Coventry anti-cuts diary!

Coventry anti-cuts diary!

Protestors outside the Council House

Protestors outside the Council House

In the next few weeks there are a number of anti-cuts protests and meetings in and around Coventry. Please make every effort to attend these events – we need to build a mass movement against austerity and capitalism!

Saturday 21st February – Coventry Against the Cuts march in the City Centre, assembling at 12 noon outside the Transport Museum. There will be a number of speakers from different trade unions and campaigns in the city including the campaign to save the libraries!

Monday 23rd February – Save Our Libraries “read-in” outside the Council House at 4.45pm! Please bring yourselves, your families and library books for a read in on the council house steps!

Tuesday 24th February – Lobby of Coventry Council’s budget meeting, outside the Council House, 1-2pm. Coventry’s Labour councillors are betraying the people of this city by passing on cuts and doing the Tories dirty work – come along and tell them to fight back!

Wednesday 25th February – 24 hour FBU strike, look out for details of pickets and support our firefighters!

Wednesday 25th February – Dave Nellist will be speaking at the launch of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition election campaign in Coventry, 7.30pm at the Methodist Central Hall. We need an alternative to austerity – the Socialist Party is standing as part of TUSC across Coventry! TUSC is the only party that pledges to vote against cuts – come along to our election launch and find out more.

Tuesday 3rd March – Save Our Libraries meeting, 7pm at the Methodist Central Hall. The National Union of Teachers has organised this meeting with authors Alan Gibbons and Cathy Cassidy, as well as local library campaigners and a national NUT speaker. Don’t let Coventry Council close our libraries!

Saturday 14th March – Midlands Conference of the National Shop Stewards Network, 12-4pm, Unite Offices, 211 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1AY. This conference is for trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners throughout both East and West Midlands to come together and work out solutions to problems we face in our unions and our workplaces. There will be speakers from different trade unions as well as workshops to discuss the fight against austerity.

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A letter from America – solidarity with the NHS strike

A letter from America – solidarity with the NHS strike

Defend the NHS!

Defend the NHS!

We are proud to publish this letter from a health care worker and trade unionist from the United States regarding the strike in the National Health Service on Monday 24th November. The letter highlights the inequalities present in the healthcare system under capitalism particularly in the United States. We urge you to read the letter, share it on social media and amongst workmates, friends and family. Under capitalism any gains for working class people such as the NHS will constantly be under threat, that is why we in the Socialist Party fight for a socialist society – if you agree, why not join us? Click here to apply to join

Letter from a health worker in the United States

Fight for decent pay!

Healthcare should be about patient care – not profits!

The current offer – for only some NHS workers in England to receive a 1% one off payment is an insult to the work that nurses and other health professionals do. It will only discourage bright, young, energetic people from entering the field and push those with experience working in the field out. The job can be both highly rewarding, yet also very stressful and dangerous (with patients attacking staff more frequently than many people realize). NHS workers should not be living in poverty and deserve to at least keep their pay up with inflation!

The chaotic profit-oriented nature of the U.S. healthcare system shows what can happen if the NHS is allowed to be privatized. In Dallas in October a man recently arrived from Liberia without health insurance was sent home from the emergency room with tylenol and antibiotics for his fever. It turned out he had ebola! Hospitals in the U.S. have a strong incentive not to admit patients who don’t have health insurance. When he came back and was admitted, two of the nurses caring for him contracted ebola. It turns out the hospital not only didn’t have full body protective equipment for the nurses, they also weren’t trained on the equipment they had and the nurses were also taking care of other patients at the same time! This shows how quickly hospitals will cut corners with our and our patients’ health and safety in the interest of saving a dollar.

When someone without insurance is admitted to a hospital, it can mean their financial ruin. A woman from Canada recently gave birth in the U.S. when she went into labor early while on vacation. She received a $1 million hospital bill! The leading cause of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are caused by medical bills. While Obama’s Affordable Care Act has made it easier for some people to get health insurance, for those who have quality health insurance through their job (like many nurses), the employers (and ultimately employees) will be forced to pay an additional expensive tax on their plans intended to discourage quality health insurance plans from existing!

Many nurses in the U.S. are relatively well paid and usually have health insurance and retirement benefits through their job. This has nothing to do with the private healthcare system in my opinion and everything to do with having unions in many parts of the country who have fought back and defeated attacks on health insurance, retirement, and have frequently gotten raises that keep up with inflation. After a national day of action for ebola safety on November 12th, which included strikes in California and Washington, D.C., mandatory guidelines for high standard ebola protection gear – in line with what the union was demanding – were instituted in the state of California. This recent example shows that it is worth organizing and going on strike when necessary! When we fight – we win!

Katie Quarles, RN

Shop Steward with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) at United Hospital, St. Paul, Minnesota (personal capacity)

Dave Nellist calls for solidarity with firefighters’ strike action

 Dave Nellist calls for solidarity with firefighters’ strike action

Dave Nellist of TUSC and the Socialist Party

Dave Nellist of TUSC and the Socialist Party

We are pleased to carry below comments from Dave Nellist, national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and the Socialist Party in Coventry in support of the action being taken by members of the FBU starting on Friday at 6pm. For more information about the strike visit the website of the FBU here

“TUSC supporters will be visiting FBU picket lines over the next four days, taking messages of solidarity with firefighters’ strike action in defence of their pensions and our public services.

Only one party standing in the general and local elections next year would reverse all the 20% funding cuts to the fire service implemented by the coalition government over the last four years.

 Only one party would reinstate the 5000 jobs lost and discuss with the FBU not only the reopening of closed stations, but the best places for stations to be to ensure rapid response times.

And only one party would reverse the privatisation across the service, not least in equipment, which all 4 establishment parties would maintain.

That party is TUSC (the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) – and I heartily invite any firefighters reading this, indeed any trade unionist, to consider standing as a TUSC candidate in next year’s general and local elections, where we will be the only working class anti-austerity candidates opposing the big 4.”

Dave Nellist National Chair, TUSC

AGREE WITH DAVE? WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT TUSC? FILL IN THE FORM BELOW

(to visit the website of TUSC click here)

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.

Report from the picket line at the University of Warwick

Report from the picket line at the University of Warwick

Workers on the picket line

Workers on the picket line

Workers from UCU, Unite and Unison at both Warwick and Coventry University went on strike today over the dismal 1% pay rise they’ve been offered. This offer is well below inflation, and thus is yet another pay cut for university staff – in real terms, their pay has been by 13% since 2009. However, despite this appalling offer and the massive cuts being made at Warwick, their Vice-Chancellor Nigel Thrift has just received a 10% pay rise – from £220,000 to £244,000!

Many postgraduate students work as part-time lecturers, as university management can employ them with low pay and poor conditions. This practice exploits the students, who should receive grants to support them in their studies, and undermines the pay and conditions of full time lecturers.

Socialist Party and Socialist Students members went to the picket line at Warwick to show our support. Around 30 people joined the picket, including workers from all three unions on strike and students showing solidarity with them. Many drivers showed support by beeping their horns, and the solidarity showed by students was obviously appreciated by staff.

No to Royal Mail privatisation – Rob McArdle speaks out

No to Royal Mail privatisation – Rob McArdle speaks out

Rob McArdle with Dave Nellist

Rob McArdle with Dave Nellist

The following letter was published in the Coventry Telegraph – it was written by Socialist campaigner Rob McArdle

Selling off Royal Mail might bring short term gains for shareholders and the government, but it is customers who will lose out in the long term.

We have seen the same happen with energy and rail price hikes following privatisation.

More and more people now
think that the rail and energy companies should be brought back into public ownership, with the bosses being held to account.

In the coming years Royal Mail will tell us how it can no longer afford the daily delivery to 29 million homes and businesses. Jobs will be cut and services withdrawn, while shareholders and institutions enjoy siphoning off the profits in the form of dividends.

I have always been proud to work for the public Royal Mail, because we provide a valuable service. How long before our postal service becomes foreign owned? How many years before you have to collect your mail from a box far your home? No wonder the government rushed through the sell-off, they know 70 per cent of the public opposed Royal Mail privatisation.

Robert McArdle,

(Postal worker),

Binley Road, Coventry.

Coventry protest against the privatisation of the probation service

Coventry protest against the privatisation of the probation service

Dave Nellist supporting the protest

Dave Nellist supporting the protest

Workers in the probation service in Coventry have staged a protest against the privatisation of this vital public service. Members of NAPO, Unison and GMB organised the lunch time action last Thursday in Coventry. This was part of a national day of action which saw similar protests across the country. Dave Nellist attended to bring the support of the Socialist Party – also raising the issue that evening at a meeting of Coventry TUC.