Dave Nellist calls for solidarity with firefighters’ strike action

 Dave Nellist calls for solidarity with firefighters’ strike action

Dave Nellist of TUSC and the Socialist Party

Dave Nellist of TUSC and the Socialist Party

We are pleased to carry below comments from Dave Nellist, national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and the Socialist Party in Coventry in support of the action being taken by members of the FBU starting on Friday at 6pm. For more information about the strike visit the website of the FBU here

“TUSC supporters will be visiting FBU picket lines over the next four days, taking messages of solidarity with firefighters’ strike action in defence of their pensions and our public services.

Only one party standing in the general and local elections next year would reverse all the 20% funding cuts to the fire service implemented by the coalition government over the last four years.

 Only one party would reinstate the 5000 jobs lost and discuss with the FBU not only the reopening of closed stations, but the best places for stations to be to ensure rapid response times.

And only one party would reverse the privatisation across the service, not least in equipment, which all 4 establishment parties would maintain.

That party is TUSC (the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) – and I heartily invite any firefighters reading this, indeed any trade unionist, to consider standing as a TUSC candidate in next year’s general and local elections, where we will be the only working class anti-austerity candidates opposing the big 4.”

Dave Nellist National Chair, TUSC

AGREE WITH DAVE? WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT TUSC? FILL IN THE FORM BELOW

(to visit the website of TUSC click here)

Coventry – hear a speaker from the USA on Wednesday, support the strikes on Thursday!

Coventry – hear a speaker from the USA on Wednesday, support the strikes on Thursday!

Ginger speaking at NSSN

Ginger speaking at NSSN conference

There are two big events in Coventry this week.

On Wednesday we are pleased to welcome Ginger Jentzen, an activist from $15now and Socialist Alternative in the USA who will be speaking at a meeting hosted by the National Shop Stewards Network in Coventry. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear a leading organiser of the successful and growing campaign in the States.

Here are the details;

Wednesday 9th July

6.30-8pm

Central Methodist Hall, Coventry City Centre

The Facebook event page can be accessed by clicking here

Support the strikes on 10th July!

On Thursday 6 public sector unions – Unison, Unite, GMB, NUT, FBU and PCS will take strike against pay and pension cuts, and in defence of public services. The unions have called a public rally after the picket lines; please support the pickets and the rally!

Click on the picture below for full details.

Strike rally

Strike rally

Dave Nellist responds to Michael Gove on union ballots

Tories plan further anti-union laws – Dave Nellist responds

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist of the Socialist Party and TUSC

Michael Gove has followed Boris Johnson and other right-wing Tories to demand tighter new rules for strike ballots, which they believe would put an end to virtually all public sector strikes.

The Daily Mail reports – see here – if the Tories win the 2015 General Election that a strike could only take place if it was supported by a majority of the entire membership of the union in the sector concerned voting Yes in a postal ballot.

Dave Nellist, who was an opposition member of Parliament 30 years ago when Tories Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit first introduced postal ballot requirements, comments:

“There isn’t actually a legal right to strike in this country. There are tighter and tighter rules which define whether a strike can lead to employers suing unions whose members take strike action, or not. The current law on postal ballots already makes it hard for unions to conduct a legal ballot, and if all those rules are not complied with employers can sue a union. The proposal of Michael Gove is to set a bigger trap to make it harder for unions to remain immune to that legal action.

At the moment what is required in a ballot for industrial action is a simple majority of those voting. That’s the same principle, as Paul EmberyFBU London secretary, has said, as is required in virtually all votes from elections, through company shareholder meetings, to the X Factor Grand Finale.

It’s not a question of union strike ballots lacking a ‘democratic mandate’. There are few politicians who could pass Michael Gove’s test of only being legitimate if they receive over 50% of those eligible to vote – including Michael Gove himself.

Boris Johnson was elected as London Mayor in 2008 on 19% of those eligible to vote and some Tory Police Commissioners won their elections in 2012 on votes as little as 7% of those eligible to vote! The Tory Party itself in the 2010 election got less than 25% of the 45 million people eligible to vote. Yet they want to impose on trade unions a higher threshold than applies to themselves in elections to public office.

Trade Unionists always want a maximum turnout and a maximum yes vote for any action. And we had much higher turnouts and votes when decisions were made either at mass meetings at workplaces or by ballots issued and collected at workplaces.

The Tories in the 1980s brought in postal ballots to break up the solidarity of workers discussing at work whether an issue demanded strike action (always a last resort) and whether a particular form of strike action could win. They wanted workers atomised, making the decision individually at home, where the influence of the Tory press and mass media could weigh down on workers and their families.

The Tories brought in (and Labour never reversed!) a raft of requirements (to do with nominated addresses, time of ballots, class of worker who could be involved in the balloting, rules on questions, statements warning of breach of contract, separate ballots for separate workplaces and so on) all designed to make it easier to trip up unions.

And employers have been quick to go to court on the tiniest technical detail (including one famous case when, despite a turnout of 78% and a yes vote of 87%, train drivers’ union ASLEF was taken to court, and employers initially won an injunction, because ballot papers had been given to 2 drivers who it turned out were not entitled to vote!).

TUSC is currently arranging trade union delegations to Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidates to see whether any of them are serious about reversing the austerity agenda.

On the issue of trade union rights we will be asking them whether they support the provisions in the Labour MP John McDonnell’s ‘Trade Union Rights and Freedom Bill’, on reintroducing protections for participating in industrial action, unfair dismissal, complaints to employment tribunals, automatic reinstatement, agency labour in industrial disputes, definition of a trade dispute to include associated employers etc (and on other union issues such as the reinstatement of facility time and check off rights removed by the Con Dem coalition).

The nature of their replies on that, as well as on other issues including restoration of public services and benefits, the immediate introduction of a Living Wage, the lifting of the public sector pay cap, and renationalisation (for example of rail and Royal Mail), which are all policies widely supported the trade union movement, will help decide whether local TUSC groups add those constituencies to the list of possible challenges in the 2015 general election.

On Thursday, July 10, 1½ million workers, possibly the biggest number involved in industrial action since 1926, will be sacrificing a day’s wage to make a stand against years of pay freezes; of pensions costing more, paying out less, and arriving years later; and of hundreds of thousands of jobs gone, and many more to come as all politicians seem to accept that austerity in the next Parliament will be sharper than even what we have had so far.

Those on strike will represent millions more who feel the same anger towards the Con Dem government, and who will take heart by those standing up on July 10.

As the prison officers have shown (whose right to strike has been completely removed) when that anger boils over and action is taken it will take more than a new rule from Michael Gove to stop working people challenging austerity.”

Dave Nellist

National Chair, TUSC

 

Fire-fighters rally in Birmingham

Fire-fighters rally in Birmingham

Dave Nellist addresses the FBU rally

Dave Nellist addresses the FBU rally

With just 5 days work, about 150 fire-fighters and their families attended a lunchtime rally on Saturday, June 21 in Victoria Square, Birmingham as part of their campaign against government imposed changes to pensions. Firefighters from Coventry travelled to Birmingham to join their colleagues.

The Tory led coalition is seeking to take the best part of £4000 a year from the wages of fire-fighters in compulsory increases to pension contributions, whilst at the same time raising their retirement age from 55 to 60. If you were at the top of a burning building who would you prefer coming up the ladder to rescue you – a 30-year-old or a 60-year-old?

Many fire-fighters in the audience supported the need for escalation of their action, and in particular welcomed the idea of the FBU joining the action on July 10th currently being balloted for by NUT, Unison, Unite, GMB and PCS.

Pictured is Dave Nellist, national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition who was invited by the regional FBU to be one of the main speakers at the rally.  The solidarity leaflet that Socialist Party members delivered to fire station picket lines around the country on Saturday can be viewed by visiting this link

 

Support our firefighters! Pictures from the picket line

Support our firefighters! Pictures from the picket line

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Firefighters are currently taking industrial action against robbery of their pensions . Members of the FBU took action yesterday, and there will be further action today and tomorrow. They are under attack from the government and their employers, and need your support. For more information click here to read an article in the latest issue of ‘The Socialist’ newspaper.

Dave Nellist, chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and member of the Socialist Party visited the picket line at Radford to show support and solidarity. Please see below for pictures.

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Coventry Firefighters stage strikes over Xmas and New Year

Coventry Firefighters stage strikes over Xmas and New Year

Over the course of the Xmas break, members of the FBU took 3 sets of strike action in the ongoing dispute over pensions, on Xmas eve and New years eve and early in the morning on the 3rd of January. The strikes took place only weeks after it was announced that MP’s would receive a 11 per cent increase in their pay which will also increase their pension entitlement!

Members of the Socialist Party visited the picket line at Radford to show support on each occasion. We urge the maximum support and solidarity for those taking action.

Picket line on Xmas Eve

Picket line on Xmas Eve

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Picket line on New Years Eve

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Picket line on the early hours of 3rd January

 

Happy Christmas from Coventry Socialist Party

Happy Christmas from Coventry Socialist Party

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Coventry Socialist Party would like to extend greetings to all members and supporters and a warm thank you for your support in 2013. The last year has been another busy one for the party in the local area and 2014 promises to be no different. As the Tory cuts continue to bite and Labour offer no real alternative, the role of the Socialist Party in opposing all cuts and putting forward a socialist alternative to the capitalist system will become ever more important.

Our members have been involved in a wide range of campaigns and activities in the trade unions, local communities and amongst youth and students on a whole number of issues.

In 2014 there will be Local and European elections where as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition we will be the only party firmly opposed to capitalist cuts and austerity.

We urge all of those who support us to think about how you can help build the socialist opposition to capitalism in 2014. Could you make a regular donation to the party, or take out a subscription to our newspaper ‘The Socialist’? If you are at a school or college, would you like help in setting up a Marxist discussion group? We would also urge all those who agree with what we are doing to consider taking the step of applying to join the Socialist Party.

If you can do any of the above or want more information, please fill in the form below

And lastly, please remember to support the FBU who are on strike this evening!