Our best pictures of today’s protest

Our best pictures of today’s protest

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Off to London – Tories out!

Over 50 people from Coventry and Leamington joined the anti-austerity protest in London today, including a number of members of Coventry Socialist Party. Below are some of the best pictures we took today!

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Time for Cameron to go – and take the rest of the Tories with him!

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The FBU fire engine!

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Teachers say no to forced academisation

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Tories out – time for a general strike!

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Live: Coventry Socialists join London protest against austerity

Live: Coventry Socialists join London protest against austerity

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On the bus to London – Tories out!

Coventry Socialist Party members are joining a march against austerity in London today. Trade unionists on the Coventry bus represented a number of unions including Unite, UNISON, Coventry TUC, NUT, CWU and PCS.

Jane Nellist from Coventry NUT said “We are joining the march today because we have to ensure that we build a fightback against Tory plans to destroy our public services.”

Socialists will be building the fight against austerity and arguing for a socialist alternative to capitalism. The Tories are split, the trade union movement needs to organise a 24 hour general strike to co-ordinate the fightback!

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NUT and CWU members from Coventry

Socialist election campaign launched in Coventry

Socialist election campaign launched in Coventry

Dave Nellist addresses the meeting

Dave Nellist addresses the meeting

77 people attended the launch of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) election campaign in Coventry on February 25th. The Socialist Party, which organised the meeting, is standing as part of TUSC alongside the RMT trade union and many leading trade unionists.

Judy Griffiths, Coventry CWU branch secretary and prospective TUSC candidate, chaired the meeting, at which speakers from the FBU, PCS, Unison, Unite, RMT, NUT and NUS spoke (all speaking in a personal capacity), reflecting the base of TUSC and the Socialist Party in the unions across the city.

Jordan Jefferies, a sixth-form student in Coventry and a Socialist Party member, spoke about the anger felt by many young people against austerity, and said that TUSC has been amazing in attempting to engage the people who are disillusioned and disinterested in politics. People are disillusioned and angry with establishment politics and rightly so. The Socialist Party and TUSC are out to build the opposition to “business as usual”.

Nicky Downes, Coventry NUT President and prospective TUSC candidate, spoke about the effects she sees of austerity on children in her job as a teacher.

Nick Harrison, Coventry Fire Brigades Union borough rep had been on strike with his union the same day – supported on the picket lines by Socialist Party and TUSC activists – and spoke about their dispute, and the need for a viable political alternative to Labour.

Lee Cooper, RMT Coventry No.1 branch secretary, spoke about the City Link scandal, the effect it had on workers and the need for a working class political voice.

Former Labour MP and Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist spoke about the TUSC project more widely, and why it is significant in the development of a new party for ordinary people.

This meeting showed some of the appetite in Coventry for a political party that sticks up for ordinary people. Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain show the potential for building an anti-austerity alternative. The Socialist Party will build TUSC and fight for bold socialist policies to combat not just austerity, but the cause of austerity – the capitalist system.

Sign up here to get involved in the Socialist Campaign Team for the election!

“Either We Fight, Or We Lay Down And Die” – Protest At Coventry City Link

“Either We Fight, Or We Lay Down And Die” – Protest At Coventry City Link

City Link workers and RMT activists on the protest

City Link workers and RMT activists on the protest

Dozens of people protested outside City Link’s Coventry office on New Years Eve against the company’s disgraceful sacking of almost 3000 workers, and to call for nationalisation of the firm.

The mood of the protesters was defiant and angry, and the most popular chant summed up many people’s thoughts – “Nationalise City Link, put the bosses in the clink!”

RMT, Socialist Party activists, TUSC supporters and City Link workers from Coventry and across the country joined the demonstration, including a group from Scotland. One of them, Mick, worked at City Link with his son and daughter – all 3 now face being made redundant.

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TUSC supporting City Link workers

“Management spoke to us two weeks before Christmas and said everything was fine and the rumours about the business were untrue.” he said. “Then they wished us a happy Christmas and New Year. They just kept lying to us.”

When asked what he thought City Link workers should do now, his answer was clear; “Fight. What else can we do? Either we fight, or we lay down and die.”

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Nuneaton RMT Branch Secretary and Socialist Party member Paul Reilly

Many workers are being told they won’t be paid for any of the overtime they worked in the weeks before Christmas – some were working 12-hour days, 7 days a week! Not only are these workers threatened with redundancy, their bosses are refusing to pay them!

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Coventry No 1. RMT Branch Secretary and Socialist Party member Lee Cooper

City Link should be nationalised immediately, and run under democratic workers control and management – with compensation only paid on the basis of proven need. The books should be opened and investigated by City Link workers and trade unions, to see where the money has gone.

The RMT has organised protests like this across the country – this is the start, not the end, of the fightback.

ROTHERHAM CITY LINK DEMO

Friday Jan 2nd, 3pm

Bradmarsh Way, Bradmarsh Business Park

Rotherham

S60 1BW

Dave Nellist Calls For City Link Nationalisation

Dave Nellist Calls For City Link Nationalisation

Former Labour MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist

Former MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist

The leader of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), former Coventry Labour MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist, has today called for government intervention to save City Link jobs, saying the company should be nationalised.

The courier firm, City Link, whose headquarters are in Coventry, went into administration on Christmas Day putting hundreds of local jobs at risk.

Mr Nellist said today:

“The callous announcement of these job cuts, after staff had worked flat out in the days up to Christmas to make deliveries, is a disgrace.

Postal and delivery services are becoming more fragmented and insanely competitive –  with bosses seeking profit not from better service, but from trying to push down workers’ wages and terms and conditions, increase zero hour contracts and promote widespread subcontracting and self-employment.

15 months ago I joined City Link workers who were protesting in Coventry precinct against pay cuts of up to £4000, enforced overtime, axing of a bonus scheme and changes in travel arrangements.  Since then many City Link workers have been forced to work as self-employed contractors and, following the Christmas announcement, will get no redundancy pay at all and become ‘unsecured creditors’, last on the list.

Bosses, however, seem to have planned for this for weeks before telling workers. The company appears to have been meeting with insolvency advisors since November, and on December 9th three current City Link directors established a new firm – City Link B2b – based at Baginton.  This has led the transport union, RMT, to claim these directors could be preparing to buy back assets from administrators “at a knockdown price”.

I support the call by RMT general secretary Mick Cash for government intervention to save City Link jobs. The firm should be taken into public ownership and a plan for a nationalised distribution service, including a publicly owned Royal Mail, should be urgently developed.

The government could move in days, if not hours, to nationalise the debts of the bankers.  In my view it is clearly in the public interest that City Link jobs, and the families who rely on them, should be saved.”

Do you agree with Dave? Get in touch!

 

“We Need To Protest and Fight For Our Jobs” – Interview With a City Link Worker

“We Need To Protest and Fight For Our Jobs” – Interview With a City Link Worker

City Link's Coventry depot

City Link’s Coventry depot

Today one of our members, Dan, interviewed a young City Link worker who was recently made redundant when the company went into administration. He wanted to remain anonymous so we’ve used a false name, George.

Dan: Hi George, thanks for doing this interview today. How long have you been working for City Link?

George: No problem. I’ve been there for a couple of months, it was my first job when I came here from Romania – and it’s already gone.

D: What were City Link like to work for?

G: It wasn’t too bad, the pay is roughly minimum wage – about £6.50 an hour.

D: Do they owe you any money for your shifts?

G: Yes, a few days pay – about £200 overall.

D: Wow – do you know when you’ll get that?

G: No idea. The place was closed today.

D: What will you do for work now? Do you know anywhere that’s hiring?

G: I’m looking for jobs online, but I haven’t seen anywhere. It’s the end of the year, there’s not many jobs about.

D: Why do you think City Link collapsed?

G: The f**king system, mate! It’s the capitalist system! The same thing happened in Romania in 2013 – a company closed down, just before Christmas. How are you supposed to buy presents when you can’t work? How can you pay the bills? Where’s the “goodwill” of the holidays when they’re getting rid of our jobs?

D: So what do you think City Link workers should do to fight back?

G: I think we need to protest and fight for our jobs. It’s not just about me and my friends there – there’s thousands of people in the same situation.

Thanks again to “George” for doing this interview – the Socialist Party will do whatever we can to support City Link workers.

Stop the City Link Robbery – Open the Books!

Stop the City Link Robbery – Open the Books! 

Better Capital boss and Tory/UKIP donor Jon Moulton

Better Capital boss and Tory/UKIP donor Jon Moulton

It is becoming more and more evident that “Better Capital” had one intention from their ownership of City Link, and at the moment they appear to have achieved that aim at the expense of the livelihoods of thousands of ordinary working people around the country, very many in my home city of Coventry.

They appear to have taken the money and ran!

They are even leaving the taxpayer to foot the redundancy bill for those “fortunate” enough to qualify.

Even the bare minimum the publicly funded scheme offers is too much for what is expected to be left, after they cynically walked away on Christmas Eve leaving the RMT the thankless task of spending Christmas Day announcing the collapse of City Link to the press, media and as many of the affected members as possible.

Nobody deserves to find out that their job is very likely to go when they tune in to hear the Queen’s Speech with friends and family!

It just shows the absolute lack of respect the owners showed for those ordinary working people that made their business possible and a total absence of any common human decency.

Some may argue that common decency has no part in business but maybe that is a fundamental problem with the way some people do business?

The owners did nothing except buy a couple of days extra time for themselves whilst they planned their escape route, like bank robbers carrying a well planned and executed heist.

They were in talks with insolvency experts in November. They kept it secret. The administrators have confirmed this.

They intended to hold the news back until after Christmas.

According to the administrators the firm was insolvent on Dec 22nd.

Why WAS it insolvent at any point?

City Link appears to have been asset rich when Better Capital paid just £1 for a company they admitted was well on its way to viability, even under the previous management.

Where are these assets now or the funds they realised from them?

Better Capital doesn’t appear to have put in half the money to the firm that they promised to, and yet City Link has run out of money?

The RMT, supported by an ever increasing number of people and trade unions, are demanding that an immediate investigation is launched into the activities of Better Capital, and that the Business Secretary meets them and affected parties NOW rather than sometime in January before it’s too late.

The company should open the books to the workers and the RMT so we can see where the money’s gone – and the company should be nationalised to save 3000 workers’ jobs.

We need to start fighting back quickly – the bosses  already have a head start!

Lee Cooper, Coventry RMT No. 1 Branch Secretary (elect), personal capacity