Junior Doctors on strike – report from Coventry picket line

Junior Doctors on strike – report from Coventry picket line

20160112_085911

Picket line at Walsgrave

Jane Nellist writes

Junior Doctors marched out of work at University Hospital Coventry at 8am on Tuesday to form a very well supported picket line.

Trade unionists from NUT,  Unite, UNISON, PCS and Coventry TUC as well as other hospital workers gave solidarity support for the Junior Doctors campaign which, although their strike was about attacks on their pay and working conditions, they made clear that they need people to understand that what is ultimately at stake under the Tory govt is the NHS itself.

There was a clear determination to win this battle. The young doctors understand that if this government get away with imposing this contract then, as Petra who has recently returned to work following the birth of her child told me (and as seen on Local TV), she will find it difficult to work a contract that means longer hours and less pay.

It was clear from the enthusiasm of drivers beeping their horns and waving that the junior doctors have the public support.  Their victory will be a victory for all of us.
Send messages of support to gerard.millen@gmail.com

Read reports from around the country here

Dave Nellist on the artist taxi driver

Dave Nellist, National chair of the the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and TUSC candidate for Coventry North West in the general election on May 7th, recently took time out for a 3-part interview with the highly acclaimed ‘Artist Taxi Driver’ .

Agree with Dave?

get in touch on 0753 0429 441

or come along to the Coventry TUSC pre-election rally ….

rally poster colour basic jpeg

Dave Nellist outlines the socialist view on the HSBC tax evasion scandal

 

Dave Nellist outlines the socialist view on the HSBC tax evasion scandal

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

Over recent days we have received dozens of emails from residents of the Coventry North West constituency regarding the HSBC tax evasion scandal. The emails were sent to all candidates that have announced they are standing in the General Election via the 38 Degrees campaign website. The Socialist Party welcomes the opportunity to state our position on this, and if you agree with our response please fill in the form at the bottom of the article. Remember nothing will change unless we get organised!

The email that was sent to us is below, followed by the response from Dave Nellist

Dear Dave Nellist, Parvez Akhtar, and Mr Geoffrey Robinson MP,

I’m concerned about the recent revelations that HSBC has been helping the super-rich dodge their tax, and that the government has not been acting to stop this.

As a prospective parliamentary candidate in my area, can you let me know what you pledge to do to crack down on tax dodging and prevent scandals like HSBC from happening again?

Response from Dave

It is an absolute disgrace that these individuals and companies have behaved in this way, whilst at the same time ordinary people in Coventry and across the country face austerity cuts that will see levels of public spending taking back to the 1930s.

We only have to pose the question that if these millionaires and billionaires had paid their taxes, how many of the cuts that are due to take place in Coventry could be avoided? For example our libraries, lollipop ladies, community and children’s centres which are all under threat to name just a few key services.

The rich have got away for this for far too long, little surprise perhaps when successive governments have been so friendly to big business at the expense of the majority of us. As we have seen there are a number of Tory donors who have been caught up in this, and of course Labour have come out recently and said they are “furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business”, so I do not think they can be trusted to act.

Linked to this is the ability to collect tax. In the last few years the government has axed between 38,000 and 40,000 jobs in Revenues and Customs as it carries out its swingeing cuts in the public sector. It has also closed tax offices meaning HMRC no longer has an network of local offices to provide advice and ensure tax compliance across the UK. How can any present or future government (Labour or Conservative) say they are serious about collecting tax and stopping the obscene tax avoidance if it sacks the very people who are able to collect it?

The Socialist Party, which is standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in this election, will support and demand measures that close all tax loopholes and tax havens.  We will fight for the rich to pay more tax and would support any measures such as a ‘Robin Hood / Tobin’ tax. We will also campaign for the cutbacks in Revenue and Customs to be reversed to enable tax dodgers to be pursued. We also think we do not have a progressive tax system in this country, which is something we would fight for.

However we think there are also wider issues here. 

I suspect the only thing that makes HSBC different, is that they got caught! The whole banking system is rotten, based on gambling and speculation. If I put £5 on a horse in the 3.30, and it came in last, you would not be expected to refund my gambling. But that’s what the banks have got away with. Unprecedented gambling and speculation which spectacularly crashed in 2008, and triggered the recession that so many ordinary people are still suffering from. The whole banking system needs reorganising and rationally planning. But you can’t plan what you don’t control, and you don’t control what you don’t own. Large amounts of Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland are in public ownership, but not under democratic control. Nationalisation should be extended to the whole banking system and tight regulation then enforced in the interests of the millions not the millionaires.

Britain is not a poor country as this scandal illustrates. The problem is we have an economic system, backed up by the main establishment parties, which means vast wealth is concentrated at the very top. The key point is that the minority at the top own and control this wealth, whilst most of us struggle to get by. We think we need a radical change, whereby ownership and control of the main resources in society are put in the hands of ordinary people, and human need (such as the NHS, decent housing and free education) are put before private greed.

Thank you for contacting us and taking the time to read this response. I would encourage you to come to our election launch on Wednesday 25th February, 7.30pm at the Methodist Hall, bottom of Hertford Street where I and others will outline the socialist challenge in this election.

If you want to read more about our campaigns and policies please visit the websites at the bottom of this email, and if you would like to talk about the issues I have raised please call our campaign hotline on 07530 429441 or feel free to respond to this email.

Kind regards

Dave Nellist

www.coventrysocialists.com

www.tusc.org.uk

www.socialistparty.org.uk

J10 in Coventry – report and pictures

J1o in Coventry – report and pictures

Picket at Central Library

Picket at Central Library

This is a brief report of the fantastic action against austerity taken by the trade unions today.

Fuller analysis to come.

Across the country over 1.5 million public sector workers took action today against pay cuts, attacks on pensions and in defence of public services.

6 unions took action in the city, Unison, Unite, GMB, FBU, NUT and PCS and the day had more than a passing resemblance to that historic day of strike action on 30th November, 2011 when we took action over our pensions.

Picket at Fullwood Close

Picket at Fullwood Close

Picket lines were mounted at workplaces around the city, coming together with a rally of around 500 people in Broadgate Square and then a loud, vibrant march around the city centre. This was a real show of unity between the unions, and shows the potential for co-ordinated action. Today needs to be the spring board for future action. It would be nothing less than a crime if this opportunity was squandered as was the case in the aftermath of N30, 2011, as leaders of the larger trade unions allowed the unity between our unions to be destroyed.

Picket of Spire House

Picket of Spire House

The rally heard from some excellent speakers from all the unions involved who highlighted the dire situation facing workers and their families.

There was an international dimension to proceedings, which was very important given that workers in all countries face similar problems – of the 1 per cent trying to make the 99 per cent pay for the crisis of capitalism. Therefore it was a massive boost to hear Ginger Jentzen from the $15now campaign and Socialist Alternative in the USA. Ginger explained to loud cheers and applause how the campaign in Seattle had won $15 per hour minimum wage, taking 100,000 workers outs of poverty.

Ginger Jentzen address the rally

Ginger Jentzen addresses the rally

The sun shone brightly on the action today. Many reports from picket lines explained how in a good number of cases the action was supported even more than during the pensions strike, and it re-stated the importance of picketing with some success in persuading fellow workers not to cross the line.

A section of the march

A section of the march

Today could be a start towards further action. It is critical the days in September that have been ‘pencilled in’ for further action are seriously committed to and built for. Socialist Party members in the trade unions will be putting forward the idea of building towards more co-ordinated action, including a 24 hour general strike. We have to build the biggest possible pressure in the trade unions for further action, the unions have the power, time to use it!

Unison members from John Gulson Primary School

Unison members from John Gulson Primary School

 

PCS picket line

PCS picket line

Coventry – hear a speaker from the USA on Wednesday, support the strikes on Thursday!

Coventry – hear a speaker from the USA on Wednesday, support the strikes on Thursday!

Ginger speaking at NSSN

Ginger speaking at NSSN conference

There are two big events in Coventry this week.

On Wednesday we are pleased to welcome Ginger Jentzen, an activist from $15now and Socialist Alternative in the USA who will be speaking at a meeting hosted by the National Shop Stewards Network in Coventry. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear a leading organiser of the successful and growing campaign in the States.

Here are the details;

Wednesday 9th July

6.30-8pm

Central Methodist Hall, Coventry City Centre

The Facebook event page can be accessed by clicking here

Support the strikes on 10th July!

On Thursday 6 public sector unions – Unison, Unite, GMB, NUT, FBU and PCS will take strike against pay and pension cuts, and in defence of public services. The unions have called a public rally after the picket lines; please support the pickets and the rally!

Click on the picture below for full details.

Strike rally

Strike rally

PCS members at HMRC in Coventry take strike action

PCS members at HMRC in Coventry take strike action

PCS picket line at Sherbourne House in Coventry

PCS picket line at Sherbourne House in Coventry

Members of the PCS trade union working at the Sherbourne House tax office in Coventry took strike action today along with members across the Midlands and Northern Ireland. The action was part of a week of industrial action organised by the union with different regions taking action on each day of the week.

More background information can be found on the website of the PCS by clicking here

The next strike action involving PCS members looks to be on 10th July, when it is hoped over 1 million public sector workers will take action against poverty pay, for decent public services and an end to austerity. Trade unionists need to make this action as big and successful as possible, as part of the effort to rebuild the co-ordinated industrial action that will be needed to beat back the tide of cuts.

Union activists are already getting organised for the 10th, with a rally due to begin around 10.15am in Broadgate Square on the day. Watch this space for more details!

 

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.

Royal Mail industrial action – report from the picket line

Royal Mail industrial action – report from the picket line

P1020076

by Socialist Party members

“Workers at Royal Mail’s Coventry North delivery office took strike action on Tuesday 27th August, over the local management team’s treatment of the workforce.

This is just the latest example of postal workers taking action as a result of local managers’ actions.

For several months now, up and down the country, Royal Mail managers have been using intimidation and threats towards workers in a drive to save money.

National agreements have been ignored, mail traffic figures have been ‘massaged’ and a climate of fear instilled, all to ensure that staff ‘absorb’ more and more work.

Such is the scale of the problem of bullying and harassment that the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) has appointed an independent body to go in to workplaces and interview staff about their experiences.

As one worker on the picket line said: “I’m part-time and I’m on a rolling contract. Some of us were taken to one side the other day and told by a manager, ‘If you go on strike, don’t worry, it won’t affect your chances of having your contracts renewed!’ They were nice about it but there was a veiled threat there.”

Continue reading