Coventry Council Scrap Planned Cuts to Disabled Children’s Transport

Coventry Council Scrap Planned Cuts to Disabled Children’s Transport

Protestors outside the Council House

Protestors outside the Council House

Coventry Council announced today that disabled children’s transport to school will continue to be funded for at least another year, after protests over the planned cuts.

Over 50 people protested last month outside the Council House, including Socialist Students and TUSC activists as well as members of Warwick for Free Education. The protest was organised by community campaigner and DPAC member Eleanor Lisney.

This victory shows that protest and pressure works, and councils can be forced to back down over planned cuts – however, as the funding has only been guaranteed for another year it shows the importance of keeping that pressure up, both in terms of protest and electoral challenges to councillors who continue to vote for cuts.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Socialist Students

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Socialist Students

It is urgent that the Council use the £80million+ reserves to stop any cuts to buy time to build a mass fightback in the city, linking up with other councils, to demand proper funding from central Government.

Solidarity message from Dave Nellist to Warwick student demonstration

 National chair of TUSC (Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition), Dave Nellist, sends solidarity greetings to the Warwick student demonstration held on Wednesday 04-12-14:

(Dave is a former Coventry Socialist Councillor & Coventry Militant Labour MP)

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

‘This generation of students threatens to be the first for decades which won’t be better off than their parents.  Crippling mortgages, having to supplement inadequate pensions, and debts exceeding £50,000 to get a degree, will be difficult to cope with even if students succeed in getting a graduate level job.

For the thousands who don’t, it will be impossible.

Education should be free.

Peaceful protest is a democratic right.  40 years ago several hundred of us, at what is now Coventry University, held a 19 day occupation of the equivalent of the Senate House.  I support the right of Warwick students to protest, including peaceful sit-ins and occupations, to regain genuinely free education.

The actions of the police on Wednesday, as viewed on YouTube, were a disgrace and formal complaints should be made by those present to ensure an investigation takes place.  But internal investigations by the police of themselves, is not enough.  We no longer have proper, democratic oversight and accountability of the police by the communities in which they work.  Present Police Commissioners are toothless and almost all drawn from establishment parties.

We need a new accountability of public sector organisations like the police – to elected committees of local people, including councillors, representatives of trade unions, residents and tenants organisations – and yes, representatives of students and young people as well.

The actions of the police on Wednesday may be an aberration – or it may be part of a pattern that believes kettling and heavy handed policing of student protest is ok.  Either way a proper and genuine investigation is required.

The police need to be democratically accountable to the communities they serve.

Solidarity.’

Dave Nellist

(Socialist Party and National Chair, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)

Protest against Labour’s plans to cut transport for children with disabilities

Protest against Labour’s plans to cut transport for children with disabilities

Protestors outside the Council House

Protestors outside the Council House

Around 60 protesters lobbied Coventry Council today in protest at their planned cuts to disabled children’s transport to school. These cuts could leave many children unable to get to school, as many families may be unable to pay for the transport required. Activists from the Socialist Party,the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Socialist Students attended the demonstration, which was organised by Eleanor Lisney, a local campaigner and member of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). Coventry’s Labour Council is choosing to carry out Tory cuts rather than fighting back and passing a budget that meets the needs of the people of Coventry.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Socialist Students

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Socialist Students

They should use some of the £81million they have in reserves to fund services temporarily, while building a campaign with service users, trade unions and community groups to demand central Government provides the money to fund the services we need.

For coverage in the Coventry Telegraph click here

Coventry Socialists show solidarity with mass movement in Hong Kong

Coventry Socialists show solidarity with mass movement in Hong Kong

Party members show support for the movement in Hong Kong

Party members show support for the movement in Hong Kong

During the last week members and supporters of the Socialist Party in Coventry have been building support and solidarity for the mass democracy movement that has erupted on to the streets of Hong Kong. At one of our branch meetings this week, attendees displayed posters produced by our sister organisation in Hong Kong, Socialist Action who have been linking the fight for democracy with the need for socialist change.

Meanwhile our members at the University of Warwick spoke with hundreds of students from China and Hong Kong, raising awareness of the work of socialists in Hong Kong and building solidarity on campus.

Posters displaying the slogans and logo of Socialist Action in Hong Kong

Posters displaying the slogans and logo of Socialist Action in Hong Kong

Socialist Party members will continue with this work over the coming weeks. We would encourage  anyone interested in finding out more to read the socialist perspective on current events by reading this article, produced by Socialist Action. To read it, click here

Hundreds rally at Warwick University against racism and fascism

Hundreds rally at Warwick University against racism and fascism

UCU banner on the protest

UCU banner on the protest

Over 200 students rallied today at Warwick University against racism and fascism in a fantastic show of unity and solidarity. The protest was prompted by the presence on campus of a student member of the openly fascist National Action group which featured in a recent article in the Mirror newspaper (see link here)

Students from a wide variety of backgrounds were mobilised by the Warwick Anti-Racism Society, with support coming from members of trade unions based in Coventry such as Unison, PCS and NUT, as well as the UCU branch at the university.

Members of Socialist Students from Coventry University were present with Socialist Students at Warwick. Kristian Sucilla O’Sullivan, recently elected student councillor and President of Coventry Socialist Students spoke to the rally and brought the solidarity of Coventry students. He also called for the building of a movement against austerity armed with a socialist programme to beat the fascists and the capitalist system.

Kristian from Coventry Socialist Students addresses the crowd

Kristian from Coventry Socialist Students addresses the crowd

Dan Crowter, a member of the National Union of Teachers (in a personal capacity) and the Socialist Party brought greetings from his union, and called for a united fight for decent jobs, homes and education, which was met with applause.

Dan Crowter of the NUT

Dan Crowter of the NUT (personal capacity)

All of those involved in the organisation of this protest and everyone who attended should take massive credit for an excellent event. Many speakers rightly said that this can’t be a one off and discussions will take place about how we can build a movement against the far right. Socialist Students will continue to put forward the idea of unity between students and workers, and for a socialist programme that can lead the way out of this barbarous capitalism system that blights the lives of the 99 per cent.

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.

Disgusted by what you are seeing on TV about Amazon? Read this

Disgusted by what you are seeing on TV about Amazon? Read this

Tax dodging corporations profit from casualization

Amazon

Amazon

The following article was published in ‘The Socialist’ newspaper at the start of October. It is highly relevant given the Panorama programme currently showing on BBC1. If you agree with what we are saying fill in the form at the end of the article to help us build a movement that will fight for a society that puts people before profit, a socialist society.

Only trade unions can defend workers’ rights

By Ronnie Job

The Swansea Amazon warehouse location, next to the former Linamar/Visteon/Ford site, is a graphic illustration of how casualised, low-paid work has replaced unionised, skilled manufacturing.

The local press has hailed Amazon for announcing it will employ 1,500 extra workers in the run-up to Christmas.

However, an agency worker who was at Amazon last Christmas told me about their experience.

“At the end of the first day’s warehouse tour, the guide pointed out ‘your rep’s office’. One new worker asked if they meant union rep, but was told it was the agency rep’s office and they didn’t have unions. Don’t think the person asking the question lasted long!

“The first wage packet was a lot smaller than anybody expected, with compulsory deductions for a locker deposit (although I wasn’t assigned a locker as there weren’t enough), CRB check and drugs test.

“Despite supposedly being employed for 25 hours a week plus overtime, workers were frequently sent home, often not having earned enough to pay for their bus fare or petrol.

“Some days, agency workers were sent home while work was given to unpaid jobseekers on the workfare scheme.”

Amazon pays next to no tax in the UK but is at liberty to take advantage of government schemes that provide free labour!

Points mean P45s

“It is not easy to get to the site by public transport, especially around Christmas, but anybody turning up late would be assigned penalty points. These were accumulated and led to dismissals.

“Other ‘offences’ attracting points included ‘errors’, like not putting the right amount of brown paper in a box or forgetting to put in the advertisements. All absences (all unpaid of course) were treated the same, even certificated sickness or attending a job interview.

“The site had a real gulag feel. Everybody was subject to security scans whenever they left the floor, and random scans while working, with a handheld scanner.

“CCTV cameras are everywhere and you’re told that you can face a drug or alcohol test at any time, have your locker searched or your drinking water tested.

“Everybody was fearful when scanning their security card to gain entry to the site; finding your card had been deactivated was a common way of discovering you had been dismissed. This happened to people on Christmas Eve. Others were dismissed and escorted off the floor part way through a shift.”

Unionisation of sites like Amazon in Swansea is essential to halt the race to the bottom on workers’ rights.

The determination of the BFAWU members at Hovis (see the Socialist issue 781, Bakers rise against Hovis: Victory shows zero-hours can be beaten) shows how militant trade unionism can beat casualisation.