library service.

Councillor Kershaw rightfully points to them being a ‘golden thread running throughout our lives’ (Telegraph, Jan 16). These cuts, supported by both political parties, will turn that 24 carat gold to fool’s gold if they succeed with this plan.

Libraries are a treasure of information and imagination and we must all join together to fight to keep all our libraries as well as oppose all cuts. Let’s unite to defend the services that matter to us and not be divided by the canker of austerity.

Jane Nellist,

​Joint secretary and national executive member,

Coventry NUT’

Agree with Jane?

Then join the demonstration against cuts including the closure of the libraries

Saturday 21st February, assemble 12pm, outside Coventry Transport Museum. Facebook event page here

Nellist welcomes left wing victory in Greece

Nellist welcomes left wing victory in Greece

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

The following press release has been issued regarding the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections. We would also direct readers to this interview with a member of the Socialist Party’s sister organisation in Greece carried out before the election, which outlines the policies and approach that we are putting forward for Syriza.   

The Socialist Party will be holding meetings in Coventry over the coming weeks regarding the victory of Syriza and what it means for us here, if you would like more information about these meetings please call 07530 429441.

Press release

Commenting on exit polls this evening which indicate Greece’s left-wing party Syriza is heading for election victory, Dave Nellist leader of TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) said:

“The win for the anti-austerity party Syriza in today’s Greek elections will reverberate around Europe.

“Millions of workers in other countries also suffering cuts in living standards and rising unemployment –  whilst facing a rich elite which has successfully protected itself from recession – will ask ‘if they can do it in Greece, why can’t we do it here?’

“On May 7 we intend to stand over 100 parliamentary candidates and 1000 council candidates in Britain’s elections, all challenging in the same way as Greek workers have done the idea from all the big parties promoting austerity that “there is no alternative”.

“There is: Greece has proved it today, and where Greece has led others will follow.”

Notes for editors:

A conference of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition launched the biggest left-of-Labour challenge since 1945 on Saturday, January 24th. TUSC is well on its way to fulfilling its aim to field 1,000 candidates in the local council elections and to stand 100 candidates for Westminster.

The conference featured former Labour councillors, now with TUSC, who had been kicked out of the party for voting against cuts.

Dave Nellist, former socialist Labour MP for Coventry South East from 1983 to 1992, was expelled from the Labour Party for his socialist views and consistent opposition to Tory policies such as the Poll Tax.

TUSC was co-founded in 2010 by the late Bob Crow of the transport union, RMT, together with the Socialist Party, the SWP, and other socialist groups, to provide an electoral alternative for those opposing austerity.

TUSC candidates will be available for interview at the Greek embassy in London at 6pm, Monday January 26th when anti-austerity candidates for Britain’s May elections will be among those celebrating the Greek election result.

For information, reports of the candidates conference and more, lists of candidates and video clips about TUSC: www.tusc.org.uk

For interviews and any other information requests, please email: TUSC2015media@gmail.com or call Clive Heemskirk, TUSC national election agent on 020 8988 8773 or 079 89 360 158

Follow TUSC on Twitter: @TUSCoalition

Two dates for your diary – major protest against the cuts and TUSC election launch!

Two dates for your diary – major protest against the cuts and TUSC election launch!

TUSC election launch

TUSC election launch

Anti austerity campaigners in Coventry are working hard to build for two key events taking place in the city next month. See the bottom of this article for details of both. The first is a major demonstration called by Coventry TUC, Coventry against the Cuts and local trade unions against the proposed cuts by Coventry City Council which will see the closure of vital local services such as community centres, local libraries and children’s centres. This takes place on the Saturday before Councillors vote on the cuts budget – we need to show our opposition. Make sure you are there and bring as many people as possible with you!

Shortly after this demonstration the Socialist Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will be holding the launch event for our election campaign. Speakers will include Dave Nellist, local trade unionists and campaigners. TUSC will be the only socialist and anti-austerity alternative in these elections – come to our launch to find out how you can get involved.

Coventry against the Cuts demonstration

Saturday 21st February, 12pm. Assembly point to be confirmed. For Facebook event page click here. If you want leaflets to help build for this event contact the campaign on coventryagainstthecuts@gmail.com

TUSC election launch meeting

Wednesday 25th February, 7.30pm. Methodist Hall, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA. For Facebook event page click here. To get more information about the campaign call or text 07530 429441

 

 

Nellist to take fight to ‘Westminster establishment’

Nellist to take fight to ‘Westminster establishment’

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

Yesterday it was announced on the website of the Coventry Telegraph that Socialist Party member Dave Nellist will be standing at the General Election in the Coventry North West constituency.

We are pleased to carry the full press release below. Our campaign will be unlike any other political party in this election. We will be taking a socialist and anti-austerity message to the people of Coventry North West. We will be saying that ordinary people did not cause this capitalist crisis and should not be made to pay for it.

Over the coming weeks we will be announcing details of Trade Unionist and Socialist candidates for the other two parliamentary seats, as well as for all 18 wards in the Council elections due on the same day.

 To make this as effective as possible we need your help

 We urge you to consider if you can help with the following –

  • Attend our election launch meeting on Weds 25th February, 7.30pm, Methodist Hall, Coventry City Centre (event page here)
  • Take leaflets to give to your neighbours, colleagues, friends, family – help us deliver leaflets in your area
  • Organise a meeting in your area of people who are interested in the campaign. If you are in a trade union or community group would you like Dave to address your meeting?
  • Make a donation, no matter how big or small. To get our message across costs money. We have no big business backers!
  • Display a poster in your window
  • Spread the word on social media (starting with sharing this article!)

There are many other ways you can help, get in touch by filling in the form at the bottom of this page if you can help or to get more information. We would also encourage you to join the Socialist Party. Nothing will ever change unless we get organised! To apply click here

FULL PRESS RELEASE

Nellist to take election fight to the “Westminster establishment”

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has announced that former Labour MP, Mr Dave Nellist, will contest the Coventry North West seat in May’s general election. TUSC was co-founded in 2010 by the late Bob Crow of the transport union, RMT, together with the Socialist Party and other socialist groups, to provide an electoral alternative for those opposing austerity. Mr Nellist, a former Labour MP and Socialist Party councillor in the city, said:

“If they win the general election the Tories intend to increase the pain of austerity. But Labour are no real alternative, as they have also signed up to similar levels of cuts. Frankly, it makes little difference which big party you vote for. What Coventry needs is an MP who will oppose austerity from whichever party it comes, and stand up for local people against the Westminster establishment.”

Mr Nellist believes TUSC offers a radical alternative to all the major parties in the general election. Key policies he intends to highlight in the election campaign include:

  • a 50% increase in the minimum wage to £10 an hour, so work pays without recourse to means tested benefits;
  • ending zero hour contracts and introducing new employment laws to give guaranteed hours and rights at work to all;
  • a major increase in building of affordable houses;
  • compulsory registration of private landlords and a cap on rents;
  • restoration of funding to local councils so essential services can be publicly provided again;
  • abolition of the bedroom tax, reversing cuts to benefits and restoring the real value of pensions;
  • tax the rich and end tax avoidance of wealthy corporations and individuals;
  • bring banks into genuine public ownership and under democratic control, instead of rewarding bankers with bonuses;
  • bring privatised public services and utilities, including rail, post and energy, back into public ownership;
  • for a democratic socialist society run in the interests of people not millionaires and based on democratic public ownership of major companies and banks so that production and services can be planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the environment.

Asked whether he would rather be fighting the sitting MP, Geoffrey Robinson, or the still to be totally quashed rumours that Tony Blair’s son, Euan, is still being lined up for the seat, Mr Nellist said:

“The last thing the people of Coventry North West need is an establishment lackey from the political classes parachuted in to our city. But whoever the Labour candidate is, I won’t need a map or a chauffeur to get around the constituency, because I live here.”

Mr Nellist, who was the Labour MP for Coventry South East from 1983 to 1992, was expelled from the Labour Party for his socialist views and consistent opposition to Tory policies such as the Poll Tax.  He famously only took the same wage as a skilled factory worker in Coventry, a commitment he has again made if elected.

Mr Nellist said today:

“People say that all the establishment parties are the same. They are right. If elected I intend only to take the average wage of a skilled worker in the city – less than half the wage MPs currently get. I’ve always believed MPs should be prepared to live exactly the same as ordinary people in ordinary jobs – not on a wage that insulates or isolates them from day-to-day problems.”

ENDS

GET INVOLVED, CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO HELP!

Looking Back At 2014’s Heroes And Villains!

Looking Back at 2014’s Heroes and Villains!

covtusc2014

2014 was a year that showed the brutal nature of capitalism on many occasions – and also the strength and power ordinary people have when we fight back! So here’s our list of 2014’s heroes and villains.

 “Sir” Nigel Thrift

For Warwick University’s Vice-Chancellor Nigel Thrift, he began 2014 as he ended it – by giving himself a pay rise! As we reported in January, the inappropriately named Thrift increased his pay from £316,000 to £332,000 at the start of the year – he’s just put it up again to £348,000! This means that since “Shifty Thrifty” became VC in 2006, his pay has gone up by 26% – while other workers have seen their pay cut by 6-7% in real terms.

Nigel wondering how much to pay himself next year

Nigel wondering how much to pay himself next year

So what has Nige done to justify this salary? Well, at the start of December he defended the shocking violence used by police against peaceful student protesters – they were CS sprayed, slammed to the floor and threatened with a taser. The University management then sought an injunction against students who were peacefully occupying part of the Rootes building – and successfully managed to ban occupations on campus indefinitely. Despite this, not only has Thrift given himself yet another pay rise – he’s also been given a knighthood!

So Thrift is definitely on our villains list – but it’s not all bad at Warwick!

Warwick Uni Protesters

There were a number of demonstrations at Warwick last year, organised by various different groups. In June, after the media revealed that a member of the openly fascist group National Action was studying at Warwick, over 200 students joined an anti-fascist demo to oppose them and other far-right groups.

Over 1000 students gather at Warwick for #copsoffcampus protest

Over 1000 students gather at Warwick for #copsoffcampus protest

In December after a peaceful sit-in demonstration was viciously attacked by police, Warwick students immediately organised a #CopsOffCampus demo in response, which was attended by around 1000 people! Hundreds of students then occupied the top floor of the Rootes building in protest, and issued a list of demands to the university – rather than responding to the demands, management organised “negotiations” which were a sham, and sought an injunction against the occupiers. Despite this, students are planning to keep fighting in the new year – so they’re very much heroes of 2014!

Ann Lucas

After the actions of Coventry Council in 2014 no list of villains would be complete without including the council’s Labour leader Ann Lucas, who has happily signed off on cuts to thousands of jobs, loads of crucial services and even cut funding to local charities like Coventry Haven.  The council’s “City Centre First” plan, if carried out, will devastate the city’s services.

Protestors outside the Council House

Anti-cuts protestors outside the Council House

The Council also sold the Ricoh Arena to Wasps for a pittance, threatening the existence of CCFC and Cov Rugby Club.

One particularly vicious cut planned by the council was to cut transport to school for disabled children – however they went back on this after a protest outside the council house!

Anti-Cuts Protesters

Throughout the year there have been repeated protests against cuts being carried out by Coventry Council. These have been organised by different organisations including Coventry Against the Cuts, Disabled People Against Cuts and a number of different trade unions – and supported by the Socialist Party and TUSC. As mentioned above, one of these protests – against cuts to disabled children’s transport – forced the council to reverse their plans.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Socialist Students campaigning against cuts

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Socialist Students campaigning against cuts

The position of Coventry TUC, Coventry Unison, TUSC and the Socialist Party is that the council shouldn’t simply carry out the Tory cuts, but should use some of their £81million reserves to fund services for a year and buy them some time to build a campaign to demand the rest of the money from central Government.

Striking Workers

Workers have been under attack from this Government since they took power, and continued to fight back in 2014. Teachers in the NUT went on strike in April against attacks on the education system, and over 800 joined a rally in Birmingham on the day. The Fire Brigades Union has taken strike action repeatedly throughout the year against the Governments plans to cut their pensions and make them work until they’re 60. PCS members in HMRC also took action in June, and again on July 10th. 6 unions (Unison, Unite, GMB, FBU, NUT and PCS) took action on “J10” and 500 workers rallied in Broadgate against the cuts!

Industrial action is a key weapon available to the working class to fight the bosses – in 2015 we need to develop co-ordinated national industrial action between the unions and develop and support local community campaigns to defend services. At the same time, we should build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition to develop working class political representation that can challenge the Westminster mainstream parties who are united behind the same austerity agenda.

#CovBudget2015 – Trade Union Member Comments On Council ‘Consultation’ Over Cuts Budget

#CovBudget2015 – Trade Union Member Comments On Council ‘Consultation’ Over Cuts Budget

The opening to Coventry Council's budget video

The opening to Coventry Council’s budget video

We have received these comments from a trade union member regarding the online consultation that has been launched by Coventry City Council regarding the proposed budget which, if passed, will see the biggest cuts in public services in living memory. The Council are proposing that virtually every library, children and community centre and public toilet – to name just a few services – are closed, resulting in the loss of many jobs.


Having been through a number of consultations regarding workplace issues such as restructures, I wasn’t exactly expecting much from the consultation launched by the Labour council regarding its cuts proposals, but I think it is important to tell them our views, whilst at the same time working to mobilise and build opposition amongst people in Coventry and service users.

However on visiting the Council website and starting to fill in the online survey, I soon realised that this wasn’t a consultation at all, but a way of trying to get the people of Coventry to run their own services (for free)! There are a mere 5 sections, and one of these is asking for your postcode. Questions 2-4 are an attempt to create a version of Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ but under the so called ‘progressive’ guise of the Labour council. Where is the question asking you if you agree with these proposals or not? It is not even on there!

Coventry Unison have put forward that the Council should use some of its £81 million in reserves to plug the gap caused by the reduction in funding from central government. This would allow the Councillors time to build a fight involving the whole city – the Council, trade unions, community groups, service users etc to demand more money from central government. But despite the unions making this very reasonable and common sense suggestion to the Labour group, it does not appear anywhere in their thinking!

Whilst Councillor Gannon, Cabinet member for Finance, has taken to Twitter to denounce ‘the extreme left’ for putting forward ideas for fighting the cuts, it seems he and his Labour colleagues have surrendered to the Tories before even trying to fight for a better deal for this city. Perhaps trade union members need a proper and genuine consultation on where our financial and political support should go in the elections in May?