DWP to outsource more core work to Capita

DWP to outsource more core work to Capita

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We have received the following article from a Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) member in Coventry.

“The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced on Wednesday 16th November that telephony work for new claims to Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) along with general enquiries for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), would be outsourced to Capita.

This is not the first instance of outsourcing vital DWP work to a private company. JSA claims were handed to Capita in 2012, a move that resulted in a failure to meet targets on processing claims. DWP staff even had to go to Capita to clear the backlog!

The decision to outsource ESA new claims to Capita will be disastrous. A huge proportion of ESA claimants suffer with mental health issues and are therefore more vulnerable. If Capita performs as well as it did with JSA claims, then this is likely to have a severe impact on the wellbeing of those who most need support.

This is already beginning to affect the morale of DWP staff too – with many workers fearing either the prospect of losing their jobs, or the stress of a complete change in the roles in which they have been trained in. There is also the issue of staff feeling like they are ‘worthless’, ‘undervalued’ and not doing an important enough job.

For staff in Poole Contact Centre, this truly is a ‘slap in the face’ – along with the planned closure of the office in February 2018, the DWP will also contract out the Income Support work they do!

The PCS union which represents DWP staff has consistently opposed the privatisation of their work, and campaigns for it to be brought back in-house – the way our public services are meant to be operated!”

The Socialist Party echoes this, and we also call for:

• An end to all privatisation of public services – run them for people, not profit!

• No more benefit cuts or sanctions! For the right to a decent living, and support for those who need it!

• An end to austerity! For a £10 an hour minimum wage now and the scrapping of zero-hours contracts!

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Michael Fallon resigns! Time to get the Tories out

Michael Fallon resigns! Time to get the Tories out

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Michael Fallon has resigned – picture from Huffington Post

News has broken this evening that Tory Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has resigned stating that his conduct had ‘fallen short’ of what is expected.

His resignation illustrates once again how weak and fragile the Tory government is – not the ‘strong and stable’ that was promised by Theresa May. The Tories are split over Brexit and are currently relying on the DUP to stay in government. But the Tories won’t just go of their own accord, they need to be forced out.

We need to get them out as soon as possible and campaign for a Corbyn-led Labour government to power on bold socialist policies to fight austerity and capitalism.

A great opportunity to come together and discuss the current situation and what action, programme and policies we need to fight for to get rid of the Tories will come on on 11/12 November at Socialism 2017, a weekend of discussion and debate organised by the Socialist Party. Get your ticket and make sure you are there!

Socialism 2017 – an appeal from Dave Nellist

Socialism 2017 – an appeal from Dave Nellist

Socialism 2017

In 10 days’ time, on the weekend of November 11/12, over a thousand socialists, young people and trade unionists will gather in London at Socialism 2017.

It will be, quite simply, the best two days’ discussion and debate on issues from Catalonia to fighting Donald Trump, from ending low pay to fighting racism.  And in each session and rally there will be leading participants in the struggles that are taking place.

For example, what’s going on in Catalonia? What do socialists think about it all? Juan Ignacio Ramos, General Secretary of Izquierda Revolucionaria (the Socialist Party’s sister organisation in Spain) and Coral Latorre, General Secretary of the Student Union in Catalonia, will be among our keynote speakers.  There will hardly be a better way of getting an up-to-date socialist view of why we believe fighting for an independent socialist Catalan republic, which defends the aspirations of the majority, is part of the fight to change society along socialist lines.

And as well as speakers from Spain we will have internationalists from elsewhere, including leading elected socialists from Ireland and the USA, including Kshama Sawant from Socialist Alternative in Seattle and Paul Murphy from Dublin.

Or take the greatest event in 20th century history when, 100 years ago next week, workers in Russia took power out of the hands of the bosses and the bankers and their political representatives. Today that group of people is rapidly sending our living standards through the floor not to mention warmongering and destroying the environment! So what can we learn from the 1917 Russian Revolution for today? How did Stalinism arise? Would future socialist change inevitably follow the same path?

One issue perhaps above all others will unite the 1000 people at Socialism 2017 – we can’t wait until 2022 for a general election, we need Jeremy Corbyn’s policies now! So how can we best fight for free education, major housebuilding and rent controls, and secure jobs on a £10/hr minimum wage? How we do that will be a central theme of Socialism 2017 where speakers on the struggles of today will include Ian Mearns, leading Corbyn supporting Labour MP; Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary involved in Birmingham bins dispute; Sean Hoyle, RMT president, and Chris Baugh PCS assistant general secretary.

The weekend will have around 40 workshops and forums which will be introduced by a speaker or a panel but each one will include time for everyone to participate, asking questions or making comments – if they wish.  There’s bound to be several that will interest you – the full programme is here.

So why not join a thousand of us in London that weekend or for the Saturday or Sunday?  Whether it’s to learn, to ask questions, to be inspired or to feel the solidarity of knowing your wish for a socialist world is widely shared – you’ll get something special out of Socialism 2017. I hope you can be there with us.

If you would like more information about the event, including travel details, tickets etc get in touch by filling in the form below. If you book now you get 10 per cent off the ticket price! 

Yours in solidarity
Dave Nellist

Public meeting to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Public meeting to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

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Coventry Socialist Party are holding a special public meeting on Wednesday 25th October at 7.30pm, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

We are very pleased to announce that our main speaker will be former Labour MP Dave Nellist.

The Russian Revolution was the greatest event in human history – it saw the overthrow of Tsarism and the abolition of capitalism with the workers taking power led by the Bolsheviks.

With capitalism currently in a deep crisis and socialism increasingly on the agenda in Britain and around the world we will be looking back at what happened in 1917 and what the lessons are for today’s struggles. This will be an excellent meeting not to be missed!

Wednesday 25th October
Methodist Hall, Coventry, CV1 2HA
Main speaker – Dave Nellist
7.30pm

We have created a dedicated website with articles, background information, timelines and analysis – click here to check it out!

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Successful ‘Who’s Watching Whom’ conference discusses the fight for justice

Successful ‘Who’s Watching Whom’ conference discusses the fight for justice

CWU solidarity

The conference showing solidarity with the Communication Workers Union

By John Smith, PCS trade union rep (the videos of Ricky, Helen, Dave and Chris appear after the report below)

A successful conference was held in Coventry on Saturday entitled ‘Who’s Watching Whom – justice, trade union and democratic rights’. Organised by Coventry TUC and Unite Tom Mann branch, the event drew 115 people through the day.

Many people involved in different unions and campaign groups attended and were able to share their experiences and put forward some concrete points about how this can be fought against across the trade union movement. Some of the unions and campaign groups that also held stalls at the event to raise awareness and solidarity were the Communication Workers Union, Keep Our NHS Public, National Shop Stewards Network, British Pensioners Trade Union Action Association and the campaign against cuts to severely disabled childrens transport.

Ricky Tomlinson (known by millions for his role as Jim Royle in the BBC hit ‘The Royle Family’) was one of the main speakers – describing his victimisation for trade union activism which saw him receive a jail sentence! He gave a very passionate speech which received a standing ovation from the entire room.

Alongside Ricky there was also Dave Smith, author of the book ‘Blacklisted’, who spoke about the blacklisting of trade unionists in the construction industry, and Helen Steel, who spoke about her experience of abuse by an undercover policeman who went so far as to get into a relationship with her before suddenly disappearing – all part of a spying operation targeting political groups and activists.

Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of the PCS civil servants union spoke about the surveillance of unions by the state and the attempts to sabotage them – and also highlighted the need for action against the public sector pay cap.

There were also examples given of the attempts by the state to also actively work to undermine unions – such as what happened with the CPSA (predecessor of the PCS union) in the 1980s following the election of John Macreadie as general secretary, who was a supporter of the Marxists grouped around the Militant newspaper (forerunner of the Socialist Party).

From the contributions from the speakers and also from people who attended, it was clear that undercover surveillance of unionists and political activists has taken place – contrary to the myth that “it couldn’t happen in Britain”! Indeed, we reported in 2016 the activities of one ‘Carlo Neri’, who the state had placed at tax payers expense in the Socialist Party.

The event was illuminating and inspiring for all who attended. It also helped remind us what we are up against in trying to build fighting, democratic trade unions and ultimately getting rid of capitalism. However the speakers were not pessimistic, on the contrary, all who attended left the conference fired up and with a greater understanding of how the state works and the lengths it will go to. One of the key messages was to ‘keep campaigning’, as the system can be defeated by a mass movement armed with a socialist programme to change society.

We encourage all our readers to check out the videos of the speakers below!

Join Socialist Students at Coventry and Warwick!

Join Socialist Students at Coventry and Warwick!

Socialist Students

Socialist Students on the march

By Berkay, Warwick Socialist Students

The surge in the popularity of Corbyn’s policies signifies the revival of socialist ideas within the younger generation. But for the people in the socialist movement this is not a surprise.

The rise of Corbyn and the fight for socialism

After decades of attacks on working-class people, living standards for the majority of people have fallen to low levels. Students have also taken a big hit from these attacks caused by the neo-liberal capitalist agenda. The rocketing tuition fees and sky-high rents, combined with zero-hour contracts, have led to the deterioration of the conditions of students throughout the country. Not only the life for students has worsened, the quality of education has also gone down.

In this respect, it is not a surprise at all to see young people showing interest in the politics of Socialist Students. In fact, this interest was perceived by us prior to the rise of the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn. This was shown by the increasing frequency of student demonstrations over the past couple of years and the increase in student activism. Undoubtedly, the Coventry and Warwick Universities have been a hotspot in the fight for free education in this period.

Students must get organised

And now a new academic year is starting. Campuses are being filled by excited new students who are inspired by socialist ideas. The tide is turning and being organised is more important than ever before. Socialist Students is an organisation attempting to bring positive, socialist change to the society that we all live in. It is a growing group and has started to have much more influence on campuses; it shows a good example to other students with its determination in defending the rights of students.

First meetings of term at both universities

Accordingly, the Socialist Students are holding their first meetings of the year on the week commencing the 2nd October.

The first meeting of the year at Coventry University will be on Monday 2nd October at 18:30 in The Castle Grounds, CV1 2UR.  The meeting will be on socialism, where we will discuss how socialism is possible and why we should fight for it. This discussion will also include many contemporary events such as the recent general election and the rise of Corbyn.

A similar meeting will also be organised on Thursday 5th October at Warwick University. The meeting will begin on 18:00 in H0.03, in the Humanities building. The possibilities of a socialist revolution will be discussed in this session.

These meetings will be an immense opportunity for new students to ask questions and join the discussion with regards to Socialist Students or about socialism, revolution and Marxism in general. Hope to see you in these meetings!

We urge you to get involved in Socialist Students, fill in the form below

What is taking place in Catalonia?

What is taking place in Catalonia?

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Mass demonstrations in Catalonia

We are pleased to publish the following articles on the current situation in Catalonia outlining the mass movement that is developing in defense of self-determination and democratic rights. These articles give a good background to the crisis, and give details of the activities of the Marxist organisation Esquerra Revolucionària (Revolutionary Left – the Socialist Party’s sister organisation in Catalonia) and the programme that socialists are fighting for to take the movement forward.

The first is a statement from Esquerra Revolucionària written on 18th September that describes the situation following the 1 million strong march that took place on 11th September. A further article has been issued with the latest developments. Today, the Students Union have issued a call for a student strike on the 28th September to resist the state repression that is taking place.

We urge our readers to follow the events that are developing, and to get in touch to discuss and join activities here in the UK. There is no doubt that capitalism is incapable of satisfying the basic national and democratic rights of ordinary people around the world; it is time to fight for socialism.

If you want to find out more please fill in the form below.