Lower Stoke by election – Socialist Party statement

Lower Stoke by election – Socialist Party statement

Coventry Socialist Party has decided not to propose nomination of a TUSC candidate in the forthcoming Lower Stoke by-election.

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Dave Nellist with Lower Stoke Socialist Party campaigner Rob McArdle

Former Coventry councillor Dave Nellist, explained today:

“Socialists in Coventry remain resolutely opposed to the cuts the Labour Council are continuing to pass on.  Such as the £3 million cut to Council Tax support for the city’s poorest.

We now know that over 1400 council jobs have been cut in the last five years, and the council plans to cut 1000 more.  That’s 2,500 young people in Coventry denied the chance of a decent job.  And Councillor Damian Gannon, Cabinet Member for Finance, has said the authority is ‘looking at altering employment terms such as holiday and sickness pay’ of those who remain.

It’s no defence for Labour to say they are responding to national Tory cuts – locally, Labour has doubled its reserves in the last four years from £41m to £84m; it could use a proportion of that to delay cuts whilst launching a campaign to force the government to restore proper funding to the city.

These are the arguments we will continue to put.  But we are conscious that this is the first local by-election since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the new leader of the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn says the Labour Party will be anti-austerity and we want to work with members of Labour, especially new members, who support that.

Unfortunately TUSC hasn’t yet had the opportunity to sit down with Jeremy to discuss what he can do to get Labour councillors, in Coventry and elsewhere, to refuse to implement Tory cuts.

Or to find out what he thinks council service users, trade unionists, and community campaigners should do in elections if all the likely candidates on the ballot paper are going to carry out the cuts.

So, on this occasion, the Socialist Party has agreed not to stand a candidate, so that there is no artificial obstacle to having that discussion with Jeremy and his supporters.

But time is short. Standing aside in a council by-election is one thing. But in May there will be over 2000 councillors up for election, including 18 seats in Coventry.

We want to have a serious discussion with those in Labour who are serious about fighting the cuts. But the Socialist Party is also clear that any politician who votes for cuts cannot expect to have a free run at the ballot box, no matter what party label they wear.”

 

TUSC candidates sign 38 Degrees NHS pledge

TUSC candidates sign 38 Degrees NHS pledge 

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38 Degrees campaigners with election candidates including from TUSC

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates attended an event organised by the 38 Degrees campaign against the privatisation of the NHS. Despite Labour’s claim to oppose privatisation, no Labour candidates turned up – nor did any Tories, Lib Dems or UKIP.

The TUSC candidate for Foleshill, Jim Hensman, said “Labour thinks private companies in the NHS should be allowed to make 5% profit – that’s not good enough. TUSC would kick all private companies out of the NHS, and have a fully publicly owned National Health Service, free at the point of use.”

Despite TUSC’s support of 38 Degrees’ stance on a number of issues, including opposing TTIP and NHS privatisation, 38 Degrees have unfortunately refused to include TUSC on their “Vote Match” quiz which shows people which party they most agree with on some issues. This is particularly disappointing given the policies and campaigns of TUSC.

We applaud the work of 38 Degrees for the work they have done in raising awareness of a number of issues, and the local activists from 38 Degrees who work hard to promote some excellent causes, and we will continue to support this where we can. We urge 38 Degrees nationally to start including TUSC in their election campaign – after all, we are standing over 800 candidates in the local and general elections!

Want to help kick private companies out of the NHS? Fill in the form below to get involved!


Socialist candidate Nicky Downes opposes NHS patient fees

Socialist candidate Nicky Downes opposes NHS patient fees

Nicky with Lower Stoke TUSC candidate Rob McArdle

Nicky with Lower Stoke TUSC candidate Rob McArdle

Over the past few days our Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates in Coventry have received dozens of emails through the 38 Degrees campaign regarding patients being charged for the use of the NHS and whether we would commit to keeping the NHS free at the point of use. Here is the response (slightly edited for publication) of Nicky Downes, TUSC candidate in Coventry North East.

‘Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with my campaign and good to hear from you again.

In answer to your question I am absolutely committed to keeping the NHS free at the point of use. For more background information I have added below a response taken from another enquiry regarding the NHS for more detail about the position of my party towards our health service.

Historically the NHS has been one of the most important gains made by working class people in Britain. We need a massive campaign to stop it being destroyed; which would leave workers in Britain facing the nightmare of a profit-driven US-style ‘Breaking Bad’ health service. If the Tories win the election they will accelerate the destruction of the NHS. Labour has said they will repeal the Tories Health and Social Care Act, but they have not pledged to reverse privatisation, much of which took place under Labour governments.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaigns for all the profiteers to be kicked out of the NHS. We demand an end to ‘ Profit From Illness’ (PFI) and for the massive debts it has created to be written off. We oppose all cuts, closures and job losses in the NHS.

We also go further, calling the expansion of the NHS with free and accessible dental care for all and the abolition of the prescription charges. We call for nationalisation of the pharmaceutical industry, the pharmacy chains and medical supply industry and integrate them into a democratically controlled NHS.

We demand a minimum of at least £10 per hour and a 35-hour week for all health workers.

We also campaign for a democratic socialist society where poverty – the biggest killer and the greatest cause of ill-health – could become a problem of the past.’

Agree with Nicky? Please fill in the form below to get involved in our campaign!

Privatisation threatens postal service

Privatisation threatens postal service

TUSC campaigner Rob McArdle

TUSC campaigner Rob McArdle

The following article was written by Rob McArdle who is a campaigner for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and the Socialist Party. He is also a member of the Communication Workers Union and stood for TUSC in Lower Stoke ward in the recent local elections. The article was published in the current issue of ‘The Socialist’ newspaper.

Privatisation threatens postal service

By Robert McArdle, CWU member, South Mids Postal (Coventry, in a personal capacity)

On the very week Royal Mail reported a 12% rise in operating profits to £671 million, the newly privatised company was complaining about ‘market competition’ from the likes of TNT.

It’s ironic that directors at Royal Mail recently toured the country seeking to convince workers that ‘external investment’ was the only way forward for Britain’s postal service.

As we have highlighted in the Socialist, privatising Royal Mail would be a big mistake for the public. And now, within months of its undervalued sell-off, the threat to the universal postal service is again on the agenda.

The daily delivery service to the 29 million homes and businesses is threatened because competitor companies like TNT cherry-pick end to end delivery in places like London and Liverpool.

The industry regulator Ofcom responded by saying: “We would expect Royal Mail to take appropriate steps to respond to the challenge posed by competition, including improving efficiency.” In reality this means increasing workloads and pressure on postal workers.

Jobs

The threat of reducing the six-day delivery service would have a significant impact on jobs and services within Royal Mail.

It could also be used by management as a weapon to try and force through inferior working conditions and also have an impact on future pay deals.

Over the next few years we will see the battle lines being drawn between a management driven by market profits and the CWU union, who will need to defend their members against vicious cost-cutting attacks.

The historic deal that has just been signed by the CWU and Royal Mail protecting jobs and conditions, will be tested over the next two years. Postal workers are right to be concerned about their future once the agreed pay deal comes to an end. Thousands of jobs were lost at BT after privatisation of the telecoms company and those remaining workers have seen their terms and conditions weaken due to the ‘partnership’ between management and the CWU.

The lesson for postal workers is clear – they need the union to fight to protect the gains made over the years. Royal Mail bosses will continue their race to the bottom as they seek to increase profits for shareholders but the CWU will need to stay alert to the dangers of ‘partnerships’. Workers’ ultimate power lies in the ability to withdraw their labour as a last resort.

The solution for Royal Mail’s difficulties is simple; take it back into public ownership. Then the postal service could be delivering a service based on public need not on private greed.

Socialists Oppose “Ring and Ride” Service Cuts

Socialists Oppose “Ring and Ride” Service Cuts

Robert McArdle is a Socialist campaigner in Lower Stoke ward in Coventry. Here’s what he had to say about Coventry Council’s latest plans for cuts to public transport!

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“One of Lower Stoke’s Councillors, John McNicholas chairs the Centro Integrated Transport Authority and is assisted by fellow Lower Stoke Councillor Catherine Miks (Vice Chair – Task and Finish Committee).

Instead of building a campaign to stop money being robbed from this vital public service, they have had a hand in the latest £7m of cuts announced this week. Coun McNicholas said that 15 per cent cut will “inevitably impact further on Centro’s staff and the way they deliver services”, reports the Coventry Telegraph.

Councillors are happy to take the money for sitting on committees but opt to take the “easy” option by passing on government cuts dutifully.

What will this £7m of cuts look like for those in Coventry who reply on public transport? It will mean higher prices at a time when pensioners are already cash strapped because of hikes in energy and food costs. Jobs will be lost and services reduced. Yet this is not the end, cuts will be expected in the years following IF we allow them to get away with it.

As a Socialist, I believe the best way to provide public transport is to take it out of the hands of greedy private companies that serve shareholders not the public. We believe in a properly fully funded transport service that serves the needs of the public. That means affordable, accountable bus services. I think I would have a few choice words to say to the government if I were a Councillor!

If you believe that buses, trains and trams should be run by the public instead of puppet Councillors and profit driven companies like National Express and Virgin – then vote for the women and men who are standing as Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates. Better still, become one of those voices and stand as a candidate or help elect us to fight for the people of Coventry.”