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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 December 2011

Stand up to the Con-Dem government

For councillors who refuse to implement the cuts!

Political answer also required: Millions strike back at Con-Dem government on 30 November 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

Political answer also required: Millions strike back at Con-Dem government on 30 November 2011, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

On 30 November around two million public sector workers took strike action in defence of their pensions and against cuts in public services. This mighty strike demonstrated workers' potential power and shook the government.

However, to win the battle to defeat the Con-Dems is going to require an escalation of the struggle. This will mean further strike action, but it is also urgent that the trade union and anti-cuts movement begins to discuss making sure it has an electoral voice, otherwise we are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.

New Labour does not offer a voice for working class people. Outrageously, Labour peer Lord Hutton, author of the attack on pensions, is urging workers to swallow the government's destruction of their pensions, while Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has made it clear that a Labour government would also attack pensions.

At local level every single Labour-led council has wielded the axe handed to them by central government. This has meant that already an eye-watering 4 billion of cuts - 8% of total council spending - was implemented last year. Appalling cuts have taken place.

In Liverpool the cuts are equal to an average of 229 per head, in Manchester 190, Lambeth 150, Newham 227. For council workers this has meant wholesale cuts in jobs and in pay and conditions. For the poorest it has meant the destruction of the already patchy and inadequate safety nets that kept them from destitution. As a result the number of those officially registered as homeless has gone up by 30% in just six months.

These can all be stopped but unless we fight back, 2012 will be worse, with a further 7% cut in council spending planned. That is why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is calling on trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners across the country to stand for elections to their local council in 2012, and also to take part in the TUSC list for the Greater London Assembly elections.

We have to make it clear to Labour councillors and assembly members that they will be punished at the ballot box if they continue to destroy public services. We need to tell them, unless you pledge to fight the cuts, we will stand against you.

The elections are not just a chance to make a one-day 'protest vote' against the cuts. They are also an opportunity to elect councillors who can actually stop many of the cuts from being implemented locally.

Even a minority group on a council, or a single councillor, can make a difference by using their position as democratically elected local representatives to give confidence to and help organise community campaigns and trade unionists to fight.

TUSC is an alliance which includes individual trade unionists, community campaigners and different political parties. On 28 January TUSC will be holding a conference open to all those considering standing on an anti-cuts platform in the 2012 elections. The TUSC steering committee will be proposing that all TUSC candidates pledge to:


PCS assistant general secretary backs London TUSC campaign

The assistant general secretary of the PCS civil servants union, Chris Baugh, has, in a personal capacity, backed the call for trade unionist and socialist candidates to stand in the Greater London Assembly elections in 2012.

He has been joined by PCS members in Revenue and Customs (HMRC), on strike against privatisation and attendance management, all in a personal capacity: Alex McRae, PCS branch secretary North London revenue branch; Rose King, North London revenue branch; Dave Plummer, Revenue & Customs Euston, PCS branch organiser; L Shelley, Euston Assistant secretary; H Davis, Euston Health and safety rep; D Matthew, health and safety forum and union rep.

Are you a trade unionist in London? If so, add your name to the statement: "We, the undersigned, support the call for trade unionist and socialist candidates to stand in the Greater London Assembly elections in 2012, committed to opposing all cuts, privatisation and PFI".

Go to www.tusc.org.uk or email jpjreidie@yahoo.co.uk

"When I was a Labour councillor in 2005, I refused to vote for cuts on the council. The next week I was de-selected.

"Nothing has changed since then. New Labour in Southampton promise more cuts if elected. If Labour councillors won't put forward an alternative to cuts, we must."

TUSC candidate Perry McMillan

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In The Socialist 14 December 2011:


Socialist Party feature

Tories speak for the rich - not for us


Socialist Party news and analysis

Hands off our NHS!

Unacceptable! Draconian sentences for Dundee 'Facebook riot' teenagers

Striking to defend pensions

No progress at climate conference

Them & Us

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Socialist Party editorial

Stand up to the Con-Dem government


Socialist Party reviews

Inside Job: Capitalism is a failed system: support the socialist fightback

TV review: Britain's great housing scandal exposed


Socialist Party workplace news

All out now to stop the sites!

Pensioners and workers - united fight needed

Occupy London tours Canary Wharf

Action after N30

Langdon school strike

Public sector pensions - where now?

Tax workers on strike

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

"Putin is a thief", "Putin is a thief"

Kazakhstan - 20 years of authoritarianism!


Readers' Comments

Cameron's drugs problems

Attacks on Tupe rights hit hard

Building bosses and their blacklist


 

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