Oppose the EDL in Coventry this Saturday

Oppose the EDL in Coventry this Saturday

EDL

On Saturday 21st May, the English Defence League (EDL) will be holding a national demonstration in Coventry. The EDL are a far right organisation that seek to divide working class people and deflect anger away from the real causes of problems in our city  – austerity cuts and ultimately the capitalist system.

They have no solution to problems such as lack of housing, decent jobs, closure of public services such as libraries and play centres and more.

Coventry Socialist Party, with anti racist organisations and trade unions in the city are supporting and building for a counter-protest that will assemble at 11.30 in Broadgate Square on Saturday. The protest is using the banner of #wearecov to show unity against those that seek to divide ordinary people.

We urge everyone to support the counter protest to show the EDL that they are not welcome in our city

Saturday 21st May

11.30am, Broadgate Square

 

 

Coventry Council trade unions under attack from Labour council

Coventry Council trade unions under attack from Labour council

Glasgow Homelessness Caseworkers - on strike for 15 weeks and supporting Coventry unions!

Glasgow Homelessness Caseworkers – on strike for 15 weeks and supporting Coventry unions!

By Jane Nellist, Coventry NUT joint secretary (personal capacity)

Coventry City Council, a Labour controlled authority, is seeking to make draconian cuts on the trade union facilities time of the recognised trade unions.

Recently in The Socialist newspaper we have had reports of attacks on trade unions in Conservative councils which are being fought alongside mass privatisation of services, but these attacks, from a Labour controlled council are an absolute disgrace.  Trade Unions are organising and mobilising members to defend our rights to support our members.

What’s worse is the manner in which they are trying to railroad this through without proper negotiation and regard to our collective agreements.

A Collective Dispute lodged on behalf of Unison, Unite, NUT, NASUWT and ATL has been disregarded.  The proposals outlined in a flawed document, which is defended with references to the arguments used by the Tax Payers Alliance, would mean that unions would suffer severe reductions in the time allocated for Trade Union duties to support their members, with Unison losing 45%, Unite, 21% and the NUT losing 70% of facilities time.

Pressure by the two Labour Party affiliated trade unions to persuade Labour leaders to intervene and withdraw the proposals has had no impact which makes members question more seriously why their unions are funding the Labour Party.   A wide campaign has now been launched to challenge the attacks.

Two issues need to be highlighted.  City Council Trade Unions have been at the forefront of the campaign to defend council services in the city.  We have had some success in pressurising the council to pull back on some areas of cuts to more vulnerable services such as Library cuts, disabled transport for schools and an employment service for vulnerable adults (TESS).  More importantly, these attacks coincide with the plans for the huge cuts which are about to come because Coventry Council, like others across the country have refused to stand up to Tory cuts.

It’s not just going to be services that are under attack.  As well as the 1000 jobs already cut, we know that there will be more job losses planned as well as huge attacks on pay and conditions on our members.

The key issue here is that whilst you sort of expect it from Tory councils, the fact that Labour is now openly preparing the way for the Tory’s dirty work exposes just why we need political representation that supports workers and defends our services.

Former Coventry Labour MP and TUSC national chair Dave Nellist supporting council unions

Former Coventry Labour MP and TUSC national chair Dave Nellist supporting council unions

The National Shop Stewards Network on Saturday, demonstrated how important it is to have fighting trade unions. The NSSN conference heard from trade unionists in Coventry about the campaign – with hundreds of union activists, including shop stewards, NEC members and general secretaries pledging their support for us

The fight in Coventry needs to be supported locally, nationally and internationally because if they get away with it here then your council or workplace trade union facility time will be next.

Our trade union movement has made great advances over the decades, but what we are seeing now challenges to all of those gains.  This must not be allowed to happen.

Support us by

  • Signing the online petition here
  • Like the Facebook campaign page here
  • Join the protests against austerity on Wednesday 8th July, 5.30pm Broadgate

Over 100 people join Coventry protest against austerity

Over 100 people join Coventry protest against austerity

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Over 100 people marched through Coventry on Wednesday in a protest against the austerity measures announced at the opening of Parliament. The protest, organised by campaign group Youth Fight for Jobs and supported by a number of groups and trade unions, had speakers from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), the People’s Assembly, Coventry City Unison and Coventry TUC.

The march around the City Centre was loud and energetic, with chants of “no ifs, no buts, no public sector cuts” and “if you hate the Tory Party clap your hands”! People were there from a number of different campaigns such as Coventry against the Bedroom Tax, Save the NHS campaigners from 38 Degrees,  workplaces, schools and colleges, as well as a number of people who had travelled from outside the city – from Leamington, Nuneaton and Bedworth. A number of people were on their first protest and a common remark was ‘it is time to do something’.

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The protest was mainly built using social media, with the turnout showing some of the anger people feel at the prospect of “five more damned years” of austerity.

Kris O’Sullivan, president of Coventry Socialist Students, spoke about the importance of solidarity over the next five years of austerity, giving the example of socialist activists and local residents preventing bedroom tax victim Archie Millar from being evicted.

One young woman, Steph, spoke passionately about her experiences of working on a zero-hour contract while trying to study – she was forced to leave her job after having to work 9 hour shifts without a break.

Young people protesting against Tory cuts to their future

Young people protesting against Tory cuts to their future

Speakers  talked about the need for a mass turnout on the People’s Assembly demonstration in London on 20th June – coaches are going from Coventry and everyone should book a place!

One attendee at the Coventry protest, Peter, a retired worker from Holbrooks asked ‘Where are the Labour councillors? They should be here protesting against the Tories!’ It was true, once again local councillors, our representatives were completely absent from a protest against austerity.

TUSC candidate for Sherbourne, Jason Toynbee, closed the rally with a speech about the need to build an alternative to austerity – whether it’s being implemented by Labour or the Tories.

Unison members marching against austerity

Unison members marching against austerity

The point made by Jason and others was key. Austerity is going to be the ‘new normal’. We face the battle of our lives to beat back the attacks that our coming. We need more and bigger protests. It is abundantly clear that the only future that capitalism offers is one of austerity cuts, attacks on working class people and closure of vital services  – whilst the rich continue to make huge profits. We need to fight capitalism – we think the best way to do that is to fight for a different type of system, a socialist society that puts people before profit, our lives before the needs of the super rich. Help us build this movement, it really is time to get involved!

Fill in the form below to get involved!

Why we’re protesting against austerity

Why we’re protesting against austerity

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We asked some of the people supporting the anti-austerity protest in Coventry on Wednesday 27th at 5pm in Broadgate why they believe it is important to take part. The protest has been initiated by Youth Fight for Jobs and has the backing of Coventry TUC, Coventry Unison, and Coventry Peoples Assembly.

Here’s what they said.

Non Frenguelli, an 18 year old school student 

Non Frenguelli

Non Frenguelli

“I’m protesting, not only because of the Tories’ previous privatisations of vital services such as the Post Office and the outsourcing of disability benefits to ATOS whose “fitness-for-work” assessment has wreaked havoc for hundreds of disabled people, but also because of the recent announcement to sell £780million of the NHS to 11 private firms. From recent privatisations of the NHS we have seen that it is inefficient and provides poor treatment for patients, further privatisation will be a disaster for the public. Cameron has promised the world’s first seven day healthcare service but that’s an absolute joke if his current plans for mass privatisation go ahead unhindered. My friends and I will be at the protest to show our anger at the government’s austerity plans and to show solidarity to those who are suffering under his regime.”

Sarah Smith, campaigner against library closures

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

“I’m protesting because Coventry Council wants to close Tile Hill library, Sure Start centre and youth centre, which will rip the heart out of this community. Every library outside the City Centre is threatened with closure – we shouldn’t let them close any!”

Nicky Downes, local teacher and TUSC candidate

Nicky Downes

Nicky Downes

“I will be standing alongside young people and students at the protest on Wednesday in defence of education and city services. This government is blaming teachers and schools through unnecessary testing, slashing budgets and enforcing privatisation through academisation. It is doing nothing to improve the life chances of young people or to end child poverty. We did not vote them in and we will fight back against all cuts to jobs and services.”

Aidan O’Toole, a Coventry Uni student

Aidan protesting at Cov Uni

Aidan protesting at Cov Uni

“I’m supporting the protest because young people didn’t cause this crisis, but we’re paying for it. We’ve had tuition fees trebled, EMA taken away and housing benefit for young people slashed. Most of us can’t get jobs, and the jobs we can get are mostly low paid and on zero-hour contracts. Young people didn’t vote for Cameron’s austerity – but teenagers who can’t even vote are going to suffer because of him.”

The protest is on Wednesday May 27th at 5pm in Broadgate. Please join us and build the fightback against austerity!

We encourage people to attend the massive anti austerity demonstration in London on 20th June organised by the People’s Assembly. There will be transport from Coventry, get in touch to find out more.

To put an end to austerity we will need to build a socialist movement to end capitalism. To help us and to get involved, click here