Rare footage of Rob Windsor addressing youth protest in Coventry

Rare footage of Rob Windsor addressing youth protest in Coventry

Comrade Rob Windsor

 Rob Windsor

To celebrate International Workers’ Day we are proud to present this rare footage of the late Rob Windsor addressing a youth protest in Coventry in 2010. Rob sadly passed away on 14th January, 2012 aged just 47.

A former Socialist Councillor in St Michael’s ward,  a leader and organiser of the anti poll tax battle and community campaigner on many issues – from housing rights and fighting the PFI in the NHS to organising protests in solidarity with the Palestinians, Rob was a well known presence in many battles involving working class people against the establishment.

It is characteristic of Rob that he would show support for this protest of young people which was organised by Socialist Party members against increases in tuition fees. Rob’s speech starts at 3 mins 24 secs.

Thanks to Rob McArdle for the footage

 

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.

005

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.”

 

Socialist campaigns continue after election

Socialist campaigns continue after election

TUSC candidates campaigning in Coventry

TUSC candidates campaigning in Coventry

Socialist candidates and campaigners were out in Coventry City Centre on Saturday continuing the fightback against austerity. We had petitions calling for an end to council cuts, a £10 an hour minimum wage and against parking charges at Walsgrave Hospital.

TUSC candidate for Coventry North East, Nicky Downes, said “Unlike the other parties we don’t stop campaigning on election day – we keep fighting all year round. The fightback against the Tories needs to continue, not wait until the next election!”

Socialist Party members hold campaign stalls every week. If you want to get involved, fill in the form below!

TUSC candidates sign 38 Degrees NHS pledge

TUSC candidates sign 38 Degrees NHS pledge 

22311_10206596664304612_3137552538299597924_n (1)

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!


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!

robmac

“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.”

Bedroom Tax beaten in Scotland

Bedroom Tax beaten in Scotland

Bedroom Tax protest

Bedroom Tax protest

The Scottish Government has effectively abolished the “bedroom tax” in Scotland by increasing the funding for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) to ensure that tenants will not be affected.

Campaigners from Coventry Against the Bedroom Tax welcomed this decision, with campaigner Robert McArdle saying

“This is a victory for campaigners against the bedroom tax across the UK. The Scottish Government has been forced to support tenants by using Discretionary Housing Payments, exactly what we’ve been asking Coventry Council to do – if they and other councils do the same, we can beat this law.”

Former Labour MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist supports the campaign, and restated the campaigns determination to fight the bedroom tax, saying

“This decision by the Scottish Government begs the question, if they can beat the bedroom tax why can’t Coventry Council? We will continue to demand housing associations like Whitefriars refuse to evict tenants affected by the bedroom tax.”

The following is an article from members of the Socialist Party in Scotland, who have been at the forefront of the campaign against this hated tax.

Article from Socialist Party Scotland 

The bedroom tax has been effectively defeated in Scotland. The announcement that the Scottish government intends to end the crushing burden of the hated and reviled bedroom tax is a huge victory.

Mass campaigning, the organisation of hundreds of public meetings the length and breadth of Scotland; thousands marching on demonstrations; lobbies and protests of councils, MSPs and the Scottish government and a refusal to accept any possibility of evictions, proved an unstoppable force.

The defeat of the hated tax will also give a huge boost to campaigners in England and Wales who will step up demands for its abolition and for councils and housing associations to refuse to carry out evictions.

The Scottish government has asked the Con-Dems at Westminster to allow it to provide payments to kill off the tax for 2014/15.

Regardless of whether the Tories allow this, the money can and must be given to social landlords by the Scottish National Party (SNP) government in Scotland to write off all bedroom tax from 1 April 2013 onwards.

The Scottish government had come under enormous pressure from the anti-bedroom tax campaign that, from the start, demanded the SNP use the powers it has to scrap the tax.

The Scottish Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation, that united the majority of the local campaigns and in which Socialist Party Scotland members played a leading role, was crucial in this victory.

The campaign in Scotland will remain vigilant and will continue to fight to demand all bedroom tax debts are written off.

And that any and all legal action currently being taken by councils and housing associations, leading to possible eviction, is immediately suspended.

The campaign shows that austerity can be defeated. Imagine what could be achieved if the UK’s seven million-strong trade union movement is mobilised in the form of a 24-hour general strike against all the Con-Dems’ cuts.

…now let’s end all council cuts

The Con-Dem government has slashed spending by over 25% to the ten most deprived areas in England which includes Manchester, Liverpool, and Hackney and Newham in east London.

The government severely cut council tax support to local authorities by £500 million last year. £100 million of this cut was deferred by transitional support arrangements which have now ended.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Trust charity the latest round of government cuts to local authorities will mean 270,000 of the poorest households (who previously could claim a full council tax rebate) seeing their council tax bills rise, on average, by £80 to £176 a year.

Currently, some 600,000 people are in council tax arrears and 500,000 have been issued with court summons for non-payment. 400,000 people have been issued with liability notices and 70,000 have received bailiff letters.

Despite shadow Labour ministers condemning this Con-Dem iniquity, Labour councils have simply passed the government’s spending cuts onto the backs of their poorest residents.

We need an alternative

Labour has failed to protect the most vulnerable, so what is the point of voting in the May elections for a party that has failed to mobilise any effective opposition to this government of brutal austerity?

Any suggestion that an incoming Labour government will reverse these cuts is wishful thinking as Ed Balls has already announced that he would stick with Chancellor Osborne’s budget plans.

All the more reason why working class people should unhesitatingly cast their votes for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates (which include Socialist Party members), and also campaign for and stand as TUSC candidates themselves.